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Exploring New Zealand National Identity and Its Importance for Attitudes toward Muslims and Support for Diversity

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In the aftermath of the horrific terrorist attack against Muslims in Christchurch, it is important to examine what psychological factors predict positive attitudes toward Muslims and acceptance of diversity, more broadly. The present work examines how beliefs about national identity predict attitudes toward Muslims and support for diversity in New Zealand. Using a national sample, we first describe the extent to which New Zealanders rate various characteristics as important for being a ‘true’ New Zealander. We then examine how such beliefs about national character predict attitudes toward Muslims and diversity. Results revealed that the more people believe that having specific ancestral heritage and cultural characteristics are important for being a ‘true’ New Zealander, the more negatively they feel about Muslims and the more they opposition they expressed toward diversity. However, endorsement of more civic characteristics (e.g., respect for the nation’s institutions) was unrelated to attitudes toward Muslims and support for diversity. Taken together, this work reveals that how we define who we are as a nation influences how we feel about Muslims and diversity. Broader implications for the future of cultural diversity in New Zealand are also considered.
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New Zealand national identity and attitudes towards Muslims and diversity
New Zealand Journal of Psychology Vol. 48, No. 1 April 2019
29
Exploring New Zealand National Identity and Its Importance for
Attitudes toward Muslims and Support for Diversity
Kumar Yogeeswaran1 M. Usman Afzali1 Nadia P. Andrews1 Elizabeth A. Chivers1
Meng-Jie Wang1 Thierry Devos2 and Chris G. Sibley3
1 University of Canterbury, New Zealand, 2 San Diego State University, USA, 3 University of
Auckland, New Zealand
In the aftermath of the horrific terrorist attack against Muslims in Christchurch, it is important to examine
what psychological factors predict positive attitudes toward Muslims and acceptance of diversity, more
broadly. The present work examines how beliefs about national identity predict attitudes toward Muslims
and support for diversity in New Zealand. Using a national sample, we first describe the extent to which
New Zealanders rate various characteristics as important for being a ‘true’ New Zealander. We then
examine how such beliefs about national character predict attitudes toward Muslims and diversity. Results
revealed that the more people believe that having specific ancestral heritage and certain cultural
characteristics are important for being a ‘true’ New Zealander, the more negativity they expressed about
Muslims and the more opposition they expressed toward diversity. However, endorsement of more civic
characteristics (e.g., respect for the nation’s institutions and laws) was unrelated to attitudes toward
Muslims and support for diversity. Taken together, this work reveals that how we define who we are as a
nation influences how we feel about Muslims and diversity. Broader implications for the future of cultural
diversity in New Zealand are also discussed.
Keywords: national identity; New Zealand; national character; diversity; Muslims
Introduction
In the immediate aftermath of the
horrific attack against Muslims in
Christchurch on March 15, 2019, New
Zealand’s Prime Minister, Jacinda
Ardern, told a shocked public: Many of
those who will have been directly affected
by this shooting may be migrants to New
Zealand, they may even be refugees here.
They have chosen to make New Zealand
their home, and it is their home. They are
us. The person who has perpetuated this
violence against us is not. While there
has been debate on whether the
perpetrator of the hateful terrorist attack
reflects something about ‘us’ (e.g.,
Ghumkhor, 2019; McLachlan, 2019),
Ardern’s words serve to define New
Zealand national identity in a way that
psychologically includes Muslims,
immigrants, and refugees as part of the
nation. Such an approach is largely in line
with extant social and political
psychology research showing that how
people define national identity and
conceptualize who is a ‘true’ member of
the country is inextricably linked to the
acceptance or exclusion of immigrants,
refugees, and ethnic minority co-
nationals (Pehrson, Brown, & Zagefka,
2009; Wakefield et al., 2011; for reviews,
see Pehrson & Green, 2010;
Yogeeswaran & Dasgupta, 2014). But,
do every day New Zealanders define their
national identity in a way that echoes the
inclusive language of the nation’s Prime
Minister? And how do beliefs about what
it takes to be a ‘true’ New Zealander
account for diversity attitudes and
attitudes toward Muslims in particular,
the group directly targeted by this
terrorist attack? The present research
examines these questions using a large
nationally representative sample. Here
we argue that lay beliefs about the ‘true’
New Zealander having specific ancestry
or certain cultural characteristics may
predict negative attitudes toward
Muslims and opposition to diversity. In
contrast, lay beliefs about national
identity that encompass civic
participation may predict neutral to
positive attitudes toward Muslims and
diversity.
