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Attitudes to Discrimination in Scotland

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ATTITUDES TO DISCRIMINATION IN SCOTLAND

CHAPTER FOUR WHY DO PEOPLE HOLD DISCRIMINATORY ATTITUDES?

The previous two chapters have painted a picture of the extent of discriminatory attitudes in Scotland, as well as of the level of support for public policies designed to reduce discrimination. However, this does little to help us understand why people hold the attitudes they do. In this section we will examine three different models that might help to account for the existence of discriminatory attitudes - sociological, economic, and psychological.

The fact that the levels of discriminatory attitudes uncovered in the survey varied significantly from one group to another means that it may be unwise to look at all forms of prejudice together. So, first of all we will look at the four groups we asked about in turn and assess for each the possible explanations as to why people might be prejudiced against certain groups. From this it might be possible to understand why certain groups attract higher levels of prejudicial attitudes than others. Having looked at each group separately, we should then be able to see whether there are any common patterns detectable across all four groups. We begin by sketching out the details of the three sets of possible explanations that we will examine - sociological, economic, and psychological.

4.1 Three Models of Explanation

The first of these three models is the ' sociological'. This suggests that the sources of discriminatory attitudes lie primarily in different positions in the social structure and differences in the pattern of socialisation to which individuals are subjected as a result. So, we might expect younger people to have different views from older people and those with higher levels of education to be different to those with lower levels. Certainly, previous research suggests that younger, well-educated people are most likely to adopt a liberal position on many social and moral issues (Evans, 2002). Equally, religious adherence or living in an urban or a rural community might be thought to make a difference.

The second of our three models is the ' economic'. This suggests that the roots of discrimination lie in competition for social and economic resources. For example, prejudice towards ethnic minorities may be rooted in a belief that their presence takes away jobs that should belong to members of the majority white population. This feeling would be expected to be particularly common amongst unemployed people and other groups who feel economically disadvantaged.

The third and final model is the ' psychological'. This suggests that the sources of discrimination lie in the affective identities to which people adhere and their images of those who do not to share the same identities as themselves. If this model is correct then, for example, those who adhere strongly to a particular national identity may be more likely to exhibit evidence of racial prejudice. Equally, such people might believe that people from different ethnic or racial backgrounds support different cultural values from themselves, such as a belief that they do not understand 'the British way of life', and at the same time feel uncomfortable with the existence of such diversity. To measure this we asked, for example, how much people from different racial and ethnic backgrounds have in common with each other.

This 'psychological' model also suggests that people's degree of social interaction with people from different backgrounds will impact on their attitudes. So, for example, we can explore the extent to which people with prejudicial attitudes towards gay men and lesbians ever have any contact with gay men or lesbians in the first place, through their friends, families or colleagues at work. We not only asked about people's own experiences of knowing people from different backgrounds, but also about their ideal kind of community in which to live. So, we can also see whether people who say they would prefer to live in a neighbourhood where most people are similar to themselves are also more likely to have discriminatory attitudes than people who say they would prefer more socially diverse surroundings.

These models are of course not necessarily mutually exclusive. We might for example anticipate that those with higher levels of education are less likely to be economically disadvantaged and may be less likely to feel (uncomfortably) different to someone from, for example, a different ethnic or racial background. During the course of our analysis we will however attempt to identify which, if any, of the three models appears to be relatively more important in terms of how well it provides an explanation as to why people hold the views that they do.

4.2 Attitudes towards minority ethnic groups

4.2.1 Sociological explanations

This section looks at the impact of a number of sociological factors that might help account for people's attitudes towards ethnic minorities, and most importantly - their degree of racial prejudice. The factors included in this analysis are: age, educational attainment, social class 3, gender, religious denomination and attendance, political party identification, and urban or rural residence. Figure 4-1 contains six of the questions in our survey that can be considered possible indicators of racial prejudice in Scotland (and the % giving a discriminatory or prejudiced response) 4:

Figure 4-1 Indicators of racial prejudice

  • And have attempts to give equal opportunities to people from different racial and ethnic backgrounds in Scotland, such as black people and Asians, gone too far or not gone far enough? (18% say "gone too far")
  • Leaving aside what party they were in, would you prefer to have a black or Asian MSP, a white MSP, or, would you not mind either way? (11% prefer a white MSP)
  • Do you think that most people in Scotland would mind or not mind if one of their close relatives were to marry someone from a different racial or ethnic background?
    And you personally? Would you mind or not mind? (17% would mind personally)
  • How much do you agree or disagree: people from ethnic minorities take jobs away from other people in Scotland (20% agree)
  • How much do you agree or disagree: people from ethnic minorities provide Scotland with much needed skills (18% disagree)
  • …please tell me whether you think local councils should publish information about their services in other languages for people who don't speak English very well, or do you think this is a waste of money? (35% say "waste of money")

