“Why and how we measure racism, sexism”

The Kiwimeter survey has been both very popular see the survey KiwiMeter – what kind of a Kiwi are you? and my post about it – Kiwimeter.

It has also been strongly criticised for (claimed) racism. Some blog posts have been scathing, for example:

However Andrew Robertson (Colmar Brunton) has responded on how and why things like racism and sexism are measured in polls:

The folks involved in the New Zealand Attitudes and Values study (me included) have written this open letter about the measurement of racism and prejudice.

This is not about the Kiwimeter survey. These issues come up from time to time on other research projects, so we thought it would be useful to release this position statement.

Key points from the open letter:

  • The only way we can know if racism is a problem in New Zealand is to measure it scientifically, and to see if it is getting better or worse over time.
  • The measurement of racism is complex. It is typically done by asking people if they agree or disagree with a series of scientifically selected attitude statements. There is a deep logic behind how we select these statements.
  • Sometimes these attitude statements can seem offensive, but it’s important to include them because some parts of our society endorse them. If we exclude these statements, we can’t measure racism and other forms of prejudice.

And their sidebar summary:

Why do questionnaires like the NZAVS include statements that may seem racist?

In order to know if people are racist you need to come up with a way to measure their attitudes. For many of us, if one were to hear someone say some of the statements we use to measure racism in a conversation then it would be highly offensive. Sadly we live in a society and world where some people do hold these types of beliefs. We are asking people’s opinions NOT stating our opinions.

Why is it important to measure racism anyway?

Because we want to know how to reduce racism. New Zealand is among the world’s most tolerant societies, but we still have a long way to go. To achieve this goal we think that it is important to measure and track change in racism over time. Only by doing so can we know if there is a problem, and to see if it is getting better or worse over time. We can also identify factors that might decrease or increase racism.

Are there other ways to measure racism?

Self-report questionnaires and other polls are a really useful way to track attitudes like racism and sexism. If we want to estimate the proportion of the population who may hold prejudiced beliefs in a large-scale national probability sample like the NZAVS, or to model the rate of change over time, then using self-report questionnaires are the best method we have.

Doesn’t talking about racism make it worse?

NOT talking about racism makes it worse because then people can ignore that racism is there. We know of no evidence suggesting that measuring or talking about racism might increase levels of racism in society. If anything, measuring racism draws attention to the problem, and might help to reduce it by signalling that many other people do not think racism is OK, and do not share the same racist opinions.

Care should be taken discussing sensitive topics like racism and sexism, but debate and polling can’t be shut down by the PC brigade who insist on restrictions on terminology and try to shut down discussions unless you comply with their views.

NZAVS Open Letter (PDF)

Leave a comment

68 Comments

  1. Brown

     /  17th March 2016

    We only bother with this nonsense because of the PC brigade who are constantly offended by trivia. I am of a view that in NZ people don’t much care about who you are as long as you act civilly, work to support yourself, accept the consequences of your actions, don’t have a chip on your shoulder, don’t ponce about acting in a threatening manner and don’t expect everyone to accommodate your pet fetish. It was once called common decency or something.

    Reply
    • Pickled Possum

       /  17th March 2016

      @ Brown
      the most truest word ever to be typed you have said it the right and only way.

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  17th March 2016

        That is absolute nonsense. Look at the anti-Muslim sentiments expressed here. There was never a time when there was no racism anywhere, and if there hadn’t been there would be little point in asking questions about something that didn’t exist. I have heard anti-Pakeha sentiments expressed by Maoris who lump us all together, and it’s just as racist as when it’s the other way around. Sexism cuts both ways, and it seems that it’s much more acceptable to sneer at men than at women. Winston Peters is blatantly racist. I expect that most people aren’t, but it would be absurd to say that various -isms don’t exist.

        Reply
        • Pickled Possum

           /  17th March 2016

          whooosh you missed my point but never mind it happens on the big jobs sometimes.
          Are we not trying to go on kitty? or do you wish us to remain in the ism world for ever. Absolute nonsense you can find in any paragraph on any blog but as I do not reply to your words with “that is absolute nonsense” I will keep my tongue firmly checked in my cheek. 🙂

          Reply
  2. Morena Possum, morning Brown – I think Brown’s position is the ideal which New Zealand is perhaps reasonably good at? Better than many countries? I don’t feel especially certain it is improving though. Nor do I see why only the PC brigade will shut down polling and debate on racism? Surely racists themselves might want to do the same thing? Here’s the Herald on “casual” or “everyday” racism –

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11490650

    And lots of opinions on the E2NZ thread, many personal experiences, some quite disparaging –

    http://e2nz.org/whats-it-like-to-live-in-nz/vox-pop/chapter-1/new-zealand-is-turning-into-a-really-racist-country/

    The more discussion the better IMO.

