Are the Belgians racist?
"I'm not a racist, but ..." is the title of a poll commissioned by the Centre for Equal Opportunities and Opposition to Racism.
The majority of those polled accept that we live in a multicultural society, but many have problems with certain aspects of multiculturalism.
More than half of the 1,392 Belgians polled said that they never had contact with people from a different ethnic origin. This group claim neither positive nor negative experiences with foreigners.
People living in the city come into more frequent contact with other cultures and are more positive and open to multiculturalism. The director of the Centre for Equal Opportunities and Opposition to Racism Jozef De Witte points out that this is very positive.
"The most remarkable conclusion (of the poll) is that Belgians are more tolerant of ethnic minorities the more they come into contact with them." Further, 55 percent of those polled said that they think the presence of different cultures in Belgium enriches society.
Two out of three Belgians polled said that people from all races are equal. One third thinks that some races are more talented than others.
The poll confirms a number of clichés. More than a third of Belgians think that people of an ethnic minority get unemployment benefits easier than Belgians. Half of those polled blame the growing crime rate on the presence of the foreigners in Belgium.
International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination was established in 1966, following the massacre of young students peacefully protesting against apartheid laws in South Africa.
Proclaiming the International Day, the United Nations General Assembly called upon the international community to redouble its efforts to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination.