Tolerance in America

For decades, the United States and its citizens have made combatting all types of discrimination a priority, both within its own borders and all around the world. This is not limited to race struggles, but also crosses over into encouraging tolerance for those of different genders and sexual orientation. As a country which was founded on the basis of religious tolerance, it has evolved into one that embraces the differences among people and encourages them to feel free to express those differences.

While religious tolerance was the reason behind the development of the United States, acceptance and equal rights did not immediately greet certain groups, particularly women and African Americans. Yet even here, the open mind of the American people prevailed. Equal rights were granted for all as a more modern society began to understand that differences in gender and skin color had nothing to do with a person’s intelligence or right to live in the same way as other Americans were privileged to.

While these shifts in attitude took place decades ago, the struggle for acceptance of the gay and lesbian community of the United States has taken longer to achieve. Yet now we are seeing an acceptance to what some refer to as an alternative lifestyle across every religious group, ethnicity and political affiliation rising dramatically. Most promising is the younger generations rising acceptance of same gender unions as this is a pre-indication of what the future holds for the United States and its commitment to give equal rights to every one of its citizens.

Earlier in 2014, USA Today reported on the results of a survey that showed that since the legalization of same gender marriage in Massachusetts State ten years ago, the tolerance for this type of legislation has increased dramatically. What is most telling from the results of this survey is the amount of change that took place in a positive direction in such a short period of time. Rarely in history will you find a topic where such a large number of people will reverse their original opinion on what is considered to be a very controversial topic.

This increase in tolerance towards people from all walks of life is evidenced by the countries reactions to unfolding events around the country. While prejudices among certain groups towards people they deem different are obvious, the overall unacceptance of these types of attitudes by the American people shines through. Long gone are the days when a young gay man could be fired for his sexual preferences without there being a huge backlash of very public opinion.

While there has been a great improvement in the attitude of the American people towards what we can call minorities, there is still room for more. The use of the word tolerance itself is evidence of this as in a perfect society there would be no need for tolerance. Instead, coming across someone of a different sexual orientation, or skin color or even gender would just be a normal part of everyday life that wasn’t thought about twice.


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