Should We Be More Tolerant?

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The world is a rather strange place at the moment, isn’t it? You would think that after going through 2020/21 together and the hardships we all collectively had to deal with that we’d become a little more kinder to each other. It seems though the opposite is happening – just look at Twitter to see what I mean: Politics, gender, race, religion, it seems that everything we’ve worked so hard to protect over the past few decades is slowly being eroded. Why? We all seem to be a lot less tolerant than we were a few years ago.

Illustration of hands of various skin tones holding up a globe under the words international tolerance day
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The world is a rather strange place at the moment, isn’t it? You would think that after going through 2020/21 together and the hardships we all collectively had to deal with that we’d become a little more kinder to each other.

It seems though the opposite is happening – just look at Twitter to see what I mean: Politics, gender, race, religion, it seems that everything we’ve worked so hard to protect over the past few decades is slowly being eroded.

Why? We all seem to be a lot less tolerant than we were a few years ago.

Social media means that people can share their views no matter how unacceptable to “mainstream” society they may be, and because of the echo chamber that social media sites can be they’ll find people who feel the same which then validates their opinions.

There also seems to be an enormous sense of entitlement that certain people seem to have – just think of the Karen’s who “demand to see the manager” or the social media influencer who asks for a free meal because “they’ll share it to their followers”.

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What Is Tolerance?

Tolerance is defined as “a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward those whose opinions, beliefs, practices, racial or ethnic origins, etc., differ from one’s own; freedom from bigotry”

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People bandy “first amendment rights” around as though that gives them carte blanche to say anything that pops in their heads. Remember that “freedom” only applies to the United States, there are other countries out there despite what some might believe.

Should We Tolerate Everything As It’s “Free Speech”?

Why am I going on this rant today? Since Elon Musk took over Twitter promising to make it a “platform for free speech” there have been huge spikes in the use of slurs, derogatory language and homophobia (amongst other hateful acts). Tolerance seems to be at an all time low and as as tomorrow is International Day For Tolerance I thought it as appropriate to bring this up.

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Editor’s Note: This article was written a year ago and the issue of harmful speech has only got worse in the 12 months since Musk’s purchase – and it’s only going to deteriorate further in my option. My best advice is to move to another platform such as Threads, Bluesky or Mastadon. And if you can’t (like a lot of us thanks to work) then don’t interact with the trolls or hate comments – just block and move on.

What Should We Do About It?

I’m not telling you to tolerate this hate speech by the way, far from it! But what I am asking is that if you come across something hateful online – today, or any other day – just take a minute to think why that person posted something the way they did and instead of just reacting to it on the spur of the moment with anger, put yourself in the poster’s shoes for a minute.

If you act towards them in a manner that they feel is intolerant it just justifies their position. Instead if you reach out from a place of tolerance and understanding it allows you to open a dialogue with which you’ll be able to explore why they feel the way they do. I’m not saying that you’ll be able to change their minds but at least you might make them think twice before they post hateful content in the future.

Thank you for coming to my TED Talk! Do you have any advice for trolls and general nasty types on the internet? Let us know in the comments below.

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About The Author
Katy is always trying to be more productive one day at a time! Whether it's analogue, digital, motivational or psychological who'll try any system that will help her get things done and get organised. As well as running FlippingHeck.com, she also loves making music and reviewing things.
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