Abravanel, the Blog

Jewish life and not only in Greece / Εβραϊκή ζωή και όχι μόνο στην Ελλάδα

Bigotry in Greece and World, a survey

Posted by Abravanel, the Blog στο 07/11/2007

In Jaywalker’s blog I happened to run on a post he did on a university study on bigotry; the post was so interesting that I decided to steal his find and post about it also here – no hard feelings I hope. :)

Vani K Borooah from the University of Ulster and John Mangan from the University of Queensland were the key authors in this rather interesting study. The study included 23 countries from the so called Western World; practically Europe, USA, Canada, New Zealand and Australia. The key question was:

“Would you like to have a person from this group as your neighbour?”

The 5 groups were: of a different race, muslims, jews, immigrants or foreign workers and homosexuals. The study didn’t only concentrate on this question but went on to analyse how bigotry was distributed between groups, how it related to the country in question, to political beliefs, unhapiness and other indices.

bigotry

The results were unsettling both for the Western World and Greece. Copying the findings of the study:

The highest proportion of bigoted persons (bigotry count ratio) was in Northern Ireland and Greece – where, respectively, 44 and 43 percent of respondents did not want persons from at least one of the five groups as their neighbours – and the lowest proportion of bigoted persons was in Sweden (13 percent), Iceland (18 percent), Canada (22 percent), and Denmark (22 percent).

The value of the bigotry gap ratio – the mean, percentage amount by which the bigotry scores of all the persons was above the bigotry line (z=1) – was also highest for Greece (51 percent) and Northern Ireland (50 percent): not only did these countries have a high proportion of bigoted persons, bigots in these countries were, on average, more bigoted than in countries.

Greece scored second worse for people from a different race, universally worse for muslims, second worse for jews (with Spain being surprisingly first), 4th worse for immigrants and 4th worse for homosexuals. The troubling fact was that, while countries usually had some groups that they disliked in particular, Greece scored high in bigotry in all 5 groups; practicaly sharing a first place with Northern Ireland if we take into account all indices. Practically almost 1 out of 2 people in Greece would not like as a neighbour, at least, one of the aforementioned groups, (43.2% to be exact). Also the greek population of bigots is the most bigotted one on the whole western world.

Even after controlling for personal characteristics, the likelihood of a person being bigoted depended on the country in which he/she lived. With Northern Ireland as the residual country, and after controlling for personal characteristics, persons who lived in Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Iceland, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Sweden, and the USA were less likely to be bigoted (and strongly bigoted) – and persons who lived in Greece were more likely to be bigoted (and strongly bigoted) – than those living in Northern Ireland. The country effect for the other countries was not significantly different from zero.

What I didn’t expect for Greece was such a high degree of homophobia, equally high with the very catholic Italy and Ireland. I didn’t also expect such a high percentage for muslims but I imagine that the equation muslim=turk still works against muslim acceptance. At least immigrants were the most accepted from all groups, though still the rate of rejection was extremely high. As far as jews are concerned there weren’t any surprises with Greece being twice as judeophobic, as the media of the Western World. Interestingly enough, this was also the group were Greece differed more from the western media, scoring 97% more.

To tell the truth I feel that real percentages must be higher. The question was fairly straight-forward and at least some people must have dodged answering in a negative way against some groups, as not to appear racist. I doubt that this is the case in Greece as people still do not actually think that racist behaviors are socially unacceptable – I’m trying this moment to back this sensation with some tangible data.

Anyway still quite disturbing and as far as jewish presence is concerned verifies what we’ve been saying insofar. I’m even more troubled if I think that the paper didn’t included Roma; I tremble when I think what the percentages would be in that case. :(

Again thanks to Jaywalker for finding about this interesting survey.

13 Σχόλια to “Bigotry in Greece and World, a survey”

  1. […] out this post from Abravanel about bigotry in Greece and the world. The main question was: Would you like to have a person from this group as your […]

  2. Tzimis said

    Your own country is the most racist in the world and runs an appartheid regime. Where the hell do you get the nerve to criticise Greece? Oh and don’t give me that «i am Greek too» claptrap. You may be a Greek citizen but Greek you are not.

    If you act concerned about 43% Greeks saying they wouldn’t like a psrson from at least one of these categories to live close to them (notice it doesn’t say they want them removed or expelled) I am curious why you don’t even mention that in your country

    «40% of Israel’s Jews believe «the state needs to support the emigration of Arab citizens»
    «Nearly half would not allow an Arab in their home and 41% want segregation of entertainment facilities.»

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,,1738320,00.html

    Typicall jewish double standard and hypocricy.Untill Israel stops being an appartheid state and becomes a democracy Jews have absolutely no moral leg to stand on, criticizing Greeks who are a far more tolerant people than they ever will be.

