A more tolerant America?

March 16, 2015, San Diego State University

As the nation's headlines turn more and more to issues of tolerance—race, religion, free speech, same sex marriage—research by San Diego State University Psychology Professor Jean M. Twenge shows that Americans are actually more tolerant than ever before.

In a paper released this month by the journal Social Forces, Twenge, along with Nathan T. Carter and Keith Campbell from the University of Georgia, found that Americans are now more likely to believe that people with different views and lifestyles can and should have the same rights as others, such as giving a speech or teaching at a college.

"When old social rules disappear, people have more freedom to live their lives as they want to, and Americans are increasingly tolerant of those choices," said Twenge, who is also the author of "Generation Me."

"This goes beyond well-known trends such as the increasing support for gay marriage. People are increasingly saying that it's OK for those who are different to fully participate in the community and influence everyone else."

Tolerance for different views

The researchers used data from the General Social Survey, a nationally representative survey of adult Americans conducted from 1972 to 2012. The survey includes a series of questions related to of people with controversial views or lifestyles including homosexuals, atheists, militarists, communists and racists.

Only tolerance for racists has decreased over time, showing people today are less tolerant of the intolerant.

So why have recent incidents of racism on college campuses garnered so much attention? "A few decades ago, racism would barely have been noticed—it might have even been rewarded," Twenge said. "Now it's noticed, and the consequences can be swift. It shows how much things have changed."

Tolerance by generations

The study showed that the biggest generational shift in tolerance was between the Silent generation and the Baby Boomers who followed them. Generation X and Millennials continued the trend toward tolerance.

"American culture has become more individualistic, which has some negative consequences such as overconfidence and social disconnection. This study shows the upside of treating people as individuals: More tolerance for those who are different," Twenge said.

Previous research has shown that Millennials (called "Generation Me" by Twenge), are less empathic and more dismissive than previous generations, so it may be surprising to some that they are also more tolerant than past generations.

"Tolerance and empathy are not the same thing," Twenge said. "Millennials believe that everyone can live their lives as they want to—thus, they are tolerant—but that doesn't always extend to taking someone else's perspective or feeling empathy."

Explore further: Depression increasing across the country

More information: Social Forces, sf.oxfordjournals.org/content/ … 03/10/sf.sov050.full

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15 comments

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chardo137
5 / 5 (4) Mar 16, 2015
It seems to me that there was some progress in the 60's, & 70's, but we have been moving in the wrong direction lately. If we were really becoming more tolerant, the changes that we have accomplished wouldn't have to be mandated by law, and Fox news wouldn't exist. Just saying.
ryggesogn2
1.6 / 5 (7) Mar 16, 2015
Fox news wouldn't exist.

Yet, the 'liberals' are becoming much more intolerant to truth.
ryggesogn2
1.8 / 5 (5) Mar 16, 2015
I was reading my latest issue of South Dakota magazine and there was a story of a black veterinarian who moved his family from Mississippi to SD in the 50s.
On his first dairy cow call he couldn't save the cow and was going to pay the farmer $20 as that is what black vets did in MS when they could save the animal.
The SD dairy farmer was aghast and said to keep his money and he expected the vet to send him a bill for his services.
The vet stayed in South Dakota for the rest of his life.
Dethe
1 / 5 (4) Mar 16, 2015
People will get tolerant fast once the economical situation will improve (with low price of oil). The social segregation under low energy condition is an analogy of crystallization of another particle systems during cooling.
ryggesogn2
1.6 / 5 (7) Mar 16, 2015
And let's not forget the intolerance of the atheists intolerance of other religions and university students trying to ban the US flag at a state funded university.

ryggesogn2
1.6 / 5 (7) Mar 16, 2015
Intolerant 'liberal':

"The most divisive attorney general since Richard Nixon's John Mitchell, Holder has fanned the flames of racial grievance for much of his tenure.

In his early days in office, he called America "a nation of cowards" on racial issues. "

"Racism wasn't responsible for Michael Brown's death. Brown's own behavior precipitated his unfortunate end.

