I was raised in a very WASP’ish environment. There was very little opportunity to interact with people of color or alternative life styles. When opportunity did present I focused on the situation, not what the person looked like. In High School, I worked for a woman while working on a charter fish boat, then a native American when moving to commercial fishing.
My tolerance was tested the first year of collage when the luck of the draw gave me a Gay dorm roommate. This is in the 70’s when it was still socially unacceptable. I’m sure I could have demanded and changed rooms but as long as he didn’t make a pass at me I could respect him for who he was, not who he slept with. After the first year we each went our own way, but we remained friends for the rest of our time at College.
As I reflect on tolerance one of the biggest blunders, is believing for way too long that the race problem was “solved” following the 60’s and the riots around the country driving new legislation supporting equal rights. Maybe it was wishful thinking or maybe it is naivety. I had hoped/thought race relations were improving overall, but the recent round of race issues in the county has raised awareness that people are being subjected to abhorrent discrimination just because the color of their skin despite laws to the contrary.
My philosophy on race and tolerance was formed by ML King – if I need to judge someone (and I find that un-necessary most of the time) It will be based on the content of their character not the color of their skin or bedroom preferences.