Unpopular Muslims

In a very funny episode of Kath & Kim tonight (including a great cameo by Matt Lucas as Sharon’s half-sister) both racist opinions (Kim) and racial identity based on a distant Indigenous ancestor (Kath) were enjoyably satirised. It was all far easier to take than a sanctimonious report More than tolerance: Embracing cultural diversity for health released this week by VicHealth.

But even tiresome bureaucratic documents can contain interesting data, this time a Victoria-specific study of racism, prejudice and discrimination. 12% of respondents agreed that they were ‘prejudiced against other cultures’, and 10% agreed with a conventionally racist proposition ‘not all races of people are equal’. A similar question in a national survey in 1998 found 16% of the population were racist, and 12% in 2001 in a Queensland and NSW sample.

Most of the questions on actual experience of intolerance or discrimination suggest that a only a small proportion of NESB migrants regularly experience it. It is by far the most likely to occur at a sporting or other public event (15%), perhaps because such events stir tribal passions and the offender is unlikely to see the victim again, easing social pressure pressure for tolerance, or be subject to institutional penalties. The next most likely location is the workplace (7%), though whether from customers or other staff it does not say; followed by education (6%), shops and restaurants (4%), and in housing and policing (3%). The low figure for shops, restaurants and housing perhaps shows again how the profit motive driving out other human sentiments can be a good thing.

Also out this week was an Issues Deliberation Australia report Australia Deliberates: Muslims and Non-Muslims in Australia. Continue reading “Unpopular Muslims”