Subjective racism, objective racism: the French case
Patterns of Prejudice
GB : Institute of Jewish Affairs
6 - 18 p.
Ethnocentrism, Objective racism, Subjective racism, Surveys, Xenophobia
Drawing on a recent survey on xenophobia and racism in France (autumn 2000), Mayer and Michelat compare answers to questions about minorities (measuring objective racism) with answers to a question on a respondent's own feeling as to his or her own racism (subjective racism), and to an open question about what it means to be 'racist'. The results show that, for three-quarters of the sample, the objective and subjective dimensions overlap: the level of subjective racism goes up with scores on the objective racism scale. But there are two deviant groups. The scrupulous (10 per cent), often to be found among principled Catholics or Communists, feel themselves to be racist in spite of their low scores on the objective scale, while the deniers (14 per cent) do not think of themselves as being racist in spite of their high scores. In line with theories of 'subtle racism', members of this latter group seem to be aware of an anti-racist norm and do not consider themselves to be racist, in contradistinction to racists, who admit being so, and are even proud to transgress the norm.