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Diversity in One's Own Backyard
October 3, 2010 1:01 PM   Subscribe

World Values Survey -- who wouldn't you mind living next door?

Nice set of charts of responses in a select number of countries to a series of questions such as "Would you mind having someone of a different race as a neighbour?", "Would you mind having a homosexual as a neighbour?" etc. Original source data here.
posted by modernnomad (79 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
Damn, everybody always hatin' on the drug addicts. Why do people hate coffee drinkers?!
posted by nomadicink at 1:04 PM on October 3, 2010 [5 favorites]


Hong Kong seems to be an outlier in a lot of these--small sample size maybe? Or is Hong Kong "differently tolerant"?
posted by tybstar at 1:13 PM on October 3, 2010 [4 favorites]


I would be thrilled to have any kind of neighbor but a barking dog.
posted by Faze at 1:13 PM on October 3, 2010 [7 favorites]


Hah! Britain is more tolerant than the US!

Mind you, I wouldn't want a bloody yank living next door.
posted by Decani at 1:16 PM on October 3, 2010 [4 favorites]


Sweden has always seemed like a fucking awesome place to live.
I guess I won't be moving to Jordan anytime soon, though. Wow.
posted by dunkadunc at 1:16 PM on October 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


Mind you, I wouldn't want a bloody yank living next door.

That's why we left. That and the lack of decent food.
posted by nomadicink at 1:17 PM on October 3, 2010 [18 favorites]


I wonder how the data would have changed if the survey had specified "Muslim" instead of "a different religion."

I am also glad to know that it's better to be a homosexual than a heavy drinker or drug user. But not by much. Sigh.
posted by stoneweaver at 1:17 PM on October 3, 2010


Yeah, I'm really curious about Hong Kong. Do they really not care about "drug addicts" and "heavy drinkers" nearly as much as they do about "people of a different race?"

This is bizarre. Really? 10% of Americans care or would notice that an unmarried couple lived next door? Only like 5% wouldn't care about people of a different race? There's gotta be massive reporting bias here.
posted by cmoj at 1:18 PM on October 3, 2010 [6 favorites]


This think seems borked. Swedes are most tolerant towards other races , yet least tolerant towards immigrants and people who speak foreign languages?
posted by bonobothegreat at 1:20 PM on October 3, 2010


Whoops. I'm borked.
posted by bonobothegreat at 1:22 PM on October 3, 2010


Swedes are most tolerant towards other races , yet least tolerant towards immigrants and people who speak foreign languages?

Huh? Almost every category has Sweden being the most tolerant. The only real outliers were drinking and drug use.
posted by kmz at 1:22 PM on October 3, 2010


Whoops, I didn't preview.
posted by kmz at 1:23 PM on October 3, 2010


Yeah, the two main takeaways for me are:

What is up with Hong Kong? Way more racist, but apparently just as much of an outlier in accepting drug addicts and heavy drinkers. I suspect there may be a sampling problem here, ether that, or there are some cultural differences that need explaining. I find it really surprising that people from Hong Kong are more than twice as likely as people from mainland China to not want someone of a different race as a neighbor.

Also, I suspect everyone is exaggerating the extent of their tolerance for the religion question. It seems to be one area where respondents claimed to be the most tolerant; however, I suspect the result had been different if they had used actual reviled religious minorities, like Muslims or atheists in the US, or Jews in Jordan and Iran.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 1:27 PM on October 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


Ergo, all Swedes are borked
posted by The Lady is a designer at 1:27 PM on October 3, 2010


In my humble experience of having lived next to people of varying ages, races, social classes and drug intake the single group I'd rather not live next to are parents with late teenage kids.

The ones I've had the misfortune to live next to have had all the liberties of adults, just enough money to buy booze, not enough sense of empathy to understand that nights are when normal people try and sleep, and still consider having 20 friends round at 2am as the acme of social success.

