One in 10 Australians racist, says study

September 30th, 2008 - 12:07 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, Sep 30 (IANS) Racism is waning but it still exists in Australia, one of the most multicultural countries in the world, say researchers.In 2007-08, just under 200,000 people migrated to Australia, accounting for 59 percent of the increase in the country’s population of about 21 million.

It all went to make the country even more multicultural. The Australian social fabric is now a rich tapestry of migrants from nearly 200 countries.

Still, one in 10 Australians believe that some races are superior to others. “One in 10 is a lot. It means one person in every lunch room, one person in every locker room, five or 10 people on a train.

“But it’s better than in many other parts of the world, certainly in parts of western Europe where three in 10 people would hold those views,” University of Western Sydney’s Kevin Dunn said.

In a study entitled “Challenging Racism: The Anti-Racism research project”, headed by Dunn, 12,500 people were interviewed over almost a decade.

Most respondents singled out Muslims as a group that did not “fit in” Australian society.

“They stand out at the moment as the group that people would be most concerned about. There (are) stronger levels of social distance or fear of Islam or concern about Islam than of any other group at the moment,” Dunn, a professor of human geography and urban studies, told reporters.

Next in the “not belonging” list were indigenous Aboriginals followed by black Africans. In recent years, there has been an increasing number of immigrants from Sudan, Somalia and other African countries.

Of all the states and territories, New South Wales, which includes Sydney, was the most racist. But this could be because the state and its capital receive the largest number of immigrants.

While racism was more common in the older generation, younger Australians were far more tolerant. The study found that more than 80 percent people see cultural diversity as a benefit “and that’s a good thing for Australian society”, Dunn said.

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