Racial tolerance in South Australia ‘too high’

Tory Shepherd: The Advertiser | September 30, 2008


The “disappointing” results are from a 10-year survey called Challenging Racism, to be released at the 4Rs (rights, reconciliation, respect and responsibility) International Conference in Sydney this week.

A cultural gap yes,

but we’re not racist

ONE in two South Australians do not like the idea of a close relative marrying a Muslim, while one in three are against marriage to Aborigines or black Africans.

Despite this, only one in 10 actually admits to being racist.

Project leader Professor Kevin Dunn, from the University of Western Sydney, said yesterday the levels of intolerance in SA were “too high”.

“It is too high and we ought to be concerned,” he said.

“It does point to what many of us know, which is that there’s a strong level of Islamophobia – and that’s the same from state to state.

“It’s a really disappointing result, and it’s to do with representations. The anti-indigenous sentiment is shared across cultural groups and in many localities and regions, so it is nothing to do with actual contact.”

The study also found 40 per cent of South Australians believed there were cultural or ethnic groups that did not fit into Australian society and almost that many thought the country was “weakened” by ethnic groups “sticking to their old ways”. However, 85 per cent believe all races of people are equal and only 12.4 per cent said they were prejudiced against other cultures.

The results show that, overall, SA is less tolerant than Victoria but more tolerant than NSW.

Older people were slightly less tolerant and women were slightly more tolerant than men, except when it came to marrying a Muslim.

West Croydon author and cross-cultural educator Janine Evans converted to Islam about 16 years ago after meeting her future husband Yazeed and she said she was saddened but not surprised by the results. “Sixteen years ago, before I became a Muslim, I would have been shocked, but now it doesn’t surprise me at all,” she said.

“It saddens me, but only because not enough work is being done. Education is a powerful thing.”

Professor Dunn said education in schools and in communities was the key to fighting racism.

The 4Rs International Conference will include a debate on the social impact of the first 300 days of the Rudd Government, a review of the NT intervention and the premiere of a documentary called Intervention, looking at life under intervention in the town camps of Alice Springs.

I stand by yesterday’s comment on the same topic.

This report could show a number things. Amongst them it reveals that Australians are less impacted by the politically correct efforts of successive governments and media agencies than previously thought by politically incorrect dissidents such as myself, and are quite capable of separating the truth from politically correct propaganda. [more …]

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