Hurrumph.
posted by MuffinMan at 1:30 PM on October 3, 2010 [10 favorites]


On further reflection, I think this survey is more a measure of how comfortable people in different countries are at openly stating that they have certain discriminatory preferences. At the very least, unconscious bias is definitely beyond the scope of this survey.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 1:30 PM on October 3, 2010 [11 favorites]


all Swedes are borked
Insert Muppet Show reference here.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 1:31 PM on October 3, 2010 [8 favorites]


People in *France* are more bigoted against gay people than people in the US? I wouldn't have guessed that.

I agree that this doesn't seem like a very useful survey. It depends a lot on who people envision when you say "a person of a different religion" or "a person who speaks a different language."
posted by craichead at 1:36 PM on October 3, 2010


I might just be having a bad morning, but some countries don't appear on some graphs, which throws them out a little bit.
posted by doublehappy at 1:42 PM on October 3, 2010


Could I use the survey somehow as a test for whoever moves into the house next door?

Because I've had screaming drunkards, partying teenage moms and now these wannabe gangster who spend all their time drinking Lambrini (which they like to call "champagne"), teasing their giant French Mastiff into constantly barking and talking about all the crimes they're gonna do. It's up for rental again, and I'm dreading the next tenants.

I'd like to just get a couple of nerds in, who don't mind living next to other nerds with a pet goldfish, a Law & Order addiction and a fondness for cooking Mexican food. That isn't too hard to ask for in Nottingham, is it?
posted by Katemonkey at 1:44 PM on October 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah, France jumped out at me. Apparently, the French are a bunch of smug, unpleasant waiters that are mean to their customers. Who knew?

Which is funny, because I've found French-Canadians to be wonderful people. And actually, I've never met anyone of French descent or extraction that I didn't like, so who cares?
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:45 PM on October 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


...bad morning - didn't see the disclaimer:

* The World Values Survey contains data limited to selected countries/samples including: Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Canada, Colombia, Cyprus, Chile, China, Egypt , Ethiopía, Finland, France, Georgia , Germany, Ghana, Great Britain, Guatemala , Hong Kong, China, India, Indonesia, Iran, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Malaysia, Mali, Mexico, Moldova, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand , Norway, Peru, Poland, Romania, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Serbia, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Ukraine, United States, Uruguay, Viet Nam, Zambia. Countries have been excluded in cases where data is unavailable.
The column width varies between graphs.
posted by doublehappy at 1:45 PM on October 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


This was fun.
As I live in Sweden, I can feel nice and tolerant.

Except -
that in my experience the Swedes (well Stockholmers) have no idea of who their neighbours are. They dont genearally talk to them, or socialise, they hurry down the stairs of their appartment buildings to avoid meeting one.
All the entrances are equipped with electronic locks so that only those who have the code can enter. Having people over for a meal is called " having strangers". etc.

But yay för tolerance.
I would definitely allow my daughter to marry a Swede. As i have done - many times.
posted by jan murray at 1:46 PM on October 3, 2010 [4 favorites]


What is up with Hong Kong? Way more racist, but apparently just as much of an outlier in accepting drug addicts and heavy drinkers. I suspect there may be a sampling problem here, ether that, or there are some cultural differences that need explaining. I find it really surprising that people from Hong Kong are more than twice as likely as people from mainland China to not want someone of a different race as a neighbor.

Well: people in the mainland are much less likely to have actual dealings with people of other races. People in Hong Kong probably have some experience. So this could be a demonstration of the Robert Putnam point that diversity actually makes us grouchier and less tolerant.
posted by grobstein at 1:46 PM on October 3, 2010


On full comparison across all the items in the results drop-down menu, it seems that Finland may truly the place to be.
posted by hrbrmstr at 1:47 PM on October 3, 2010


I'm also reminded of an adage from Adam Carolla, that not all drug users are the same. "I'd rather live in an entire city of marijuana users than have a single meth family living in my neighborhood."
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:47 PM on October 3, 2010 [19 favorites]


It made sense to me when remembered that "living next to immigrants" or "living next to homosexuals/ unmarried couples" implies that you live in that neighborhood in many cities. There are probably plenty of older American's who when asked about having gay neighbors mentally imagine their house transported to the Castro circa 1985. Then hurriedly check the box saying it would bother them very much.

