Intolerance Can Beget Intolerance

by blackspanielgallery

Intolerance can beget intolerance, causing a vicious circle. The problem is too often people do not recognize their own intolerance.

Intolerance comes in many forms. Often one insensibility, and I am not referring to a perceived offence, begets another intolerance.

Many years ago there was a religious intolerance, one that could have been avoided with some foresight. But, the situation was to cause ill feelings, resulting in religious intolerance. Then, decades later, a new intolerant act has occurred. There could be a resulting perception that the group initially offended would also be intolerant of others, but that would be to generalize that this new offense involved an entire group. In reality, it probably involved a few, vocal individuals, and possibly not even from the initial group.

I will present below the two events, and one can see the cycle, even if neither does not represent an entire group, not even a majority of any group.

A Christmas Time Celebration

In New Orleans there has, for years, been a light display in City Park.  Initially, this involved a riding tour and a walking tour.  One could ride for miles beneath decorated trees.  Then, as one ended the riding tour, one could park and embark on a walking tour of three fenced parts of the park.

 

The walking tour is the part that remains, the riding tour ceased after Hurricane Katrina did its damage.

 

There are three separate, but connected, sections of the park.  One, the Carrousel Gardens, is a small area with rides appropriate for small children, centered on the carrousel.  This connects to Storyland, a section where nursery rhymes can be heard while in the presence of statue scenes from them.  The third, and largest, section connected to the others is the botanical garden, with a large hot house and intertwining walking paths, some under trellises.  All of these are decorated for the celebration, and the gates between them are opened.

 

The decorations are, for the most part, secular.  The living Nativity was one of the few references to religion.  The other religious symbol was a huge menorah that was near the end of the riding tour, with a line from Maccabees proclaiming it the first symbol of religious tolerance.

 

The problem came from the name.  Initially, the lighted display was called Christmas in the Oaks.  Then, one year with no warning it was abruptly changed to Celebration in the Oaks. If only that would have been the initial name.  But, the change offended some.  Why, I cannot perceive.  There was a movement to restore the name.  This went to the point of public advertisements, and merchants coming together to offer to underwrite the display.  We must remember the Jewish community has a long standing relationship with the park that includes many generous benefactors.  Inclusion of them is fair, and reasonable.  But, as often happens, religious intolerance showed up, and persisted for years.  The efforts to revert back to the original name was rebuked, but the effort remained, and came up year after year.

 

Today, the menorah is part of the walking tour, and is joined by large lighted dreidels and a huge Star of David.  Intolerance died down, for the most part, over decades.

The Deutsches Haus

In a separate event the German heritage group, the Deutsches Haus, was displaced by a new hospital.  After spending time in a temporary home they obtained land for a new cultural center.  This is a place to celebrate Oktoberfest, have a German meal, learn the German language, and learn about the German culture.

 

A heritage group is not unique.  The Italians have a culture center near Plaza de Italia, and parade to celebrate Saint Joseph’s Day.  The Irish parade on Saint Patrick’s Day.  The French celebrate Bastille Day.  And the Spanish have Spanish Plaza and a festival.  Nearby, the Islenos, Canary Islander descendants, have a culture center and annual festival.  In the area most heritage groups have their pride.  And all celebrations are open to others of different heritage.

 

The location of the new Deutsches Haus is on picturesque Bayou Saint John, across from the same City Park that houses Celebration in the Oaks.  Of course it can be seen from City Park, in particular, from the entrance to the New Orleans Museum of Art which is located within the park.

 

The New Orleans Museum of Art has benefactors, likely many in common with the park.  So, when the plans for the new building were released there was an outcry that the building could be seen from the museum.  The problem was the artist’s rendering of the then future building looked too German, whatever that means.  A blue tile roof seemed at the focus of the outrage.  This was a blatant act of intolerance of a nationality. 

 

Were the complaints from the same people who were the victims of religious intolerance?  I doubt it included all, and such a generalization would make the circle of intolerance continue.  Did it include some?  Well, the complainants did not identify themselves to my knowledge.   Those who have a problem with someone else’s heritage being celebrated on private property to the point of attempting to have the building restricted have practiced a severe form of intolerance.

 

The Need to Break the Cycle

This makes it difficult to make the point there is no harm to anyone, and we should include others, in changing the name of the light celebration. 

 

Eventually, the circle must be broken.  We must understand the actions of a few should not cause us to react against an entire group.    

 

 

This article contains links to affiliate programs and Adsense advertising.  These must use cookies to allow for proper crediting. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

 

The introduction image is our own Zazzle product.. 

Updated: 12/05/2018, blackspanielgallery
 
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