National identity and intergroup
relations
For many years, political scientists
have argued that national identity can be
characterised along ethnic or civic
dimensions (Brubaker, 2009; Citrin,
Reingold, & Green, 1990; Smith, 1991).
Ethnic national character refers to
national identity defined by shared
ancestry or heritage in specific linguistic,
ethnic, or religious traditions. According
to such a conception of national identity,
only people of certain descent or
ancestral bloodlines can claim national
identity, while all others simply cannot
be considered ‘true’ members of the
nation, thereby remaining ‘visitors’
regardless of whether or not they are born
and raised in the country and contributing
to the nation (Bloemraad, Korteweg, &
Yurdakul, 2008; Pehrson & Green, 2010;
Yogeeswaran & Dasgupta, 2014). By
contrast, civic national character defines
national identity by political membership
and participation along with a shared
commitment to certain ideals and
principles. By such a definition, anyone
regardless of their cultural, religious,
linguistic, or ethnic heritage can be ‘true’
members of the nation as long as they
subscribe to core ideals or principles
(e.g., respecting individual liberties and
freedoms) and participate in society
(Bloemraad et al., 2008; Pehrson &
Green, 2010; Schildkraut, 2007;
Yogeeswaran & Dasgupta, 2014).
While nations possess legal definitions
for who counts as one of ‘us’ through
citizenship laws (Dasgupta &
Yogeeswaran, 2011; Yogeeswaran &
Dasgupta, 2014), psychological
New Zealand national identity and attitudes towards Muslims and diversity
New Zealand Journal of Psychology Vol. 48, No. 1 April 2019
30
conceptions of national identity can
include ethnic, civic, or combination of
both these conceptions simultaneously.
For example, while Americans tend to
endorse many civic characteristics of
national identity (e.g., the importance of
respecting the nation’s institutions and
laws, freedom of speech, working for the
betterment of the country), they
sometimes simultaneously show signs of
ethnic national character (e.g.,
emphasising the importance of speaking
English, being Christian; (Citrin et al.,
1990; Devos & Banaji, 2005;
Schildkraut, 2003, 2007). The
simultaneous endorsement of both civic
and ethnic national characters is further
evident when exploring automatic or
implicit associations using reaction-time
tools alongside more explicit self-report
measures as people can consciously
endorse inclusive civic characteristics of
their national identity, while implicitly or
automatically perceiving some groups as
more ‘authentic’ members of the nation
than others (for reviews, see Devos &
Mohamed, 2014; Yogeeswaran, Devos &
Nash, 2016).
Why should we care about people’s
conceptions of national identity?
Extensive research within the social
sciences shows that whether people
define their national identity in terms of
ethnic or civic characteristics has
important implications for how we see
other groups. For example, Wakefield
and colleagues (2011) experimentally
tested whether making salient the ethnic
or civic aspect of Scottish national
identity would differentially impact the
inclusion of ethnic minorities and
prosocial tendencies. Across three
studies, they found that framing Scottish
national identity as normatively ethnic
led White Scottish participants to be less
accepting of criticism about Scotland by
a Chinese-Scot (i.e., a Scottish person of
Chinese descent), decreased their
willingness to include a Chinese-Scot
within the national identity, and reduced
their willingness to help a Chinese-Scot
person in need, all relative to those in a
control condition. By contrast, when
Scottish national identity was framed as
normatively civic in nature, White Scots
were more willing to accept a Chinese-
Scot’s criticism of Scotland, more willing
to include such an ethnic minority within
the national identity, and increased their
willingness to help a Chinese-Scot target
who was in need, all relative to controls.
