The seriousness of intolerance in our everyday lives "Intolerance is the "Do Not Touch" sign on something that cannot bear touching. We do not mind having our hair ruffled, but we will not tolerate any familiarity with the toupee which covers our baldness." Eric Hoffer (1902-83), U.S. philosopher. The Passionate State of Mind, aph. 62 (1955).
Intolerance is merely the lack of tolerance. This means that if you are different from someone, they may be intolerant to you. This shows up in great quantities in our everyday lives. Intolerance comes in many faces. These faces include those of religion, race, sexuality, and even styles.
When you look at religion, this can include beliefs, appearance, and actions. A good example is the followers of Islam. Islam, one of the three major world religions, along with Judaism and Christianity, that profess monotheism, or the belief in a single God. In the Arabic language, the word Islam means "surrender" or "submission"-submission to the will of God.
A follower of Islam is called a Muslim, which in Arabic means "one who surrenders to God." The Arabic name for God, Allah, refers to the same God worshiped by Jews and Christians. Islam's central teaching is that there is only one all-powerful, all-knowing God, and this God created the universe. This rigorous monotheism, as well as the Islamic teaching that all Muslims are equal before God, provides the basis for a collective sense of loyalty to God that transcends class, race, nationality, and even differences in religious practice. Thus, all Muslims belong to one community, the umma, irrespective of their ethnic or national background. Muslims, have five daily prayers in which they are supposed to perform at five different periods of time throughout the day. All Muslims are also supposed to fast for an entire month every year. Fasting includes refraining from drinking, eating, and sexual intercourse. Muslims also have a very unique dress and have an olive skin color. These people are simply different from others. This does not make them evil or anything else.
After September 11, 2002 in the United States, Muslims have been looked upon by many Americans as evil. This has resulted in killings because of their race, skin color, and religious beliefs.
This plague of hate does not stop at Muslims. It is the same for anyone different. These people include, Negroes, Jewish people, Muslims, Mexicans, Russians, Germans, American and many more. Every single person in this world is looked upon as evil by someone else. Negroes are still suffering from the effects of slavery. Jews are still looked upon as those that were to be disposed of during the Jewish Holocaust. Mexicans are looked upon as people who need to leave America alone and go back home. Many people believe that Mexicans are here to take our jobs. Others think that all they are good for are working in the fields. The truth as I see it is that they are the only ones willing to do the dirty work. White people believe that they are too good to do that type of job. This goes on for every single race and country in the world. Actually it extends beyond this world. Extra Terrestrials are even looked upon with a certain extent of intolerance.
When homosexuals appear in public, they are looked upon as wrong doers, just because they are different. A regular couple can do anything in public without anyone noticing. However, when a homosexual enters the scene, every single person notices. Many have been killed because they are different.
Intolerance has progressed through the ages. It has also made its way into our schools. All large schools have gangs. Whether these gangs are the Mexicans, the Negroes, or the chess club, intolerance is a large factor. I've been told that in large schools it is guaranteed that there is someone that doesn't like you or wants to kill you. The reason for that person or those persons to feel this way can vary from your beliefs to your hair style, or your braces on your teeth. If you are different you are disliked by someone. Intolerance has become so serious that people are dying. There have been many school shootings, stabbings, fights, and deaths. It has become so serious that there are armed police officers on duty round the clock. This is a scary concept.
Growing up in a small town has shielded me from a lot of the intolerance in our everyday lives. I am exposed to it mainly through the news. The news shows too much bad and not enough good. It is depressing that this is the only way for a news broadcasting service to survive. When you think about it, if there was a news station that broadcasted only good news it would not be watched as much as the one that reported only the bad news. Our society lives off that bad news. The bad news makes people look at it as, "I am glad it's them and not me". If they broadcasted the good news people would be saying, "Why is it them and not me", and it would further create problems. Intolerance has become so serious that it runs our lives.