Updated: May 30
In November, we will be focusing on today.
"Hang on just a minute. What is so special about today? These hot topics are usually monthly focus topics!", we hear you ask. Allow us to explain what today actually means.
The month of November contains a special date designated by the United Nations General Assembly back in 1996 called the International Day of Tolerance (ToDay). Ever since, it has been celebrated annually on November 16th, to promote tolerance, appreciation, and respect. Although we should practice tolerance on a daily basis, this is what we will be promoting all month. We believe it is great to have a single occasion to remind us just how important tolerance is.
However, what exactly does tolerance mean and why is it worth promoting? In a society with a growing diversity of cultures and traditions from all over the world, tolerance is about showing a level attitude towards those with different opinions, thoughts, feelings, beliefs, practices, or origins from your own.
For example, Muslims, Christians and Atheists can be friends. They may think that their own individual ideas are better (or more true), but they are willing to have a casual chat about what they believe in and accept the challenges that come from having a different point of view. By talking to each other, they were able to find similar viewpoints. They can, in turn, find more common ground and get to know each other better!
The 8 key takeaways from tolerance are:
People should have the freedom to express their perspectives without fear of retaliation, within the confines of the law (such as a hate crime caused by differing opinions).
Tolerance is not just about blind acceptance. It is your duty to present an opposing view and the arguments behind it (also within the confines of the law) if initial ideas are objectionable or indefensible.
People should have the freedom to act how they choose, within the limiting principles of civilised behaviour.
No one has the right to do (or endorse) the wrong thing, such as extremist activities that aim to endanger, divide, or harm for the sake of "the greater good".
Everyone has their own version of what is true to them, which may be seen as "more natural", but all feelings of prejudice should be put aside to focus on the positive impacts on society rather than the negatives.
Tolerance does not imply that all ideas are equally valuable or have the same degree of truth, but that all must be respected and refuted casually. Without disagreements, no person or idea can be opposed.
Encourage and take on positive ideas.
Be resilient: stand up to intolerance, but resist the urge to retaliate.
In England and Wales, there were 124,091 hate crimes recorded by the police in England and Wales (ending March 2021); of which there were 92,052 race hate crimes, 6,377 religious hate crimes, 18,596 sexual orientation hate crimes, 9,943 disability hate crimes and 2,799 transgender hate crimes.
Conflicts also happen across the wider world. The Council on Foreign Relations (CPA) has an interactive Global Conflict Tracker, with background information and the latest developments to reach peace in all global conflicts. Many are caught in the middle of something that can be traced back to the intolerance of someone or something.
Discussion points for British Values
How do you embrace tolerance and diversity?
Have you ever listened to someone's ideas, or even taken them on board?
How would you challenge intolerance?