Wednesday 27 February 2019 3:29 AM UTC
LONDON Feb 27: Britain is one of the least racist countries in Europe, according to a new study which has found prejudice against immigrants to be ‘rare’ in the UK.
High levels of tolerance is typical of wealthy, English-speaking countries and prejudice is more common in poorer nations, according to analysis of the largest international surveys of beliefs and values.
British levels of prejudice against immigrant workers and people ‘of a different race’ were found to be ‘relatively low’ as was bias against Hindus, Jews, Gipsies, and Muslims.
In Bulgaria and Latvia, around 20 per cent would shun neighbours of a different religion. Prejudice against foreign workers in Europe was found to be worst in Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Lithuania, Romania, and Slovakia.
Spain, Italy, Finland, and Germany were all found to be ‘a little more prejudiced’ regarding religion than the UK.
Only around 10 per cent of Britons would rather not have neighbours of a different religion.
Fifteen per cent of Britons would object to having migrants as neighbours, with around 10 per cent objecting to neighbours of a different race. Both France and the USA were more tolerant of having neighbours of a different race.
The UK was found to have ordinary levels of anti-immigrant worker prejudice for its level of socioeconomic development.
Poland and Hungary were among the most tolerant of the poorer countries, showing low levels compared with nations that have a similar GDP.
The findings, published in the Frontiers in Sociology journal, did reveal that Gipsies face more prejudice than any other group.
More than 60 per cent of Slovaks would object to a Gipsy neighbor, as would over 60 per cent of Lithuanians and Italians.
Nearly 40 per cent of Britons would object to having a Gipsy neighbour, which almost double to number who would object to a Muslim neighbour.
The findings challenge prevailing attitudes on Brexit, the nature of prejudice, and the social impact of modernisation.
Study co-author Professor Mariah Evans, of the University of Nevada, Reno, in the United States, said pundits have been wrong to associate the UK’s vote to leave the EU with prejudice.
‘In the media turmoil surrounding Brexit, many pundits have seized on the prejudice angle, but these data demonstrate that is not actually what makes the UK different from the Continent,’ she said.
‘Prejudice against immigrant workers or minority ethnic and religious groups is rare in the UK, perhaps even slightly rarer than in equivalently developed EU countries.
‘Even though only a small minority is prejudiced, in a large population that still makes many people – enough to show up in anti-immigrant demonstrations or to mobilise letter-writing campaigns to MPs.’
With half a million combined respondents, Prof Evans said the World and European Values Surveys provide a large, cross-sectional view of people’s attitudes, beliefs and opinions in 100 countries.
The researchers analysed responses from these and the European Quality of Life surveys, to found out how ethnic and religious prejudices vary between nations at different stages of socio-economic development.
Specifically, they compared the prevalence of prejudice in the UK to that in its global culture group and other EU countries at around the same level of development.
Prof Evans said: ‘We found a high level of tolerance for ethnic and religious diversity is typical of prosperous European and Anglophone nations, whereas ethnic and religious prejudice is much more common in poor countries.
‘In this respect, the UK is “stock standard” given its GDP per capita: just like their wealthy EU peers, around 15 per cent of Britons would object to having immigrants as neighbours, around 10 per cent would object to neighbours of a different race, and 10 per cent would rather not have neighbours of a different religion.’
The analysis also showed that across all nations, prejudice tends to be either against all minority ethnic and religious groups or against none.
Study co-author Dr Jonathan Kelley, Director of the International Social Science Survey, said: ‘We show that a single root prejudice – that all the feelings about specific groups spring from a single generalised feeling of tolerance or intolerance towards diversity in ethnicity and religion – holds across the whole globe. – Daily Mail
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