    «Overall, it pays to be racist in Israel because you don’t pay a price for it and you can always explain it away by a security need and a self-defence mechanism,» he said. «Racists have a long time ago moved from the street to government benches.»

  3. abravanel said

    Thank you for your kind input, it always warms my heart when I see people who really know how to shift focus and change subject as to express their love for their fellow compatriot.

    As a human being I am concerned for the ongoing suffering of the middle eastern people. But in no way I feel that I am to be held responsible for the acts of a government which is foreign to me.

    don’t give me that “i am Greek too” claptrap

    I believe that this quote of yours is definitely what this is all about. Unfortunately for you, you’re in no position to dictate who’s Greek and this includes Greek Jews who have a continuous presence in Greece for more than 2000 years.

    So I’m afraid that you’ll stick with having me and the rest of the Jewish community as a compatriots for a loong, loong time. :)

  4. Jack said

    I think the survey should have split the Jewish segment into two. for instance the survey should have said. Would you like to have a person from this group as your neighbour?” A Greek JEW. A foreign JEW. I am sure that any biggotry against Jews would have had a very large percentage against the ‘Foreign Jew’.

  5. abravanel said

    Indeed I agree with you though I, sometimes, have a feeling that accepting a greek jew as greek causes more trouble than accepting an eg a french jew.

    This because in the case of the french jew one perceives the jewish religion as part of the «foreigner» concept; while the «greek jew» upsets him more because it challenges his stereotypes about what is a real greek.

  6. omadeon said

    Hi Abravanel, happy Hanuka (is that how it’s called) and a Happy New Year.

    Actually there is another social parameter which sheds more light on such statistics: The degree of trust that people in a particular culture have towards one another. Greece is at the bottom-part of the scale, according to recent statistics. The most trustful countries in Europe are Scandinavian.\

    When there is little amount of trust in a society, many bad things follow. One is financial misfortune, since recent studies also showed that trust is essential for economic development, too. The other is more mistrust of anyone who is perceived as alien («not one of us»), since it’s considered difficult enough to trust your own people!

    If we did a correlation curve between statistics about trust and statistics about xenophobia I am sure we’d find that they show a direct relationship between lack of trust (generally) and mistrust of «aliens» (xenophobia).

    The fact that there is probably worse racism in Israel against Palestinians doesn’t mean that Greeks aren’t racists, nor does it mean we can equate Israeli citizens with Jews generally (or with Greek Jews). This kind of «logic» is well-known to lead nowhere (but justifications of racism).

    I would say the overwhelming majority of the species «Homo Sapiens» tends to be quite racist, overtly or covertly, at various percentages that differ from place to place.

    During the summer I met some Israelis who are equally disillusioned about Israeli common mentality as I am with Greek common mentality, and we laughed together agreeing that in both countries there exist far too many bad people.

    What would we do, now, if the bad people became a majority? Probably they are already, and we still cope with it! :)

  7. Kat said

    Hi A, I’m glad you’re back. I’d checked on you a few times and wondered if you had better things to do and abandoned the site. In any case, I second what Omadeon says. Just because one country is «this,» it doesn’t invalidate the facts and stats presented on the country in question. According to the chart, many countries deserve criticism.

    My country and citizenship also become an issue and focus of personal attack just because I present facts about Greece from legitimate sources (Eurostat, World Bank, Mercer, etc.), even without commentary or analysis. Why? Obviously because I’m a foreigner. Truth is truth, from where I stand.

    Glad to see you back and Happy New Year!

  8. Abravanel said

    Actually there is another social parameter which sheds more light on such statistics: The degree of trust that people in a particular culture have towards one another. Greece is at the bottom-part of the scale, according to recent statistics.

    As always I need to apologize for the delay – I sincerely hope you had great holidays!

    I agree with your remarks on trust and though I am not aware of the specific survey I do not find it hard to believe. :) Indeed I also feel that there is an instinctive distrust towards your neighbor though I must remark that on the other hand greeks indeed are capable of showing an extreme hospitality towards foreigners/tourists. In general it’s a complex issue which I feel that involves not only common historical background but also how each matter was presented and perceived by greek society of the time. Eg why there is no historical record in the collective memory of the ousting of the greek community of Egypt? I know that everyone knows that there were greeks in Alexandria, mainly due to the presence of Kavafis, but noone seems to know how they were gone. So it is more complex than simply saying that greeks are «distrustful».