Living next to heavy drinkers or people of a different religion but who are outwardly respectable middle class folks like yourself doesn't imply the same thing about your house's location (unless you're Muslim and live somewhere alcohol is illegal I guess).

At least that was my take on it.
posted by fshgrl at 1:54 PM on October 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


I've across quite a few (American) people who, on the subject of religious tolerance, will state something along the lines that we should always respect the different religions of others, be they Lutheran, Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian or Non-Denominational. I can't help but wonder if that sort of thinking is present here, and how the results would be different concerning specific despised groups like Muslims or Jews (as others have asked), as well as less outright hated but feared and demonized groups like Wiccans or atheists.
posted by luftmensch at 2:06 PM on October 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm sad Ireland wasn't one of the countries surveyed, not sure if we would have fared well or not. That Sweden etc are more tolerant than most isn't really news but Andorra is surprisingly high up those lists, isn't it?
posted by jamesonandwater at 2:10 PM on October 3, 2010


It's not the drug addicts I mind - it's their dealers sitting in parked cars outside my house and calling loudly to their friends across the street until four in the morning (I got a couple of them arrested Friday night, though; oddly enough, the street was really, really quiet last night). Similarly, it's not heavy drinkers I mind nearly as much as their stumbling home through the alley after the bars close, arguing at the top of their voices with heavy use of expletives of a copulatory nature.

Somehow I don't think my neighborhood was the target of this poll, though. Seems more aimed at suburbanites.
posted by Michael Roberts at 2:11 PM on October 3, 2010


Alas, the interactive graph doesn't tell us how people around the world would feel living next to Canadians. Which is bizarre, since most would find the constant odor of woodsmoke, fish guts and sweat-soaked flannel to be revolting.
posted by felix betachat at 2:12 PM on October 3, 2010 [5 favorites]


the single group I'd rather not live next to are parents with late teenage kids.

Agreed. We've had a few different neighbors to the south of us, and by far the most annoying ones had teenage boys. I also would have hated to have me as a neighbor when I was a teenager.
posted by Huck500 at 2:15 PM on October 3, 2010


> I would be thrilled to have any kind of neighbor but a barking dog.

Yup. I couldn't care less who's living next door, as long as they're quiet.
posted by The Card Cheat at 2:15 PM on October 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


I would be thrilled to have any kind of neighbor but a barking dog.

Somebody said it, I forget who: "The ideal neighbour is there when you need him, silent and invisible when you don't."

Sweden has always seemed like a fucking awesome place to live.

William Burroughs would disagree. I seem to recall him referring to Sweden as a blueprint for hell; everything clean, calm, organized, just-so.
posted by philip-random at 2:52 PM on October 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


this is fascinating...

what's the deal with hong kong? doesn't mind drug addicts but wouldn't like to live next to someone of a different race...
posted by carpenter at 3:02 PM on October 3, 2010


But this is the Globe & Mail: the whole point is the total shutout for team Canada over team USA! Smug self-satisfaction time (goes great with marginally superior and slightly stronger mass-market beer)!
posted by ssg at 3:03 PM on October 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


I was surprised to see my country, Trinidad and Tobago, so near the top of some of these (not that it's not true to my experience). I'm proud of us for being so cool about different races, religions, nationalities and languages, but it's disappointing we are so far behind when it comes to other groups, particularly gay people. Hopefully we won't start slipping on the other issues instead of making necessary progress on that one.

Also, maybe I wouldn't have noticed if I didn't care so much about France, but their results are really shocking. It makes me wonder how this would break down regionally in countries larger than the likes of Trinidad and Tobago (the size of a matchbox and a match, respectively).
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 3:03 PM on October 3, 2010


But yay för tolerance.

