25% of young Spaniards aged 15 to 29 show racist and xenophobic attitudes. However, the majority, 75% of Spanish youth, disapprove of these attitudes. Furthermore, Roma and people from Sub-Saharan Africa and Morocco are the most frequent victims.
The figures emerge from a survey by the Fad Juventud Foundation’s Centre for Adolescence and Youth. Between 28 June and 14 July 2022, 1,200 young people aged between 15 and 29 were surveyed.
The three most common reasons for discrimination in Spain are;
- ethnic origin (42.3%)
- sex or gender (40.5%)
- sexual orientation (39%)
Discrimination based on country or place of origin comes fifth (31.5%) and racial discrimination comes sixth (21.6%). Only 26% of respondents said they had never felt discriminated against.
What are defining variables?
Regarding the group of young people with clearly racist attitudes and views, the study found that the majority of the group is made up of people who are ideologically far-right. One of the conclusions is that ideology is a determinant variable. In addition, there are statistically significant differences by gender, with women clearly more anti-racist.
Respondents attributed the spread of racist messages mainly to some media and their portrayal of immigration (60.4%). And also to the xenophobic proposals of far-right parties (49.7%). Furthermore, 40.3% of the respondents said that the lack of adaptation of immigrants is the reason most affecting the spread of racist statements.
Most affected group
Roma is the most rejected group. The various questions show that Roma are heavily discriminated against and often face racism. 24% of young people surveyed do not want Roma neighbours, do not see them in a position of responsibility or in education (24%), at the police station (over 25%) or a mayor’s post (30% of young people). 16.3% of those surveyed indicated that they would prefer not to have a personal relationship with Roma. Moreover, it is the worst score given for entering into a new friendship or intimate relationship.
Moroccans and Muslims
People from Morocco and people of Muslim religion are not considered suitable for socially relevant positions or welcomed as neighbours or friends. Only 57.2% of young people said they would be happy if people from any of the groups consulted were mayors or mayoresses.
Goals of the survey
The survey has several aims. First, to detect the existence of stereotypes, racist or xenophobic attitudes among young people. Further, to identify the extent to which the young population is discriminated against on the basis of origin, ethnicity, culture and/or religion, and to identify the most or least discriminated groups.
The survey also analyses the percentages of young people who say they have witnessed racist violence or behaviour, those who have experienced it and those who admit to having experienced it.
Witness or experiencer
The percentage of young people who say they have witnessed various forms of racist behaviour (from mockery to physical aggression) ranges from 32.6% for physical aggression to 49.8% for insult on social media. The percentage who have been victims of this ranges from 14.4% in the case of physical aggression to 24.3% in the case of insults in public spaces. 5.7% have been physically aggressive themselves. 15.1% distrust minorities. The figures are “worrying and significant”, according to the researchers.
The study also concludes that the results show the importance of what could be considered a ‘discrimination spiral’. This is where it is easier for someone who has been discriminated against to also discriminate themselves. This is why intervention programmes and support measures for young people who have been victims of such behaviour are so important to break this spiral.