ATTITUDES TO DISCRIMINATION IN SCOTLAND
CHAPTER TWO WHAT DO SCOTS THEMSELVES BELIEVE IS THE EXTENT OF DISCRIMINATORY ATTITUDES IN SCOTLAND?
The survey began by asking the following question:
Generally speaking, do you think there is a great deal of prejudice in Scotland against (disabled people / women / people from different racial or ethnic backgrounds / gay men and lesbians), quite a lot, a little, or none at all?
Note that this question uses the term "prejudice" rather than "discriminatory attitude". This is one example where the need to use as much everyday language as possible (see Section 1.1) influenced the wording of our question, and indeed we use the two terms interchangeably in this report. And as shown in Figure 2-1, more than half the population (56%) perceive there to be "a great deal" or "quite a lot" of prejudice against ethnic minorities in Scotland, while at the other end of the scale one in five (20%) believe this of prejudice against women. In between these two figures just under half (49%) think there is a lot of prejudice against gay men and lesbians and just under a third (31%) say this of disabled people.
Figure 2-1 Perception of prejudice
2.1 Who perceives there to be prejudice?
As Table 2-1 shows, there are some notable differences and similarities between different sections of Scottish society in the amount of prejudice that they perceive exists. As noted in the introduction, the sample size means we are unable to look at the attitudes of minority ethnic groups themselves, nor are we able to explore the attitudes of gay men and lesbians.
For the most part younger people are more likely to think that prejudice exists than are older people, although young and old people have very similar views about prejudice towards women. So, for example, a third (32%) of 18 to 24 year olds say there is prejudice against disabled people, whereas a fifth (21%) of those aged 65 and say this.
Women are a little more likely than men to think that a lot of prejudice exists against disabled people and ethnic minorities, as well as women themselves. For example, 28% of men think there is a great deal or quite a lot of prejudice against disabled people, whereas 34% of women think this. Women and men's views about gay men and lesbians are identical.
Just over four in ten (42%) of people with no qualifications believe there is prejudice against gay men and lesbians compared with over half (53%) of people with higher education. But for the other three groups people's educational attainment appears to make little difference to their perceptions.
Urban / rural area
People who live in urban areas 2 are consistently more likely to think there is a lot of prejudice against the four groups than are those in rural areas, though the difference in respect of gay men and lesbians is not quite statistically significant. The biggest of these differences is in relation to ethnic minorities, where nearly six in ten (58%) of people in urban areas think that prejudice exists, compared with half (49%) of those in rural and remote areas.
Table 2-1 Perceptions of prejudice, by age, sex, education, urban / rural area
% who think a great deal / quite a lot of prejudice exists against:
Gay men & lesbians
Degree / Higher education
Urban / rural area
Accessible urban areas
Rural areas & remote small towns
2.2 Overall perceptions of prejudice
We asked people to make a judgement about how much prejudice there is against each of the four different groups. This means we can ascertain whether they tend to think each group is the object of more or less the same amount of prejudice, or whether they fell there is more prejudice against some groups than others. Table 2-2 suggests that many people do think the level of prejudice varies from one group to another. Only 5% say that none of these groups experience any kind of prejudice at all. In other words, just five in a hundred people say there is no prejudice whatsoever in Scotland in respect of these four groups. And while as many as 52% say that all four groups experience some degree of prejudice, only 9% say that all four are subject to "a great deal" or "quite a lot". So it appears that while some degree of prejudice is thought to be commonplace in Scottish society, people's perceptions of its extent depend very much on the group in question, and very few people think that all four groups experience high levels of prejudice.
Table 2-2 Numbers of groups perceived to experience prejudice
Number of groups perceived to experience...
(1) ...any prejudice
(2) ...a great deal / quite a lot of prejudice