Why tolerance sucks — A pondering on (Dutch) tolerance, problem solving and bigotry

[First draft, re-edited]

If this would be a pamphlet (which it might become) it would read something like this: “Stop tolerance! Tolerance is the poison that kills this society.  Instead: stand up. Respect. Reach out. Include. Communicate. Build a beautiful future together. ”

When I was a child, I learned that the Netherlands was a special and awesome country because we had this thing called “tolerance”.

Tolerance — as I was told — meant that we did not discriminate other people, that we were open for people with different religions, opinions, cultures and sexual preferences.

But as I grew up and became subject of bigotry myself by my tolerant Dutch peers, being told to tolerate the intolerance, tolerance lost its possible charm to me.

Short

  1. Tolerance is not something to be proud of — On contrary. It is toxic shit.
  2. Tolerance is toxic/a form of hypocrisy — When you “tolerate” you do not accept. Instead of speaking up, you pretend to accept the “wrongs” you see. You lie. You fuck people over. You continue a situation that is sick and toxic.
  3. Tolerance does not solve problems — By (stubbornly) pretending everything is OK and ignoring specific issues three things do NOT happen:
    1. No start of a discussion — Do you like what is going on? Why not? Can that behavior be changed? Or is it me? Is it my world-view that needs to be adjusted as reality itself is more varied than I assumed?
    2. No adjustment/no change of opinions and behavior — If you do not like a specific behavior but do not speak up, that behavior will continue. If you talk about it, that behavior — or something — will change.
    3. No coming together/solving mutual issues — You need to express your unhappiness with a situation to start a mutual process. In most cases — with people who are not batshit-insane or sociopaths — things can be discussed, mutual starting points and shared interests are there and solutions can be found.
  4. Bigotry/fear/exclusion is not the answer either — Bigotry/fear/exclusion are all just another expression of a (collective) mind that does not want to accept change and a reality more complex than assumed. To condemn and blame others for your own problems to cope — like many right-wing parties tend to do — is also vile and cowardice behavior.
  5. Open discussion, clarity, clear values and the will to adapt is — Be brave. Stand strong. Open your mind. Find out what you stand for, what your values are. What makes your world beautiful. Accept your world-view is not the world itself. Start the open discussion instead. Be clear when people do things you do not like.
  6. Vision and values (and the lack of) — One thing I think the Netherlands lacks is a vision. What does the country stand for? What values does it strive to live to and live after? Without a clear vision, you (as a people) are drifting. It is also easier to blame others when things go wrong.
  7. The future — This is about us, our kids, our family our nieces and nephews. This is about safety and feeling safe, regardless of who you are and what you believe in. This is about one of the base-aspects of our society. If and when that basis is promoting the pretending that things are OK when they are not, promoting lies and hypocricy under the banner of “(Dutch) honesty” and “(Dutch) straightforwardness” you are creating a very schizofrenic foundation that has nothing to do with the (in many cases Christian) values a (this) country should be based on.

With 6.000 words, this blog post is (even for my doing) a long one. Skip parts if you feel like, scan the titles and the bold sub-titles and the numbered summaries I added for exactly that purpose. And have fun 🙂

Part 1: a long introduction

Are the Dutch people racist or bigots?

One of the triggers for this article was a post on Sinterklaas and the racist aspect of Zwarte Piet.

Some quotes:

Dutch society also has more subtle ways of reminding black people of their place and keeping them there. If you spend any time in the Netherlands, you will soon hear the words “allochtoon” used in polite conversation.

[…]

The word allochtoon is thus used as a continuous reminder to people of colour in the Netherlands that white-Dutch people simply do not see them as an equal member of the society, let alone as Dutch, no matter multi-cultural said society might appear on the surface.

And continuing from the original post, page 4:

Lulu Wang writes that, “The ‘allochtoon’ is the Other; the ones who are usually discussed as a problem population by the media, in the political sphere and academia; all of which are pre-dominantly white and male. The ‘allochtonen’ are located in the so-called ‘multicultural’ society that exists in juxtaposition to the ‘Dutch society’, the domain of ‘Dutch’ people also called ‘Autochtones’ which means “from this earth”.