    Reply
    • There’s a letter in the Northland Age about this today, which reminds me that the question on Kiwimeter, “Maori should not receive any special treatment” was one I wanted a “neutral” or “no fixed opinion” or “too complex” answer to, rather than “slightly-thru-totally agree or disagree”. Perhaps I could have not answer at all?

      I wonder what the survey makes of a “slightly disagree” answer to this question? Does this make me ‘slightly racist’?

      “Disadvantaged children deserve extra assistance with their education”? I moderately agree, therefore I am moderately against equal treatment of all children.

      I wonder how the concept of “scientific measurement” is actually determined in polling? I know there is methodology. However, if a poll like Kiwimeter is written by an organisation with say 100% Pakeha staff and 70% of them male and all of them above the median income, is there a possibility of ‘institutional’ bias?

      Some of the questions on Kiwimeter, especially regarding race relations and such, plus the “emblems of NZ” section – which I thought literally guided the participant towards ‘Fern’ – reminded me of the surveys and petitions at Doc Newman’s NZ Centre for Political Research … http://www.nzcpr.com/nzcpr-campaigns/independent-constitutional-review/equal-rights-petition/

      Fair enough, nothing against an equal rights petition, although I won’t be signing ACT/NZCPR’s one. I look upon it a bit like global free trade. Equal rights to free trade doesn’t actually bring about equal free trade. The economically advanced, dominant players dominate and win, as will be the case with (so-called) equal rights under any of the various forms of ‘majority rule’, of which MMP is one. If even concerted Maori ‘bloc voting’ can never muster more than say a 15% minority, their views and legislative suggestions will be swamped by the Pakeha majority. Theoretically, under so-called “equal rights” Maori might not be represented at all …

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  17th March 2016

        I suppose that moderately agreeing means that you think that they should have SOME (a little ?) help-but isn’t this case covered by ‘agree’ ?

        I was on a museum committee which was told in so many words that if we wanted funding, we needed more Maori members.We acquired some who seldom if ever turned up-one would swan in occasionally, very late and very patronising. It was very irritating when we had all worked long and hard on exhibitions (including the two original members* who looked Maori enough to me but not to the powers that be-maybe their names were wrong, as these were English) that these were opened by Maori people who hadn’t lifted a finger but acted as if they had been solely responsible. Equal rights ? I think not.

        * and members of their families, who, despite their names, were obviously Maori in appearance

        Reply
    • Pickled Possum

       /  17th March 2016

      Morena Parti
      Yes Brown words are the ideal NZ used to be very reasonable at.
      My tautoko was for Brown’s words … words of not so long ago.

      But in today’s world where the language is more provocative and has more than 1 meaning there is debate a plenty of racism sexism bigotry all the ism’s and what it means to us as a family community nationally globally.

      IMHO here is where it all falls down when you … not you Parti … but us as a community, try to fit into the box that has lest amount of hassles rained down upon us.

      In trying to Fix something that maybe wasn’t as broken as we all thought we have created something that is dividing us, the us against them saga … that divider of our everything.

      Maori who sing songs of biculturalism tend to have their rose coloured glasses fogged up by too much idealism and maybe miss the entire point, which in my view is to get on with their life in the world of ever changing ism’s with the tools they have or can easily access the skills to cross those bridges bridges that have nicer trolls living under them.
      And of course this applies to non Maori as well.

      Each of us have a story to tell of personal racism sexism I’m sure .. with some stories just to unbelievable to believe. But my thinking is stories of the past are just that of the past and to go on as a community country we need to have more equality as humans not specific races.

      If a person is starving needs help with housing and health issues it should not matter what colour their skin is? or what waka they arrived to Aotearoa-NZ. The help they should receive if done with sensibility and professional ethics should be suffice, do you not think Parti?
      our modern world is far from Rangi and Papa but I still honour them.

      The slowly dying MSM uses these provocative words not to heal or help but to create debate and to bring out deep dark ism’s that cause unhealthy debate hurtful divisive debate.

      Miss Muriel is one woman’s view I find to be so provocative and divisive that I pay her no mind or listen or read her words she plants in any newspaper that will print her 1 way view.

      To honour my tipuna I will stay hard and fast to the kaupapa and that is when peace is visiting war is on the outside not seen or heard from until war steps into my space ie bad mouthing of my whanau race I will carry on as a part Maori Paheka woman as humanly human as possible.

