In recent times, we have experienced various movements, events, and organized programs that aim to achieve world peace within local communities as well as across borders, nations, and continents. Occasionally, organizations, either large or small, converge to discuss how the world can progress in the course of achieving world peace with actionable goals set to meet these mandates. While large organizations are striving to attain this necessary goal at a large scale, local organizations, in partnership with different communities are working to enhance and promote peace across different local communities. However, achieving peace in all areas of society today seems like an unrealistic goal, a baseless fantasy, and a bogus desire. It is like a goal that moves even farther ahead as one gets closer to it, hence, prolonging the journey. In my opinion, the main reason why peace seems unattainable is the inability of people to be tolerant of one other, accepting our beliefs and not oppressing others while practicing our beliefs and holding our values in the highest esteem. This article addresses the absolute necessity of tolerance and its obligatory importance in the actualization of peace within local communities and eventually across the world.
Many of us only preach and talk about tolerance but never put it into practice. Wherever we are, we talk about acceptance, about tolerance, about unity and all those terms that are synonymous with the discourse of living together peacefully in a diverse community. Yet, we allow ourselves to not walk our talk while dealing with one another in whatever situation we find ourselves. We live in a world where the people that talk about tolerance still lynch others for their opposing perceptions or hurt another person for a belief that they hold dear to their heart which is contrary to that of the perpetrator. We claim to be tolerant of each other but we never allow others to flourish within the same space as us just because they do not share the same or similar ideologies. We talk about tolerance and strengthening diversity but whenever we find ourselves in diverse spaces, we are unable to thrive because we instantaneously forget about the core virtue required to succeed in a diverse space– tolerance. Thus, the talk about tolerance has proven to be empty talks in that we allow ourselves to always concentrate on another person’s beliefs or perceptions and actions, juxtaposing the other person’s beliefs against ours and looking for faults in theirs so we can strike up unnecessary arguments. We need to come to an uncomfortable but necessary understanding that we all cannot have one single belief, one single tribe, one single tongue or language, one single race, one single gender, one single opinion, one single religion as well as one single values, ideologies and personalities that encapsulates the comprehensive identity of each and every one of us. We cannot all be the same. The ability to co-exist together, accept one another, live together, share memorable moments together and have fun together can only be achieved by imbibing tolerance.
The reason why peace does not exist in most part of the world today (i.e., the terrorist attacks in North Eastern Nigeria and in some parts of the Middle East, the frequent lynching of gay people in some parts of Africa and a host of other violence) is as a result of our inability to convince ourselves that we all cannot have one unique identity. We differ from one another and so are our beliefs, ideologies, perceptions and even actions. I know that not all opinions are correct and ethically right (for instance, a racist, justifying their racist stance in a conversation). However, it is not appropriate for them to lynch another black person or for a black person to do harm to the racist person. In fact, the reason why I would think that the racist person holds such belief is because of their lack of tolerance! Dialogue, I believe, is the beginning of orchestrating a revolution. Thus, engaging in conversations with people that have bigotry views about a particular group of people in terms of race, gender, or other forms of personality they possess, is the first step to getting them to rethink and re-evaluate their views. You cannot impose your views on another person but you can cause the other person to think more critically about their views which can have an effect on how people’s perceptions are redefined. Imagine a world where everyone accepts one another for what and who they are. A world where you freely have open-minded conversations regardless of your preconceived ideologies.
If we all strive for a better world where peace will exist in all nooks and crooks of our communities, tolerance is key. Tolerance is a virtue that needs to be imbibed by people so as to ensure peaceful societies and this will not happen by mere talk or thoughts in one’s head but rather, through deliberate actions on our part as citizens of the world to practice what we preach at all times without discrimination.