Hey, he's spellin' funny! Get 'im!
posted by mannequito at 3:11 PM on October 3, 2010


Having spent the past year looking at houses, the one that was completely, instantly disqualified was the one next to the hardcore, "DON'T TREAD ON ME! flag/yard sign Tea Party freak.
posted by R. Mutt at 3:22 PM on October 3, 2010 [4 favorites]


Today I have discovered perry in the form of Lambrini (champagne), people from Hong Kong don't want their good thing fucked up and that Jordanians are somewhat intolerant. What's the deal with the Jordanians? Influenced by Palestinians, Israelis or the British? Or were the locals always like that?
posted by jsavimbi at 3:27 PM on October 3, 2010


"10% of Americans care or would notice that an unmarried couple lived next door?"

I think it depends a lot on the neighborhood. Everyone knows EVERYONE where I live, and when we moved in, as strangers to town with our different last names, there was quite a bit of curiosity about whether we were married. I don't think most of our neighbors would have CARED if we were unmarried as long as we weren't throwing naked backyard orgies, but they were definitely curious about it. (We are married, just different names.)

(And, yeah, the teenaged hooligans on the block are waaaaaaay more annoying than the prescription-drug drug dealer was. Before they hauled him to prison. While the hooligans are still out setting off fireworks at 3 a.m. 'cause that's HILARIOUS!)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 3:31 PM on October 3, 2010


wow, hong kong, shame on you. why would you want my boricua negritude in the vicinity of your home? fer shame.
posted by liza at 3:31 PM on October 3, 2010


Japan is listed here,

* The World Values Survey contains data limited to selected countries/samples including: Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Canada, Colombia, Cyprus, Chile, China, Egypt , Ethiopía, Finland, France, Georgia , Germany, Ghana, Great Britain, Guatemala , Hong Kong, China, India, Indonesia, Iran, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Malaysia, Mali, Mexico, Moldova, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand , Norway, Peru, Poland, Romania, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Serbia, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Ukraine, United States, Uruguay, Viet Nam, Zambia. Countries have been excluded in cases where data is unavailable.

But isn't on the graph, no? I'm prone to missing things when I scan stuff.
posted by Rich Smorgasbord at 3:38 PM on October 3, 2010


On further reflection, I think this survey is more a measure of how comfortable people in different countries are at openly stating that they have certain discriminatory preferences.

I agree. This is more like a survey of what people SAY about who they would mind living next door.

Hong Kong seems to me to preach a very puritanical set of values as reflected in its standards of behavior for, example, media stars. But in practice people are fairly tolerant.
posted by jfwlucy at 4:11 PM on October 3, 2010


I am quite genuinely heartened that my country is so tolerant. We often don't see ourselves that way.

(enough already from you "oh it's all reporting bias" naysayers, I have my fingers in my ears, see? la la la la la la la la la aa la la la la aa la aa llla la la la la la la a la.)
posted by Ahab at 4:15 PM on October 3, 2010


Argentina seems surprisingly cool.
posted by brokkr at 4:25 PM on October 3, 2010


Japan is listed here... But isn't on the graph, no? I'm prone to missing things when I scan stuff.

I couldn't find it either.
posted by armage at 4:38 PM on October 3, 2010


Lots of people of another race live around you. Some are pricks. Some are lovely. You realise they're just people, so you tick "no problem."

No-one of another race lives around you, and probably never will. You don't want to look like a racist, right, so you tick "no problem." Why look bad?

People of another race are kind of around. The press is full of bad stories. Your neighbours fret. You see the occasional person of another race. You meet one once and they're a prick. You're really worried about these people. So you tick "I don't want to live next to a person of another race."

