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“You Can Sit With Us”: Defining Tolerance From Millennials’ Eyes

Finding from IDN Times Survey

Jakarta, IDN Times - “I think tolerance is more than about respecting others, but it’s about giving freedom to others for believing the things they want to believe and having rights to choose and decide the things they want to do,” said one of our respondents from East Java when we asked about her opinions in defining tolerance. 

As a the number 4 most populous country in the world, tolerance is always being a hot issue in Indonesia which has approximately 300 ethnic groups and 6 different religions among its people. Thus, understanding tolerance is important in Indonesia as it’s the foundation of creating a harmonious country. 

Our tolerance will absolutely influence how our society works. If someone is being bullied because of her religion publicly and you are among the bystanders, will you defend her? If some people yell at someone because of his skin tone, will you stand up for him? 

In August 2019, IDN Research Institute and IDN Times, did the online survey on millennial perception on tolerance. This survey involving 438 millennial respondents across 28 provinces in Indonesia to understand their own definition of tolerance.

The majority of respondents were female (58.2 percent), most of them were between 20-27 years old (45 percent), and they were mostly employees in private sectors (38.8 percent ) and students (36.8 percent). Thus, millennials’ definition of tolerance that we’ve got from the survey was quite interesting and relieving at the same time, fortunately.  

1. Millennials care about what you say more than about who you are

“You Can Sit With Us”: Defining Tolerance From Millennials’ EyesIDN Times/Ashari Arief

The word ‘tolerance’ is more often than not being closely related to religion differences. If we googled the word ‘tolerance’, there will be a lot of news related to conflicts which aroused from religion differences. But, is it true that millennials always see tolerance from religion differences point of view? 

“I think tolerance is not only about religion as it goes beyond that. It’s about having patience and the act of accepting differences in many aspects of life,” said one of our respondents who’s still a high school student. Indeed, our survey revealed that millennials’ definition of tolerance is broader than about religion differences. 

In our survey, we broke down some behaviors which manifested from 5 types of tolerance. From 5 types of tolerance, which are social tolerance, thought tolerance, religious tolerance, racial tolerance, and sexual tolerance, Indonesian millennials were mostly choosing thought tolerance behaviors in defining their own definition of tolerance.

Means that, millennials will more likely care about your opinions, point of views, and/or your thoughts rather than your religion, gender, social status, and other personal backgrounds.  

Baca Juga: Sikap Toleransi, Kunci Persatuan dan Kerukunan Bangsa

2. Respecting others is not rocket science

“You Can Sit With Us”: Defining Tolerance From Millennials’ EyesIDN Times/Sukma Shakti

The main objective of our survey was to understand the real definition of tolerance based on millennials’ perspective. So, yes, we asked their own definition of ‘tolerance’ and we collected some words that they mostly used in defining tolerance. 

From the qualitative answers, the verb ‘respecting’ was being mentioned 344 times, ‘accepting’ was being mentioned 62 times, and ‘understanding’ 24 times. Other than the verbs, we also collected some nouns that they used in defining ‘tolerance’. They mentioned ‘attitude’ 116 times, ‘differences’ 173 times, ‘racial’ 91 times, and ‘religion’ 86 times. 

So, if the most mentioned words were being arranged into one sentence, there would be a complete definition of tolerance based on millennials’ perspective:

“The attitude of respecting racial, religion, and thought differences.” 

Yes, at the end of the day, anyone can define what ‘tolerance’ is, but not everyone is able to implement that. So, did millennials really have the attitude of tolerance? Apparently, yes. The majority of them applied that attitude by being friends with people from diverse personal backgrounds (28 percent), talking about the importance of tolerance with others (22 percent), and reading some contents about tolerance frequently (21 percent). 

3. Okay, yeah, apparently millennials are tolerant. So, what?

“You Can Sit With Us”: Defining Tolerance From Millennials’ EyesIDN Times/Masato

Millennials valued thought tolerance more than other types of tolerance and the idea of respecting others were familiar for them in defining tolerance. Their understanding of tolerance will surely influence the way they interact with people. So, here are some tips and tricks in dealing with millennials and their ‘tolerant’ perspective:

Millennial as a friend: What really matters for millennials is the way you see things. Although what you believe and value might be different from them, millennials will most likely still care about your opinions and thoughts. This might happen because millennials are most likely always want to provide input and be heard, so they do the same thing to their friends. 

So, if you want  to make new friends with millennials, be brave to speak your mind, don’t be intimidated by their opinions, yet always be an active listener. Drop those talks about social status sh*ts, because based on our survey, social tolerance was being in the second position of millennials’ definition about tolerance. Thus, who you are don’t really matter, but how you see things is highly important for them.

Millennial as a family member:  Be an authoritative parent or family member. Out of 4 types of parenting, the authoritative parenting is the most suitable one for millennials, although it might be extremely dependent and influenced by the personality of each individual. In authoritative parenting, the parents have rules and they use consequences, but they also take their children’s opinions into account. 

As millennials are high-valuing thought differences, they will more likely listen to their parents’ reasons behind each rule and they will obey based on their own reasons. What really matters is millennials want to be heard, so a two-way street discussion will work out best for them if we want to talk about who’s doing the laundry or maybe the dishes.  

Millennial as an employee/worker: As millennials don’t really care about racial, religion, and social status differences, then millennials are actually one of the most suitable generations in creating an inclusion workplace. Other than they are highly tolerance towards personal backgrounds, the way they are valuing thought differences will more likely beneficial for a workplace as well. 

If you have millennials as your colleagues and/or subordinates, then be democratically fair towards their job descriptions, promotions, and their Key Performance Indicators. Cultivate an open communication environment where they will feel secure in stating their opinions and thoughts. Again, millennials are not feeling entitled, but they just want to be heard and they are mostly open with receiving different opinions about many things.    

Millennial as a romantic partner: Silent treatment will be the worst way of dealing with your millennial partner when conflicts arise. Again, millennials are valuing differences, so, take that as an opportunity for you to develop a healthy communication pattern towards your partner by being an active listener and an open-minded discussion partner.

Don’t give negative stereotypes about culture, ethnicity, religion, or any differences in your first date with a millennial. Stay positive. Be positive. As cliche as it sounds, a millennial is basically a regular human being who prefers to hear good things rather than the bad ones. Their tolerant attitude and your positivity are such an opportunity to create positive impression in their eyes. 

Being tolerant is actually a skill which has to be developed within everybody, not only for millennials. As cliche as it sounds, diversity is always beautiful. If we’re not the one who cultivates a tolerant attitude, then who else?

By Rayi Noormega

Baca Juga: Koran IDN Times Vol. 2: Ini Kata Millennials Soal Toleransi 

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