The dualist relationship in which the two groups are locked in characterises the way Dutch society deals with the identities of her citizens. One can be Dutch by passport but that doesn’t mean one can automatically claim the national identity of ‘Dutchman’. For this identity the main condition is that one simply is White or looks White.

While this article touches some very valid points on the ambivilent Dutch view on race and racism it is not very objective/subtle and even blatantly wrong like in that last sentence I marked bold.

A note on that: To claim the Dutch national identity and drop the label “allochtoon” you do not have to “be white” or “look white”, but both your parents have to be born in the country where you were born. The Netherlands in this case. This is usually the third-generation (as the parents of the second generation of people who moved usually are born in the country of origin).

Intermission: are the Netherlands really that bad?

Racist: yes. Most Dutch people probably are. As a country we strive not to be.

The “Zwarte Piet, racist” article exploded

From the original article in “This is Africa”, moving to the Guardian (see links above) we see echoes in Huffington postGuardian UKNational Post and several spin-off posts appearing around December 12, picking up several different aspects of that and similar content on Zwarte Piet, the Netherlands and racism.

We will not discuss the article or spin-offs

This is only relevant in relationship to the mentioned article. This specific blog-post will not discuss these spin-off articles further than the mention they exist.

Persistence through stubborn denial

The Zwarte-Piet issue is mainly persistent because — in my opinion — Dutch people are so stubbornly denying the obvious: The figure of Zwarte Piet is a racist stereotype. Zwarte Piet is invented and put into a book in a time (1849 / 1850) where the beliefs of racial superiority (whites, Europeans) and inferiority (non-whites, relating to most of the rest of the world) where still greatly unchallenged. The Dutch Zwarte Piet is a relic from a very arrogant, ignorant, racist period of European history.

Dumb and dumber —  the more likely reason for our behavior

The Netherlands is racist. It still is sexist. It has not adapted yet to a reality in which your neighbors are not white or from the same village, where non-straight and non-monogamous people are actually normal sane people and women are first rate humans.

Only 60 years ago we lived in predominantly white villages with fellow native Dutch people. Women were second-rate humans: good to prepare meals, raise the children and do simple purchases. Homosexuality was something you did not talk about. The entire issue of “race” was very far from home in the “exotic” countries until the 1960’s and 1970’s where we started to rely on foreign workers for either lack of skilled people or due to cheaper labor. Italians, Turkish, Moroccan.

Black people came into the Netherlands almost by accident, with the fall of the Suriname government in the 1970’s and rightfully claiming their Dutch citizenship as people from Dutch colonies under Dutch ruling. Most of them ended up in a new area that was developed as an extension of Amsterdam, called “De Bijlmer” (which is also my place of residence since 12 years)

Ignorance and simplified world view

Most of the “racism” (or any other ism) you see in the Netherlands is that of ignorant, native people adjusting to the fact that the rest of the world is not the America from TV series (where mostly heterosexual white people with little to no real world issues are displayed) and that the world is not the rural local areas of The Netherlands where we tend to be (including bits of Germany and France and — maybe — some touristic places in Spain, as we tend to go on holiday as well).

How Dutch media (does not) help

The Dutch media do not really help to widen that view. Any non-white culture is in general depicted as “troubled”.

“Africans” are in general poor and starving and need our aid and usually connected to some well-willing groups of loving and lovely Dutch (or French or German) Christians to help them to put water pumps into the ground because they have no hammers and only plastic buckets and cannot do that themselves.

Another more recent view is that of “exotic” to broaden your travel-horizons and meet some different cultures. Because: Oh golly! There is so much different culture to discover!

“Other people”

From this ignorant safe 1950’s landscape where the world was orderly, dominantly Christian, male dominant and 99.999% white, we still think “other people” are weird and maybe a bit to be wary of as we do not know their past and history that well. Hell: try and move from one village to another, ten kilometers down the road and you will be “that stranger from yonder village” for the next twenty years, until your grand-children start attending school. Regardles of how blond or white or “Dutch” you might be.