      But as some will know I am not shy to bring out my cyber taiaha to battle the words I find to be thinly veiled ism of race and will say Hey not ALL Maori are painted with your broad brush.

      Am I being too naive? Parti or am I just hopeful of a new exciting world of lets just get on and do the job at hand and that is to develop a world where all children are safe well cared for and loved mightily.

      Reply
      • Pickled Possum

         /  17th March 2016

        dash it all edit Maori Pakeha woman spelling learning to touch type tehe

        Reply
      • Dougal

         /  17th March 2016

        If only more Maori or part Maori spoke as you do NZ would be better off. A standing ovation and salute to you PP.

        Reply
  3. Oliver

     /  17th March 2016

    I don’t see the problem with. They’ve identified that many kiwis have racist and sexiest attitudes. No surprises here. What is interesting is that racist and sexiest attitudes are inherited, most likely form your parents. Also racism and sexism is not a NZ problem it’s worldwide. I worked in south Korea and they had the same attitudes we have towards Asians but towards Europeans, it was an eye opener, it did make me change my attitudes towards Asians.

    Reply
    • kiwi guy

       /  17th March 2016

      ” they had the same attitudes we have towards Asians but towards Europeans, it was an eye opener”

      Asians are WAY WAY more racist. At least they admire whites, if resentfully and enviously, for Western Civilisation and its success in every field.

      Reply
      • Dougal

         /  17th March 2016

        ” they had the same attitudes we have towards Asians”

        I’ll not be lumped into that category thank you! How does Oliver know “we” are racist toward Asians?

        Reply
        • Oliver

           /  17th March 2016

          “I’ll not be lumped into that category thank you! How does Oliver know “we” are racist toward Asians?”

          Just ask any Asian living in NZ.

          Reply
    • kiwi guy

       /  17th March 2016

      * That’s why it so disgusting that Vibrants get into NZ and immediately start attacking whites with accusations of discrimination. When all their lives back in their 3rd World Hell Hole they happily practiced actual real discrimination against various groups – religious minorities like Christians in Muslim countries.

      Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  17th March 2016

      I think that Oliver means sexist, not sexiest, and I also think, given his track record, that we can dismiss the claim about Korea. It’s crazy to imagine that all Asians are clones of each other and have the same ideas about everything, anyway, and even if his statement about Koreans was true, it would be meaningless to apply it to Chinese, Japanese, Malaysians, Indians, Pakistanis, Vietnamese, Cambodians….it would be like going to one European country and thinking that all European countries and people were like that.

      Asians admire and envy whites for their civilisation and success in every field ? You cannot be serious. Asian civilisations were civilisations long before Western ones were.

      Reply
      • kiwi guy

         /  17th March 2016

        YOU can not be serious.

        “Asian civilisations were civilisations long before Western ones were.”

        That’s old history. The West dominates now and has done so for a while.

        Aisans don’t have any problem admitting this – they vote with their feet.

        Western systems are copy catted by Asian countrys – Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, even China.

        Reply
        • Oliver

           /  17th March 2016

          Rent a white guy in China

          Reply
          • kiwi guy

             /  17th March 2016

            Probably very lucrative.

            A lot of white guys go to teach English in China but get lucrative side gigs as white models in Chinese media.

            Reply
        • @ KG – “Western systems are copy catted by Asian countrys” … or have been imposed on them.

          Reply
          • kiwi guy

             /  17th March 2016

            I’m referring to the copy catted ones.

            Nothing is imposed on China.

            Reply
  4. kiwi guy

     /  17th March 2016

    What are the definitions of “racism” and “sexism”?

    A lot of Leftist argue that only whites are able to be racist, that blacks etc are incapable of racism because racism is about “power structures”.

    This is classic Marxist nonsense where certain groups are defined as an “oppressed class” and can do no wrong eg lesbians, Maoris, Females. While another group is deemed the “Oppressor Class” and a deserving target of the most visceral Leftist hatred

    Reply
  5. Ratty

     /  17th March 2016

    Sorry, I just cant be bothered reading articles dreamt up by two of Twitters biggest abusive bullies…If I want an informed opinion, I’ll ask my cat (once I get one)

    Reply
    • kiwi guy

       /  17th March 2016

      Stephenie Rodgers is barking mad, I enjoy her twitter account though – regular cat fights with other feminists about who is most devout Comrade.