The results are summarised in Table 4-1. For ease of presentation we often simply show the results for those at the end points of our various social groups (such as, for example, those with a degree and those with no educational qualifications at all). We can see that there are some important differences. Those with a degree, those in middle class occupations and those who do not belong to the Church of Scotland are consistently less likely to hold discriminatory views. None of the other groups express consistently different attitudes, though there are some individually notable differences. For example, comparatively small proportions of 18 to 24 year olds say they would mind inter-racial marriage or that they would prefer a white MSP.

So it would appear that having some form of higher education and being in a professional middle-class occupation makes people less likely to express prejudiced attitudes towards minority ethnic groups (with education being the more important of the two). Meanwhile, some association with the Church of Scotland or other Presbyterian Church would appear to be associated with a higher incidence of racial prejudice. However, there is no reason to believe that this latter finding reflects what members of the Church of Scotland hear from their minister or their fellow worshipper. For the most part it is those whose adherence to the Church of Scotland is largely nominal who are most likely to exhibit racial prejudice. For example, amongst members of the Church of Scotland who attend a religious service every week, 16% say that equal opportunities for black people and Asians have gone too far, similar both to the proportion of both Catholics who attend a service every week (14%) and those without a religious affiliation (15%). In contrast, no less than 25% of those who claim to be Presbyterians but who never attend church believe that equal opportunities have gone too far.

Table 4-1 Relationship between racial prejudice and 'sociological' factors5

% who say:

Equal opportunities for black people and Asians gone too far

Would prefer an MSP who is white

Would mind inter-racial marriage

Ethnic minorities take jobs from other people

Ethnic minorities do not provide skills

Language translation is a waste of money

All

18

11

17

20

18

35

Age

18-24

16

5

6

22

24

37

65+

18

19

29

23

16

34

Sex

Male

19

12

17

21

21

41

Female

17

10

17

20

16

31

Education

Degree

8

4

11

7

7

22

No quals

24

14

21

28

20

36

Class

Professional

11

8

14

20

12

30

Working class

21

11

17

25

22

35

Party id

Labour

17

11

19

18

17

32

Liberal Democrat

10

10

14

8

8

27

SNP

23

9

15

26

22

34

Conservative

16

15

26

21

18

45

None

21

10

12

24

28

42

Religion

CoS/Presb

24

16

23

23

24

38

Catholic

15

7

15

14

15

31

No religion

15

7

12

10

17

35

Church Attendance

Once a week

13

13

17

13

11

34

Never

18

10

15

22

20

35

Urban/ rural

Big cities

10

15

15

18

17

25

Remote rural

14

16

16

20

13

39

4.2.2. Economic explanations

We have available to us two indicators of someone's economic status, one objective, the other subjective. Our objective measure is level of household income, while the subjective measure is people's own evaluations of the economic position of their household 6. In addition we can also compare the views of unemployed people with those in employment, although as only 5% of our sample were unemployed when we interviewed them, these results have to be treated cautiously.

Both household income and self-rated economic hardship are related to attitudes towards whether ethnic minorities take jobs and contribute skills. As Table 4-2 shows, those on the lowest incomes are generally more likely to display racial prejudice than are those on the highest incomes, while those who said they are having difficulty living on their income are somewhat more likely to do so than those who said they are coping or living comfortably. For example, a quarter (26%) of those with household incomes of 9,999 or below say that ethnic minorities take jobs, where one in ten (9%) of those with incomes of 38,000 or more say this. The one clear exception is in respect of the question about spending council resources on translating materials for people who do not speak English very well, attitudes to which are not related to either household income or self-rated hardship.

Unemployed people within the sample are more likely to say that ethnic minorities take jobs than are working people, which is the issue where there are also the biggest differences according to our income indicators. So someone's economic position may be particularly important in influencing their attitudes towards the role of ethnic minorities in the labour market. However, on our other issues unemployed people are not significantly more likely to adopt a discriminatory position.