The bubble

We, the majority of domesticated Dutch people live in a bubble. Where most white people look like us and think like us. Where our news and media pre-dominantly reflects our white, small-village, simplified points of view. And where the ones who do not comply to that are either talked about (behind their backs) and/or ignored most of the time, or simply avoided.

What now?

So I make my attack on this one thing — tolerance — that the Dutch people are so proud of. Proud when showing others around the world how well we are dealing with all our issues including immigrants and possible bigotry (racism, sexism, etcetera).

Is this not a bit unfair? Am I not being a bit unfair? Are the Dutch not one of the most tolerant people on Earth (or: at least present in a top-100)? Should I not protect this awesome fragile thing as a fellow Dutch person? Are we not already under fire enough on this issue (if any) With this Geert Wilders – reputation thing and “Zwarte Piet is racism” and other bullshit?

No.

EVEN IF the rest of the world is just as much a hidden-racist/bigotty shit-hole as the Netherlands, and even more in many cases, (Open racism, sexism, condemnation of people by beliefs, race, sexual preferences) I belief that the Netherlands has a responsibility to itself first. (As has any other country that is still a piece of shit on these topics).

I want my country to be a safe place for all people living there. I want my country to stand up and really take a stand on this, instead of behaving cowardly and hide behind either semantic bullshit or playing the collective victim and blame either the immigrants or Geert Wilders.

Something really stinks in our attitude and if we really want to show a good example to the rest of the world — as some people claim we should — then LETS. Let’s show that example. As a people.

Drop this fucking “tolerantie” thing

And drop the fucking “tolerantie” as a badge to hide our small-minded bigot aspects of Dutch society.

There are still people treated very bad and committing suicide in the Netherlands because they do not fit in according to (some of) the surrounding majority. Because they are homosexual and too scared to come out. Or because they are and have come out. Or because they feel forced to live a live and a lie to protect the family and the neighborhood from shame. This is not because Native Dutch society at large is so welcoming to people who differ within their communities. This is because even in the Netherlands (shock and surprise!) there live these native Dutch bigots who seem to love to spread their hate and to commit their acts of  direct and indirect violence to those they condemn.  Instead of talking about “tolerance”, let’s expose that and expose that even more.

Destructive tendency/tolerance versus acceptance and inclusion

One reason the destruction continues to go on is because we choose to “tolerate” instead of exposing the problems and approaching things with an open mind.

Dutch society has a very destructive aspect. To itself. To its people. And part of that destructiveness — I think — is “tolerance”. “To tolerate what we do not like”. To lie. To pretend. To live in a culture where passive-aggressiveness, aggression and backtalk is normal. Where gossip is accepted. Where people, kids, are allowed to be destroyed by others simply through words and vile assumptions that hardly anybody involved will verify with the target of all these allegations.

Because we “tolerate” rather than talk and explore and question and find out.

I spit on that aspect of Dutch culture

I spit on that aspect of Dutch culture. And even WHEN and even IF this is “normal” almost everywhere, I do not accept it. And I never will. I think it is sick. It is damaging. It is toxic. It supports small-minded stupidity and provides fuel for empty hate-movements like right-wing extremism and allows for a disdain for the public interest by the few who are in power that can easily turn into a police state or worse.

Tolerance is poison

Tolerance is poison. It is toxic. It is cowardice. It is cultivated hypocrisy. It is a cultivated basis that allows for- and justifies dishonesty, disrespect and lies. It allows bullies to take advantage of that cowardice. It allows for decay and accumulation of hate.

What then?

Instead: HonestyValuesVision. A place that is safe to live for everyone. That includes. That takes you and embraces you. That has clear limits. That invites and pushes you to show the best of yourself. That says: “all people deserve to be treated equal, regardless of background, beliefs and preferences”. That looks into the future and says: this is where we want to go. This is what we want to build. This is our vision as a people. Join us in that dream and be welcome. [Bold added to make clear what this is about according to me]

What about setting some borders?

