I have posted a couple of items about prejudice and bias. And, because of something I recently read elsewhere, I thought I would address the subject again. From a slightly different angle.
Tolerance. There are a number of definitions for the word but, for our purposes here, these from Dictionary.com will suffice:
1. a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward those whose opinions, practices, race, religion, nationality, etc., differ from one's own; freedom from bigotry.
2. a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward opinions and practices that differ from one's own.
3. interest in and concern for ideas, opinions, practices, etc., foreign to one's own; a liberal, undogmatic viewpoint.
4. the act or capacity of enduring; endurance: My tolerance of noise is limited.
There is one more, which my brother-in-law made me aware of. He was a career officer in the US Army and he had a peer who was black (or, if you prefer, African-American). This black officer, he says, once told him he did not like the concept of tolerance as it used in terms of viewing minorities. It seems he viewed tolerance as toleration which implies the allowance or sufferance of conduct with which one is not in accord.
In other words, it perpetuated the idea that someone, a member of a minority, was inferior.
I am not often impressed with my brother-in-law. And he is not what I would call tolerant in terms of the first 4 definitions. But this story is one I happened to like and the lesson one with which I agree. When we speak of being tolerant, we ought to agree on what it means.
While doing a little research (being lazy, I only do a little research), I came across a method of testing for bias on the www.tolerance.org website. So, of course I took the offered test.
At first, I was a little surprised at the results. After all, I consider myself fairly tolerant in terms of the first four definitions I offered. And, especially, when it comes to religion (which this test was concerned with). Mentally, I took issue with the methodology used. After all, testing methods can biased in their own way and reflect certain feelings the test-maker holds. But, after more consideration, I decided it was not so far out of line and its methodology might be useful in determining sub-conscious tendencies.
I won't reveal the results of my test but I will say it gave me pause.
I recommend it to anyone who is curious about his or her own feelings and about whether he or she really knows what they are. This link will take you to the test...
You might be surprised at the results.
A Night Unremembered
7 years ago