Table 4-2 Relationship between racial prejudice and 'economic' factors

% who say

Equal opportunities for black people and Asians gone too far

Would prefer an MSP who is white

Would mind inter-racial marriage

Ethnic minorities take jobs

Ethnic minorities don't contribute skills

Translating materials is a waste of money

All

18

11

17

20

18

35

Income

38,000+

11

6

13

9

15

34

9,999 or less

24

13

21

26

20

34

Self-rated economic hardship

Living comfortably

15

9

18

16

15

38

Coping

19

10

16

20

18

33

Having difficulty

23

18

15

34

31

36

Economic activity

In work

17

8

13

18

20

37

Unemployed

23

4

7

28

21

27

4.2.3 Psychological explanations

Figure 4-2 contains the questions from the survey that were designed to enable us to examine the psychological explanation of attitudes towards minority ethnic groups.

Figure 4-2 Examples of psychological measures used to assess racial prejudice

  • And taking all things into account, how much do you think people from black and Asian backgrounds in Scotland have in common with people from white backgrounds? (27% "not much" or "nothing at all")
  • Do you personally know anyone who is from a different racial or ethnic background to you? (26% do not know anyone, 6% mention a family member, 28% mention a close friend)
  • Would you rather live in an area with lots of different kinds of people or, where most people are similar to you? (37% prefer a mixed area, 46% where people are the same)
  • Please say, which, if any of the words on this card describes the way you think of yourself. Please chose as many or as few apply. And if you had to choose, which one best describes the way you think of yourself? (18% British, 75% Scottish)

As Table 4-3 shows, people who do not know anyone from a different racial or ethnic group and those who think that ethnic minorities have little in common with other people in Scotland are more likely - sometimes twice as likely - to take a more prejudiced position on each of our questions. For example, one in six (16%) people who know someone from a different racial or ethnic background to themselves say that ethnic minorities take jobs, whereas a third (33%) of people who do not know anyone say this. A similar picture also applies in respect of the kind of area in which people would like to live, with one quite striking figure standing out: just 3% of those whose preferred kind of area would contain lots of different types of people say they would prefer a white MSP rather than a black or Asian MSP, whereas the figure for people who would prefer a more homogeneous neighbourhood is nearly six times higher at 17%.

Table 4-3 Relationship between racial prejudice and 'psychological' factors

% who say

Equal opportunities for black people and Asians gone too far

Would prefer an MSP who is white

Would mind inter-racial marriage

Ethnic minorities take jobs

Ethnic minorities don't contribute skills

Translating materials is a waste of money

All

18

11

17

20

18

35

People who…

…know someone from a different ethnic / racial group

17

8

14

16

16

33

…do not know anyone

21

17

26

33

25

40

How much do ethnic minorities have in common with other people?

Great deal / quite a lot

13

6

9

12

13

29

Not much / nothing at all

28

20

28

32

25

40

Preferred kind of area

Lots of different kinds of people

12

3

9

11

11

27

Where most people are similar

23

17

25

28

25

41

National identity

Scottish

20

10

15

23

21

35

British

15

11

17

12

13

37

We can also see that those who say they are Scottish rather than British are more likely to think that equal opportunities for ethnic minorities have gone too far, that ethnic minorities take jobs, and that ethnic minorities do not contribute skills, but that their views do not differ on our other three questions (about marriage, translations and their preferred MSP).

So, our psychological factors seem to tell a quite strong and consistent story. Often the differences between our key sub-groups are much greater here than is the case when we look for explanations in either economic or sociological accounts.

4.3 Attitudes towards gay men and lesbians

4.3.1 Sociological explanations

Here we analyse attitudes towards gay men and lesbians by the same sociological attributes by which we examined indicators of racial prejudice earlier. The seven indicators of prejudice in respect of gay men and lesbians which will be used in this section are shown in Figure 4-3 7.

Figure 4-3 Indicators of prejudice towards gay men and lesbians

  • And have attempts to give equal opportunities to gay men and lesbians in Scotland gone too far or not gone far enough? (19% say "too far")
  • Still leaving aside what party they were in, would you prefer to have an openly gay or lesbian MSP, an MSP who is not openly gay or lesbian, or, would you not mind either way? (18% prefer an MSP who is not gay)
  • Do you personally think it is wrong or not wrong for two men to have a sexual relationship? (41% say "always / mostly wrong")
  • How suitable are gay men and lesbians for the job of primary school teacher (27% say "fairly / very unsuitable")
  • Gay or lesbian couples should have the right to marry one another if they want to (30% say they "disagree")
  • A gay male couple are just as capable of being good parents as a man and a woman (39% "disagree")
  • …please tell me whether you think local councils should give money to organisations and groups in their area which offer support to gay men and lesbians, or do you think this is a waste of money? (60% say "waste of money")

It should be noted that some of these questions refer only to gay men rather than to gay men and lesbians (for example the questions about relationships, and about parenting). In these cases, as we saw in the earlier discussion of parenting in Section 3.3, an equivalent separate question was also asked about lesbians. In most cases however, the responses to the two sets of questions are very similar, and we have decided to focus on the questions on gay men to simplify the analysis.

