What is Intolerance?
The definition of intolerance is unwillingness to accept views, beliefs, or behavior that differs from one’s own. When people think of the word intolerance, they usually think of it as a bad thing, but it does not always have to be. People usually think that way about it because intolerance is used in an unencouraging way more than it is used to better society. All over the world, there are many examples of intolerance, and many of the examples are not good ones. In the Bible, Habakkuk 1:13 says, “”You who are of purer eyes than to see evil and can not look at wrong, why do you idly look at traitors and remain silent when the wicked swallows up the man more righteous than he (Holy Bible ESV)?””
This verse is saying that one should not put up with evil things, look at evil things, and should stand up for what they believe is right. Pastor David Platt writes about how religious intolerance has affected today’s world, and how one can help fix this problem. Although this is not an easy problem to fix because of today’s society, but it is also something that could help the world be a much better place. Intolerance does not always have to a bad thing, but it has been used in the wrong way for many years and for many reasons. It has been used to separate many races, and has caused many conflicts in today’s world.
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Intolerance is a large theme in the book To Kill a Mockingbird, and this book shows how awful intolerance can affect someone’s life. The city of Maycomb, the setting of this novel, shows racial intolerance towards Tom Robinson. Tom Robinson was a black, innocent man who was accused of rape. The way the white townspeople, the judges, the sheriff treated him, and how his trial went showed racial intolerance. Cal, a black nanny who worked for Atticus, a wealthy white man, brought two white children that she nannied to an all black church that she usually attended one Sunday.
A young black girl, Lula says, “”You ain’t got no business bringin’ white chillun here- they got their church, we got our’n. It is our church, ain’t it, Miss. Cal (Lee 136)?”” This quote shows that even blacks have intolerance towards white people because their cultures are so very different, and they have been taught to stay away from one another. Even young children do not have respect for other children that are a different race, and that is not how it should be.
Intolerance is faced by all three of the main characters, Scout, Jem, Atticus Finch, and more of the other characters in this book. To Kill a Mockingbird will show how such a bad kind of racial intolerance is out there, and how one should try their best to stand up for another because everyone was created for the same purpose. No one person is better than someone else, and that is what people need to understand. If everyone had that mindset, the world would be such a better place.
Intolerance is not a new concept; it has been around for a very long time. In the beginning of the twentieth century, there was a lot of racial discrimination and hatred towards those who were black and were not considered “”real”” Americans. “”Between 1873 and 1883, the Supreme Court handed down a series of decisions that virtually nullified the work of Congress during Reconstruction.
Regarded by many as second-class citizens, blacks were separated from whites by law and by private action in transportation, public accommodations, recreational facilities, prisons, armed forces, and schools in both Northern and Southern states (“”With an Even Hand”” para 1).”” This is when segregation was in full swing, and blacks and whites were separated for everything. “”Anthony Esolen argues that racial segregation was based on an irrational—indeed, peculiar—prejudice, and thus is not analogous to the conviction that marriage should be reserved for one man and one woman, which is based on universal truths about human nature.
He writes, ‘I fear that our age is so enslaved to ideology that we can no longer notice what is obvious and natural, or think sensitively about history, or craft analogies that can stand a moment of analysis (Taylor para. 1).'”” There were eventually institutes started which tried to help black get a better education and to get things that they normally could not get because the whites took over.
The Ku Klux Klan, a racial group, played a big part in racial intolerance. This Klan was established by a group of white people who thought they were better than the blacks, and wanted the black people to remain in slavery. This all started in 1865, in the Southern states, at the end of the Civil War. This movement to keep the blacks enslaved grew, and by the mid 1920’s this group had around five million members. They did not only hate the blacks, but they were against Roman Catholics, Jews, and Mexicans as well. The members of the Klan would kill the blacks, usually with a hanging without trial, and would take the laws into their own hands.
The police would not do anything about it, and sometimes the police would even join in killing the back people. The ones responsible for killing the black people would often never be taken to court, but even if they were taken to court they would never be punished for murder. Because they were never punished, they continued to act the same way for many years, and even today there are still people considered to be in the KKK. Not as many people are in it today, but there are still a few trying to keep it alive (“”Was America a country of religious and racial intolerance during this period?”” page 9).
Pastor David Platt wrote an article about intolerance and how Christians need to fight for the religious freedom of everyone. Platt says, “”But the label is strangely self-defeating. Isn’t the person who assigns the ‘intolerance’ label actually displaying a similar intolerance of that other person’s belief? In the process of calling another person ‘intolerant,’ it sure seems that the name-caller is fairly intolerant him- or herself (Platt para. 7).””
This act is very common in today’s society, and it makes one be hypocritical. One will find his or her self in a position of being intolerant of intolerant people; this means one can not tolerate their own self. People’s views on intolerance today are bias, tolerance implies disagreement, and there are ways to fix this problem. Instead of getting upset and calling one intolerant or hateful, one could make a wiser decision and consider where the other is coming from and respect their beliefs or understandings.
For example, Christians believe something different than Muslims, but a Christian should respect the Muslim’s belief even if one disagrees. Just because someone believes something that does not make them right; it does not save them. “”The purpose of religious freedom is to provide an atmosphere in which these questions can be explored”” (Platt para. 13).
One should put in an effort to use intolerance in a better way, and use it to be intolerant of bad things. Proverbs 22:2 states, “”The rich and the poor meet together; the Lord is the maker of them all (Holy Bible ESV).”” This shows one that no matter the race, the social ranking, or how much money one has, everyone was created by the same person.
To Kill a Mockingbird shows us how intolerance is used in a bad way; it caused someone to die only because of his race. Intolerance is not a new thing, it started a long time ago and has not gone away. Intolerance has been used not for the best even though it is not always a bad thing. Races and people groups should not be separated because of their color, but because of racial intolerance it has happened.