Us, intolerant? Never!

Earlier this year the United Nations denounced Australia as a place of “entrenched” discrimination. But we sure proved them wrong in the latest election. Not only did we get ourselves our first female prime minister, but she’s a ginger. To borrow an expression from Chandler Bing, could we be any more inclusive?
Having grown up with the political buzz word “tolerance” ringing in our ears, Gen Y prides itself on its social inclusivity. That incident in Cronulla aside, we like to think of ourselves as pioneers of a multicultural society where the only thing that matters is what’s on the inside, and the fact that Eurasian couples make hot babies is honestly just a bonus. The number of student societies dedicated to social inclusion on our university campuses has rocketed so high that they have degenerated into competition: whichever society can get the most white North Shore kids on a chauffeured coach to a rural school to tell kids born of eighteen generations of agriculturalists how great it is to attend Sydney University wins. And some of them even have a few members completely uninterested in resume padding. 
Gen Y’s revolutionary attitude may be traceable to the post-modern wisdom of Foucault and friends: nothing gets a Gen Y-er worked-up like an absolute statement against somebody else’s belief system. If you’re sick of hearing that uni student in your workplace talk about their iPhone and that “Charlie bit my finger” YouTube video, there’s one simple and effective way to destroy the friendship: tell them you think Islam is wrong. They will be shocked by your narrow-minded exclusivity and respond by ostracizing you from the office social agenda. But if all you need is a little relief from the latest installment of Awesome Things I Did On My GAP Year, rather than complete destruction of the friendship, it will suffice to tell them that you think Christianity is wrong. Denouncing a Western belief system always goes down much better than any foreign option; that way you appear much more open-minded and nonconformist. (This has been kindly modeled for us by the diplomatic statements made by Hockeyroo Kate Hollywood on Delhi’s Commonwealth games, taking a more positive slant on the security fears, dellapidated accommodation, an outbreak of dengue-fever, and the collapse of a footbridge next to the main stadium when she said, “they’ve really started off with a big bang!”) Such comments will buy you a few days of the cold-shoulder before your Gen-Y buddy will be positively bursting to tell you of the magnificence of Campos coffee again. Just try to constrain the impulse to tell them that it’s not fair trade, that would probably be the last straw.
But if you’re a religious evangelist, by no means should you see this display of tolerance as a green light to share your beliefs with Gen Y in the public forum. Just because you can’t denounce other religious beliefs, doesn’t mean you can confirm them either, unless you’re prepared to be labelled small-minded and conservative quicker than Sheik Hilali on International Women’s Day. The only politically-correct form of public monotheism is Apple worship, and even that company was co-created by two individuals. 
Confused yet? Considering whether standing as still as possible and trying not to blink is a plausible means of escaping the terrifying attention of a tolerance-Nazi? Wondering how it ever became appropriate to conjoin the words “tolerance” and “Nazi”? If there’s one golden rule to remember, it's that there is absolutely no absolute truth. As long as you can ignore the fact that this breaks the other golden rule about not showing favouritism to Western world views, you’ll be on a chauffeured coach to the outback in no time.


  1. wow Mel, so well written! especially the last paragraph, the cynicism is great haha