Table 4-4 Relationship between prejudice towards gay men and lesbians and 'sociological' factors

% who say:

Equal opportunities for gay men & lesbians gone too far

Would prefer an MSP who is not gay

Male homosexual relationships are always wrong

Gay men & lesbians unsuitable primary school teachers

Gay couples should not be allowed to marry

Gay male couple are not as good parents as a man & woman

Councils not fund support groups for gay men & lesbians

All

19

18

29

27

30

39

60

Age

18-24

10

12

16

22

16

30

49

65+

29

32

51

47

49

56

72

Sex

Male

21

20

34

35

33

46

63

Female

16

15

24

21

27

33

58

Education

Degree

10

11

12

16

22

32

46

No quals

26

22

41

38

38

41

66

Class

Professional

13

12

20

22

25

40

57

Working class

22

20

33

29

34

39

59

Party id

Labour

18

18

28

25

29

40

60

Liberal Democrat

12

17

22

22

23

33

54

SNP

20

19

27

23

27

31

60

Conservative

25

25

44

37

37

52

66

None

20

12

30

33

33

44

64

Religion

CoS/Presb

25

24

39

35

40

46

64

Catholic

17

17

29

29

33

48

58

No religion

14

12

20

20

20

30

58

Church Attendance

Once a week

24

26

47

40

49

55

62

Never

17

16

34

25

33

34

60

Urban/rural

Big cities

18

16

28

26

30

37

56

Remote rural

18

24

38

31

34

48

70

As Table 4-4 shows, attitudes towards gay men and lesbians vary significantly from one social group to another. First of all, the patterns we saw in respect of ethnic minorities are replicated. Those with a degree, in a professional occupation and who do not claim membership of the Church of Scotland are less likely to express prejudiced views. However, there are other patterns too. Women are less likely to be prejudiced than men, for example a third (34%) of men say that male homosexual relationships are always wrong, whereas a quarter (24%) of women say this. The younger someone is the less likely they are to be prejudiced. Again using the example of male homosexual relationships, one in six (16%) of 18 to 24 year olds say they are always wrong, but in contrast half (51%) of those over 65 take this view - one of the biggest differences we have seen so far. Equally, those who have no religious attachment at all and those who live in an urban rather than a rural area are also less likely to express prejudiced views.

4.3.2 Economic explanations

The picture is very different when it comes to those in different economic situations, as outlined in Table 4-5. True, those on the highest incomes are for the most part less likely to be prejudiced than are those on the lowest. But there is no consistent relationship at all between attitudes and our respondents' self-rated economic hardship. Similarly, there is little difference between the views of those in work and the attitudes of unemployed people. And of course the differences we do see by income could simply be a reflection of the education and class differences we have already identified.

This is perhaps unsurprising. The argument that there is a relationship between economic hardship and racial prejudice, especially when that prejudice is expressed in terms of fears over jobs, is well rehearsed. Indeed, research has shown that incidents of racial discrimination are higher in US states where income inequality is larger (Kennedy et al, 1997). In contrast, gay men and lesbians arguably constitute less of a perceived direct 'threat' in the competition for supposedly scarce economic resources such as jobs. The reasons behind prejudice towards this group clearly have their roots elsewhere.

Table 4-5 Relationship between prejudice towards gay men and lesbians and 'economic' factors

% who say:

Equal opportunities for gay men & lesbians gone too far

Would prefer an MSP who is not gay

Male homosexual relationships are always wrong

Gay men & lesbians unsuitable primary school teachers

Gay couples should not be allowed to marry

Gay male couple are not as good parents as a man & woman

Councils not fund support groups for gay men & lesbians

All

19

18

29

27

30

39

60

Income

38,000 or more

12

11

12

20

22

37

52

9,999 or less

24

23

40

32

35

41

61

Self-rated economic hardship

Living comfortably

18

19

24

25

32

40

61

Coping

18

16

31

28

28

39

60

Having difficulty

21

17

33

33

28

37

60

Economic activity
In work
16
14
20
21
24
36
58
Unemployed
17
5
26
28
23
33
49

4.3.3 Psychological explanations

But what about our psychological factors? Table 4-6 looks at how responses to our six key questions about gay men and lesbians varied according to our measures of identity and orientation. These psychological measures are very similar to the ones we saw in Section 4.2.3 in our discussion of minority ethnic groups - whether the respondent knows anyone who is gay or lesbian, how much they think gay men and lesbians have in common with people who are not gay or lesbian, what kind of neighbourhood they would prefer to live in, and their national identity.

The first thing to note is that psychological factors clearly do have a considerable bearing. Those who say they know a gay man or lesbian, who believe that gay men and lesbians have a great deal in common with other people, and who like to live with different kinds of people are for the most part far less likely (and sometimes as much as half as likely) to adopt a discriminatory view than are those who are not in this position. For example, a little over one in five (22%) people know a gay man or lesbian say that gay men and lesbians are unsuitable for the job of primary school teacher, whereas four in ten (39%) of those who do not know anyone gay or lesbian say

this. This suggests that feeling a sense of psychological affinity with gay men and lesbians and a willingness to tolerate diversity are important to the acceptance of gay men and lesbian as social equals.

Table 4-6 Relationship between prejudice towards gay men and lesbians and 'psychological' factors

% who say:

Equal opportunities for gay men & lesbians gone too far

Would prefer an MSP who is not gay

Male homosexual relationships are always wrong

Gay men & lesbians unsuitable primary school teachers

Gay couples should not be allowed to marry

Gay male couple are not as good parents as a man & woman

Councils not fund support groups for gay men & lesbians

All

19

18

29

27

30

39

60

Knows a gay man or lesbian

Yes

15

12

22

22

25

35

58

No

26

27

40

39

40

48

65

How much do gay men & lesbians have in common with other people?

Great deal / quite a lot

11

10

18

17

22

33

53

Not much / nothing at all

35

35

51

49

45

52

72

Where respondent would prefer to live

With different kinds of people

12

10

16

13

19

27

49

In an area where people are the same

25

24

39

39

41

52

69

National Identity

British

19

17

25

27

31

45

63

Scottish

20

18

29

29

29

37

60

We need to bear in mind that younger people are more likely to feel a sense of psychological affinity to gay men and lesbians than are older people. For example, more than three-quarters of those aged under 65 know someone who is gay or lesbian compared with just over one in three (37%) of those aged over 65. And of course we have already seen that younger people are less likely to hold discriminatory views. So which of the two factors - a person's age or their affinity with gay men and lesbians - is most important? The evidence here suggests that psychological factors still help to explain people's attitudes even after their age has been taken into account. Table 4-7 demonstrates how this is the case by comparing, for example, the views of 18 to 39 year olds who know someone who is gay, with the views of people in the same age group who do not know anyone who is gay on the question of male homosexual relationships. In the first half of this table we see that one in five (21%) of 18 to 39 year olds who do not know anyone gay or lesbian say that gay male relationships are always wrong, whereas the corresponding figure for people of the same age who do know someone is just 13%. So, even amongst the youngest in the survey, knowing someone who is gay or lesbian makes you less likely to hold a prejudiced view.

A similar finding appears if we compare within the same age group the views of those who do not think that gay men and lesbians gave a great deal in common with the views of those who do. One in ten (9%) 18 to 39 year olds who think gay men and lesbians have something in common with other people also say that gay male relationships are always wrong, whereas just over a third (35%) of the same age group who do not think they have much in common take this view. Indeed, on this measure the differences by psychological orientation are as big as the differences we earlier saw looking at people's age.

Table 4-7 Attitudes towards male homosexual relationships by age and psychological factors

% who think male homosexual relationships are always wrong

% who know a gay man or lesbian

% who know do not know a gay man or lesbian

Age

n

n

18-39

13

401

21

105

40-64

24

488

37

168

65+

46

127

54

215

% who think gay men & lesbians have great deal / quite a lot in common with other people

% who think gay men & lesbians have not much / nothing in common with other people

Age

n

n

18-39

9

79

35

332

40-64

23

172

46

341

65+

33

166

64

85

4.4 Attitudes towards disability

4.4.1 Sociological explanations

We have five potential indicators of attitudes towards disabled people. However, as we saw earlier in this report, on most of them relatively few people expressed prejudicial or overtly prejudicial views. For example, just 3% say that equal opportunities for disabled people have gone too far, and just 4% that they would prefer not to have a disabled MSP. With such low proportions there is little in the way of discriminatory attitudes to explain and certainly little prospect of finding much difference between those in different social groups. However on some of our items we can increase our chances by adding to those who take a clearly discriminatory view those who take a middle position. For, example, we can look at the proportion who either say that a wheelchair user would be unsuitable as a primary school teacher or who say they would be neither suitable nor unsuitable. This means that we are looking not just at the prevalence of explicitly discriminatory attitudes, but rather all those who do not positively endorse a fully anti-discriminatory viewpoint. Note that there is no comparable middle option in the questions about MSPs or equal opportunities. This means that our five indicators are as follows:

Figure 4-4 Indicators of prejudice towards disabled people

  • How suitable are wheelchair users for the job of primary school teacher? (31% unsuitable/neither suitable nor unsuitable)
  • The main problem faced by disabled people at work is other people's prejudice, not their own lack of ability (24% disagree/neither agree nor disagree)
  • Shops and banks should be forced to make themselves easier for disabled people to use, even if this leads to higher prices (21% disagree/neither agree nor disagree)
  • Still leaving aside what party they were in, would you prefer to have a disabled MSP, an MSP who is not disabled or, would you not mind either way? (4% prefer non disabled MSP)
  • Now I want to ask about some changes that have been happening in Scotland over the years. For each one, please tell me whether you think it has gone too far, or not gone far enough.
    How about attempts to give equal opportunities to disabled people in Scotland? (3% gone too far)

As well as looking at the sociological attributes we have considered in our analyses so far, we can also take into consideration here respondents' own experience of disability 8. This experience was measured by responses to the following questions:

Do you have any health problems or disabilities that have lasted or are expected to last for more than a year?

If 'Yes'

Does this health problem or disability substantially limit your ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities?

One in five of our respondents have a health problem or disability which limits their daily activities (21%), a further one in five (19%) have a disability which is not limiting, while six in ten (60%) say they do not have any kind of health problem or disability.

As Table 4-8 shows, there are very few differences between those in different sociological groups in the attitudes they express towards disabled people. The only consistent difference is that men are more likely to hold discriminatory views than women. For example, nearly four in ten men (38%) say that wheelchair users are not suitable primary school teachers, whereas a quarter (26%) of women say this. Even those who have a limiting disability themselves are at most only a little less likely to take the view that banks and shops should not be forced to make themselves accessible (16% compared with 23% of non-disabled people), or that the main problem that disabled people face at work is other people's prejudice, while they are no less likely to fail to agree that wheelchair users make suitable primary school teachers. It should be noted however that because people's experiences of disability will vary considerably, it is possible that the views of certain people, for example wheelchair users themselves, are not adequately reflected by a question which simply asks about disability in general. But it would appear that in contrast to attitudes towards race and sexual orientation, attitudes towards disability are little affected by social characteristics such as age, class and education, or even their own experiences of disability 9.

Table 4-8 Relationship between prejudice towards disabled people and 'sociological' factors

% who say:

Equal opportunities for disabled people have gone too far

Wheelchair users not suitable primary school teachers

Do not agree main problem disabled people face at work is other people's prejudice

Do not agree shops and banks should be forced to make themselves accessible

Would prefer an MSP who is not disabled

All

3

31

24

21

4

Age

18-24

2

43

22

17

6

65+

2

29

19

15

7

Sex

Male

3

38

29

26

4

Female

2

26

21

17

3

Education

Degree

2

33

28

22

2

No quals

3

26

20

17

6

Class

Professional

2

31

31

22

2

Working class

3

34

20

20

4

Party id

Labour

2

26

24

18

3

Liberal Democrat

2

38

27

23

6

SNP

2

35

19

19

4

Conservative

3

32

30

25

4

None

6

34

28

26

3

Religion

CoS/Presb

3

30

25

18

5

Catholic

4

31

20

23

3

No religion

2

35

25

23

3

Church Attendance

Once a week

2

28

26

20

5

Never

2

33

24

22

3

Urban/ rural

Big cities

3

32

20

20

4

Remote rural

2

28

25

14

5

Disability / health status

Limiting disability

2

31

19

16

5

Non-limiting disability

3

30

25

19

4

No disability

3

32

28

23

3

4.4.2 Economic explanations

A similar picture emerges in respect of our indicators of economic position, even if we leave aside the two questions on which very few people adopt a discriminatory attitude (see Table 4-9 below). Evidently someone's economic position does not affect their attitude towards disabled people.

Table 4-9 Relationship between prejudice towards disabled people and 'ecomonic' factors

% who say

Wheelchair users not suitable primary school teachers

Do not agree main problem disabled people face at work is other people's prejudice

Do not agree shops and banks should be forced to make themselves accessible

All

31

24

21

Household income

38,000 or more

32

29

24

9,999 or less

33

23

18

Self-rated economic hardship

Living comfortably

31

26

20

Coping on income

31

25

21

Having difficulty on income

36

21

23

Economic activity

In work

31

27

25

Unemployed

42

22

32

4.4.3 Psychological explanations

Attitudes towards disabled people do not even appear to vary much in respect of our psychological indicators (see Table 4-10). True, those who think that disabled people do not have much in common with other people are less likely to agree that the main problem that disabled people face at work is prejudice, or that shops and banks should be forced to make themselves accessible. But even here their views are little different to those of anyone else when it comes to whether wheelchair users would be suitable as primary school teachers. There is also little evidence that knowing a disabled person or preferring to live with different kinds of people makes much of a difference at all.

