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Teaching Tolerance

Fri, 11/09/2012 - 4:26pm | by monicadear

I believe that because I come from a minority perspective, I have many opportunities to practice empathy, tolerance, and understanding, because I see many additional viewpoints beyond the "main" one.

I attempt to understand my own perspective and to outline how my assumptions impact my relationships with other people, and of course, like all of us, I am still learning.

In my work position, I'm a minority on multiple counts:

1) I'm a female in a technical field (web developer), where, according to the 2009 A List Apart survey (http://aneventapart.com/alasurvey2009/)  83% are male and 17% are female.

2) I'm Asian (5.7% of responses), in a field overwhelmingly Caucasian (85.6% of responses)

3) I've been doing web development for 10+ years, whereas the majority have entered the field in the last 2-3 years 

I'd also say that I'm part of a group of people who work towards being more eco-friendly and sustainable in an industry where that worldview has not yet become a dominant, important factor.

I'm sure you have felt, in some cases, that you were in a minority. For example, perhaps you have been in a social situation outside of your normal routine, or you're doing a task beyond your current expertise, or your capacity is challenged by an obstacle --- you are now in a place of "otherness," which can be surprisingly uncomfortable.

We all feel different at some point or another. The complexity of human experience demands it. When we believe that our thoughts and feelings are the only "right" ones, or when we assume that our way is the only way -- that is when we have the beginnings of a problem. There are many paths towards success, not just the one I think is the right way.

Who here can pass judgement on someone else?

As a mom, a wife, a daughter, an aunt, and as a human being, I really don't know what your experience is like until I live through it myself.

I think that issues like bullying, stereotyping, and dismissiveness come from a general sense of thinking that "my way is the only way" -- no highway option! Unless checked, that thinking can turn into violence, ad hominem attacks, selfishness, and a belief in some kind of superiority --- and that can grow into war, long-standing social inequity, and lack of opportunities. I believe in continuous education and I consistently cultivate my understanding of other people's realities.

November 16 is the International Day of Tolerance, organized by the United Nations in 1996.

the International Day for Tolerance as designated by the United Nations in 1996.
"Tolerance is especially necessary to guard against the politics of polarization, at a time when stereotypes, ignorance and hatred threaten to tear the delicate fabric of increasingly diverse societies.  Today’s world is more closely tied than ever by trade and information technology, but rifts between and within communities and states are being broadened and deepened by poverty, ignorance and conflict."The International Day for Tolerance was designated by the United Nations in 1996.

"Tolerance is especially necessary to guard against the politics of polarization, at a time when stereotypes, ignorance and hatred threaten to tear the delicate fabric of increasingly diverse societies.  Today’s world is more closely tied than ever by trade and information technology, but rifts between and within communities and states are being broadened and deepened by poverty, ignorance and conflict."

 

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Message on the International Day for Tolerance, 16 November 2010 

 

I think women hold the key to more equality and opportunities in the world - let's learn from each other and get over these obstacles of race, class, educational differences, and geographical separation.

Part of my work through A Successful Woman is to increase my overall abilities to dream, inspire, achieve, believe, lead, and connect. I hope that this type of work, in turn, touches you to consider a "big vision" for who you want to be, as an individual, in your community, and as part of our global network.

Let's join together to  create a bigger vision for our society and our world: one with prosperity, education, and cooperation -- filled with billions of opportunities -- and with liberty and justice for all

Let's dare to dream, then work together to make that dream a reality.

 

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