Tolerance is a dirty word | Andrew Sayer | TEDxSemesterAtSea


Translator: Chen Qu
Reviewer: Denise RQ Tolerance is a dirty word. We must eliminate it
from the American vocabulary. When I say that I tolerate someone, what does it mean to you? Saying that I tolerate you
means it’s OK that you exist. In the United States of America, it’s politically correct
to be tolerant of others regardless of race, religion,
sexuality, and politics, but law defines
the boundaries of tolerance. In 1865, law made slavery illegal and started the process
of white people tolerating black people. In 1920, law gave women the right to vote and started the process
of men tolerating women. In 1965, law pushed
for more racial tolerance, and last year, in 2013, law mandated the federal government’s tolerance
of gay Americans. These laws and mandates
are extremely significant, but they don’t change
thought or conversation. They only widen the definition
of who is to be tolerated. Tolerance is where we are, and tolerance is the bar our society
assessed its highest score. We need to shift
from tolerance to acceptance. Acceptance of all people is a choice and in an accepting society, the people steer the creation of laws instead of following rules
out of obligation. But think about America right now,
think about how we converse. We are not an accepting society. Topics such as liberal
versus conservative, pro-choice versus pro-life, marriage equality, and affirmative action, can bring conversations to a halt
and destroy friendships. For a country that claims to be based
on freedom and acceptance, political collaboration on social issues
is nonexistent and getting worse. We are worlds away
from my vision of an accepting society. How do we reframe these conversations and change the way we view
each other fundamentally? Education. America is a diverse nation, but our education system does not portray
our diversity to students. Instead, it creates a system
that is rigged for those with privilege. So why am I speaking to you? I am a white, heterosexual, cisgender male who comes from a very loving
and supportive upper-middle class family. I am the definition of privilege, and changing the conversation
starts with me. Imagine the curriculum in America, based on the acceptance of all cultures
in our nation and in the world. We have a responsibility to teach
students open-mindedness. But what will this looks like? Curriculum based on acceptance teaches children about
diverse cultures, life styles, religions, and people’s differences around the world. With education, we can foster
dialogue with young people, broaden world views, and provide a platform for students to ask
questions about cultural differences. Imagine the classroom that utilizes technology to connect
students from all over the globe. I see American students getting ready
for a classroom video chat with students from Royal Thailand. They have done their research, and they come armed with questions ranging from the simple
to the philosophical: “What do you eat for breakfast?” “What’s your favorite subject?” “What do you want to do with your life?” and “How do you want to change the world?” “What are you scared of?” “What are the issues in your daily life
that hold you back?” “And how can we work
together to fix those issues?” “How do you view our society?” “What do you know about us?” and “How can we take
this connection a step further?” I loved field trips.
Everyone loves field trips. That’s a field trip around the world. Technology can create
a connection that transcends our surface level understanding
of cultures. This is a curriculum of thought,
not tests, not statistics, and not papers, but ideas about the people around us. So how do we do this? It’s not overnight. Acceptance-based education policy needs to come from individual
state governments. Some states will have to lead the way, and with time, others will fall in place, but it must start now. Acceptance of all people solves
today’s issue of tolerance, but acceptance is not the ultimate goal. Some people in this audience
have found and defined a sense of self that speaks to the absolute core
of their being, but most have not. Right now you feel tolerated. I’ve laid out a plan to cultivate
a society that accepts you, but imagine a society that celebrates you. Imagine a society that admires the meaningful differences
that make you an individual. We often forget the huge similarities
that make us all human. When we remember these,
we get to the level of acceptance. But the meaningful differences
are what make you an individual, the meaningful differences create
culture, passion, and self-identity. The meaningful differences
lead to advancement in technology, entertainment, and design. And the meaningful differences
are the essence of what makes life worth living. But perhaps to you,
this seems distant and idealistic. It’s not. In fact, I see the root
of this type of celebration throughout history
and around the world, everyday. Look at the Olympics and the World Cup. These events celebrate global similarity, people enjoy watching sports. These events also celebrate the meaningful differences
of nationality and culture. The country of Rwanda
is rebounding after a civil war that ravaged their entire nation. Kigalians celebrate
a mutual Rwandan heritage and the meaningful difference
of tribal affiliation with a music festival based
on cultural acceptance and diversity. Denmark during World War II, while other countries persecuted Jews, the King of Denmark
chose to celebrate them. Nazi leaders told the King to mark
all Jews with the Star of David. The King of Denmark said no. Instead, he celebrated
the Jewish population by having every citizen,
including himself, wear a Star of David on their sleeve. This action saved thousands
of Jews in Denmark. I’ve just given you four
out of hundreds of examples of the celebration
of meaningful differences that go on around the world everyday. But these examples only celebrate
one part of a person’s identity. Since when are you only your sexuality? Since when are you only your race,
only your religion, only your ability? Although not fully inclusive, these are still examples
of what we can create. So how do we take
this model to the next level? And how do the next group of leaders
go about making this change? There’s been a lot of criticism
about the millennials, but I believe in our generation. Statistically, we are more diverse,
more open-minded, and more confident that we can change the world
than any other generation. I believe in my generation
because we are better collaborators and seeking a higher percentage
of employment and education than our predecessors. And I believe in my generation because we are the first generation
in the history of the world to prioritize happiness above success. I believe in the students
who choose to study abroad, and anyone who choose
to participate in globe education. The few of us
who have had these opportunities have been able to combine
study with cultural immersion. We have been able to see and learn from various ways of life
around the world, and take from each of them ideas that can change our society at home. These experiences can make us
thoughtful leaders of the next generation, and our experiences
can create lasting change, they’re ripples across the globe. We can create world peace. I’m here because I believe
that world peace is attainable. World peace stems
from an integrated globe community, and an integrated globe community
will not come when we are all the same, but instead, when we
fully accept and celebrate everyone’s meaningful differences. 230 years ago, John Hancock
signed a piece of paper that created a nation under the sentiment
that all men are created equal, that we are endowed by our Creator
with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty,
and the pursue of happiness. The idea that all people are equal
and the same is at the core of the USA, but it’s a sentiment that has been
incomplete since we became a nation. Today we tolerate each other, today we give no credit
to our similarities, and today our differences rip us apart. But tell me why can’t we create
the nation and the world that we want to live in, a world that eradicates tolerance and celebrates all people? Thank you. (Applause)