Table 4-10 Relationship between prejudice towards disabled people and 'psychological' factors

% who say

Wheelchair users not suitable primary school teachers

Do not agree main problem disabled people face at work is other people's prejudice

Do not agree shops and banks should be forced to make themselves accessible

All

31

24

21

Knows a disabled person

Yes

31

25

21

No

35

22

19

How much do disabled people have in common with other people?

Great deal / quite a lot

30

16

15

Not much / nothing at all

29

26

25

Where respondent would prefer to live

With different kinds of people

32

21

19

In an area where people are the same

32

25

21

National identity

British

33

34

25

Scottish

31

22

20

4.5 Attitudes towards women and gender stereotyping

We have three straightforward potential indicators of attitudes towards women:

Figure 4-5 Indicators of prejudice towards women and gender stereotyping

  • A man's job is to earn money; a woman's job is to look after the home and family (11% agree)
  • Now I want to ask about some changes that have been happening in Scotland over the years. For each one, please tell me whether you think it has gone too far, or not gone far enough.
    How about attempts to give equal opportunities to women in Scotland? (6% gone too far)
  • I'm now going to ask you about some things which some people say local councils in Scotland should be providing for their residents, but others believe are a waste of taxpayers' money.
    Using this card please tell me whether you think local councils should give money to organisations and groups in their area which help women find work, or do you think this is a waste of money?" (30% waste of money)

As we saw in Section 3.2.2 we can also construct a further measure of gender stereotyping by combining the responses to the following questions and identifying those who think women are more suitable than men for the job of primary school teacher:

How suitable are men for the job of primary school teacher?

How suitable are women for the job of primary school teacher?

We have already seen that as many as two-thirds (67%) of people think that women are "very suitable" but that only four in ten (41%) say this of men. So it comes as little surprise to discover that just over a quarter (28%) say that women are more suitable for the job than men are 10.

4.5.1 Sociological explanations

Results presented in Table 4-11 have some echoes of what we found in earlier sections. Those educated to degree level certainly appear less likely to adopt a discriminatory view. One in five (19%) of those with a degree say that women make more suitable primary school teachers than men, however almost one in three (28%) of those with no qualifications think this. The question about men and women's respective roles in the home and workplace attracts the greatest level of dissent. For example just 4% of those with a degree say that a man's job is to earn money and a women's job is to look after the home, in contrast a quarter (25%) of those with no qualifications say this. There is also a clear generational divide on this matter -just 6% the youngest age group take a more 'traditional' view whereas 30% of those over 65 think that a women's place is in the home.

Women themselves, perhaps understandably, are less discriminatory in their views, as are those who do not belong to the Church of Scotland. But only a minority of the differences are large and for the most part disappear when it comes to whether councils should fund groups that help women find work. So it appears that while there is some variation in attitudes towards women amongst our various social groups they are less marked than they are in respect of gay men and lesbians or ethnic minorities.

Table 4-11 Relationship between prejudice towards women and gender stereotyping, and 'sociological' factors

% who say:

Equal opportunities for women have gone too far

Women are more suitable primary school teachers than men

A man's job is to earn money, a women's job is to look after the home

Giving money to groups which help women find work is a waste of money

All

6

28

11

30

Age

18-24

5

21

6

34

65+

7

29

30

34

Sex

Male

7

34

13

33

Female

6

22

10

28

Education

Degree

4

19

4

28

No quals

8

28

25

30

Class

Professional

7

25

6

32

Working class

6

26

16

29

Party id

Labour

7

27

12

27

Liberal Democrat

4

20

13

37

SNP

5

25

10

28

Conservative

6

34

11

38

None

9

27

10

39

Religion

CoS/Presb

7

34

15

33

Catholic

6

23

14

27

No religion

6

25

8

28

Church attendance

Once a week

6

29

13

30

Never

6

27

11

30

Urban/ rural

Big cities

7

27

11

27

Remote rural

3

32

15

40

One difference however seems set to persist for the foreseeable future, and that is the tendency for men to be more supportive of 'traditional' gender roles. As Table 4-12 shows, younger men are less likely than older men to believe that it is a woman's job to look after the home or to believe that women are more suitable than men as primary school teacher. But at the same time younger men are still more likely to hold traditional views than are younger women. Taking the example of primary school teaching, we can see that young men are half as likely as older men to say that women are more suitable (26% and 47% respectively), while only 17% of younger women say this compared with 26% of younger men.