Blaming racism for every statistical disparity that exists between whites and blacks — from education to income and poverty to crime — gets us no further in solving the problems that exist for many black Americans."
"In every study of racial attitudes among Americans, whites are no likelier to harbor prejudices against people of other races than are blacks, Hispanics or Asians."
http://nypost.com...-wounds/
tadchem
3 / 5 (1) Mar 16, 2015
Americans are generally tolerant of almost any race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, or political party.
Just stay away from their parking spaces!
non-white majority
5 / 5 (5) Mar 16, 2015
It will become more tolerant as the older white generation die off more and more in the upcoming decades.
Jimee
5 / 5 (5) Mar 17, 2015
While religion should be a force for good and for developing tolerance, it's obvious from some of the preceding comments that it is also a haven for those who hate. The double edged sword.
ryggesogn2
2.3 / 5 (3) Mar 17, 2015
religion should be a force for good and for developing tolerance, it's obvious from some of the preceding comments that it is also a haven for those who hate.


It is not usually the fault of the religion but of the practitioners that twist the doctrine to empower themselves.
It also applies to the govt when state power is twisted to promote or attack instead of defending private property.
Captain Stumpy
3.3 / 5 (3) Mar 17, 2015
While religion should be a force for good and for developing tolerance, it's obvious from some of the preceding comments that it is also a haven for those who hate
@Jimee
i think you might be talking about something else

religion, by definition, is the codification of rules/tenets which normally are based upon a faith

this codification actually serves to establish a guidelines for judgement, which is, again, by definition, a means for friction, prejudice, control, segregation and hate as well as used for the purposes of justifying violence more often than not

that is not to say that there are no religions who preach non-violence (as xtians suggest they are about non violence and love)
however, if you look at their (xtians) codified rules (their bible) then you get an entirely different picture: you get reasons to hate and be violent

the only difference between religion and politics is that religion is FAR better at controlling people and creating strife
Captain Stumpy
3 / 5 (2) Mar 17, 2015
It is not usually the fault of the religion but of the practitioners that twist the doctrine to empower themselves
@rygg
this is CRAP
if a person is naturally violent, then they do NOT need an excuse to exercise said violence against another for their own personal gratification
we call these people sociopathic and study them

RELIGION is all about CONTROL... as i said above
religion, by definition, is the codification of rules/tenets which normally are based upon a faith

this codification actually serves to establish a guidelines for judgement, which is, again, by definition, a means for friction, prejudice, control, segregation and hate as well as used for the purposes of justifying violence more often than not
this is PROVEN by the "religion of love" that xtians profess while bombing abortion clinics, hating gays, finding excuses to hate and spread their tribal curse

ANY religion is about friction, prejudice, control, segregation and hate
Shootist
3 / 5 (2) Mar 22, 2015
It seems to me that there was some progress in the 60's, & 70's, but we have been moving in the wrong direction lately. If we were really becoming more tolerant, the changes that we have accomplished wouldn't have to be mandated by law, and Fox news wouldn't exist. Just saying.


The mad musings of a red diaper baby.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (1) Mar 22, 2015
"College kids now are so politically correct. I mean, to the point where — I'll give you an example, we had interns at the show, college interns," Leno said. "Like, the last year of the show, one of the interns comes and says, 'Mr. Leno, I'm getting lunch. what do you want?' I said, 'I don't know, where are you going?' He said, 'we're getting Mexican.' I said, 'I don't really like Mexican.' He goes, 'whoa, that's kind of racist.' That's not racist.

"No, being anti-guacamole is not racist, okay?" Leno said. "You have no idea what racism is. That's not racist, you idiot, you moron.""
http://rightwingn...-kids-2/
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (1) Mar 22, 2015
A US Senator, democrat, of course, blames racism for delaying the confirmation of a more 'liberal' AG who is a black woman.
But the the attacks on Clarence Thomas or Condi Rice were not base on race. They were based on an intolerance of truly liberal ideas.
Any minority that does not want to be attacked for their race should become a conservative and no 'liberal' will see your color or sex or who or what you want to sleep with.

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