I have no answers here. I can only look at myself and how I have been treated in the past. The simple version is: “this is our home. We have only limited space. Respect that home, respect that space, respect our rules and you are welcome. Disrespect our home, our rules and our space and your welcome is soon over.” It worked perfectly for me. It works perfectly for my guests. Everyone knows what we are up against. We can discuss certain aspects of these rules and in most cases — as everyone knows what is going on — we can happily co-exist and share resources within a relatively small and limited space and the clearer — AND SIMPLER/LOGICAL/INCLUSIVE — my rules are, the more freedom I grant my guests.

And yes: that “your welcome is soon over” card is often been played by right-wing parties. “We should be more firm, set clear limits” “three strikes” etcetera. There is a different between the house of an asshole-family (sociopath/abusive/one direction) and one that is ruled with love (and still has clear and sometimes strict rules). I believe in a house where love is the main leading value.

Part 2: On tolerance

A toxic piece of shit

“Tolerance” is ta real big problem for Dutch people. Next to a total lack of understanding about the cultural identity of the country. Who are we? What makes us “Dutch”? Inclusiveness should be one factor there. Not racism covered by bullshit.

Look at us!

Tolerance is the shield we use to our neighbors to say: “Look how good we are doing! We accept strangers”. “Look how progressive we are! We are open to any people who think different”.

The attitude of tolerance: ignoring it will solve/remove the problem

The thing is: tolerance is really a piece of toxic shit. It reflects an attitude that assumes ignoring will solve the problem while the issues only continue to grow.

Hushing the other

“Shhh, let’s not talk about it. Let’s be tolerant. I tolerate you, you tolerate me. All is fine. Just as long as we do not interfere with each other”

“Racism is not really a problem here, look at all the different people we have.”

Dutch Wikipedia entry on tolerance

So today I want to dissect “Tolerance”. And I am not going to be nice as you might have noticed already in my long introduction.

Dutch Wikipedia (this article but translated, bold added by me)

Tolerance is a term used in social, cultural or religious context that defines the level in which deviant behavior of members of a specific group is not discriminated regardless of their aberrant and, as considered by the by the majoritycondemnable behavior (or aberrant opinions). Tolerance is deviated from the latin tolerare which means to bearendurehold out.

In the surface “tolerance” might seem like a good thing. “not discriminated regardless…” And I might almost buy the idea that Tolerance is something nice.

Aberrant/condemnable behavior and the majority

Until you take a better look at the rest of the sentence.

“[…] regardless of their aberrant and, as considered by the by the majority, condemnable behavior (or aberrant opinions)”

What we have here is:

  1. The majority — Which is all the other people
  2. Aberrant/condemnable behavior — Which is behavior looked down upon. Not accepted. No doubt talked about. Judged.

Why would you tolerate?

If you do not like the behavior, look, ideas of someone else, why tolerate? Why not just be honest and kick that person out? Why create this mutual pain? Why lie. Be honest. Show your disdain. Show your bigotry. Stand for your ideas.

The blatant, hypocrite lie of Tolerance, or: meaningless as a value

Tolerance is not a value. It is not something to be proud of. Tolerance is a blatant cold lie in the face of someone else. “We pretend to accept you but we reject your ideas, your lifestyle. We might even feel disgust when we see you.”

What value is something like: “is not discriminated regardless of their aberrant and, as considered by the by the majority, condemnable behavior”?

“We pretend to accept you, even though we might hate you.”

“We lie at your face. We pretend to like you. We condemn you behind your back.”

Woohoo! Selling our tolerance to the world

From googling the words: “Dutch tolerance proud” – “Holland welcomes china

What our society tolerates is continuously revised as is anything in life. The Dutch are proud of their tolerance and their freedom of expression.

Really? Tolerance is something to pride yourself with to the rest of the world?

Sure:

Already in the 17th century Holland was well known for the religious freedom that existed nowhere else in Europe.

The thing is, when you tell me “tolerance is from the greek tolerare” and explain to me that it means:  to bear, endure, hold out. I think of something nasty, something I want to get rid of, like constipation or fever. I “bear” a two week constipation and I “hold out” the pain in my intestines until I am able to shit again.