Table 4-12 Gender stereotyping and age

Age

Men

Women

18-39

65+

18-39

65+

% who say

A man's job is to earn money, a woman's job is to look after the home

5

34

4

26

Women are more suitable primary school teachers than men

26

47

17

31

Sample size

214

149

292

193

4.5.2 Economic explanations

Few differences in attitudes towards women emerge between those in different economic circumstances. However, when it comes to the question of whether a woman's job is to look after the home, there is a sharp difference between those on the highest and the lowest incomes. This, as we have seen, is the item on which there was the largest and most persistent differences between those in different social groups (see Table 4-13).

Table 4-13 Relationship between prejudice towards women and gender stereotyping, and 'economic' factors

% who say:

Women are more suitable primary school teachers than men

A man's job is to earn money, a woman's job is to look after the home

Giving money to groups which help women find work is a waste of money

All

28

11

30

Income

38,000 or more

27

4

68

9,999 or less

30

21

61

Self-rated economic hardship

Living comfortably

25

8

60

Coping on income

30

14

64

Having difficulty on income

28

12

62

Economic activity

In work

25

4

64

Unemployed

28

6

62

4.5.3 Psychological explanations

There is one consistent difference amongst our psychological indicators 11. As Table 4-14 demonstrates, those who say they prefer to live in an area with different kinds of people are consistently less likely to adopt a discriminatory or stereotypical view towards women than those who would like to live in an area where people are the same. On the other hand, there are few differences in views based on perceptions of whether men and women have much in common.

Table 4-14 Relationship between prejudice between women and gender stereotyping, and 'psychological' factors

% who say:

Women are more suitable primary school teachers than men

Man's job is to earn money, women's job to look after home

Giving money to groups which help women find work is a waste of money

All

28

11

30

How much do women have in common with men?

Great deal / quite a lot

27

11

30

Not much / nothing at all

30

14

26

Where respondent would prefer to live

With different kinds of people

24

5

59

In an area where people are the same

33

17

67

National identity

British

23

12

40

Scottish

29

11

28

4.6 SUMMARY

Two patterns appear to emerge from our analysis so far. First, the degree to which attitudes vary by sociological attribute, economic position or psychological orientation varies from group to group. The sharpest differences are to be found in respect of attitudes towards gay men and lesbians, while there are few differences at all in respect of disabled people. Meanwhile, with the possible exception of attitudes towards the gender division of labour, attitudes towards ethnic minorities appear more divided than they are in respect of women. This of course is a similar ranking to that we have found earlier in respect in the prevalence of discriminatory attitudes. In short, where discriminatory attitudes are more prevalent in general, there is also greater variation of views between different sections of Scottish society.

The second pattern is that of our three models, the economic model appears to be the least useful of the three. Although those in more disadvantaged economic positions are somewhat more prejudiced towards ethnic minorities, particularly in respect of the role of ethnic minorities in the labour market, for the most part neither objective nor subjective differences in economic position are particularly important determinants of the attitudes we are analysing here. In contrast, both our sociological and our psychological models have enabled us to identify some important differences.

Moreover, where those differences exist they tend to be in the same direction. Perhaps the most consistent finding has been that those who have a university degree are less likely to adopt a discriminatory view than those who have no educational qualifications at all. As previous research has indicated, education appears to have a liberalising impact on its participants 12 (see, for example, Evans 2002). This pattern is at least part of the reason why those in professional occupations also tend to be less likely to hold discriminatory views than those in working class jobs. At the same time where differences exist, the young, women and those who do not claim adherence to a Presbyterian church are less likely to express a discriminatory attitude than their counterparts. Rarely, if ever, is the opposite true.

So for the most part it appears that where there are differences in the kind of people who express discriminatory attitudes towards a group, the pattern of those differences tends to be the consistent. Although we cannot as yet say whether a sociological or a psychological model better accounts for the prevalence of discriminatory attitudes, it certainly appears that when they do occur those attitudes are the product of similar forces irrespective of the group against which prejudice is being expressed. However, where discriminatory attitudes towards a group are relatively rare, then attitudes do not appear to be shaped so clearly by those same forces. Perhaps attitudes towards such groups, most notably disabled people, do not have much to do with an underlying discriminatory or prejudicial outlook on the world at all.

To examine this further the next section looks once again at the pattern of answers to the general question about the acceptability of prejudice that was first introduced in Section 3.4.