      She retweets some real Progressive deviants – one was a “trans man”, who had just got some kind of pseudo male sexual appendage stitched on and excitedly tweeted how he/she/it was now rushing to the nearest homosexual cruising beach with a handful condoms to try out the new equipment…

      Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  17th March 2016

      Ratty, my dog’s here if you want his opinion-it would be more or less as informed as a cat’s. Well. maybe not quite, as dogs are instinctive rather than intellectual, but it would be better than some here 😀

      Reply
      • Ratty

         /  17th March 2016

        Thanks the offer Kitty, you are correct ( as usual ) i will always have instinctive rather than intellectual anyday..Cats, like intellectuals have some form of ruling class snobbery that really is … in the long run… completely worthless..

        Woof Woof Fido

        Reply
      • kiwi guy

         /  17th March 2016

        “but it would be better than some here”

        Yourself included.

        Reply
  6. kiwi guy

     /  17th March 2016

    I just did the survey.

    Did I miss something, because I didn’t see anything about racism.

    Reply
  7. kiwi guy

     /  17th March 2016

    Was there anything about sexism in that poll? If there was I missed it.

    Reply
    • There were plenty of questions aimed at ascertaining racism KG, the numerous one’s about immigrants and Maori early in the survey, although I agree about sexism, I couldn’t discern any about sexism either. I wonder why? :-/

      Kiwis are almost as famous for sexism as we are for sporting prowess! 😀

      I just did Kiwimeter again, trying to be as ‘traditional’ as possible, and sure enough got ‘traditionalist’. 😦 Last time ‘egalitarian’ (I think?) or was it ‘globalist’? 😎

      Still found the symbols that represent NZ utterly infuriating.
      What sort of choice is that crap? The Crown, Beach Holidays, All Blacks, Haka.
      Chose one “the most” and then one “the least” from what remains …
      Next selection … next … next … finally choose between ‘Fern’ and ‘All Blacks’
      FFS !!!!
      If this is scientific I must have missed something at varsity?

      Anyhow, I’ve skewed the statistics now. 😦
      I’ll have to do it a third time honestly to get back on track?

      Reply
      • Oliver

         /  17th March 2016

        It’s a clever but of data gathering, I wonder what they do with the data or who they sell it to.

        Reply
      • kiwi guy

         /  17th March 2016

        “There were plenty of questions aimed at ascertaining racism KG, the numerous one’s about immigrants and Maori”

        Those questions do no such thing.

        If they do how come there is no Racist Scum Bag! label at the end assessment in that poll?

        Or are you claiming Traditionalist = Racist?

        Reply
        • Yes KG, I think “traditionalist” is a polite euphemism for racist scum bag! 😀

          But seriously, I used the word “racism” incorrectly. My apologies. 😦 The questions were aimed at ascertaining (something like) levels or degrees of racial and ethnic tolerance or intolerance IMO, eg “NZ should accept immigrants”, “immigrants can maintain their own cultural values …” etc etc :-/

          Reply
          • kiwi guy

             /  17th March 2016

            Who says its about tolerance?

            I’m all for Japanese in Japan and Blacks in Nigeria.

            Go for it. More power to you, whatever you are doing.

            I just believe that whites also have the right to preserve and uphold their culture.

            What is intolerant about any of that?

            Why is it only whites are not allowed to be proud of their cultural heritage?

            Why is it only white countries are told they have to be multicultural and flood their nation with Vibrants?

            Reply
            • There isn’t a ‘white culture’. New Zealand is a smorgasbord of cultures intermingling, blending and hanging on to a bit of tradition.

              The ‘white culture’ I grew up with was very different to other white and non-white cultures in New Zealand, and vastly different to the cultures I experience now.

              When I was a child I never ate pizza, pasta except Watties canned, savoury rice, Knödel, not even brown bread, we always only had white vienna. When we ate out as a family for the first time when I was 16 I chose the wine because my parents didn’t have a clue about what to have.

              What white culture are you referring to?

            • Pantsdownbrown

               /  17th March 2016

              I don’t agree with KG but I think there is some truth in the fact that New Zealanders are not actively encouraged to learn about their European heritage, be it through schools or when training teachers etc.

            • My parents and grandparents did nothing to encourage me to learn about their European heritage. They left it behind and started new lives here as far as I saw.

            • Pantsdownbrown

               /  17th March 2016

              I was the opposite – told about our family heritage and what ships ancestors came to this country on etc – I think knowing something of your history and where you come from is enlightening and may be of help to those struggling with their identity.

            • I haven’t struggled with my identity at all, and have since discovered a bit about my European ancestry, but it’s nothing more than a bit of curiosity. Places like Reading, Chelsea and Caernarfon are just names on maps and pictures, I don’t feel any empathy for them.