We might have been doing better than most others (according to Dutch history and probably conveniently leaving out other parts, white-washing it a bit) “tolerance” is not what I think is the case here.

The dinner party

In 2009, in Newsweek, an article was published on this same topic. I could only find the “Daily beast” copy here. It is very much worth the read.

Here is the most striking quote in relationship to my story:

They were tolerated in the traditional Dutch live-and-let-live way, without any thought given to the need to integrate them. We did not want to be a country of immigrants, so we clung to the fiction that these people were “guests,” even when the third generation was born.

What happened next is what would happen with guests anywhere. You are too polite to tell them that their behavior is not what you would expect of a member of your own family, too polite to write out dinner-table rules for them to read. They are too embarrassed to ask, and they withdraw from the conversation at dinner because they feel awkward and unwelcome, in spite of the polite smiles around them. Everyone is just waiting for an opportunity to leave the table, fed up with the uncomfortable silences.

Tolerance and the past

The Netherlands got a long way in the past by ignoring stuff. Apparently. Here is a post that sheds some light on that aspect aspect : “The Limits of ‘Live and Let Live’” and a part of Dutch culture I recognize and stipulate sideways in this post. A quote:

Since the 1600s, the Netherlands has been a society of minorities, with a “live and let live” attitude. Up to the 1970s, there was remarkably little interaction between groups. Each community took care of training people to become good citizens – strictly within its own realm. In cases that affected society as a whole and that needed to be resolved jointly, the leaders of the different communities would talk to each other and come up with a compromise.

But those compromises were less about finding a common solution than coming up with a quid pro quo. For instance, when social democrats called for universal suffrage at the beginning of the last century, they could get a majority in Parliament only by granting conservatives public financing of Christian schools. Although they fiercely opposed the idea of giving tax money to religious schools, they accepted it as a quid pro quo.

“Dear child of ours, we tolerate you”

What kind of love is there behind “tolerance”?

Consider a child. The child is sometimes really difficult, other times just like any other child. Consider these two options:

  1. Tolerance — “We tolerate you and your behavior”
  2. Love — “We love you. You sometimes behave like an asshole and when you break our rules we are really pissed off and you will know.”

In the first case, of tolerance, you make clear that the relationship is limited. “Once we do not tolerate you anymore…” Then what?  “We will kick you out?” “Send you to a foster home?”

The second one is clear. “You are welcome here. But we have rules. And if you break these rules we will be (very) pissed off”. Now let’s assume for simplicity sake these rules are invented by some sane people who mainly strive to build a sane relationship between you, themselves and the rest of the world.

Tolerance: a one sided contract

Tolerance is a one-sided contract. It is based on endurance and says: “I pretend I do not see your specific behavior” “I allow you to do things I do not like (until I am fed up with it)”. But human patience is limited and repeated “intolerable” behavior will — at a certain point — lead to a breaking point. Once that patience is gone, all the rejected hate and loathing will be there.

You, on the other side of that picture of tolerance have no say. You do not really make any rules in this as by “tolerating you” I automatically take the (moral) high stand in this.

Not resolving anything

Tolerance is like parking a problem. It is like: “let’s pretend it is not there so we do not have to look at it.”

So what are we talking about when looking at “tolerating behavior” and “the majority”. What deviates from that norm the “majority” in a country as the Netherlands?

  1. Immigrants — People who came to work and live here. Who came here to solve one of our problems by offering hands and bodies to operate machines and do manual labor. Who — as they came from different cultures — also brought that culture with them
  2. Refugees — People who had to flee their country as the alternatives were murder, rape, mutilation or imprisonment.
  3. Expatriats — People who temporarily or permanently live in a country and culture other than which they grew up in.
  4. Homo- and bi-sexuals — People who feel (also/primarily) sexually attracted to someone of their own sex.
  5. Heterosexuals who “look” or “behave like” homosexuals — Heterosexual people who have certain male or feminine streaks that are associated to homosexuals.
  6. Intellectual women, career women — Women who sometimes and/or often choose NOT to stay at home and rear babies. Women who speak up and are outspoken. (Still not treated as normal and equals.)
  7. People with a different point of view — Who might and can challenge the norm. Who ask difficult questions, are a pain in the butt, challenge the norm itself by questioning the sense it makes.
  8. People with a different religion or religious belief or who do not believe at all — Sure you are enemies when someone else beliefs something else than you. And sure they will challenge everything you believe in when they believe something else. And woo the ones who get converted to “the other side”.

