I confess that I have never liked using the word tolerance when it’s used in conversations about race, gender, or any other targets of stereotyping and prejudice. To me, “tolerance” has always connoted a level just above hatred and far below acceptance. I have tolerance for careless drivers (my husband does not) and I tolerate physical pain fairly well – but I’d be more than happy to rid my life of both.
So, when I saw that Teaching for Tolerance, an excellent website that provides incredible resources for classrooms intent on abolishing bigotry, had changed its name to Learning for Justice, I applauded the upgrade. The new name does not only appeal to me because of the elimination of a word that seems to be limited in its ambition, but also because of the important verb substitution. Switching from “teaching” to “learning” communicates that no one is an expert and that we are on this journey together.
As we continue toward reaching an understanding of what “justice” means in this country and this world, it is vital that we look toward a future where we embrace differences instead of tolerating them and recognize the importance of lifelong learning about ourselves and others.
I will be adding this post to my growing collection of Anti-Racism resources. Please take a look, and feel free to offer suggestions!