Sunday, April 22, 2007

At least we're not racist

Larvatus Prodeo reports on a story in the Australian media that one quarter of Australians surveyed in the Human Beliefs and Values Survey would not want to live next to gays. It's an appalling statistic, and so I tracked down the paper - Love Thy Neighbour: How Much Bigotry is there is Western Countries [PDF] - to see whether New Zealand was any better. Sadly, from the table of results on p26, it seems we're not really - 22.3 percent of New Zealand respondents also said they would not want gays as neighbours, and this is similar to results from the USA (22.9%) and UK (24.1%). I really have to echo LP's question and wonder what the hell these people are afraid of...

The survey asked about prejudice against other groups, and there is at least some good news there: New Zealand is the second least racist country of those surveyed, with only 3% not wanting to live next to people of another race. Paradoxically, we're slightly more prejudiced against immigrants or foreign workers (5.4%), though this is still pretty good internationally. Unfortunately, the survey failed to ask about Jews and Muslims, so NZ has been excluded from the subsequent analysis measuring overall bigotry. Maybe they'll remember to do it next time...



Sorry, I can't really get too excited about this. So, if I moved to Australia (or moved around in New Zealand) a survey suggests that around one in four people wouldn't want my pansy arse for a next door neighbour. Whoop-de-shit. Discourtesy returned with significant interest, but in the real world we better figure out a way to get along without bloodshed.

Posted by Craig Ranapia : 4/22/2007 02:44:00 PM

I really don't get why people are bothered about gay neighbours. I agree with the traditional Catholic teaching about sex outside of a married husband and wife being sinful, but I have no problem with gay neighbours.

I mean, are they going to never mow their lawn, or have smelly rubbish next to our fence or have wild parties on a Sunday night? I can't see how their sexual preference affects me at all.

Don't get it...

Posted by Muerk : 4/22/2007 03:29:00 PM

"would oyu like a person from this group as your neighbour"

does seem like a question you would only answer correctly if you were on guard against racism.

Anyway - are we not missing the statistic on how many people prefer gays as neighbours?

And how many people prefer to live next to another race? I expect it would exceed 3%.

As to religion - I hear the Exclusive Bretheren make good neighbours.


Posted by Anonymous : 4/22/2007 03:33:00 PM

I loved living in a mainly Indian suburb when we were in Auckland. Weirdly it was the Indians, Pacific Islanders and Chinese who were to most chatty and helpful (I was almost ready to give birth and we used the buses and we had a small child). It was the Asian and Pacific people who were ready to help with the pram and the toddler.

White people just kind of ignored us.

I had one Japanese lady on a bus ask us if we slept with our toddler in our bed, which we did. She was so relieved, she thought white people were too cold with their children.

Because I was a high risk pregnancy I had to have a few emergency trips into National Women's while Shoei stayed home with Peter. All my taxi drivers were Indian guys, and they were so sweet, protective and helpful.

So yeah, bring on the different ethnic group neighbours.

Posted by Muerk : 4/22/2007 03:56:00 PM

Craig: Like Muerk (and Larvatus Prodeo), I'm puzzled as to why people would give a shit, as well as appalled that levels of bigotry are still so high.

The stats reveal that Scandanavian scountries are significantly more tolerant than other western nations; it would be nice to see how they're doing it.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 4/22/2007 04:37:00 PM

Of course, Sweden doesn't really have that many immigrants that you could tell aren't Swedish unlike NZ. So I give us extra 'Kudos'.

Posted by Anonymous : 4/22/2007 10:16:00 PM

Funny that we concentrate on the 22% "bad" people but not compliment the 80% good people who dont carwe about the sexual orientation of their neighbour.

Headline should read "80% of us dont care if homosexuals live next door"

Posted by Anonymous : 4/23/2007 07:02:00 AM

Fair ponit, Gerrit. Funny that our focus tends towards "one in five people are complete dicks" rather than "four out of five people are generally alright."

Posted by dc_red : 4/23/2007 08:41:00 AM

Of course, homosexuals are famous for driving down neighbourhood house prices.


Posted by Lyndon : 4/23/2007 09:34:00 AM

I read it more as "80% of people don't see a negative connection between being good neighbours and having a particular sexuality".

I wonder how many would rather have gay neighbours than, say, grumpy ones?

Posted by Moz : 4/23/2007 02:05:00 PM

Statistics aside, I'm intrigued by the derivations developed by the authors regarding a 'bigotry index'. Although I'm inherently drawn to quantitative analyses, I would be very interested at the rationale behind the indices and equations they use. I just don't see how you can actually reduce humanity and the quite complex facets of humanity to a set of equations. I don't even know of a way that you could test whether your models are correct.

Posted by Anonymous : 4/23/2007 06:23:00 PM

Anonymous... why are you in NZ in the first place?
The people that made NZ were the Europeans, if your own race couldn't make your country desirable, then why come here? It's just a rhetorical question, it doesn't need an answer. There is a reason why white people look the other way,

Posted by Anonymous : 4/23/2007 08:31:00 PM