In an increasing world of multicultural states, we are met with increased diversity and differences amongst people we encounter as we go by our daily business, whether these differences be political, ethnical, cultural or gender- or sexuality-based.  We have to understand that everyone is different and that it is important to understand these differences. Regardless of who you are, everyone has something to bring to the table. Last year, I studied social identity theory, one part of which is learning about the tendency people have to categorise themselves to groups, whom they feel they have common traits with. Of course, this can lead to the problems of stigmatization and prejudice.

Globalisation has broken down many barriers and there is an increasing number of people from different backgrounds working and living together. Tolerance and keeping an open mind are not only important to maintaining peace, protecting from bias or prejudices, but it can also help us to learn from each other and expand our own view of the world. Some areas where tolerance is important could be religious differences. Everyone has their own opinion on this and it can be a very personal matter to some, which can lead to conflict and has done, especially if we look at the wider world and not just here in Ireland. If people learned to be more open-minded and tolerant to religious beliefs, there would be less bias and less confrontations.

Sexuality is also another area where people can experience the negative effects of bias – in some countries they are demonised and have little or no rights and are given less opportunities in life. If people aren’t tolerant it can have detrimental effects on the minority. As human beings, we are all different but we all breath the same air and drink the same water, so we must all learn to live in harmony with each other – as utopian as this may sound it has its benefits.  To be tolerant, we must learn to respect and value other people’s ideas, cultures and backgrounds. Keeping an open mind about others is very beneficial; we can learn and grow as people. We can also get different perspectives and ideas from others, which can be useful in areas such as work or school.

Tolerance helps break down barriers and brings people together as a community. In an increasingly interconnected world, there is little room for xenophobia or racism. If people are to live together peacefully and in harmony then we have to learn to be open minded and tolerant of others, if we don’t, then this can be – and already has in some parts of the world been – the cause of a dysfunctional society where some are treated as second class citizens, More than ever, people have a tendency to travel to different countries for whatever reason, maybe work, so it is important now more than ever to learn to be open minded as we are looking at an increasingly multicultural society. In the perfect world, this would already be the case but unfortunately, it isn’t. There are still biased and close minded people everywhere.