The thing is: each of these elements are part of reality. Yours. Mine. To “tolerate” is refusing to accept. To “tolerate” is to hold on to old beliefs while the world around you is almost screaming at you that your old beliefs really should be adjusted as the world itself has changed or has never been that way.

A battle of beliefs

Tolerance as described in: “regardless of their aberrant and, as considered by the by the majoritycondemnable behavior (or aberrant opinions)” is a battle of beliefs. “You believe green should be left. I believe red should be there.” It is the sign of a stagnant mindset: “I will not change my beliefs, because what I believe is true.”

The “majority” and levels of civilization

Liars, hypocrites and clarity

A population where the majority chooses “tolerance” over inclusion and clear rules is a population of liars, hypocrites and bigots.

You can do two things in my opinion:

  1. Come out and be clear about it — With your bigotry, your small-minded-ness and your beliefs that whatever you think and believe in is more important than living with the reality around you. Discriminate. Set clear rules. Tell me: “Homos, foreigners and people with different beliefs and/or skin color are not welcome here. Women: you are still second rate citizens.” Put it in big signs around your house and your villages and your cities. Tell me what you do believe in. Give me the choice to avoid you. But make sure that everyone who can not live in that reality of yours — even your own children — are free to leave. Have at least the fucking dignity to show a way out instead of forcing your small-minded world-view upon me and others.
  2. Adapt to reality — Meaning that things are not as you imagined it. And not as your grandparents experienced it. Mass immigration in the Netherlands is something relatively recent. We had the Jews (who were tolerated, registered and willingly exposed to the Germans in WWII) and the Chinese but now we also have Indonesian, Turkish, Polish, Moroccan, Antillean and Suriname people (to name only a fragment of the variations). Each bring their own set of elements that will put pressure on society. By (difficulties to) adapt. By their levels of education. By their different approach to several aspects of life and culture.

Tolerance: we pretend you are welcome, but please leave

Here is another hidden message of “tolerance”: we pretend you are (kind of) welcome, but we rather not have you here. When you “tolerate” a person you rather not have that person around.

Tolerance: the allowance of wrongs

As stated before, Tolerance allows for “wrongs” to happen. This can be a “wrong” according to belief-systems (where that “wrong” is simply another belief or behavior that is not damaging) or a “wrong” that can cause real harm: like bullying, stealing, fraud.

When we tolerate, we allow wrongs to happen. Either harmful in reality (damage, missing property, credit crisis) or for people (people being beaten, bullied, mistreated and even killed for being different).

Tolerance, racism, sexism and bigotry

Bigotry is like the umbrella-term for things like racism and sexism.

Wikipedia:

Bigotry is the state of mind of a bigot, defined by Merriam-Webster as “a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially: one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance”

Building up hate by not solving the issue

When you do not solve your issues and differences by talking, the behavior you hate or despise will continue.  With that, your own mindset will change. It becomes easier and easier to hate. To spite. To condemn. To involve others in your hate. To start cultivating specific ideas about that other.

Building a polarized mindset

When you are not open to other world-views it is easy to build one that is very polarized. That takes one story and enlarges it, “proves it right” by pointing out specific behaviors of the “others”. It is easy to build stories of hate and incompetence and inferiority about these others. Especially when they are not given a voice. When their voice is taken away. When they are muted, ridiculed, condemned, intimidated.

In this, tolerance is poison.

The majority

A majority that chooses to “tolerate” is a majority I do not trust. They lie to me. Their “tolerance” can end any moment, swinging to violence that can be verbal, physical or both. And simply put: I do not trust the majority of Dutch people. When I am surrounded by Dutch people that I do not know, I start to get nervous. I want to get out. When a soccer match is on TV in a public space, I make sure I am OUTSIDE as soon as I can.

