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Are Those Demanding Tolerance…Least Tolerant?

My head is spinning. I find we are in a concerning, troubling time. There is so much whining and complaining; and demanding people lose their jobs or businesses all because they hold positions that differ from some others, or because they did stupid stuff in their youth.

People may say this post is me “whining”; call it what you want. But I’m not demanding anyone be fired or castigated for their position. I’m a senior citizen. I’m a Black American. I’m a female. I’ve lived in the North and the South. I can check a few boxes. I’ve seen and experienced much. I therefore realize that in the over 300 million people in the USA, there are over 300 million opinions, and we are not all going to agree on everything. That means…we need to be able to live together despite differences.

As a Black person in this country, am I tired of the (still) racist mess some Whites do? Absolutely. But I’m also equally tired—if not more so—of the senseless Black-on-Black crime I see many young Black males committing. In fact, that pains me even more. A “McCloudism”: Martin Luther King, et al didn’t march, bleed and die for certain folk to be acting a darn fool in the streets.”

I’m trying to encourage society to simply consider where we are as a society given the global modern-day “I don’t like what they said (last week; or 30, 40 years ago), so they need to be fired…today!” approach. I find such an approach very pervasive among the millennial generation. It’s my observation that many young people “come in like a wrecking ball,” and want to bulldoze anything and anyone with whom they disagree.

Consider Kevin Hart, with comments from decades ago. Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, who 30 years ago may, or may not, have posed in Black face or a KKK uniform. Or people whose faith strongly supports male-female marriages and has a moral compass that doesn’t comport with participating in a homosexual marriage. Or now, Liam Neeson stating, forty years ago, he wanted to beat up a Black person after one of his friend’s was violated by a Black person. [Why Liam felt to verbalize that, I don’t know. But is not such a feeling natural?] Or, NBC’s Tom Brokaw saying those who come to America from other countries should learn to speak English and adopt more of the culture in which they now live. Is that…wrong? If someone moves to France or China, wouldn’t they get further in business if they learned the native language? What’s wrong with that assessment? It’s similar to folks who don’t play golf might actually miss out on some deals struck on the golf course, yes?

Should people lose their current job for something they said or did thirty-years ago?

Take the case of Virginia’s Governor Northam: Let’s say he is in that photo many of us have seen. (him saying he was, then recanting and saying he wasn’t, was, uh…confusing; but for the sake of discussion)… When in medical school, should he have known better than to have donned such imagery? I say yes; he absolutely should have. But my focus is what has he done since that time when he was in his mid-20s? Is he having KKK meetings in the basement of his house or homes? Is he a Grand Dragon? As Virginia’s governor, do his government policies discriminate against Blacks and other non-White citizens of his state?

As published in USA Today on February 4, 2019, Jim Moran, a former Democratic representative in Virginia wrote about Northam: “He’s a pediatric neurologist who has devoted his adult life to healing children — especially within low-income communities. We know that as governor, he expanded Medicaid to hundreds of thousands of uninsured Virginians, a disproportionate number of whom are minorities. We know he used his position to reinstate voting rights to former felons. We know he has pushed hard to improve the quality of public education, particularly in traditionally African-American communities.”

Interestingly, in a CNN article, the president and provost of Northam’s medical school—Eastern Virginia Medical School—said, “There’s been a pattern,” of racist photos. “Some are repugnant. Some are unprofessional. Some are shockingly abhorrent…”

As a Black female physician, I encourage Gov. Northam, and the Eastern Virginia Medical School, to honor one special Black woman physician who practiced medicine in Virginia. She was Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler who became the first Black female physician in the United States. She graduated from what is now Boston University School of Medicine (my alma mater); and she did so in 1864, during the Civil War.

I studied Dr. Crumpler’s life, and initiated a historical exhibit to be established in her honor at Boston University School of Medicine. I helped unveil it in 2016. How is this relevant to Virginians? After graduation, Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler moved to Virginia to give medical care to recently freed-slaves, whom the White doctors would not touch. Dr. Crumpler faced harsh discrimination in Virginia. Hospitals refused her privileges, and pharmacists would not honor her prescriptions. Some there said that the “M.D.” behind her name stood for “Mule Driver.” See the article link below.

February is Black History Month. March is National Women’s History Month. Those are good times for Gov. Northam, and Eastern Virginia Medical School, to honor Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler. And if not in February, any other time will also be fine.

Ironically, many Democrats—especially those on the national stage positioning to run for president in 2020—are pushing their fellow Democrat Northam to resign immediately. Is that because the national  party wants to appear pure, as compared to what many find is impure conduct by some members in the national Republican party? That makes me question: Are those Democratic leaders demanding this, not so much for what’s best for Northam or the state of Virginia (or in consideration of Northam’s public service record), but solely for their own purposes?

I hope we take pause…and ponder…what is our society coming to that accomplished people can lose their current position, or their good deeds automatically become null and void because of foolish actions thirty years ago?

Moran rightly asserts, “These public shamings, where there is a frenzied rush to chew up and spit out the targets of our righteous indignation, can too often serve to push us into our respective corners, our ideological comfort zones, and thus further exacerbate the tribalism that is tearing our society apart.”

For your consideration. Comments are welcome; but, FYI: I do not consent to comments filled with vile, aggression or hatred. God bless you, and God bless America.


Atlanta Journal Constitution article about Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler: A Medical Pioneer and a Modern-Day Challege: ; and “Medical Pioneer Blazed a trail…”:

Copyright © 2019 Dr. Melody T. McCloud. All rights reserved. Feel free to share this post on your social network pages, with author credit and link to this page. Bitly for this article: . Tw: @DrMelodyMcCloud


Are Those Demanding Tolerance…Least Tolerant?

Melody T. McCloud, MD

Dr. Melody T. McCloud is a trailblazing obstetrician/gynecologist, author, public speaker and media contributor. She has received many awards including the "Health-Care Heroes ‘Physician’ Award” per the Atlanta Business Chronicle, and is also recognized as one of the “25 Most Influential Doctors in Atlanta." Dr. McCloud has been interviewed on CNN, Headline News, network affiliates, TBN, the Tom Joyner Morning Show; and her writings or comments have been printed in USA Today, Parade, Essence, Family Circle, Health, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and more. She hosts a health blog at Psychology Today and, upon invitation, speaks nationwide to many organizations. She is a member of the Atlanta Press Club and many leadership organizations.

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APA Reference
McCloud, M. (2019). Are Those Demanding Tolerance…Least Tolerant?. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 15, 2020, from


Last updated: 17 Feb 2019
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