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  • Jul 24, 2014
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My Take
PUBLISHED : Monday, 20 May, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 20 May, 2013, 1:51am

Survey exposes racism's shameful face

Are we among the most racist people in the world? I am afraid so, if a global study called the World Values Survey is anything to go by.

Apparently, Hong Kong people prefer to live next door to drug addicts, heavy drinkers, mentally disturbed people, criminals and HIV sufferers than people of a different race. When asked: "Who would you not like to have as a neighbour?" an astonishing 71.8 per cent of Hongkongers picked someone of a different race. This makes us among the most racially intolerant places in the world, alongside India, Jordan and Bangladesh. Generally, racial tolerance is low across Asia and the Middle East. Pakistan, however, is remarkably tolerant, despite endemic violence within its society.

English-speaking countries such as Britain, the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, and Latin American nations, except Venezuela and the Dominican Republic, are more tolerant as are Scandinavian countries. Euro-zone countries vary greatly, which has a lot to do with the debt crisis. The survey data was originally compiled by Swedish economists Niclas Berggen and Therese Nilsson, but was graphically rearranged and put on a world map by Washington Post journalist Max Fisher. Fisher tries to put in a good word for Asian countries like Hong Kong. He thinks people in western countries are socially conditioned to speak of racial tolerance, regardless of what they privately think. But if we Asians don't even bother to hide our intolerance, that kind of makes it worse, doesn't it?

We all know that in Hong Kong, the lighter your skin colour, the higher your rank in the social hierarchy; and the darker, the lower. Chinese University of Hong Kong anthropologist Paul O'Connor has cast doubt on whether the survey was a good reflection of current attitudes in Hong Kong, arguing it was truer of the recent past than the current situation. For sure, we like to direct our animus now towards mainland Chinese. By the dictionary definition of the word, it is not racism. But it is no less shameful. We think we are just morally, politically and culturally superior, mostly because we know little or nothing about what's really happening on the mainland beyond clichéd narratives found in the mass media.

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This article is now closed to comments

SpeakFreely
I agree with Alex totally. Despite Hk claims itself as world city, we don't have a lot of senior officials are non Chinese in both public snd private sectors. We call non chiense : ah cha, black ghost, ghost, but we are angry if people call us china man.
KwunTongBypass
If one compares Asian and European/American comments about this 'survey' one realizes where racism is an issue, and where a problem!
whymak
Please read the other kind of racists crawling out of the woodwork in Mr. Philip Bowring's May 19 column.
ianson
Just go back and read your past pieces, Lo, to find a leading racist thinker getting all the press time he wants on SCMP.
Will.I.Am
There's a different between telling the truth and lying. HK'ers are too honest? Just like the Durex condom survey, HK'ers rank at the bottom for frequency for sex, whereas the French, Greeks etc rank at the top by **** almost every other day! Take surveys result with a pinch of salt.
Will.I.Am
There's a different between telling the truth and lying. HK'ers are too honest? Just like the Durex condom survey, HK'ers rank at the bottom for frequency for sex, whereas the French, Greeks etc rank at the top by **** almost every other day! Take surveys result with a pinch of salt.
XYZ
I don't believe the findings. It might be that it is measuring political correctness rather than racial intolerance. I'm willing to bet that a close examination of the methods and questions used in the study would expose its flaws.
johnyuan
Washington Post got it correctly. It is conditioning that the western countries are more racially tolerant. The requirement for political correctness in social order in education less so in corporation and media in the US seems to have been receding in recent years. Even racial slurs were incorporated in a recent commercial. Perhaps people are themselves again who can hardly hide what our still primitive side of human -- not much different from all other species to be discriminatory. That is not to say we should let our instinct and impulse to govern our social behavior and even to take pride for being a racist.
mark.joe.7186896
Umm...no, the rag aka Washington Post got it WRONG.
71.8% of the respondents in HK said they were WILLING to live with folks of a different race.
Believe in what you may; nobody can (or care to) change YOUR mind if you insist your mom was a guy.
johnyuan
So let the SCMP does a correction a.s.a.p. One needs no believing to substitute knowing.
mark.joe.7186896
The so-called survey got the data for HK (and Bangledesh) wrong:
****badcanto.wordpress.com/2013/05/19/hong-kong-is-not-the-most-racist-region-in-the-world/
HK'ers are among the MOST tolerant of other races.
hkboston
Thanks!
 
 
 
 
 

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