top of page

#ToleranceMeans that We Must Never Become Complacent

Updated: Apr 8

Blake Sanders, Graduate, TMD Saint Louis University

When I hear the word tolerance, I am reminded that tolerance is an action. I believe that it is not just a mindset or an idea to teach others, but an action to show others. Tolerance means refusing to become complacent in a world in which complacency seems safe.

My first thought is that tolerance is standing up for people of all genders, races, sexual orientations, and ethnicities. I think that it is becoming easier to support others from the sidelines in today’s world. It is not difficult to share a post on Instagram, retweet a tweet, or like a TikTok. By doing these things, we can tell ourselves that we are standing up for the rights of others, but do these trivial reactions really make an impact? I believe that these reactions are not harmful, but empty. Let us realize that social media is but a step towards real change. It is not enough to say you are in support of something without backing your words up with action. As a gay man, I am thankful for support I have been giving from friends and family. However, what means the most to me is when someone is willing to fight the fight with me. Today, many minority peoples are forced to fight for a voice that others were simply born with. Some people have to fight their way to rooms, jobs, and conversations that others simply walk in to. Because of this, tolerance requires work. We should always be mindful to use the voice that we have in order to bolster the voices of others.

Tolerance also means appreciating someone for everything they are. In a world of color blindness and discomfort, I believe that it’s important to see people for who they are. We must work not to strip people of their identities. So often, it is easy to accept that everyone should be treated equally because we are all human. However, we must take another step. We cannot erase unique identities from people. True, everyone person deserves respect for being human, but people should be uniquely seen as full versions of themselves. Racial minorities cannot be erased. Gender stereotypes must be broken down. Xenophobia must be ended. We are all unique people with unique needs and desires. Therefore, I believe that tolerance must involve seeing these differences and celebrating them.

Tolerance also means inciting in others a passion for change. Sometimes, this must entail being uncomfortable. In order to stand up for others and celebrate their uniqueness, one must learn to be okay with being uncomfortable. This feeling does not have to be a negative one, but I believe that society is uncomfortable with change. People do not like being told they are wrong. However, this is an essential step to enacting the change required to teach tolerance. Looking back in history, every time there has been a change in the societal dynamics of a time period, people are uncomfortable. This does not mean that change is impossible, but that it may not be easy. Teaching this nation, a nation that rewards self-gain, that looking to the needs and identities of others is essential to moving forward will not be easy. However, until all people, no matter their identity, are given the respect and attention they deserve, again, we must never stop working.

#ToleranceMeans that we must never become complacent.


bottom of page