A recent study by Chelsea Schafer and Greg Shaw found that, as of 2006, over a quarter of Americans would still rather not live near homosexuals. This percentage has been decreasing, however; in 1990 and 1995, 38% and 30% of people, respectively, wanted to keep their distance:
But tolerance for Muslims and immigrants has not increased alongside tolerance for gays and lesbians. The data show that rather high levels of tolerance in the ’90s (with about 90% of people being happy to have these groups as neighbors) disappeared and, by 2006, 22% of people did not want to live near Muslims and 19% did not want to live near immigrants.
The data on tolerance for Muslims is likely due to the way the attacks on September 11th, 2001, have been spun to stoke hatred against Muslims. What do you think about the increased intolerance for immigrants? Have “foreigners” been collateral damage in the smear campaign against Muslims and Arabs? If it were simply growing conservatism, wouldn’t we see the same pattern for homosexuals? Other explanations?
Borrowed from Contexts Discoveries.Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College and the co-author of Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.