Today, I heard historian and scholar Yehudah Bauer speak about many things, all of them interesting. But at one point I found myself fascinated by his discussion about language. He says that the word Holocaust is not a good word, but it is the word we have, so it will have to do. Then he talked about the word tolerance. To paraphrase, he said something like, “Who wants tolerance?! You can tolerate someone but really and truly despise them and wish them away! Tolerance is not enough!”

I nodded hard enough to hurt something; I have had this very same thought.

The word Holocaust might be the only word we have for the genocide that happened in the 1930s and 1940s, but we have better choices than “tolerance.” I don’t really want to teach tolerance. I want to teach acceptance, kindness, and inclusion.

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