First you have to find a measurement for racial prejudice. I think Swedish researchers hit upon a rather good data point:
The survey asked respondents in more than 80 different countries to identify kinds of people they would not want as neighbors. Some respondents, picking from a list, chose “people of a different race.” The more frequently that people in a given country say they don’t want neighbors from other races, the economists reasoned, the less racially tolerant you could call that society. (The study concluded that economic freedom had no correlation with racial tolerance, but it does appear to correlate with tolerance toward homosexuals.)
Leave that fascinating parenthesis behind for a moment and what do we find? Max Fisher’s map above shows us. And the racist, imperialist Western powers turn out to be among the most tolerant. Money quote:
People in the survey were most likely to embrace a racially diverse neighbor in the United Kingdom and its Anglo former colonies (the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand) and in Latin America. The only real exceptions were oil-rich Venezuela, where income inequality sometimes breaks along racial lines, and the Dominican Republic, perhaps because of its adjacency to troubled Haiti. Scandinavian countries also scored high.
And the most racist? India, Jordan, Bangladesh and Hong Kong. There’s also one stand-out of racial intolerance in Europe: France. Duh. My favorite line from Max’s piece:
The Middle East not so tolerant.
I might also note that one common factor in the most prejudiced countries seems like Islam to me, with India and Hong Kong And Vietnam the obvious exceptions.
Update from a reader:
Just wanted to let you know that your post is a little bit misleading about the research you’re citing. The original paper by the Swedish researchers was about the effect of economic freedom on tolerance. It found that people in more open economies are less hostile to gays but not to people of other races. The data they used were based on responses to the World Values Survey. Max Fisher used that survey data to make his map. The Swedish researchers did not make the map, did not collect the survey data, and were not making any point about colonialism or Islam. Their paper was ONLY about the effect of economic conditions on tolerance and was more about tolerance for homosexuality, not racism.