Washington Post has an interesting article on racist tendencies across the world by Mark Fisher. While asking someone if they are racist would not provide any useful information, racism (here) is measured by the percentage of people who when asked to pick from groups of people they would not want as neighbours answered “people of another race.”
The map in the article shows a wide variation across countries as would be expected. The “western” especially Anglo and Latin countries scored well, as did Scandinavia. In the middle ground were Eastern Europe and China. What surprised me was the list of countries where over 40% or more indicated racism: Hong Kong, Jordan, Bangladesh and India. Among these India had the least score. We love to disparage Pakistan at every level in this country. But Pakistan belongs in the less racist camp in this survey.
Now living in India I can attest that there is a lot of racism here. Colour of skin and looks matter a lot to many people. This is despite the fact that it is one of the most diverse nations on earth (in terms of race, language, religion and so many other factors). But I find it hard to believe that we are so horribly ranked in this survey relative to other countries.
There must be something else that explains this. Maybe there is some error in the survey itself or in the way the question was posed. Was the question translated well? Are there cultural reasons why the question was incorrectly understood?
Why are the scores of Hong Kong and China so different? Are the Japanese so much less racist than the Chinese who in turn are less so than Koreans?
Still, it was sobering to read.