Intriguing wee study reported in today’s Washington Post (and Daily Dish) comparing racial tolerance attitudes worldwide.
From the WaPo:
The survey asked respondents in more than 80 different countries to identify kinds of people they would not want as neighbors. Some respondents, picking from a list, chose “people of a different race.” The more frequently that people in a given country say they don’t want neighbors from other races, the economists reasoned, the less racially tolerant you could call that society.
It barely needs saying that this is one more in the eye for the reckless fools who casually threw around the preposterous notion that Belfast was “the race hate capital of the world”, or something like that. Belfast has its issues but seriously, have you seen the world lately?
Here’s a peak:
(The blue areas are reported as the most tolerant and the red ones the least.)
Any yet…not so fast. Any survey that identifies Scandinavia as a model of “all are welcome” can only have been done by a Scandinavian. Harsh? Let me rephrase, surely theoretical questions about the potential next door neighbor are less a test of tolerance and more a test of whether one knows the rules of the road in terms of political correctness?
For example, our friends in the Nord might say that they have no problem having neighbors of a different ethnicity but how many have actually walked the talk (vs. literally walked once the proposition was tested)? I’d like to see those numbers.
And Latin America a bastion of tolerance? Please
Look at last week’s trail verdict of former Guatemalan Dictator Ríos Montt. Although it was an amazing victory for Guatemala to become the first state to convict a former Head of State locally for genocide, the Truth Commission’s report illustrated among much else, how the indigenous remain treated and mistreated is, to put it obscenely generously, a stark example of second class citizenship status.
Or the rights – i.e. lack of rights – for Afro-Colombians who live concentrated in areas frequently lacking sewage works and electricity. I could go on.
Here’s my tuppence. In my experience of race and identity in the US – where people argue, shout, whisper, pontificate and apologize on the subject as regularly as other peoples breathe – the most strikingly “liberal” areas are places like Portland Oregon (great local breweries by the way) and Maine or Vermont (over-rated cheese but stunning greenery). And d’ay know what? These are some of the least diverse and culturally homogeneous areas in the country!
Seems to me most liberal people have a suspiciously similar set of neighbors and friends. And not just in matters economic. The similarity in terms of education level, work type, political views and so on is, in my experience, stultifyingly similar. Evidence of closet racism? Hardly. Yet, if progressives love diversity so much, why are their social circles crammed with so many people just like them?
Belfast may be redeemed to a point by the survey but if I was reading it in Sweden or South American, I wouldn’t start back-slapping just yet.
Strategic Communications Consultant, located in Washington, D.C.