    Also I agree on the remarks about human sapiens and I admit that myself find myself with thoughts which I must constantly think and check to verify that are not products of personal prejudices. Still again I must point out that I never claimed or thought that Greece is an island of antisemitic violence in a sea of filosemitism. But the fundamental difference between eg France where jews suffer direct physical attacks and Greece where this thing does not happen is the catholic indifference which racism issues are perceived in greek society. Nobody really cares and strangely, (though it’s hardly surprising for one who knows the inner workings), leftist organizations stay silent and care only for immigrants, the more exotic the better. A proof of this was the absence of any initiative on the neonazi Plevris trial, while on the other hand supposedly antiracism initiatives are not hard to find in the greek Left.

    My country and citizenship also become an issue and focus of personal attack just because I present facts about Greece from legitimate sources (Eurostat, World Bank, Mercer, etc.), even without commentary or analysis. Why? Obviously because I’m a foreigner. Truth is truth, from where I stand.

    I know, I know… It is rather typical of greeks to refer to Greece as psorokostena, a derisive and derogatory term, for Greece when describing aspects of their daily life but violently object to any criticism presented by those perceived as non-greeks. My feeling is that this is closely related to the high state of insecurity greeks have as a nation, not because of the difficult recent past but with the need, (an artificial need imposed by the foreigners to the young greek nation during it’s founding in 1830), to constantly confront themselves with their glorious ancient past. Hopefully as Greece progresses, and indeed it has made leaps since 1974, this constant paranoia will decrease.

  9. Abravanel said

    Hi A, I’m glad you’re back. I’d checked on you a few times and wondered if you had better things to do and abandoned the site.Abandon? Never! :)

    To the despair of many there isn’t anything better to do simply because this is my life! It’s interesting to speak from an accademic point of view like we do now but these statistics, to me, translate in hundreds of moments of hate suffered.

    Just that as I said it is at the moment very difficult to gain web access but I do intend to return fully in action in the near future – thanks for keeping up with me though!

  10. Jimmy really needs a good JEWISH psychiatrist for he is sick sick sick! Israel has Arab members of parliament, minister and ambassadors. The Israeli ambassador to Greece is an Arab — some racism! Greece has a sizeable Muslim community yet it does allow them to build a mosque anywhere near Athens. How many Moslem members of parliament, ministers and ambassadors does Greece have?

    The first high ranking Greek officer to be killed fighting the Italians in Albania was a Jew
    Mordechai Frizi — there is a street named after him in Athens and a monument in Halkis. Among the first soldiers to face the axis forces in Albania were Greek (yes Greek) Jews from Thessaloniki. What a waste!

    Come to Israel and join us brothers and sisters and leave these idiotic ignorant racists to play to rot.

  11. Demetri said

    @Inselberg

    Only a small percentage of Muslims in Greece are in the country legally. (thus have no real property rights in Greece).

    I would note there are other places of worship in Athens (including Jewish). Your point about the no Mosques in Athens would have been a fair criticism a few years ago. (mostly fears over being turned back into Turkey… which I’m sure most Israelis can sympathize with when it comes to Palestinians building new Mosques). However, the law has changed to be more accommodating.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/nov/28/athens-mosque-far-right-zaha-hadid

    Furthermore there have been Muslims in Greek government for decades. (typically two representative from Thrace where Muslims are most numerous)

    As for your comment about the WW2… Greeks were one of the few countries that actually fought Axis powers head on even though facing certain defeat.

    I would agree there is some racism in Greece (like every country) but virtually all of it is in the form of rhetoric and minor acts of vandalism (often by non-Greek illegals I would add). I don’t believe a single Jew has ever been killed for being specifically Jewish in Greece since WW2 (or at least not by a Greek).

    In short, suggesting Greeks (as a people) are «anti-Semites» basically amounts to blood libel… against Greeks.

    As for myself, I have great respect for jewish people and consider them the current gold standard of humanity. However, just because Jews have often been the targets of prejudice but does not mean only Jewish people are targets of prejudice. (or can’t be bigots themselves)

    For instance have you ever considered why do people call the former self-identifying ethnic Bulgarians of the former Yugoslavia «Macedonians»? Is a Bulgarian dialect renamed «Macedonian» by cold war communists the language of Macedonians? Is the ancient kingdom of Paeonia «Macedonia»? Does the Torah teach that ancient Macedonians were Slavs or Greeks?

    Frankly, I interpret any individuals that support FYROM as being morality complicit an an attempted genocide of the Greek people. (and unfortunately there are many of them).

    So when you speak of racism…. I know exactly what being a target of racism feels like.

  12. […] out this post from Abravanel about bigotry in Greece and the world. The main question was: Would you like to have a person from this group as your […]

  13. […] joint survey by University of Ulster and Queensland had tried earlier to place this question in a global […]

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