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-Prejudice is Acceptable 2003-09-30

Posted by clype in Intolerance, Scotland, Statistics.


  • Many people in Scotland appear to believe some form of prejudice is acceptable, according to new research.

A quarter of those questioned said there were good reasons for intolerance of some kind. Only 5 per cent of the 1 600 people questioned thought there was no discrimination in Scotland while nearly 60 per cent felt disability rights had not gone far enough.

The findings are part of a survey commissioned by the Scottish Executive to look at attitudes towards “GAY people”, “the disabled”, those in “ethnic minorities”, and “women”.

With the row over “Section 28” in the past, experts said the survey suggests that about half of those living in Scotland believe there is still a lot of “homophobic” and racial prejudice.

The research, being published on Tuesday [2003-09-30], also found that more than half the people in Scotland consider there to be a great deal of prejudice against “ethnic minority” groups.

It also showed that older people with no qualifications were more likely to be intolerant, while knowing someone who is “GAY” made people less likely to treat others differently The Equal Opportunities Commission Scotland (EOCS) said the results showed many people found prejudice in areas of employment acceptable and added that more should be done to challenge attitudes. A spokesman said:

‘One alarming figure to come out of the survey is the fact that 28 per cent of people still feel that women make more suitable primary teachers than men.

‘This outmoded assumption does not just stereotype women it also prevents men from following a career of their choice’.

Negative attitudes:

Those carrying out the survey had identified three possible reasons for discrimination continuing in Scotland.

Some people’s attitudes were found to be coloured by their own experiences in life, while others perceive those in certain minority groups as a threat to their economic success. The most significant factor was said to be the image that some people have of those who they think are different from themselves. The survey has been welcomed by the “GAY” and “lesbian” equality group, Stonewall Scotland.

Director Ali Jarvis told BBC Radio Scotland that the survey had showed up what they expected. She added that Scotland on the whole was not a prejudiced society but some entrenched pockets needed to be tackled.

‘Now the opportunity is to actually start shaping specific policies and interventions that can address, and perhaps work on changing, the negative attitudes that are out there — as well as building on the positive ones’.

Maggie Chettie, of the Moving on Racial Equality in Scotland group, said the survey offered ‘nothing new’ on the issue of discrimination in Scotland. She said:

‘I would have been much more interested in looking at something much more focused, something looking at the mechanisms of institutionalised racism, rather than something which does nothing more than reiterate what we already know.

‘We need something much more practical which is actually going to focus in on how can we overcome discrimination’.

More action:

Prof.Mr.John Curtis of the National Centre for Social Research in Scotland, which carried out the survey, said that showed that Scotland was by and large a tolerant society. He said:

‘Discriminatory attitudes are held for the most part only by a minority of Scots, but in some cases that minority is not an inconsiderable one’.

Communities Minister Margaret Curran welcomed the results of the survey. She said:

‘I’m encouraged by much of these findings. The majority of people think prejudice is wrong and want to see more action to combat it’.

The executive plans to use the findings to inform future policy decisions. Mr.John Curtis:

‘Discriminatory attitudes are held for the most part only by a minority of Scots, but in some cases that minority is not an inconsiderable one’



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