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Dispatch: 23 January 2017
10 Steps to a More Tolerant Australia/Horne, Donald/Paper/0143001825/S011-B
"When Michael Visontay asked me to write an essay on xenophobia for The Sydney Morning Herald, neither of us realised he was setting me off on what was to become this book. Once I had finished the essay, it occurred to me clearly (why hadn't it done so before?) that the reason we get into such a muddle using words like 'racist' and 'racism', 'prejudice', and 'bigotry', and for that matter 'multiculturalism' and 'diversity', is because we have not been in the habit of thinking about them very clearly. I speak for myself, as well as others. Here are these all-too-human disasters that come from group hate and group fear - some personal, some national, some international - but they all stem from the one social disease.
"Like any other disease, this one needs a name, a diagnosis, a treatment, and a prognosis about what the future might hold. Xenophobia may not be a word commonly used by everyone, but it's an illuminating one, and in fact there is no other name for the disease. The word runs right through this book, shedding light, I hope, on all kinds of dark corners. And it's looked at in terms of haman experiences, not simply abstractions.
"Now that Australia is suffering a severe outbreak of xenophobia, it seems time to try to move the debate forward. That means some rethinking and clarifying, abandoning some old approaches, trying out new ones. In so doing, it is essential to give new meaning to the word 'tolerance' - in the form of what I call reciprocal tolerance. And while xenophobia is represented in the book as a force of darkness, reciprocal tolerance comes through as a force of light. At a time when many people are losing heart, this book is optimistic - realistically so, I hope. (But of course you never know.)