The Trouble with Tolerance, Part 2

We rant, we debate, and we're full of opinions: Is Canada too tolerant for its own good? Should we tolerate intolerant people? What are the limits to tolerance? In this three-part IDEAS Classic from 2007, philosopher Michael Blake, mediator Genevieve Chornenki, filmmaker Sunny Yi and IDEAS Producer Sara Wolch, tackle the nature and meaning of tolerance in our diverse and seemingly tolerant society. Part 3 airs Wednesday, February 11.
Source: From the Oxford English Dictionary Online Edition (http://www.oed.com)
Listen to the full episode53:58
We rant, we debate, and we're full of opinions: Is Canada too tolerant for its own good? Should we tolerate intolerant people? What are the limits to tolerance? In this three-part IDEAS Classic from 2007, philosopher Michael Blake, mediator Genevieve Chornenki, filmmaker Sunny Yi and IDEAS producer Sara Wolch, tackle the nature and meaning of tolerance in our diverse and seemingly tolerant society. Part 3 airs Wednesday, February 11.  

Top left to right: Sunny Yi, Sara Wolch, Michael Blake. Bottom: Genevieve Chornenki
Near the end of 2006, three people came in to our studio to tape this series on tolerance. Each of them had contributed - in one way or another - to IDEAS over the years. But aside from this somewhat 'loose connection' to the program, the only other thing they seemed to have in common was an interest in thinking and talking about tolerance. There was the philosopher, Michael Blake, Genevieve Chornenki, a mediator and teacher of mediation, and Sunny Yi, a filmmaker and journalist.

This was not a typical panel discussion. Sunny, Michael and Genevieve came up with their own questions: six in all, that tackle the nature and meaning of tolerance in our diverse and seemingly tolerant society. These questions form the basis of the series. Along with examples that turn out to be treacherous.

Sunny, Michael and Genevieve also take turns leading the discussion (though as you'll hear, there are times I can't resist jumping in). And with each question, they switch formats: Rant, Debate, Opinion Piece, that sort of thing, to see if the way we talk about tolerance affects what we actually say or think.

- Sara Wolch 

 
Part One: (Airs Wednesday, Jan 28)

A Story:  What does tolerance look like?

An Opinion Piece: Why is it that in Canada, in order to honour somebody else's tradition, I have to dishonour my own?


Part Two: (Airs Wednesday, Feb 4)

A Debate: Is Canada too tolerant for its own good?
 

Part Three: (Airs Wednesday, Feb 11)

A Case Study: Do you have to be tolerant of intolerant people?

A Rant: How far can we tolerate tolerance?

A Talking Circle: Why bother talking about tolerance?


Participants in the program:

Genevieve Chornenki


Genevieve Chornenki has worked in the field of dispute resolution since 1989, and she helps people to have constructive conversations. She is the co-author of Bypass Court: A Dispute Resolution Handbook. She also teaches, serves as a mediator and arbitrator, and consults to dispute resolution programs. Genevieve is a periodic contributor to IDEAS and her most recent contribution was When Families Start Talking (2012).

 
 

​Michael Blake

Michael Blake is a Professor of Philosophy and Public Affairs at the University of Washington in Seattle. He is also the Director of the University of Washington's Program on Values in Society. He received his bachelor degree in Philosophy and Economics from the University of Toronto, and a PhD from Stanford University. He obtained some legal training at Yale Law School, before running away to become a philosopher.  Since 2002, Michael has been a regular participant in the ongoing IDEAS series Talking Philosophy.  

 

​Sun-Kyung (Sunny) Yi 

Sun-Kyung (Sunny)
Yi is an award-winning documentary filmmaker based in Toronto. In 2009 she created the Documentary Film​-​making Institute at Seneca College where she is a program coordinator and professor. She is also working on her Ph.D. at York University about multiculturalism, diversity and pluralism. A regular contributor to IDEAS over the past two decades, ​Sunny's​ most recent contribution was a two-part series Being Canadian (2010).​

  

Reading List

 

Selections from Michael Blake:

Heyd, David ed., Toleration: An Elusive Virtue. Princeton, Princeton University Press, 2001.

Locke, John, A Letter Concerning Toleration (1689). Whitefish: Kessinger, 2004. Also available online.

Macedo, Steve, Diversity and Distrust, New ed. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2003.

Mill, S., On Liberty (1869). London: Penguin Classics, 1982. Also available online.

Okin, Susan, Is Multiculturalism Bad for Women? ed. Joshua Cohen et al.Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1999.

Walzer, Michael, On Toleration. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1999.


Selections from Genevieve Chornenki:

Epley, Nicholas, Mindwise: Why We Misunderstand What Others Think, Believe, Feel, and Want, Vintage Books, New York, 2014

Grenny, Joseph, Kerry Patterson, and Ron Mcmillan, Crucial Conversations Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High, 2nd ed., McGraw-Hill Education, Columbus, OH,  2011

Noble, Cinnie, Conflict Management Coaching: The Cinergy Model, self-published, 2011

Rock, David and Linda J. Page, Coaching With the Brain In Mind: Foundations for Practice, Wiley, Toronto, 2009

Van Sant, Sondra, Wired for Conflict: The Role of Personality in Resolving Differences, Centre for Applications  of Psychological Type Inc., Gainsville, FL, 2003


Selections from Sunny Yi:

Manji, Irshad, The Trouble with Islam. Vintage Canada, 2005

Huston, Nancy, Longings and Belongings. McArthur & Co., 2005

Hughes, Robert, Culture of Complaint. Oxford University Press, 1993

Said, Edward W, Culture and Imperialism. Knopf, New York 1993