That's my limited understanding of how these things work.
posted by alasdair at 4:44 PM on October 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


Fascinating to see Australia's attitude on living next to a heavy drinker (we don't like it at all) - given that we have a large problem with binge drinking in Australia and a widely entrenched drinking culture.
posted by smoke at 4:49 PM on October 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


William Burroughs would disagree. I seem to recall him referring to Sweden as a blueprint for hell; everything clean, calm, organized, just-so.

In Burroughsland I think this is code for not being able to find any heroin there.
posted by kersplunk at 5:05 PM on October 3, 2010 [8 favorites]


Fascinating to see Australia's attitude on living next to a heavy drinker (we don't like it at all) - given that we have a large problem with binge drinking in Australia and a widely entrenched drinking culture.

Yeah, I always just though of it as drinking like an Australian. The English and Irish are pretty good at it, too.
posted by philip-random at 5:06 PM on October 3, 2010


Yeah, I have to agree with alasdair. My reaction to this is a little bit "does it matter?" Typically people behave very differently toward an actual, living, breathing neighbor than toward some exaggerated mental construct that is generated when the question is presented to them. My mom blames The Blacks (TM) for an awful lot of horrible things, but when she actually meets some perfectly affable black person, she doesn't act that way. On the contrary, her comment afterward is along the lines of "wow, what a nice black man!" See also.

With time, it is usually possible to convince your neighbors, even if they're prejudiced, that you're alright. It's much harder to convince them that everyone of your flavor is alright, because they haven't met them and are therefore inclined to stick with preexisting biases until their sample size increases.

Also, what's up with Jordan?
posted by Xezlec at 5:11 PM on October 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Friends of mine lived next door to heroin dealers. They said it was a considerable improvement over the meth dealers that had been there before.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 5:22 PM on October 3, 2010


Ok, I was brought up in Hong Kong. It makes sense that (we)they're the most outwardly racist. After all, it's a city that openly calls white people devils and black people black devils. I might have grown up thinking that was ok too if my family didn't move to Canada. There's a lot of drugs / alcohol / gambling as well and it's sort of glamorized.

@Xezlec/ Jordan is predominantly Muslim. Sunni. Orthodox. That explains a lot.
posted by Sallysings at 5:35 PM on October 3, 2010


Fascinating to see Australia's attitude on living next to a heavy drinker (we don't like it at all) - given that we have a large problem with binge drinking in Australia and a widely entrenched drinking culture.
posted by smoke at 4:49 PM on October 3 [1 favorite -] [!]


Dunno where you are smoke, but here in WA the health department has been running a tonne of ads targeting drinking as a health problem, drinking as the cause of vehicle accidents, drinking as the cause of violence, drinking as the main cause of domestic violence, drinking as a reason why friends don't look after friends, and so on ad nauseum. It's the new smoking.

It does kind of make me wonder whether the responses here are just the product of which targets people see as acceptable to project their intolerance towards, and which they see as requiring more circumspect answers.

But then again, it might be a result of the fact that almost everyone knows what a prick they can be when they're binge drinking at a mate's place, and maybe we just don't want that shit next door... ;)
posted by Ahab at 6:26 PM on October 3, 2010


I agree with Eduardo Bonilla Silva about these types of surveys. They have some use in demonstrating broad patterns, but they are very limited. Speaking about racism (but I believe applicable to other areas of discrimination), he said:

"Methodologically, I argue that because the normative in the post-civil Rights era has made illegitimate the public expression of racially based feelings and viewpoints, surveys on racial attitudes have become like multiple-choice exams in which respondents work hard to choose the "right" answers (i.e. those that fit public norms)." from Racism Without Racists
posted by Danila at 6:26 PM on October 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


My reaction to this is a little bit "does it matter?"

It matters if you live one too many houses away from some racist jackass for their generous exception ("OK, this one seems kind of like a human being...") to apply to you. It matters if you are the blessed exception (assuming your neighbours do in fact bother being decent to you), because you are connected to and care about other people like you. And it matters if you're the person cherishing ugly bigotry in your heart, because that's disgusting and it eats away at your soul. So yes, racism always matters. I'm sorry your mother believes horrible things, but that doesn't make it OK.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 6:26 PM on October 3, 2010


I'm sorry your mother believes horrible things, but that doesn't make it OK.

