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The Devastating Effects Of Intolerance Essay, Research Paper

The Devastating Effects of Intolerance

Intolerance is something that everyone has to deal with; It is a nation-wide problem. There are many forms of intolerance and all of them lead to devastation. This is shown throughout history, literature and in personal events. We are the only ones who can stop it.

One form of intolerance is religious bigotry. This is clearly illustrated in Elie Wiesel s book called Night. In this novel Elie and his family are put into a Nazi death camp in 1944. The experience was a life changing event for the young Elie. He tragically witnessed the death of his family and loss everything he knew. Elie and his family were only one of the millions affected by the hate of the Germans as it states in the book Night: I witnessed other hangings (page 60). Millions of peope died because of the hate in some people. Hate can be shown in many other forms too.

One form is clearly shown in Wilma Elizabeth McDaniel s short story entitled Who Said We all had to Talk Alike? A woman from the Ozarks named Neffie, applies for a job in California. Neffie is sent back after just one month because she added an r to many words that did not contain that letter. This incident was devastating to the children she was caring for because they really liked Neffie and the way that she cooked and told stories. This also made Neffie feel like there was something wrong with her. The children probably lost one of the best baby-sitters. This is just a small example of an act of intolerance that can even have unintended consequences that hurt many people.

Devastating intolerance can also be seen in the short story Address Unknown by Kressman Taylor. An act of religious bigotry and someone s beliefs can become a part of someone else s way of thinking or internalizing one s ideas. The Address Unknown is about two friends, Max and Martin. Martin is a German in Germany and Max is a Jew in America. Martin is galvanized by Hitler s ways. In short, the two friends become enemies turning against each other. Max s sister,also a Jew, dies because Martin wouldn t help her. Max seeks revenge by sending damaging letters to Martin. The outcome of Martin s family is not stated but it is not very good.

Helen Bansley was faced with religious intolerance when she wanted to get married in 1949. She was an Irish Catholic woman but her fiancee was a Scottish Protestant. No church or priest would marry them. So they had to have the Justice of the Peace marry them. Their marriage had been forbidden and they were excommunicated from their families and churches. The loss of support from our families was very devastating, said my grandmother, Helen Bansley. Looking back on this incident she feels that people should have been more open minded.

A Junior High Student can also experience intolerance. Stephanie Johnson said that she faced sexism in her 9th grade PE class. She says that her PE coach would separate the boys from the girls. Then he would send the boys off to play football while the girls had to learn how to play step by step. After that he would make the girls play the girls and the boys have to play the boys. By doing this the coach made the girls feel like they were less than the boys. Stepanie feels that this event was very judgmental on the coaches part because girls are just as capable as boys.

In September 1957 an Arkansas Governor, ordered state-militia troops to a Little Rock School to stop Negro s from entering. The governor, Orval Fabous was defying the new federal law that allowed African -Americans into white schools. This event triggered racial violence and forced a showdown with federal officials. The law was created to counter the devastating effect of segregation to the poorer black only schools. Today blacks can go to school without having to worry about being stopped.

An incident in which I was discriminated against. Some boys at my school were making fun of my weight. Sizesism can be very depressing. The long-term effect is that one of the boys was my friend and now I can t stand him and I have known him for 10 years. I have also seen many other types of discrimination. One is ageism. The 9th graders always act superior to the 8th graders. This makes the 8th graders feel like they are less.

Intolerance is something that everyone should learn to deal with. It can be seen throughout history and literature. The results of intolerance are always devastating. From the concentration camps of Hitler that killed millions to the bully at school, all extremes of intolerance are unacceptable. History is filled with

many long-term cases of intolerance that continue even to this day. It is up to each of us to stop the intolerance. There is a book title that says it all: Peace Begins with Me.


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