This is how safe I feel as a white, male Dutch native in my own country with my own people.

The “majority” scares me.

The lack of self-confrontation/civilization

As a general value in relationship to people who are different, tolerance is useless, unless you — as a society — are OK to stay in that kind of small-minded state where your reality is that fantasy-world that lives inside your brain. That fantasy-world where you are the center of “normal” and you reflect yourself selectively to the others that think exactly the same as you.

That kind of reality where you do not challenge your own ideas. Where people with a different point of view are per definition elements you want to get rid of. Because they force you to challenge your own world-view.

How civilized are you?

How civilized are you, how educated, how open minded, how educated when the world stops where your mind stops? When the scope of your worldview is your neighborhood, your social circles where all your precious ideas are safe? Not challenged?

How civilized are you when any and all strangers will always remain so? Even if they have been living in your neighborhood for twenty years? And it does not matter if that stranger is from a different country or a different city,village or — even — from a different street in your village.

How civilized are you to automatically assume that someone different from you is automatically someone you can not trust, someone you need to keep out? Someone to keep at distance? To “tolerate”?

The new world

  1. Villages are no longer closed societies — People move in. People move out. The people who move in will introduce new ideas. Will challenge existing ideas nobody challenged for a long while.
  2. Countries are no longer closed societies — Like villages, people will move in and out. In most cases people moving in are invited. We need them to do specific work. We need them to solve specific problems. And sometimes these people will stay.
  3. Your ideas are no longer the “normal” — The “norm” is changing. New ideas will — at one point — enter your society and your mind. You will be forced to re-think what you believe in. You will need to challenge yourself. “Is this really so?”
  4. You can no longer think in “us” and “them” — We need each other. You need “them” to integrate in your society. They need you to integrate and feel welcome. You need each other to continue to build a world that is good and friendly for your children and your parents and your relatives. A world that is safe for everyone.
  5. Your “standard” is not the rule — Whatever you think is “normal” is just local custom. It is not the one and only truth. The way the rest of the world should be.
  6. Your world is all inclusive — There are gay people, criminal minds, outcasts, rebels, people who will never fit in, handicapped, outspoken people, people who will challenge you and everything. People of color. People of different backgrounds. People with different takes on “civilized behavior” and “norms” and what is the “normal”.
    Proof your ignorance and your own lack of civilized behavior by rejecting it all. Be a bigot. Hold on to your pathetic illusion of reality. Or open yourself. Include people.

Then what?

Norms and values

Tolerance — in the Netherlands — has a strong tie to “norms” and “values”. Become too tolerant and others will start undermine your norms and values. We had for instance issues with Moroccan youth for a while in the late 1990’s and early 2000nds. The lack of a strong position related to crime and behavior on the street led to “a decay in norms and values”.

A take on Moroccan trouble-youth

The real problem was not the Moroccan youth, nor the way their parents were raising them. It was the lack of a clear position of Dutch people.

“We have to tolerate this behavior” went awfully wrong. As “to tolerate” is “to ignore” and “to ignore” is “to allow”. When the youth grows up on the street and that street (people from the neighborhood) normally correct these children with verbal corrections and even physical punishment (a slap in the but or on the head) kids will learn what is allowed or not from the people around them. For some children from cultures like that, this did not happen.

What norms and values does Tolerance display?

When you talk about norms and values, which do you mean? Which norms and values does a country like the Netherlands have? What is really there? What is displayed? “Lie to others”? “Pretend”? “Do not speak out your true feelings”? “Be rude”? “Behave like an asshole”?

What culture do we have when artists from our own soil are mostly ignored? When a empty-casket and crypto-fascist society like the American is one of the norms we constantly look out at and compare ourselves to? What norms and values allow people to discard their own culture like the Dutch do?

Cultural identity

Cultural identity is not a fixed thing. The Dutch were slave-traders until the 1800’s. We were blatantly racist and sexist and classicist in the past. Farmers were not people. Animals were burned and ripped apart and clubbed to death as a means of entertainment on fairs.