I wasn't saying racism is OK. Jesus. I was just saying that I think the question they asked is misleading.

Yet another case where I wish I'd had the magical social spidey-sense the rest of you do to know when a comment might be interpreted in some extreme way.

Jordan is predominantly Muslim. Sunni. Orthodox. That explains a lot.

But there are plenty of other Sunni Muslim countries on the list.
posted by Xezlec at 6:36 PM on October 3, 2010


It'd be more useful to see this stacked up against a survey of preferences over tolerances. Most conservative white, middle-aged Americans I've known (and I've known a lot) would be cool with living next-door to other races and religions, because honestly what do they care? Drug addicts make them fear for their kids, as do heavy drinkers. None of this should be truly surprising. Also, we should assume that minorities on all spectra also participated in this study.

I'd like to see how many would be okay with living in a neighborhood of people predominantly different from their own. Conservative white America can say without blinking that they'd be cool with a black neighbor. Hell, their picturing that neighbor being someone who afforded the house next to them and is willing to be a part of their neighborhood to begin with. They imagine a black family attempting to assimilate. Ask them to assimilate into a black neighborhood, though, and you'll see some more hesitance.
posted by Navelgazer at 6:39 PM on October 3, 2010


I didn't mean to be extreme, Xezlec, but at the same time I don't see how the question "Would you mind living next to someone of a different race?" (or whatever they asked) could possibly be so misleading as to make the answer "No" not a real problem. It doesn't matter how nice people are to their next-door neighbours, that attitude (and milder attitudes than that in fact) is not only unjust in theory, but is helping to make things very hard for a lot of actual people.

Though I would agree with alasdair that some people who answered "Yes" were probably lying to make themselves look good, but that's another issue.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 6:55 PM on October 3, 2010


Oops - switch around the Yes and No answers there, please, and you'll have what I meant to say.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 6:57 PM on October 3, 2010


Having traveled and lived in plenty foreign countries, I've come to the conclusion that in any society, some people are nice, some people are pricks. Some tolerant, some intolerant. It's a mixed bag no matter where you go.

That said, what the hell, Jordan? If these stats are correct, Jordan sounds to be about the most intolerant place on Earth.
posted by zardoz at 7:12 PM on October 3, 2010


OK, let me put it differently: what course of action do these results suggest we should take? Most people here seem to think it means that black/etc. people should stay away from these countries, because those people don't want them as neighbors. I'm saying maybe staying away would only exacerbate the problem, because these people don't yet know that they want them as neighbors, and that exposure is the only way they would find out. Ergo, maybe these results shouldn't matter in terms of affecting people's moving decisions.
posted by Xezlec at 7:16 PM on October 3, 2010


I'd love to see a Hot or Not style comparison, where each respondent got to decide whether they'd rather live next to a drug addict or an atheist, a homosexual or a Jordanian.
posted by klangklangston at 7:18 PM on October 3, 2010


Jordan is predominantly Muslim. Sunni. Orthodox. That explains a lot.
But there are plenty of other Sunni Muslim countries on the list.

Actually, upon a closer look at the list, the homophobic / HIV-phobic list seems to be dominated by religious (Christian as well as Muslim) countries, the racist list by Asians, the anti-unmarried-couples by Muslim countries (Georgia, a mostly Christian country, dropped way down on the list.)

And I must admit that Asian families tend to be racist, at least back 1-2 generations. My generation is pretty much over it. So it really depends on which age group they asked.
posted by Sallysings at 7:28 PM on October 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


1. Do my neighbors have loud parties more than every now and then?
2. Do my neighbors' activities involve violence, damage my property or endanger my safety of those of their children in any way?
3. Do my neighbors' relationship disputes and family dramas get discussed loudly, outside, or with flying possessions/use of firearms?
5. Do my neighbors' pets introduce vermin, constitute a noise nuisance, or threaten the safety of hapless pedestrians?

