Two Kinds of Tolerance

Today I got linked this article on #geekfeminism. (Trigger warning for extreme transphobia.)

What’s upsetting is not the article itself, but the number of positive comments. Are bigoted, misguided points of view like that what most people actually believe? Is this what they secretly want to say, but are restrained by social pressure “not to be offensive”, and are only waiting for someone with a strong voice to speak it out loud before jumping on the bandwagon with relief?

From my experience, what we call “tolerance” actually refers to two distinct and mutually exclusive beliefs:

  1. “I believe that group X genuinely deserves respect.”
  2. “I believe that group X is a blight upon humanity, but there could be repercussions if I said that out loud, so I better stay silent and pretend I don’t mind them.”

Are most people claiming to be tolerant in fact stuck in mode #2? Maybe I’d be better off not finding out. Wait, I can’t afford to say that. Ignoring the problem doesn’t make it go away.

Edit: Danni also makes a distinction between people who genuinely embrace diversity and those who are “okay with weirdoes as long as it’s clear that they’re weird” (where “weirdoes” are often arbitrarily defined under the True Scotsman definition of “people who don’t act like I do”). Insightful, I think.