Romantic Tolerance Across Different Cultures
Romantic tolerance across different cultures is now the politically correct thing in many countries. In England the debate is about tolerance of homosexual relations and in this context liaisons between people of different cultures seem to what the media demands, if not ordinary people. Opposition would bring frowns of disapproval and judgments that the intolerant ones are those at fault.
Although tolerance may now be seen as a common good in many societies, such was not the case in the recent past. In 1939 an affair between a Jew and a German would have been seen as shocking. Not long before that the notion of a master race was prevalent in America where slaves were auctioned and people who broke the public view of normality might have been lynched. Historically, that was very recent.
Ironically, the virulence of recent intolerance may be a big factor in the levels of public insistence on tolerance in societies such as the British. The public abhorrence of what went on in Nazi Germany may have caused a backlash. England has allowed so much immigration that the society has become a multicultural salad. People who do not want to be part of the salad are the ones who are on the outside, looking in.
The pendulum has swung so far now that efforts to appear multicultural have become patently absurd. Educational films assiduously display ethnically diverse groups of children and even puppets shows have to be racially mixed. Such strained politically correctness actually demonstrates consciousness of race which is the opposite of what is intended.
It is at the levels of the family and the individual that tolerance really emerges. Chinese people may be charmingly open and enthusiastic about people from different cultures up to a certain point. Romantic attachment is the point at which frowns and dead pan expressions might emerge like rocks beneath the sea exposed by a receding tide. Conversely, real tolerance will be demonstrated by acceptance and excitement.
In Shakespeare’ play, Romeo and Juliet there is a depiction of how intolerance can destroy something that is pure and beautiful. The light of love blazes bright enough to make obstacles invisible to the star-crossed lovers but they appear all too obvious to family members who are not in love.
Love is like an incoming tide that covers dangerous rocks. Family members who are not in love may think of cultural differences as jagged rocks beneath a smooth surface. Those who are in love may know about the rocks but romantic tolerance across different cultures may seem simple and natural realities to them.