The Cycle of Intolerance | Teen Ink

The Cycle of Intolerance

December 28, 2009
By TheClassroomPoet SILVER, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
TheClassroomPoet SILVER, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
5 articles 0 photos 0 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Do the heavy before the light."

Stereotypes are, well should be, well known. Stereotypes are a part of the cycle of intolerance. The cycle of intolerance is a concept map that shows different types of intolerance to racial groups and others who are not like us. (Ex. Wealthy or Poor, Black or White). Stereotyping is defined in the cycle of intolerance as, "A stereotype is a concept held by the majority group about the minority group. Often it is a negative caricature or exaggeration based on over simplification or generalization of one or more of the minority group's attributes." For example, "WASP(White Anglo-Saxon Protestant), facial characteristics of African-Americans(big nose, big mouth), accents of middle easterns and foreigners, etc." The list continues and will never end. Therefore, it is a cycle. But a statement in the definition of stereotyping according to the cycle of intolerance bothers me. The "majority" group is not always the first ones to stereotype but sometimes the "minority" group. As a history example, during the civil rights movement, white people stereotyped blacks in the media(i.e. blackface, minstrel shows, etc.) and blacks stereotyped whites also in the media(i.e. color-bleaching, "cracker", etc.). Which brings me to three other concepts in the cycle of intolerance. Discrimination, scapegoating, and violence. I personally think that this was the proponent in not only the civil rights movement but also during World War II, with the Nazis vs. Jewish and Americans vs. Japanese-Americans(internment). Adolf Hitler always believed that the Jewish were responsible for all the wrong doings in the world and therefore out of discrimination and violence, decided to exterminate millions of Jewish people. What he did when he blamed the Jewish is scapegoating. The internment of Japanese-Americans had the same proponent. The Japanese blew up Pearl Harbor in which they obviously used violence and for a while anyone who was Japanese or who had a hint of Japanese blood inside of them were discriminated aganist such as how Middle Eastern people have been discriminated aganist since September 11th in America. Which brings the third to last concept of the cycle of intolerance, isolation. Once the discrimination of Japanese-Americans arose, the government eventually isolated themselves and every non-Japanese American from them. Internment. Which leads me to leave believe that as this war continues in the Middle East and the fear of terrorism arises, that Middle Easterns in America will be interned as the Japanese were. Out of fear and scapegoating every person of that group or racial group as the cause of the current hysteria. The two final concepts on the cycle of intolerance is name-calling and enemy-making. As these are important concepts in intolerance, in my opinion they do not really hold a strong enough value as discrimination or violence. Name-calling happens to everyone and can easily be applied to being bullied in school. So can enemy-making(i.e. cliches, bullies, etc.). But to make it fair, I will apply name-calling and enemy-making to a historical example. A historical example is the American Revolution but mostly on the Boston Massacre. The Boston Massacre was caused simply by name-calling and which killed several colonists, including Crispus Attucks. The British and Americans were already enemies, so enemy-making applies here but the tensions of being enemies triggered the smallest and insignificant infractions(i.e. name-calling, "lobsters", etc.), to cause a massacre which did not need to happen. This is the cycle of intolerance and I am open to anyone commenting their opinions on it. If no one read this, that's fine. I just wanted to get my long opinion out there.

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