The dumb and dumber approach to superiority and inferiority

We still are an ignorant lot at this point in time. A people of “Dumb and dumber” when it comes to accepting the true issues we are dealing with, hiding behind this sad and false feeling of inferiority when we are addressed directly. So superior when nobody challenges us, when we sit safely in our own homes with our own group of like-minded people.

The Dutch cultural identity is weak. It is sad and pathetic in what it displays. The fact that “tolerance” is so loved is to me one example.

Geert Wilders and Golden Dawn? Pointing stinky fingers, solving nothing

This does not mean we have to swing to the side of people like Geert Wilders  or parties like the Golden Dawn in Greece: who (one way or another) claim to represent the people and the fact that “enough is enough” as they present another type of weakness: the lack of self-reflection. They represent an even more toxic aspect of that weakness: blaming others — and preferably the weak — for the mess they created themselves. In 1930’s it was the Jews who did it. Now it is the Africans in general and the North Africans specifically. While the true cause is to be found in our own houses, our own families, our own politicians, our own models of thinking.

And yes: our own tolerance to things that are clearly wrong.

A display of the collective mind

Cultural identity is the collective of all of us. What we stand for, what we want to achieve. Where we want to be as people. It is what we do. What we display in our day-to-day life. And if that identity is not there, we have to invent it. Unless we have a mass-tendecy for self-destruction and cultural suicide I think that collective mind wants to create something that is more beautiful. (See my “Dead horses” post on the issue of forgetting the beauty sand focusing on things that went wrong.)

This identity includes people who are different. It includes the people who come to live and work here temporarily. It includes the refugees, the expatriates  the immigrants.

The media

The Dutch media seems to dumbify as the years progress. It already was quite intolerant to people who are different. The “crazies”. The ones we “tolerate” due to their differences and different take on things. I remember how metal-heads have been protrayed. How the real weirdo’s are picked out to tell some wacko story and how they are portrayed as “representatives” by just showing that side and those kind of people.

Pooping loudly on objectivity and a broader world-view

The media in general is not respecting journalistic values of objectivity. The Dutch “NOS Journal” for instance — while receiving governmental subsidies — is anything but  unpresumptious and often lacks balance and objectivity. Displaying mild forms of bigotry and displaying and repeating certain stereotypes.

Wrapping it up

Tolerance is not funny. Not cute. Not nice. It shows no love. It creates no value. In some ways I think it is even one of the elements that allows hate to grow while things remain unsolved.

And so I really detest the concept of tolerance.

But what then? Love. Inclusion. Clarity. Clarification of intent and expectations. “This is what we offer, this is what we want. Do you want to join?”

Taking responsibility. That as well. When you have people in your house that break things down and you never corrected them or set the rules, it is YOUR MISTAKE for assuming people act and behave exactly like you (which they do not) and your mistake for not being clear as well as it is bad behavior from the people who wreck your house. If and when this wrecking is accidental: by misunderstanding and not knowing, you forgive. If it is by lack of respect for you, your house and your values, you act.

With tolerance you continue to smile to keep something intact that has never been there to begin with. No respect, no coming together, no contact, no real basis for love. “I tolerate you” is maybe one of the biggest insults you can give to a human being. If you would say this to your own children, you might as well get rid of them now. To save you both the emotional pain of the cold void that is: “tolerating” each other.

“We tolerate this behavior” is the same like not treating your ulcer and one day fall down due to stomach-bleeding. It is like slow suicide. It can kill you.

If this would be a pamphlet (which it might become) it would read something like this: “(Tolerance fosters hate). Stop tolerance.  Stand up. Respect. Communicate. Build a beautiful future together. ” (I pasted this to the top of the post as well)

We are all people. We all deserve love and a place on this world.

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2 comments

  1. Ik ben helemaal met je eens. How can this be adapted into action?

    1. Thanks. Spread the word to people who care. Make it political. I am trying to reach Quincy Gario for instance. And dropped a tweet to Alexander Pechtold. Writers on Expatriat-sites who wrote about similar issues. People who care about this kind of things and who deal with this on a regular basis. No clue what effect it will have.

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