If the answer to these is all "no" then I'm pretty much good. Race, religion, relationships--none of my business. Have the occasional blowout on the weekend. Paint your house purple, get stoned and dance naked behind your privacy fence, whatever. Just don't abuse your kids or your dogs or come around strung out on heroin wanting to borrow my cellphone to call your dealer.
posted by emjaybee at 7:33 PM on October 3, 2010


Also, I suspect everyone is exaggerating the extent of their tolerance for the religion question. It seems to be one area where respondents claimed to be the most tolerant; however, I suspect the result had been different if they had used actual reviled religious minorities, like Muslims or atheists in the US, or Jews in Jordan and Iran.

Actually, if you go to the WVS website, you'll see they do ask people those specific questions. There's also a data set for Japan. However, it seems like the "neighbors" questions were not asked in Japan.

73% of Japanese people consider themselves world citizens, even though only about 5% can speak English. Now you know.
posted by shii at 9:34 PM on October 3, 2010


I'm only skimming now, but when I originally read through, I didn't get the impression that a lot of people were recommending anyone else stay away from any country on the list. Either way, this particular survey, interesting as it is, is hardly a basis for making such a decision. It doesn't reveal anything except what people feel they should say or can get away with saying. And people of colour would be at home in the most openly racist countries, anyway, depending on their particular shade. Those are the reasons these results shouldn't matter. Because again, I have to disagree with you. If we could know that this survey accurately reflected the racism situation in each country, people would be perfectly justified in using it to decide which places to avoid. Black people aren't just lessons for racist neighbours to learn at their convenience; like anybody, we need to be happy and safe. So if I'm ever deciding whether to go to say, Moscow, I'm not going to pretend I haven't read articles like this. Because I can't afford to.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 9:50 PM on October 3, 2010


And I must admit that Asian families tend to be racist, at least back 1-2 generations. My generation is pretty much over it. So it really depends on which age group they asked.

Anecdotal, but my girlfriend and her family (Asians - Singaporeans, actually) are pretty racist, if in a passive way (they'll call other races 'stupid' or 'poor' or 'smelly', but they won't go and lynch them). I'm not terribly comfortable with it. Not really sure what I could do to change it, either. (We're all ethnic Chinese, incidentally.)

It's a pity the survey didn't include Singapore. Since the ethnic riots we had back in 1965, our government (same ruling party for 47 years and counting) has always had race factor hugely in national policy, e.g. public housing quotas, keeping Malays out of the high ranks in the army, etc. In national social engineering/ propaganda the 'separate but equal' idea is emphasised, repeated and then tattooed into your brain, just in case you didn't get it the first time. It's gotten to the point where nobody actually questions it anymore - why should race matter at all? Then you fill out a lucky draw coupon, and alongside the usual guff like names and emails they ask you your race. WHY?

Our national identity cards even have our race specified on it. I'm not entirely clear what the rationale is, but it's certainly in keeping with the schizophrenic attitude we have towards the concept of race. Oh, and if you're not Chinese, Malay, or Indian, you're "Other". Did I mention that we're schizophrenic yet? Because we are.

I'd suspect that there are some pretty fucked-up attitudes towards race in Singapore, but how exactly it's hard to say, because here we do a great job of both skirting the issue while distorting it beyond any semblance to normalcy.
posted by WalterMitty at 10:15 PM on October 3, 2010


My (white) buddy wanted to marry a Chinese girl from Singapore. He thought he'd go over there and charm them...not a chance, he was afraid they were going to try to kill him and wouldn't let her go back to America. But they hated the Japanese even worse.

