‘The younger the Czech, the more tolerant and respectful of human rights’, HateFree Culture survey shows

A recent survey of 2,000 Czechs on attitudes towards ethnic, racial, religious and sexual minority groups, finds that “the younger the Czech, the greater the likelihood they have tolerant attitudes and respect human rights”. However, the survey commissioned by the HateFree Culture campaign shows an overwhelming majority consider “coexistence” with the Roma and Muslim minorities especially “problematic”. 

There has been a positive shift in the attitude of younger Czechs towards the minority groups, according to the findings of the new Media agency survey. But such “tolerance” does not necessary equate to a belief that so-called “coexistence” is easy or even desirable.

Presenting the survey results at a press conference earlier this week, Martina Veverková of the Median agency said the Roma and Muslim minorities are still widely perceived to be the most “problematic”.

Photo: Radio Prague International

“There are two basic findings. The first is that younger people in the survey target group of people aged 15 to 30, are more tolerant compared to older people.

“The second basic finding is that there has been a positive shift among people aged 21 to 36, when compared with data from 2014.

“When asked to evaluate relations between the majority society and minorities, most respondents said the most ‘problematic’ relations were with Roma people, followed by the homeless and Muslims.

“The least ‘problematic’ were Jewish people, followed by Vietnamese and pensioners, with gays and lesbians in fourth position.

“Another interesting finding is that asked whether they had enough information about how minority groups live, most respondents said they did when it came to Roma and homeless people. But not when it comes to Muslims.”

In the case of Roma, 86 percent of respondents see cohabitation as problematic, 5 percentage points less than in 2014. For Muslims, the corresponding figure was 47 percent, also a 5 percentage point drop. The percentage of people describing coexistence with homeless people as problematic remained steady, at 59 percent.

Lukáš Houdek | Photo: Martina Schneibergová,  Radio Prague International

Part of the research, HateFree Culture chairman Lukáš Houdek says, entailed asking hypothetical questions, for example, whether a respondent would rather rent an apartment to a person with a Czech-sounding name or a Romani one.

“We are really testing people’s prejudices in real situations. And on the basis of these hypothetical questions, what many people question is proven, namely that there is discrimination against Roma in the housing market and in access to other things.”

According the Median agency study, roughly half of respondents said they would not want to have Roma as neighbours, or have one marry into their family. On more a positive note, tolerance for racist humour has fallen sharply, as has the percentage of respondents who believe in certain myth and stereotypes of the minority group.