This file is about Tolerance and Prejudice. Also see Attitude.


Martin Luther King, Jr. on Religion

A religion true to its natures must also be concerned about man's social conditions. Religion deals with both earth and heaven, both time and eternity. Religion operates not only on the vertical plane but also on the horizontal. It seeks not only to integrate men with God but to integrate men with men and each man with himself.

Speak Up Before it's Too Late

(Martin Niemoller)

In Germany, the Nazis came for the Communists and I didn't speak up because I was not a Communist. Then they came for the Jews and I didn't speak up because I was not a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists and I didn't speak up because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics and I was a Protestant so I didn't speak up. Then they came for me...By that time there was no one to speak up for anyone.


(William Chase) not polite accommodation. Instead, diversity is, in action, the sometimes painful awareness that other people, other races, other voices, other habits of mind, have as much integrity of being, as much claim on the world as you do. And I urge you, amid all the differences present to the eye and mind, to reach out to create the bond that will protect us all. We are meant to be here together.

The Cold Within

(James Patrick Kinney)

Six humans trapped by happenstance
In black and bitter cold.
Each one possessed a stick of wood,
Or so the story's told.

Their dying fire in need of logs,
The first woman held hers back
For of the faces around the fire
She noticed one was black.

The next man looking cross the way
Saw one not of his church,
And couldn't bring himself to give
The fire his stick of birch.

The third one sat in tattered clothes
He gave his coat a hitch.
Why should his log be put to use
To warm the idle rich?

The rich man just sat back and thought
Of the wealth he had in store.
And how to keep what he had earned
From the lazy poor.

The black man's face bespoke revenge
As the fire passed from his sight,
For all he saw in his stick of wood
Was a chance to spite the white.

And the last man of this forlorn group
Did naught except for gain.
Giving only to those who gave
Was how he played the game.

The logs held tight in death's still hands
Was proof of human sin.
They didn't die from the cold without,
They died from the cold within.


(Ethel Blair Jordan)

I thought that foreign children
Lived far across the sea
Until I got a letter
From a boy in Italy.

"Dear little foreign friend," it said
As plainly as could be.
Now I wonder which is "foreign",
The other child or me.

the Horse

(© 2010 Bob Atkinson, used with permission)

roll on the hills endlessly
grass upon them on which to feed
the docile beast head down to nip
at flavored bundles growing up

sound playing from the wind
strange noises almost from within
the body's sharp and deepest points

the animal seems alert, a horse
ready to run toward or from harm

from such a gentle form
the man comes to sit upon
the wild and willing creature
his every curve a useful feature

painted marks around his coat
showing off a warrior's pride
a knife, a hand, a shield and arrows long
a bow with which to shoot them far

not his first battle to be won
his confidence is strong
he knows his skills are good as any
his nerve has yet to fail him

east toward the sunrise,
a slow pace plodding
the two are one in quiet purpose

they join with others for the fight
in the ceremony of an honored life
or simply death forever

his mind today stands still
no past, no future no desire to fall
or not to fall, it is determined
by the spirits, not his movements

a show of bravery
strength and cunning
on his wild horse running
is all he can give until he dies
on the day his mother cries

arrows aimed right at the heart
lances thrown hard to impale
knives wielded on the ground
dying, wounded laying down

upon the bundles of gentle grasses
wild plants that had been growing
seeded by the winds of nature
the warrior seems quiet now

his eyes open, viewing azure sky
his thoughts that he had done his best
to insure that his and only his
live to see another day

his life has but a moment left
but, he is now content
to die a hero in his mind
the enemy others were
of course, not of his kind

As Others See Us

There were the Scots
Who kept the Sabbath
And everything else
they could lay there hands on.

Then there were the Welsh
Who prayed on their knees
and their neighbors.

Thirdly there were the Irish
who never knew what they
wanted but were willing to
fight for it anyway.

Lastly there were the English
Who considered themselves
a self made nation
Thus relieving the Almighty
of a dreadful responsibility.

(If you are Scottish, Irish, Welsh or English and are upset by this poem please look at the title. This poem is not about what the people are like but what they were sometimes perceived to be like by others. It is a reminder that you should judge each person as an individual, not by perceptions based on race, creed, color, or country of origin.)

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