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Survey shows Czechs are the least tolerant in EU toward blacks, Buddhists, Muslims, Roma

18.10.2015 12:28
Eurobarometer October 2015 (PHOTO:
Eurobarometer October 2015 (PHOTO:

A recent survey of EU countries sponsored by the European Commission to determine the level of discrimination in the Member States was published at the beginning of October. The Czech Republic comes out of the survey as one of the least tolerant countries in the EU when it comes to foreign nationals, the members of various religions, national minorities and sexual minorities.

In some categories, such as intolerance towards Romani people, the Czech Republic is the worst Member State of the EU-28. In other categories either Bulgaria or Slovakia vie for the position of the least open Member State.

The survey has determined how people would take it if their head of state were to be a member of a minority, how much it bothers them to work with Asians, blacks or Roma, and how they would take it if their daughter or son began to go out with an Asian, black or Romani person. Respondents were able to choose from answers on a 10-point scale, ranging from being "not at all comfortable" to "totally comfortable", and the authors of the survey then grouped the answers to make the data easier to understand.

Czechs are insensitive to discrimination

An interesting perspective on how Czechs perceive discrimination is introduced right at the beginning of the 400-page report, involving questions about whether respondents perceive certain types of discrimination in their country - discrimination on the basis of age, ethnicity, faith, sex/gender or sexual orientation. The Czech Republic is frequently far below the EU average:  Only 30 % of Czechs believe people are discriminated against in their country on the basis of sexual orientation (the EU average is 58 %), while 52 % of Czechs see discrimination on the basis of ethnic origin going on around them (the EU average is 64 %) and 17 % of Czechs perceive discrimination on the basis of belief or religion (the average EU perception of this is 50 %).

These low numbers compared to the EU average are also found for Slovakia. In confrontation with other results of the survey, it becomes apparent that the answers in these sections are not demonstrating that there is a low degree of discrimination of minorities in the Czech Republic or Slovakia, but that people in those countries are insensitive to displays of discrimination and do not perceive them.

Czechs decidedly do not want a minority President

Czechs demonstrated how clearly less tolerant they are of minorities in their answer to the question of whether they would be satisfied with a minority member occupying the highest elected state office. While 83 % of Swedes, 80 % of Spaniards, 78 % of the Irish, 77 % of the English and 75 % of Dutch people would be either indifferent to or comfortable with such representation, only 26 % of Czechs would, while Bulgaria reported that 38 % of respondents would be indifferent to or comfortable with such a result.

Czechs do not want Romani people in their families or their workplaces

Respondents from the Czech Republic were most resistant to Romani people, which was displayed in their answers to the question of whether they would be bothered by working with a Romani person or how they would take it if their child fell in love with a Romani man or woman. In both cases the percentage of "indifferent or comfortable" Czechs is the lowest in the EU.

In the case of working with a Romani colleague only 29 % of Czechs would be indifferent or comfortable (the EU average is 63 %), while in the case of their child falling in love with a Romani person it was 11 % (the EU average is 45 %). The Czech Republic is also the least tolerant when it comes to Asians and blacks:  A love affair between their child with an Asian or a black would leave only 25 % of them "comfortable" and 23 % of them "indifferent" (compared to the EU average of 69 % "comfortable" and 64 % "indifferent"), while 53 % would be "comfortable" working with such people as colleagues and 51 % would be "indifferent" (compared to the EU average of 83 %).

It is interesting to compare these numbers with the most tolerant country in the EU, Sweden. According to the survey, 92 % of Swedes would be "either satisfied or indifferent" should their child have a love affair with an Asian, black or Romani person, specifically, 89 % would be "satisfied" and 76 % would be "indifferent."

Czechs look down on Buddhists

In their intolerance, according to the survey, the Czechs are surprisingly consistent - they would not much want to work with Buddhists, to say nothing of Muslims. "Comfortable" with working with a Buddhist or Muslim would apply to only 51 % of Czechs, while 27 % would be "indiffferent".

In both cases those are the lowest numbers in the entire EU, where the average would be 81 % "comfortable" and 71 % "indifferent".  The Czechs are the least likely in the entire EU to tolerate a love affair between their child and a Muslim man or woman, at 12 % (compared to the EU average of 50 %).

Another interesting documentation of the degree of intolerance in the Czech Republic is in the area of relationships toward sexual minorities. Only 22 % of Czech respondents would be "comfortable or indifferent" to see two men holding hands or kissing in public compared to the EU average of 49 %. 

mik, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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