Liz - Ashburnham, Massachusetts
Entered on February 24, 2009
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: tolerance
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The news today is filled with stories of our failing economy and plane crashes and natural disasters that kill millions. The stories are pressing and important matters in today’s world, stories that could make or break us. But there are other stories in news, stories of states denying the right of marriage to couples simply because of their sex, stories of hate crimes targeting those of Jewish or Muslim faith. I believe a person is a person, and I believe that no matter whom they are, what they are, or where they come from, we are all equal. I believe in tolerance.

I have a friend whose second job is as a stripper in a gay bar. Both of those things, being a stripper and being gay, are often frowned upon by many. Some see stripping as a job only possessed by crack addicts or trashy girls, which I guess would be a reasonable assumption. However, that isn’t the case for all strippers or every person in a somewhat questionable profession. I see it as a way to pay for college. Some people don’t understand being gay simply because it doesn’t seem normal to them. I see it as just another road block on the way to becoming who you are.

Going through high school has made me believe in tolerance even more. I am willing to admit that in the beginning I was the person to snicker and roll their eyes when someone would share their thoughts and opinions (which were often a little left of center) in class. I would look at a girl in what I thought was a ridiculous outfit and would make the decision I could never be friends with such an odd person. It wasn’t until later that I realized that the girl in the crazy outfit was witty and creative and loved all the same things I did. The boy with the opinions much different then anyone else’s is an amazing listener and great friend. I was just as closed minded about individuals and their personalities as I was open minded about the big picture of people all over the world. I stopped thinking that tolerance is just about the broad picture of things and is more about the little things.

When you think about it, if our world existed without tolerance, we would be missing out on a lot. Elton John would have been passed over and pushed aside because he’s gay, and the world would never sing “Benny and the Jets” or “Rocket Man”. The movie Slumdog Millionaire, about a young man coming from the slums of India, wouldn’t have won 10 Academy Awards. We wouldn’t be celebrating a black president simply because he wasn’t like every president we’ve ever had before.

We live in a world filled with hate and turmoil where everyday has a big question mark looming over it. The last thing we need is an intolerant environment for us to live in. Prejudice is an unnecessary evil that we bring upon ourselves. Every person is equal to one another, no matter where they come from, what they do, what they practice, or where they go in life. Tolerance is important for us today and for us tomorrow. This, I believe.