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Prejudices worldwide - who would you like to have as a neighbor - and who would you not?

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Everyone has prejudices. But it is not that easy to grasp. Researchers have tried it - with a worldwide survey on the subject of neighborhoods.

  • With the Ask who you want as a neighbor or not, researchers try to track down prejudices.
  • The Global "World Values ​​Survey" shows that the same prejudices do not prevail in all countries.
  • A controversial thesis holds that prejudice with the economic situation related.

A footballer as a neighbor

“People like him as a football player. But they don't want a Boateng as a neighbor. " This is how the AfD politician Alexander Gauland said in the spring to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, the link will open in a new window.

The remark was an insult to German international Jérôme Boateng. And she assumed that Germans generally have something against people of other skin color. The fans and the public reacted accordingly.

Next door to our prejudices

The statement that people do not want certain other people as neighbors, however, sums up prejudices. It is precisely with this question that researchers try to scientifically grasp prejudices.

Contribution to the topic

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How can we clearly convey that we all have prejudices or are perhaps racist? A pioneering experiment by a US primary school teacher from the 1960s provides the answers.

You are doing this as part of the “World Values ​​Survey”, the link opens in a new window of a survey on the values ​​and world views of people from all over the world. The respondents have to choose from a list people from those groups with whom they do not want to live next door to each other.

Minorities are more likely to be affected

"The question is well suited to inquire about prejudice in the population," says the psychologist Mary Kite from Ball State University in Indiana, USA. She has long been concerned with the subject of prejudice, i.e. the fact that we judge other people solely on the basis of their group membership.

Everyone has latent prejudices, that is obviously part of being human. And all over the world, minorities are more likely to face prejudice than majorities.

Different countries, different prejudices

However, there are sometimes clear differences between different countries when it comes to prejudices, according to Kite. As an example, here is a comparison of results from Switzerland and India.

In the “World Values ​​Survey” there is the option of specifying people of a different ethnicity as undesirable neighbors. Based on this, a few years ago an American journalist created a world map of the most racist countries, the link opens in a new window.

Prejudice or Social Norm?

Such comparisons, however, also provoke contradiction. Because prejudices cannot be captured very precisely with the “neighbor question”. Some respondents simply give the answer that is socially desirable.

"Then you don't really understand their prejudices, but the prevailing social norms," ​​says the political scientist Roberto Foa from the University of Melbourne, "or what is considered politically correct."

An enlightening way

Social norms can cover up or reinforce subliminal prejudices. Michael Ochsner from the Swiss Competence Center for Social Sciences (FORS, link opens in a new window) in Lausanne, which conducts the survey for the “World Values ​​Survey” in Switzerland, also sees this problem.

Nevertheless, he considers the question of undesirable neighbors to be an informative way of researching prejudices in different countries using the existing survey data and comparing them internationally.

Prejudices change

The “World Values ​​Survey” is particularly valuable because it is carried out at regular intervals. In this way one can show developments over time, such as a growing rejection of migrants.

Prejudices against migrants are increasing in many places. The situation is different when it comes to prejudices against homosexuals, drug addicts and single parents, says political scientist Roberto Foa: "In many Western countries, prejudices against these population groups are decreasing."

If the cake shrinks, prejudices grow

Scientists do not agree on why this is so. One of the most common theses is that an economic upswing melts prejudices.

"When the cake grows, it's easy to share with others," explains Foa. If the economy stagnates, on the other hand, prejudices are based on a zero-sum game: "If someone gets more, I get less."

The data behind the charts

Populism also creates prejudice

The argument with economic growth is, however, controversial. Because even in countries whose economies are growing, certain prejudices are increasing. Populism also plays a role here. “It's easy to stir up prejudices,” says the political scientist Foa - this can currently be observed in some countries such as the USA, the link will open in a new window.

This development gives the researcher food for thought. It is all the more important to him that the “World Values ​​Survey” also documents the coming changes well. The next global survey will start soon.

Broadcast: SRF 1, Einstein, January 19, 2017, 9 p.m.

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  • Comment from Franz NANNI (Aetti)
    For the second, then there is experience, and when experience says that, for example, Muslims keep getting hold of things because of their belief, we automatically have an enemy image because our instincts (our genes) tell us that this can happen to us too, so keep it away .. so a normal function that ensures survival and existence. Seen in this way, prejudices are a normal healthy trait which, depending on knowledge and experience, can be removed or strengthened
    Agree Agree to the comment Select answers to reply to the comment
  • Comment from Franz NANNI (Aetti)
    at Dudle et al .... Racism ... it lives EVERYWHERE, in all ethnicities, in all colors ... every person IS a racist .. that is in the genes. but you can adapt, change your opinion through experience .. when the unknown becomes known, you GET TO KNOW each other .. it's like love .. it doesn't come by itself .. you have to weigh it up .. that starts with the pheromones .. then eyes etc .. but that takes time. and that is something we are missing!
    Agree Agree to the comment Select answers to reply to the comment
  • Comment from Franz NANNI (Aetti)
    A good neighbor is polite, makes no noise, or announces him and invites you to join in, he sometimes comes to a grill, offers a "grill", sometimes asks for 3 eggs or a cup of sugar .. does not mix in my affairs, and doesn't care about my wife / daughter, good neighbors help each other so necessary and people like you and me are ... so they can be green, yellow, orange and pink, believe in Globi and Bubu, well! THAT'S THE GOOD!
    Agree Agree to the comment Select answers to reply to the comment

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