              And even my local heritage has been flooded, literally, my home area has been totally transformed from what it was when I grew up, as has the local area.

            • I think of “all we see around us” and pretty much everything as being our European heritage, slightly altered and adapted by Maori and other cultures in places.

              It’s so pervasive we don’t really think of it as culture and indeed, it might be argued it is so amorphous as to barely represent ‘culture’ in the more traditional sense of the word – Morris Dancing and the like … but St Patrick’s Day is ‘culture’?

              The more dictated by economics it becomes, the less recognisable as culture, again in the traditional sense, examples might be Xmas and Halloween? But Television, Punk, the internet, twitter and blogging are all European cultural things, essentially …

              This is why I’m wary of ‘assimilation’ by contrast to diversity, which I think is what some people mean in reference to “equality” and, for instance, no preferential treatment for Maori (or what might be called “recognition of diversity”?)

              To me the danger of ‘assimilation’ is that everything becomes amorphous Pakeha … end of story …

            • jamie

               /  17th March 2016

              “I’m all for Japanese in Japan and Blacks in Nigeria.”

              And “Whites” in the Pacific, apparently.

      • kiwi guy

         /  17th March 2016

        “Kiwis are almost as famous for sexism as we are for sporting prowess!”

        Evidence?

        Reply
        • @ KG – Surely it’s similar to racism? How does one measure it? What constitutes evidence? As with racism also, at least there’s some people – generally members of the PC brigade – “trying” to measure these things? 😉 So many people seem to just want to maintain everything exactly as it is?

          Reply
          • kiwi guy

             /  17th March 2016

            “What constitutes evidence? ”

            I guess that explains the Feminist push for “The accusation is the evidence” approach to law and justice.

            Reply
  8. Brown

     /  17th March 2016

    This leads me to the flag – who would have thought? The Union Jack represents something greater than Britain as a colonising empire and oppressor of cannibals that had it really good before property rights, fast food that talked and the rule of law etc… The Union Jack, for all its failings over history, represents western civilisation which has been of huge benefit to all that it touched. A better civilisation than the others on offer. Niall Ferguson has it pretty much right in his series on civilisation.

    I think Protestant Christianity was and remains a key factor in civilisation but that’s another story. Down tick away …

    Reply
    • kiwi guy

       /  17th March 2016

      “Protestant Christianity was and remains a key factor in civilisation”

      A key factor in white Capitalist Democratic Civilisation, not so much Vibrant Civilisaition

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  17th March 2016

        Gimme dat ol gospel music I is gonna praise de lord

        Reply
        • kiwi guy

           /  17th March 2016

          Yeah white slave owners indoctrinated their black slaves with the Bible.

          Progressives are really schizophrenic on this particular topic – massive cognitive dissonance.

          On one hand Progressives being Marxists HATE Christianity, then on the other hand they love to indulge in some romantic racist stereotype about Blacks being all soulful and spiritual.

          Reply
  9. kiwi guy

     /  17th March 2016

    Preserving your culture is NOT racist.

    Every other group is allowed to do it except whites, why is that?

    Reply
  10. Alan Wilkinson

     /  17th March 2016

    Is there a proper summary of results anywhere? Seems to me this is an exercise in self-promotion for TVNZ rather than analysis.

    Reply
  11. Ratty

     /  17th March 2016

    Happy Kitten pictures… thats what I would like to see on my twitter stream

    Reply
    • Nelly Smickers

       /  17th March 2016

      Reply
      • Ratty

         /  17th March 2016

        Has she moved on and gone to some other cause where she can rant and scream like some old man Baby Boomer piss ?..

        White, Middle Class, University Type, Privileged Millennials.. I just can stand their sanctimonious ramblings

        Reply
        • Ratty

           /  17th March 2016

          yeah yeah…*can’t

          Reply
          • Nelly Smickers

             /  17th March 2016

            LOL!! 😀

            I just looked up ‘RATTY’ in the dictionary, and it gives this definition:

            Feeling miserable, snappy and irritable. Mainly a condition suffered by girls.
            Mike – “Karen, do you want to go for a drink tonite?”
            Karen – “No thanks, I’m feeling miserable, snappy and irritable”
            Mike – “Ratty bitch”

            Reply
            • Ratty

               /  17th March 2016

              Ha ha ha ha !!!

              I never thought about it that way, I guess if the shoe fits..

  1. Kiwimeter – ‘Real’ Kiwis and Others? – jrowblog
  2. Kiwimeter still going | Your NZ

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