Similarly, in research from the USA,
exposing participants to biographical
descriptions of Asian Americans and
Hispanic Americans who work for the
betterment of the country (thereby
highlighting their fit with civic national
character) increased the explicit and
implicit inclusion of both Asian and
Hispanic Americans within the national
identity (Yogeeswaran, Dasgupta, &
Gomez, 2012). However, making salient
the ethnic identification of Asian
Americans and Hispanic Americans
(thereby highlighting the lack of fit with
ethnic national character) decreased
explicit and implicit inclusion of these
groups within the national identity
(Yogeeswaran et al., 2012). Taken
together, even ethnic minorities who are
born and raised in the country, but of
specific ethnic heritage, can be excluded
from the national identity based on how
the national identity is defined.
The distinction between ethnic and
civic national identity has also been
important in explaining how
identification with the nation can have
diverging implications on attitudes
toward newer groups. For example,
Pehrson, Vignoles, and Brown (2009)
used data from 31 countries to show that
the strength of national identification
among majority group members predicts
anti-immigrant sentiments, but only in
countries where people define their
national identity in terms of ethnic
characteristics, and not in those nations
with a more civic national identity. Data
such as these highlight the importance of
better understanding lay definitions of
national identity and their implications
for attitudes toward minorities and
immigrants. In fact, going beyond the
specific framing of national identity as
ethnic-civic, Smeekes, Verkuyten, and
Poppe (2011) revealed that making the
Christian roots of the Netherlands salient
increased opposition to Muslim
expressive rights among Dutch
participants that were both high and low
in national identification relative to a
control condition. However, making the
humanistic and tolerant history of the
Netherlands salient led Dutch
participants who were weakly identified
with the country to show greater
acceptance of Muslim expressive rights
relative to those highly identified with the
country.
While much psychological research
has been done on national identity in
other parts of the world, there is limited
work on how people define New Zealand
national character (see Sibley, Hoverd, &
Liu, 2011; Sibley & Liu, 2007) and
whether these beliefs predict attitudes
toward minority groups and diversity.
Therefore, the present work examines
two important research questions: (1) to
what extent do New Zealanders rate
various ethnic and civic characteristics as
defining of New Zealand national
identity?; and (2) to what extent do
people’s beliefs about what it means to be
a ‘true’ New Zealander predict attitudes
toward Muslims and support (versus
opposition) for diversity? Here we
specifically focus on attitudes toward
Muslims as it is important to understand
how everyday beliefs about national
identity can contribute to prejudice
toward this group in the aftermath of the
horrific terrorist attack of March 15,
2019.
METHOD
Sampling Procedure
The current study utilised data from
Time 7 of the New Zealand Attitudes and
Values Study (NZAVS). The NZAVS,
which began in 2009, is a longitudinal
national probability study that
investigates social attitudes, personality,
values, among other factors. The Time 7
data were collected in 2015. Sampling
occurred by randomly selecting
individuals from the New Zealand
Electoral Roll who were over the age of
18 years. Participants drawn from the
New Zealand Electoral Roll are New
Zealand citizens and permanent residents
who are eligible to vote. A copy of the
questionnaire was posted to participants,
and a second postal follow-up was sent
two months later. Participants were
invited to complete an online version of
the questionnaire if they provided an
email address. A prize draw was offered
to participants for their participation in
the study (see Sibley, 2018, for further
details about sampling).
Participants
The Time 7 (2015) NZAVS data
contained responses from 13,944
participants. In total, 13,794 participants
provided responses to the relevant
measures and were therefore included in
the current analysis. The mean age of
participants was 50.80 years (SD =
13.89), with 62.7% identifying as female
and 37.3% identifying as male. Of these
participants, 80.3% identified as New
Zealand European, 12.2% identified as
Māori, 2.6% identified as Pasifika, and
2.5% identified as being of Asian
descent.
New Zealand national identity and attitudes towards Muslims and diversity
New Zealand Journal of Psychology Vol. 48, No. 1 April 2019
31
Measures
Demographics
Participants provided answers to a
range of demographic variables such as
gender, age, religiosity, household
income, whether they lived in an
urban/rural area, relationship status,
parental status, level of education, and
employment status. Neighbourhood
deprivation was measured on a scale of 1
(most impoverished) to 10 (most
affluent), using the NZ Deprivation Index
2013 (Atkinson, Salmond, & Campton,
2014).
Political Orientation
Participants also completed a one-
item measure from Jost (2006), asking
them to rate how politically left-wing
versus right-wing they saw themselves as
being. This item was rated on a 7-point
scale which ranged from 1 (extremely
left-wing) to 7 (extremely right-wing).
This variable was included as a control
variable similar to the demographic
factors above.
National Character
Participants completed four items
which asked them about whether there
are certain qualities that make someone a
‘true’ New Zealander. These items were
adapted from Citrin et al. (1990) and
asked participants to rate how important
they thought each quality was for being a
‘true’ New Zealander. The items were:
(a) “To have New Zealand citizenship”,
(b) “To respect New Zealand’s political
institutions and laws”, (c) “To be able to
speak English”, and (d) “To have Māori
or European ancestry”. While the first
two items relate to civic national
character, the latter two relate to ethnic
national character. However, as the
internal consistency of the two ethnic and
civic national character items was too
low to justify combining the items into
composite measures (αs < .46), we
examined these four items
independently. These items were rated on
a 7-point scale which ranged from 1 (not
important) to 7 (very important), with a
mid-point of 4 (somewhat important).
Warmth toward Muslims
Participants completed attitude ratings
modelled on affect thermometer items
included in United States National
Election Study. These items asked
participants to rate their feelings of
warmth toward Muslims on scales
ranging from 1 (feel least warm toward
this group) to 7 (feel most warm toward
this group), with 4 indicating neutral
feelings toward the group.
Diversity attitudes
Participants completed three items (α =
.75) which assessed diversity attitudes,
taken from Breugelmans and van de
Vijver (2004). Participants were asked to
indicate how strongly they agreed or
disagreed with three items: “The unity of
NZ is weakened by too many
immigrants” (reverse-coded), “I feel at
ease when I am in a city district in NZ
with many immigrants,” and “There are
too many immigrants living in NZ"
(reverse-coded). The items were rated
from 1 (strongly disagree) to 7 (strongly
agree). Larger numbers indicate more
support for diversity, while smaller
numbers indicate opposition to the same.
RESULTS
Descriptive Analyses:
We first descriptively examined
participants’ ratings of the importance of
each of the national character items (see
Figures 1a-1d for details). As evident in
Figures 1a-1d, nearly 90% of New
Zealanders believed having New Zealand
citizenship was somewhat to very
important for someone to be considered a
‘true’ New Zealander (i.e., responded 4
or above on the measure; M = 5.64, SD =
1.63). Similarly, approximately 92%
thought that being able to speak English
was somewhat to very important for
someone to be considered a ‘true’ New
Zealander (M = 5.76, SD = 1.45), and
more than 97% reported that respecting
New Zealand’s political institutions and
laws was somewhat to very important for
someone to be considered a ‘true’ New
Zealander (M = 6.22, SD = 1.10). Finally,
approximately 35% of New Zealanders
reported that having Māori or European
ancestry was somewhat to very important
for one to be considered a ‘true’ New
Zealander (M = 2.80, SD = 1.89).
Warmth toward Muslims, and
Support for Diversity
Multiple regression analyses were
conducted to examine how different
beliefs about what it takes to make
someone a ‘true’ New Zealander
predicted attitudes toward Muslims, and
support for diversity, while controlling
for a number of important demographic
factors and even participant’s political
orientation (see Table 1 for full model).
After adjusting for these factors in our
model, results revealed that the more
people believed that being able to speak
English was important to be considered a
‘true’ New Zealander, the less warmth
they reported towards Muslims, B = -
.194, SE = .010, p < .001, and the less
they supported diversity, B = -.230, SE =
.009, p < .001. Similarly, the more
participants believed that having Māori
or European ancestry was important for
someone to be considered a ‘true’ New
Zealander, the less warmth they reported
towards Muslims, B = -.111, SE = .009, p
< .001, and the less they supported
diversity, B = -.243, SE = .008, p < .001.
On the other hand, believing that having
New Zealand citizenship was important
to be a ‘true’ New Zealander did not
predict warmth toward Muslims, B =
.002, SE = .009, p = .85, nor support for
diversity, B < .001, SE = .008, p = .997.
