If you discovered suddenly that a friend was a racist/sexist/homophobe/ableist/ageist/xenophobe/classist/intolerant towards other religions, what would you do? I offer a friend in this example since it isn’t always an option to cut ties with an intolerant family member. Further, the prejudice that the friend maintains doesn’t apply in any way to you. Should you try to teach them? Do you cut ties?
I’m asking because the advice dispensed at Salon about the matter levied a heavy dose of relativism insisting that prejudicial beliefs were once correct and sometimes it is difficult for people to learn the new correct beliefs–this is in reference to the friend in question’s age.
Can you love someone who is deeply flawed? Do you have the courage to do that? Can your love be tinged with disapproval and still be love? Can you heatedly dispute on matters of social beliefs and still remain friends? I hope so. I hope you can do that. I also hope you can find persuasive materials to show that the beliefs of your friend are groundless and pernicious, for that is today’s correct belief, and it is the one true belief, and it is the belief that everyone should have. (Since You Asked)
When confronted with a situation in which a young woman espouses racist beliefs, Tennis asks the boyfriend to consider the genesis of the ideas and try to work through the issu.
You may have an uphill battle. Say you explore all these issues with her, and you come to understand the genesis of them, but you find she actually has great enthusiasm for these ideas and doesn’t want to let them go. At that point, I think you and I would agree, you have to let her go. (Since You Asked)
In my experience, sometimes people hold onto beliefs that they’ve been indoctrinated with and they don’t really deeply believe in them–it’s just what they know. So I can’t say outright that I would immediately cut all ties. However, I have found that I have trouble making and maintaining connections with people who are prejudiced, especially if they don’t want to hear alternative opinions.
How about the rest of you? What’s tolerable? What’s completely intolerable?