Wisconsin's
Wisconsin's "Forward" statue lies in the street on Capitol Square following protests. Picture: Emily Hamer/Wisconsin State Journal via AP

Pay attention millennials, this isn’t bullying, it’s life

If last century we had the Roaring Twenties, this century we are basking in the dawn of the Entitled Twenties.

With the social chaos of this past month as a precursor, it's clearly shaping up to be a decade of cancel culture and ignorance fuelled by a generation of triggered Millennials weaned on the blind belief that "free speech" only applies when it's their own views.

Of course, it's not fair to stereotype an entire generation (of which I belong), but in a time of historic social upheaval when we should be defining ourselves with democratic debate about complex issues like racism and education, we've become an embarrassment.

Millennials are our modern day wowsers armed with Twitter accounts, or, as the Australian writer C. J. Dennis described in 1916, "an ineffably pious person who mistakes this world for a penitentiary and himself for a warder".

They have up-ended justified outrage over the murder of George Floyd by a white US police officer and turned it into a systemic conniption of reckoning without any common sense.

Nothing sums up Millenni-hell like the story about a KPMG trainee accountant who was sacked after accusing her boss of “mansplaining”. Picture: YouTube
Nothing sums up Millenni-hell like the story about a KPMG trainee accountant who was sacked after accusing her boss of “mansplaining”. Picture: YouTube

Wishing for a more just and equal world should not be derided, but how can discrimination be eradicated with censorious dogmatism and idiocy?

We've had national news dominated by the renaming of RedSkins and Chicos lollies in a week when attention and anger should have been on yet another mother murdered in front of her children and yet another young woman killed by her partner.

There were the young, white protesters in Seattle's police-free zone who roped off an area of grass as an "all black healing space", which was just segregation dressed up as wokedom.

And the brainiacs in Adelaide and the US who vandalised and toppled statues that symbolised the success of multiculturalism and an end to slavery.

Then there was the upset over university fees. Arts degrees are fantastic, but you don't need a PhD to know they do not provide certain employment, which in an economically-battered future, is a necessity. Somehow my finely honed knowledge of East German cinema, Shakespearean theatre and Australian literature didn't quite help me get a job, like my journalism degree did.

NSW Police have taken to guarding a statue of British explorer James Cook during Black Lives Matter protests in Sydney. Picture: AP/Rick Rycroft
NSW Police have taken to guarding a statue of British explorer James Cook during Black Lives Matter protests in Sydney. Picture: AP/Rick Rycroft

But nothing sums up this Millenni-hell more than the story out of the UK last week about a KPMG trainee accountant who was sacked after accusing her boss of "mansplaining" when he asked her to wear more appropriate clothing.

Zhihui Lu, 26, worked at the global accountancy firm for three years before she was dismissed for problematic behaviour.

During one incident she launched into a "loud and aggressive" tirade at her male manager after he asked her not to come to the office wearing jeans, a jumper and sneakers, an East London employment tribunal heard.

Ms Liu fronted the manager and asked "who was he as a man to be telling her what she can and cannot wear?" She then allegedly showed her bra strap, and demanded he look at it and tell her whether it was appropriate before she "stormed off".

She repeatedly called a senior manager "the bald partner" despite knowing his name and told a female colleague she had bead skin and "looked terrible", the tribunal heard.

Zhihui Lu, 26, worked at KPMG for three years before she was dismissed for problematic behaviour. Picture: LinkedIn
Zhihui Lu, 26, worked at KPMG for three years before she was dismissed for problematic behaviour. Picture: LinkedIn

Ms Liu also allegedly refused to sit with other staff and instead took over an empty office space five floors below where she installed a rice cooker. She also brought containers to a free staff lunch and filled them with food to take home.

"She attended with a number of containers to put food into and made several visits taking away food in containers on each occasion," the tribunal heard.

"Despite being asked not to take the food, she did not stop. On at least one occasion that day she was very rude to staff stating she was going to take the food notwithstanding their protestations."

Ms Liu was suspended and then sacked in November 2018 for gross misconduct. But her claim that she was subjected to racial, sexual, religious and disability discrimination was denied by the tribunal. And rightly so.

What this case shows is yet another example of entitled Millennials demanding society cater to their demands or face threats of cancellation.

If these are the years in which Millennials come of age, we really need to stop acting like spoiled, angry whingers set on revenge and instead work at unity and selflessness.

Hopefully this will be the decade when we finally grow up.

Lucy Carne is editor of Rendezview.com.au

Originally published as Pay attention millennials, this isn't bullying, it's life



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