According to the mainstream media and leftist politicians, America is the most racist country on the planet, but the data say otherwise. America is one of the least racist countries in the world.
The Swedish non-profit organization World Value Survey has been gathering global data for decades about how people think, what they care about, and what values they express. What it has found will surprise many. It aggregated surveys of whether people had seen or experienced racism and whether they would be negative about having someone of a race different from their own as their neighbor. The United States and Western countries consistently ranked as the most racially tolerant.
The 25 most racist countries are populated by people of all colors and creeds, but heading the list are countries mostly in the Islamic world. The top five where people do not want other-raced neighbors are Libya, Palestine, India, Thailand, and Lebanon.
Such an index of racism does not provide insight into the underlying causes. Fortunately, World Value Survey also has created what it calls the Inglehart-Welzel Cultural Map that is based on two different dimensions: Survival vs. Self-expression values form one axis, and Traditional vs. Rational-Secular values is the other.
It defines survival values as a focus on physical and economic security, often linked with an ethnocentric outlook combined with low levels of trust and tolerance. By contrast, self-expression values give high priority to environmental protection, tolerance for gays, foreigners, and gender equality.
Traditional values emphasize religion and family and are usually associated with a rejection of abortion, divorce, euthanasia, and suicide. Rational-secular values are defined as the opposite.
These dimensions allow the researchers to identify distinct clusters of countries based on culture: English-Speaking, Protestant Europe, Catholic Europe, Confucian, Baltic, Orthodox, South Asia, Latin America, and African/Islamic countries.
Unlike a simple racism index, this map gives us rich information about the various cultures in the world. The least racist cultures are the English-Speaking and Protestant Europe. Generally, ethnocentrism and tribalism are stronger in countries that have experienced war, corruption, crime, totalitarianism, and poverty.
Sweden has not experienced war or hardship in 200 years. It also happens to be the least self-preserving country. By contrast, those countries that suffered under communism are highly nationalistic and ethnocentric.
We see this particularly in the Baltic countries that score high on survival value. Estonia is a neighbor to Finland, and the language is so close to Finnish that Estonians can understand it. Culturally, they are also very similar. Despite this, Finland is far less nationalistic. The only significant difference between the two countries is that Estonia was inside the Iron Curtain of the Soviet Union, whereas Finland was free. It demonstrates how the experience of totalitarianism breeds ethnic and national self-awareness.
The cultural value map and the racism index enable Americans to put the debate about race relations and systemic racism in a global context. There is always room for improvement, but any rational discussion should start with the acknowledgment of how good America is compared to most other nations. If you want to live in a free and tolerant society, look no further than the United States.
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