32 thoughts on “Tolerance is a dirty word | Andrew Sayer | TEDxSemesterAtSea

  • Exactly!! Forget tolerance!! We need MultiCulturalDiversity
    <3 #ACCEPTANCE!! <3
    "Through our #Education System."
    ..RightOn! 🙂

  • Great job Andrew….the Aguirre-Gilberts are proud of you….perhaps you can play a big role in bringing together a very divided country.

  • From the hall where you spoke and almost globally there's nothing original I might add to your poise and presentation feedback. You know you've done well stylistically. Intellectually though you've asserted the solution to cultural inequality should to be the members of the privileged dominant cultural group exercise their power over the emotional beliefs of society en masse. The dominant group thereby punctuates who's truly in charge and forcing disingenuous celebration of the lesser group who is still denied agency and choice. I agree education is part of the process to transform the inequalities some enjoy without knowing in front of those who try to tolerate knowing things aren't yet fair. Instilling true equality will happen for society and your passion I see as evidence of it. Celebration of everything about every aspect of every person is a goal of yours I completely support and respect. Choosing not to participate along with you is in no way diminishing to either of us though. I do feel we can respect each other's right to exist unharmed without interference if we aren't inclined to socialize. You've done well on the TED stage and look forward to viewing you speak again

  • I do not need anyone to accept me, let alone "tolerate" me! Maybe you are the one who needs to be tolerated! uhhggg!! f-that! we all have the right to exist as long as we are moral which I believe begins and ends with being decent to each other!

  • Aho, little brother. I like to use the example a friend once used, "If you opened an invitation to my birthday that read.. 'Dominique would tolerate your presence at her birthday' .. would you want to attend?"

    Thank you for this beautiful talk. I have confidence in the Millennials.

  • Starts off his ted talk with "tolerance needs to be eliminated from the American dictionary", not realizing the hypocrisy of such a quasi-oxymoronic statement. And the rest of his talk is nothing more than a leftist claptrap. He is the product of an increasingly Marxist ideological indoctrination enforced by our already hijacked education system. Although he is right about one thing:, we need education, the right education, not the brand of leftist doublespeak indoctrination he is regurgitating from his liberal arts professors.

  • Enslavement of people and harboring control over others is saying it's ok they exist? This talk is flawed at its earliest stage. It took away thier choices, which is why it isn't tolerance. Then he goes on saying we need to accept and not tolerate, and it is a choice to accept. But removing tolerance would only limit the choices to bigotry and denial of others and acceptance. This talk is just an attempt to call those in a neutral stance bigots. Tolerance is what people should be, as accepting some things like race and sexual orientation to a degree require you to experience/live as them. Someone truly accepting of homosexuality would likely be gay.

  • Flawed logic. Some actions based on beliefs cannot be accepted. Tolerance accepts the person but not the beliefs or the actions.

  • Law did not GIVE anything. Law did not make anything. The WHITE race made slavery for ALL races illegal by law. 1920's white men gave woman the right to vote. 1965 the globalist got black mommies to kick out black daddies for tax payer money. 2013 is a push for lower populations.

  • WHAT? The only way to get what this clown wants is to take all the "free thinkers" who have not consumed the progressive kool-aid and imprison or murder them to "cleanse" society of those who refuse to become part of the collective. A free society does not demand acceptance by its citizens for each other. You want that kind of acceptance go to North Korea where there is forced acceptance. We have a nation that practices real tolerance and has been doing so for a long time.

  • Idealistic, but goes against human nature.  You can't have an entire country that accepts everything about everyone.  That would require you to force someone else to go against their belief, religion, values, or what they feel is right or wrong.  Even God doesn't make us love Him, or "accept" Him; He gives us all the FREEDOM OF CHOICE.  Unfortunately that may mean someone doesn't believe in Him, doesn't like Him, maybe even hates the very thought of HIm.  That's just an example; the point is you can't control others, especially how they feel about something.  Sometimes we can't even help how we feel about specific things.  However, of course we should all treat each other with respect, but acceptance, no.

  • The word "tolerance" reminds me two things. Firstly, the Traité sur la tolérance, by Voltaire, at the time of Illustration in Europe, and Iluminisme in America, traité about which I have made a monograph at the university.
    And secondly it makes me think in a definition of "tolerance" as "a hidden way of contempt" ("Una forma velada del desprecio"), that a long time ago has pronounced Santiago Kovadloff, the Argentine philosophe and translator of the Portuguese writer Fernando Pessoa. When I heard this definition it seemed to me quite true, quite revealing, and then I asked to myself how the word "tolerance" could be redefined, in order not to mean "contempt", in order not to mean something negative, and I came to the conclusion that "tolerance" could be redefined, possibly, as "coexistence", to coexist with the others, peacefully, without having the feeling of "contempt".

  • Islam promotes tolerance ,
    Quran (koran) Surah Al-Mumtahina, Verse 8:
    لَّا يَنْهَاكُمُ اللَّهُ عَنِ الَّذِينَ لَمْ يُقَاتِلُوكُمْ فِي الدِّينِ وَلَمْ يُخْرِجُوكُم مِّن دِيَارِكُمْ أَن تَبَرُّوهُمْ وَتُقْسِطُوا إِلَيْهِمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُقْسِطِينَ

    Allah does not forbid you respecting those who have not made war against you on account of (your) religion, and have not driven you forth from your homes, that you show them kindness and deal with them justly; surely Allah loves the doers of justice.
    (English – Shakir)

    via iQuran

  • Before watching I’m going to say “duuuh!”
    It’s basically an insult. Laws against violence force people to tolerate one another. You only tolerate things that you don’t like and can’t do away with. I will tolerate you literally means “I’d prefer if you were never born but that’s not an option so I’ll just keep my composure until you go away.” We don’t need to remove words from the English vocabulary because they must be used to convey emotion and intentions. If you get rid of tolerate people will simply use phrases like “put up with” or “allow” or even replace the word. I think you should just tolerate it like everyone has to tolerate everything and everybody else. Getting rid of tolerance i asume you want to get rid of that mindset but you can’t make people do more than tolerate others. It’s an actual emotional mindset so it doesn’t make sense to call it a problem just because we gave it a name. You can’t force acceptance. People have to decide that for themselves and if they don’t want to then all you will get is tolerance.

  • So does this mean that pain tolerance is gone too? That sounds like an excruciating future considering the only way you can force people to do more than tolerate is by living in a totalitarian system that forces behavior on people. That’s sick dude. Making people tolerate something for example, women voting, causes a society to build tolerance until it becomes and accepted part of society and now in the 21st century it’s common place for women to vote and it embraced for all people to do so. Tolerance just means it takes time to make societal changes and that means you have to be patient if you want to be a leader and mediator. Your mindset is the wrong one. People don’t need to be made to accept things. They just need time to accept change. If you think it’s taking too long then that’s just a weakness and impatience on your part and impatience is actually the opposite of tolerance which just so happens to be a bad thing.

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