Vietnamese are enriched by ethnic diversity!

There is a question on the World Values Survey which allows people to give a number corresponding to their position on a spectrum where 0 = "Ethnic diversity erodes a country´s unity" and 10 = "Ethnic diversity enriches my life." Below the fold I've placed the countries where this was asked as well as the mean values. In other words, the proportions in each class were used as weights. The results frankly surprised me. Below is an ordered list:

Ethnic Diversity Enriches
Jordan 2.9
Ghana 4.8
Egypt 5
Thailand 5.3
Georgia 5.4
Bulgaria 5.5
Moldova 5.7
Cyprus 5.7
Slovenia 5.8
Morocco 5.9
Germany 5.9
Spain 5.9
South Korea 6
Ethiopia 6.2
Mexico 6.2
Japan 6.2
Poland 6.2
Australia 6.4
Serbia 6.4
Italy 6.4
Ukraine 6.4
Taiwan 6.7
Switzerland 6.7
USA 6.8
Finland 6.8
Zambia 6.9
Chile 7.1
Turkey 7.1
Argentina 7.2
Malaysia 7.3
Andorra 7.3
Brazil 7.5
South Africa 7.5
Trinidad and Tobago 7.5
Sweden 7.6
Burkina Faso 7.8
Mali 7.9
Indonesia 8.3
China 8.4
Vietnam 8.5

I wasn't surprised that the Swedes gave the "right" answer, but what's up with Mali? Some of these countries where people feel enriched aren't even that diverse. OK, I then decided to plot the % who were "Very Proud of their Nationality" vs. the mean score of attitudes to ethnic diversity (where higher scores = more positive attitude toward diversity).


To the bottom right is China, a nation where very few are proud of their nationality and many feel enriched by ethnic diversity. To the top left is Ghana, where people tend to believe ethnic diversity corrodes nationality identity, of which they are very proud. To the top right is Vietnam, where people feel ethnic diversity enriches, but who are also proud of their nationality. It does seem that there is less representation toward the bottom left, those who are neither proud of their nationality, nor positive toward ethnic diversity, though Germany and Moldova tend toward this direction (it does seem logical that people who aren't particular proud of their nationality might not care too much about the national identity being corroded).

I won't try to interpret these data, they left me scratching my head. It is interesting that the East Asian nations tend to exhibit very low avowed national pride, though South Korea, Japan, China and Taiwan are actually very homogeneous (relative to other nations). Additionally, I strongly suspect that the response to the question about diversity in Vietnam and China might have something to do with the nature of Marxist-Leninist indoctrination for most adults in those nations, where no matter the reality there was once much lip service given to a post-ethnic international future. Indonesia's national motto roughly translates into "unity is diversity", so this might also reflect some national of indoctrination at a young age.

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You wonder whether there might be a translation problem. "Ethnic diversity" is a social science concept that has been adopted by a political tendency, specifically in the US and parts of Europe, and the idea that it might be a positive value is only about 30-40 years old in the US.

Indonesia is pretty much defined by diversity (no choice) and China with the five-star flag makes a kind of diversity (under Han domination) normative.

"Proud of country" looks like nationalism, and pretty defensive nationalism in most cases, whereas the less proud numbers look like nothing but tact or prudence. For example, I've been told that the Swiss are very proud of their country, but on the other hand, they're a small country that shouldn't brag excessively.

The study puzzles me too, to the point that I'll ignore it unless there's a followup.

By John Emerson (not verified) on 20 Apr 2009 #permalink

I'll take a crack at some interpreting.

The lack of a clear pattern shows that the West's multicultural indoctrination hasn't had a measurable effect, and that peoples proud of their nationality aren't more likely to be xenophobic.

friends of mine sometimes wonder why I sometimes speak in the frank language of a Dixie conservative, particularly about identity politics and ethnic cleavage - and I have to respond that it stems from the sobering experience only a black African who has personally witnessed the enormous costs of appeasing various polities through state-sanctioned redistribution can appreciate...

By Soul Searcher (not verified) on 20 Apr 2009 #permalink

In China, "diversity" means a couple of non-Sinitic tribes living in Yunnan and Xinjiang. Ask someone in Beijing what they think of diversity and they say "yeah, it's great! We have 54 nationalities", but if a black dude moved in next door... well, forget about it. Even in Taiwan black people get stared at (and so do white people, but for different reasons) and when I went to hospital once with a guy from St Lucia, a woman ran over and called him "qiaokeli" = chocolate. I think it just means different things to different groups, and the differences in understanding of the wording underlie the differences in acceptance or support.

What i find *very* surprising is seeing the Chinese, Japanese and Koreans in the same league as the Germans when it comes to lack of extreme enthusiasm for their own nationality. I always imagined germans as very self flagellating and the exact opposite for the east-asians.

Using the online tools at the website, we can see that the percentages of Chinese and of Germans expressing a positivve ( proud + very proud) view of their nationality are similar :

china = 77.6 % , germany = 72.5% .

I thought at first that upon seeing the data, the % of merely proud germans would be much lower than that of merely proud chinese, making the chinese overall much more positive. But that's not the case at all...

By ogunsiron (not verified) on 20 Apr 2009 #permalink

It is very funny. We should call The United States of Vietnam! Just a thought. I am falling sleep already.

By Randy Nguyen (not verified) on 20 Apr 2009 #permalink

Ogunsiron, email? You referred to it in a previous post but never let me know.


I was also surprised at the relatively low national pride of the Chinese, especially given the high visibility of belligerent nationalism in various media.

Like the Germans, I would suggest that the Chinese feel a deep sense of shame in their nation for it's perceived drop in world status over the past 200 years or so. If you talk to Han Chinese you will find that they're acutely aware of their history and current position in the world.

I think the result is a mixture of anger and shame, resulting in these contradictory representations we're presented with.

China is about 92% Han and 8% other. 8% of China is 80+ million people, though (just as India's Muslim minority is bigger than most nations' Muslima majorities).

Han is what we mean when we say "Chinese". What the Chinese mean by "Chinese" is "citizens of China", including Tibetans, Turks, Mongols, Thai, etc. Even the word "Han" flattens things out a lot -- Cantonese and the Chinese of Manchuria are both broadly Han, but they're at least as different as Portuguese and Rumanians.

By John Emerson (not verified) on 21 Apr 2009 #permalink

Billare :
ogunsiron 4t gmail d0t com


By ogunsiron (not verified) on 21 Apr 2009 #permalink