He should have persuaded her to tell her parents she wanted to marry a Japanese guy, they would have been happy to have him then.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 11:04 PM on October 3, 2010


Yeah, I suspect the relative self-perception of degree of experience for Hong Kong and China explain the massive differentials there. I also expect that the official mainland line that their society is entirely free of ANY racial bias (despite obvious, seeping clues to the contrary) played a large part in the responses. And anyway, why bother complaining about something like having white or black people living next door when there is a 0% chance of that ever, ever happening?

And seriously, wtf Jordan?
posted by 1adam12 at 11:13 PM on October 3, 2010


I went to the World Values Survey site and pokes around. A lot of the links go to a different server which is down right now, but I did find a bunch of pdf's here, and looked at the one for Hong Kong. For those who are curious how the question was asked, the entire basis of these graphs appears to be the following question (one of 100, it's a pretty far-reaching survey):

26. On the list are various groups of people. Who are you not willing to be neighbours with? (show card)
a. (v68) people with a criminal record
b. (v69) people of a different race
c. (v70) heavy drinkers
d. (v71) emotionally unstable people
e. (v73) foreigners who work in Hong Kong
f. (v74) people who have AIDs
g. (v75) drug addicts
h. inland migrants who reside in Hong Kong
i. (v76) homosexuals
j. people who are politically radical
posted by PercussivePaul at 11:25 PM on October 3, 2010


Great Britain

Percentage of respondents that would not like as neighbours:

People of a different race: 5.4%
People of a different religion: 2.1%
People who speak a different language: 6.3%
Immigrants/foreign workers: 15.9%

Dear fellow Brits, please stop reading the Daily Mail, it's not good for you.
posted by Helga-woo at 6:12 AM on October 4, 2010


I'm also reminded of an adage from Adam Carolla, that not all drug users are the same. "I'd rather live in an entire city of marijuana users than have a single meth family living in my neighborhood."

Also, must be dependable on Fridays. And seeds? GTFO of here.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 8:52 AM on October 4, 2010


I guess Canada likes having us as neighbors just a bit more than we like having them as neighbors. Which is madness, because they're very polite and always pick up their dog poop.
posted by davejay at 9:38 AM on October 4, 2010


I wonder what impact relative isolation from our neighbors has on this. As someone noted above, folks in Sweden don't really know their neighbors, and in the US that's true as often as not. In some other locations, presumably people know their neighbors very well and are more involved in each other's lives.
posted by davejay at 9:40 AM on October 4, 2010


The French figures seem a little bit odd. Not only the race/immigrants/homosexuals/AIDS figures are much higher (25-40%) than in the other European countries, but they're also 2 or 3 times higher than the 1999 figures for the same survey, which seems a gigantic jump (and not one reflected in other surveys). The anti-immigrant aspect could be explained by the fieldwork period (a couple of months after the 2005 surbuban riots) but what about the sudden gay and AIDS panic (that rise from 15 to 30% and 9 to 37% respectively)? I see that unlike the original US version, the "neighbor" question is inverted : French people are asked to point out "who they wouldn't mind" to have as neighbours, instead of of "who they would not like" (the coding and the columns are inverted too).
Some countries have also additional "bad neighbors" questions that sort of contradict the previous answers. Germans don't mind race (9%) and religion (5%) but do mind Muslims (30%). Gypsies neighbors get a stiff 86 and 45% in Italy and Spain respectively. And I don't know who the surveyors had in mind when they added "Militant minority" to the Vietnamese survey, but they get a walloping 48%.
posted by elgilito at 9:58 AM on October 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


I drove all over Jordan with my girlfriend last year, and the ordinary Jordanians were really nice to us. I'm a pasty englishman and she's an asian american, no rings on our fingers, so you'd expect we'd have run into some of this intolerance.
posted by w0mbat at 11:58 PM on October 4, 2010


I don't want gays living next to me because they make me look fat and slobbish, and intensely aware that none of my clothes, housewares or dishes match.
posted by klangklangston at 6:51 PM on October 5, 2010


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