In 1763, philosopher Voltaire wrote, “Think for yourself and let others enjoy the privilege of doing so, too.” One of the key human qualities is that we can think for ourselves. We can make decisions on how we live, who we spend time with and what we believe. The result is a richly diverse world with thousands of cultures and belief systems. But it is important to follow Voltaire’s advice by practising tolerance.

Tolerance is about accepting practices and beliefs other than your own and accepting people we perceive as different, such as members of another social group, or those with a different sexual orientation. Being tolerant ensures that communities can flourish without fear of persecution.

In recent years, though, many intolerant views have proliferated, leading to an increase in hate crimes around the world. This year, for example, there have been reports from Australia, Kenya, Russia and France of a spike in anti-Asian violence as a result of Covid-19.

The United Nations describes education as the best way to fight discrimination. We naturally fear and mistrust what we do not know or understand. This week, talk to someone whose beliefs or culture differ from yours. What can you learn from each other?

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In this interview with the BBC, John Barnes discusses racism in football and the causes of the problem in wider society.


  1. Choose a religion that is not your own and create a fact file about it including history, beliefs and traditions.
  2. Design a poster with five tips for encouraging tolerance at school and at home.
  3. Write your own newspaper article about the rise of reported hate crime around the world. Use the internet and the articles linked above to help you with your research.