Intolerance - want of toleration of the opinions or practices of others.
I have been following a comment thread these past few days about gay marriage and civil unions and another on how much racism there is in Australia. I have come to the conclusion that what we have to guard and fight against is intolerance.
The first thread was not homophobic in the true sense of the word and I found the commenters revealing the usual reasons for their intolerance. "I don't understand it - it's not natural - children need a mother and a father - marriage is special between a man and a woman" and the old standby, "I love my dog, why can't I marry it" firmly putting homosexuals down there with animals.
Kelly from "The Muriels" blogspot, Anonymous Lefty, Sam from QueerPenguin and others all had logical and clear arguments for civil unions, marriage and equality. I didn't comment because these bloggers said everything and better than I could. The main commenter kept saying he had answered all the questions but he didn't, all he showed was his intolerance to gay and lesbians, an unquestioned belief in his idea of marriage and disregard for any major research showing that children of gay and lesbian couples can flourish and become fully functional adults.
So I announce here like a member of AA that I am intolerant as well. I have zero tolerance for people who have fixed and inflexible ideas "loitering with intent" inside closed minds. I am also biased, admiring Kelly and Sam's intellects and counting both as friends. Everyone who comes here knows I am not gay, just a straight divorced grandmother. I have members in my extended family who are just family, not 'gay' family. It was not until the gay marriage ban that I began to realize how the bias against a group of Australian citizens could be made into a law.
I was offended that this could be done in my name and without my vote.
The second thread on racism is also close to me as my granddaughters are part Sri Lankan along with several other nationalities. My father-in-law, a true racist and bigot of the old school, would look them over carefully to see if their skin was darkening as they got older. He also disliked the fact that my son had no objection to them being brought up in the Catholic Faith. I'm not sorry he died before the girls became aware of his subtle hostility.
So if we don't have overt racism in country we certainly have intolerance to other races because of skin colour. I have said it before that people ask me what nationality the girls are which I always think is strange as they are asking an anglo-saxon me. They have not, for the most part, been subjected to racial slurs and hopefully as they get older, intolerance will fade out of our society.
So here I go again saying I am intolerant. I have zero tolerance for any person judging another on the basis of skin colour. So am I any better than the commenters I have been criticising? I think so because I've changed my views as I've grown and I'm still willing to listen and change more. As we go into the second half of the first decade of the 21st Century, I'm sad that this sort of discrimination is still going on but happy that it can be discussed by everyone with an opinion.