Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Racial Tolerance: The Cartography of Bullshit

The Washington Post reports

A fascinating map of the world’s most and least racially tolerant countries

Among the dozens of questions that World Values asks, the Swedish economists found one that, they believe, could be a pretty good indicator of tolerance for other races. The survey asked respondents in more than 80 different countries to identify kinds of people they would not want as neighbors. Some respondents, picking from a list, chose “people of a different race.” The more frequently that people in a given country say they don’t want neighbors from other races, the economists reasoned, the less racially tolerant you could call that society. (The study concluded that economic freedom had no correlation with racial tolerance, but it does appear to correlate with tolerance toward homosexuals.)
Unfortunately, the Swedish economists did not include all of the World Values Survey data in their final research paper. So I went back to the source, compiled the original data and mapped it out on the infographic above. In the bluer countries, fewer people said they would not want neighbors of a different race; in red countries, more people did. 
That is so badly worded I had to read it twice to figure it out but if you are blue you are good and if you are red you are not.
Anglo and Latin countries most tolerant. People in the survey were most likely to embrace a racially diverse neighbor in the United Kingdom and its Anglo former colonies (the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand) and in Latin America. The only real exceptions were oil-rich Venezuela, where income inequality sometimes breaks along racial lines, and the Dominican Republic, perhaps because of its adjacency to troubled Haiti. Scandinavian countries also scored high.
India and Jordan by far the least tolerant. In only two of 81 surveyed countries, more than 40 percent of respondents said they would not want a neighbor of a different race. This included 43.5 percent of Indians and 51.4 percent of Jordanian. (Note: World Values’ data for Bangladesh and Hong Kong appear to have been inverted, with in fact only 28.3 and 26.8 percent, respectively, having indicated they would not want a neighbor of a different race. Please see correction at the bottom of this post.)
Racial tolerance low in diverse Asian countries. Nations such as Indonesia and the Philippines, where many racial groups often jockey for influence and have complicated histories with one another, showed more skepticism of diversity. This was also true, to a lesser extent, in China and Kyrgyzstan. There were similar trends in parts of sub-Saharan Africa.
One guy on face book today described this as the cartography of bullshit and I am inclined to agree. The Washington Post then produced another map showing ethnic diversity in nations around the world. 

What the hell ethnic diversity has to do with race is the obvious question. Interestingly the DR Congo is one of the most ethnically diverse in the world where as Australia is ethnically homogeneous.
  African countries are the most diverse. Uganda has by far the highest ethnic diversity rating, according to the data, followed by Liberia. In fact, the world’s 20 most diverse countries are all African. There are likely many factors for this, although one might be the continent’s colonial legacy. Some European overlords engineered ethnic distinctions to help them secure power, most famously the Hutu-Tutsi division in Rwanda, and they’ve stuck. European powers also carved Africa up into territories and possessions, along lines with little respect for the actual people who lived there. When Europeans left, the borders stayed (that’s part of the African Union’s mandate), forcing different groups into the same national boxes.
The problem then becomes not an issue of race but ethnicity or more simply apples being compared with oranges. I can assure you New Zealand is far more racially diverse than the DR Congo. When it comes to ethnic diversity we are middling. 
Batshit crazy ? 

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