TED Conversations

Caroline Phillips

CEO/President, Entrepreneur & muscian


This conversation is closed.

What can we do, as citizens to promote tolerance in our daily lives ?

You're in a meeting. Someone tells a joke ... it's about a jew, a black guy, that pushy feminist, that gay guy... What do you do ?

You're waiting in line and you see someone ethnic/different being badly treated by a bank teller/government worker/cashier.

You're at a party where Dave, your friend's husband is gay-bashing again.

At school, you hear a kid use a racial epithet when yelling at another kid.

What kind of attitude do you adopt ?
If you do say something... what do you say ?
How can and does your behavior affect others ?

If you have stood up for the underdog and for tolerance, how did it affect your relationship with friends, clients, business partners or significant others ?

Tolerance ... definition :
"The capacity for or the practice of recognizing and respecting the beliefs or practices of others."


Closing Statement from Caroline Phillips

Thank you all for your wonderful contributions to this conversation about Tolerance with a capital "T".

I've learned quite a bit from you and I think it's a wonderful testimony to the magic of TED that so many nationalities participated in this conversation. I feel a lot like Mary Saville : I too tend to get too emotional and engaged about intolerant things I'm hearing so I can produce the opposite effect and be too agressive and intolerant. I'll aspire to be more like Robert Jaffe when adressing intolerant people, to react swiftly but not humiliate.

Susan B. writes "Standing up for the underdog, does not make life happy for you. You are looked at as not being a team player, going against the norm and going against the grain."

My concluding thoughts : Unfortunately I don't live in a "TED world", so standing up for the underdog will often be a perilous endavour, but I'm willing to take the chance.

Hugs to all.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    May 6 2011: People need to take a step back, pause, and realize the world is changing and we need to grow out of the racial/religious/gender stereotypes. We have an African American president, whether you voted for him or not, realize that others are beginning to accept these changes why can't you?

    If someone is being rude or just a prick about someone race/religion etc then I will say it to their face they are being ridiculous. How else can you get it through to their heads? A good form of education is embarrassment. If a little kid is spanked in public for doing something wrong they will be upset and most likely never do it again. So, I use this tactic on adults as well. If they need to be put in their place I say so. I live my life thinking what it would be like to be in the other's shoes and that really opens up your mind to think how could I judge an entire race/religion and so on off of this ONE person? It's immature and can very easily be stopped if more people would be willing to speak out against these disgusting jokes.
    • May 14 2011: I guess that I must be a difficult old codger, but I don't respond well to humiliation and come to think of it, I have not met many (any?) that do. Oh, I've met a good number that feel it should work well on others - the paucity is in the number who have told me that "it works well on ME" We are, of course NOT talking in the realm of kinky stuff. I mean people who change their Weltanshauung as a result of a good upbraiding. To be perfectly honest with you, I have a vague recollection of it happening once to me in 58 years. But as a rule, no I ignore em.
      SO, we may have to agree to disagree on this one. I can handle that.

      I will agree that the approach may change peoples behavior in my presence - but I aspire to slyly change their behavior in my absence. Alas, by definition, I will never know if I succeed, but I wouldn't make claims of great success. I figure the trick is to leave them with something to think positively about - easier said than done.
    • thumb
      May 18 2011: I'm with Mr. Toews. I think embarassment, far from leading to change, just leads to resentment of those people in favor of change and of the proposed changes themselves. To embarass someone is to hurt them. That may "feel" good for the person doing the embarassing, but its effect is negative. For example, on one website on which I post regularly, I once used the word "midget." Well, apparently, for those in the know, the word "midget" is now incorrect. I hadn't known this. I was corrected, in a public and nasty manner, by another poster, who never even considered whether I might not have known of this new development. My reaction was resentment, and an emotional conviction that I would continue using the word "midget" regardless of whether anyone was offended by it. So the person correcting me not only did not achieve her aim in correcting me, she created a situation assuring that I would continue my "crimes" in the future. I cannot help but think that this kind of interaction takes place millions of times a year in our society. Those who sincerely and seriously desire change must learn how to encourage such change without an all-too-frequent boomerang effect.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.