There is no love in tolerance. Tolerance is inequality.  Tolerance says, ‘Who you are is different and wrong, but I, as the right majority, will conditionally allow your unpleasant existence to go on.’

/Amythest Schaber


I want to say something about two sides of tolerance.

Tolerance in the case of minorities- “live and let live”- is an incredibly low bar, with an inherent implication that those lives could be disallowed just as quickly and easily.

Tolerance of minorities is not enough. Anything less than acceptance and full fellowship is a basic denial of their humanity.

I say this and yet I will turn right around and soundly condemn a nazi. I am not going to tolerate nazis. Why not? Because nazis are not marginalized, oppressed, dehumanized; they are the marginalizers, the oppressors, the dehumanizers.

Condemning a nazi isn’t denying their humanity; It’s condemning nazism. It’s asserting that they don’t have the right to deny the humanity of anyone else. It’s the same with other, similar forms of oppression, not just nazism.

Tolerance towards those who are merely different from you is a special kind of apathy and neglect; tolerance toward those causing and seeking to cause active harm is complicity in that greater harm.

Toleration in some cases is thus this luke warm absence of conviction that other people (a minority group) have human rights, and in other cases it is outright sympathizing/ support/ enabling of harm towards such a minority.

If you’re tolerant of nazis, you’re a nazi sympathizer. If you’re tolerant of ableism, you’re supporting the oppression of disabled people. If you’re tolerant of rape culture and sexual harassment, you’re enabling rapists.

So please think twice when people (esp leaders) call for tolerance.


And just to be clear, tolerance is always performed by the privileged/ dominant/ majority.

To say that a marginalized/ oppressed/ minority should learn to be tolerant, or that they do/don’t tolerate X, is to say the minority should learn to put up with their situation, or that they do/don’t put up with certain behaviors.

Minorities don’t “tolerate” the majority. They don’t “allow” the majority to do anything. They simply don’t have that kind of power. They have no such choice.  Tolerance is not the right word here.

A minority group may have power over another minority, but in that case, they’re not acting on their own as a minority themselves.

(I mean,  the LGTBQIA+ community itself discriminates against bi people- for one example- sometimes.  This is a case of certain lesbian, gay, etc members identifying with the non-bi majority against the bi minority.)


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