However, believing that respect for New
Zealand’s political institutions and laws
was important for being a ‘true’ New
Zealander predicted a relatively minor
increase in warmth toward Muslims, B =
.024, SE = .009, p = .008, and a slight
increase in support for diversity, B =
.025, SE = .008, p = .003. Collectively,
this regression model accounted for
13.2% of the variance in warmth towards
Muslims, (R2 = .132), and 27.3% of the
variance in support for diversity (R2 =
.273), with the four national character
items alone accounting for 8.8% of the
variance in warmth toward Muslims (R2
= .088), and 20.6% of the variance in
support for diversity (R2 = .206).
New Zealand national identity and attitudes towards Muslims and diversity
New Zealand Journal of Psychology Vol. 48, No. 1 April 2019
32
Figure 1a. To have New Zealand citizenship
Figure 1b. To be able to speak English
Figure 1c. To respect New Zealand’s political
institutions and laws
Figure 1d. To have Māori or European ancestry
Figures 1a-1d. The figures presented display the distribution of responses as percentages from participants when asked
how important do they personally think the following qualities are for being a true New Zealander, where 1 = not
important, 4 = somewhat important, and 7 = very important.
0.00%
5.00%
10.00%
15.00%
20.00%
25.00%
30.00%
35.00%
40.00%
45.00%
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Percentage
Level of Importance
0.00%
5.00%
10.00%
15.00%
20.00%
25.00%
30.00%
35.00%
40.00%
45.00%
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Percentage
Level of Importance
0.00%
10.00%
20.00%
30.00%
40.00%
50.00%
60.00%
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Percentage
Level of Importance
0.00%
5.00%
10.00%
15.00%
20.00%
25.00%
30.00%
35.00%
40.00%
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Percentage
Level of Importance
New Zealand national identity and attitudes towards Muslims and diversity
New Zealand Journal of Psychology Vol. 48, No. 1 April 2019
33
Table 1. Multiple regression analyses examining the predictors of Warmth towards Muslims and Support for Diversity.
Focal predictors (i.e.,To have NZ Citizenship, To be able to speak English, To respect NZ’s political institutions and
laws, and To have Māori or European ancestry) are emphasized in bold.
Warmth towards Muslims
Support for Diversity
b
(SE)
p
b
(SE)
p
To have NZ Citizenship
0.002
(0.009)
.849
< 0.001
(0.008)
0.997
To be able to Speak English
-0.194
(0.010)
< 0.001
-0.230
(0.009)
< 0.001
To Respect NZ’s Political
Institutions and Laws
0.024
(0.009)
0.008
0.025
(0.008)
0.003
To have Māori or European
Ancestry
-0.111
(0.009)
< .001
-0.243
(0.008)
< .001
Gendera
-0.071
(0.008)
< .001
-0.061
(0.007)
< .001
Age
-0.051
(0.010)
< 0.001
0.036
(0.009)
< 0.001
Household Income
0.004
(0.010)
0.703
0.041
(0.009)
< 0.001
Socioeconomic status
-0.003
(0.009)
0.726
-0.018
(0.008)
0.026
Religiosityb
0.029
(0.009)
0.001
-0.017
(0.008)
0.029
Parental Statusc
-0.002
(0.009)
0.822
-0.018
(0.008)
0.037
Relationship Statusd
-0.015
(0.009)
0.098
0.001
(0.008)
0.881
Employment Statuse
0.020
(0.009)
0.031
-0.002
(0.008)
0.823
Urban versus Ruralf
0.015
(0.008)
0.082
0.022
(0.008)
0.004
Māori (1=yes; 0=no)
0.037
(0.008)
< 0.001
-0.029
(0.008)
< 0.001
Pacific (1=yes; 0=no)
0.031
(0.008)
< 0.001
-0.004
(0.007)
0.574
Asian (1=yes; 0=no)
-0.011
(0.008)
0.168
-0.028
(0.007)
< 0.001
Political orientationg
-0.137
(0.009)
< 0.001
-0.170
(0.008)
< .001
Educationh
0.080
(0.009)
< 0.001
0.139
(0.008)
< 0.001
a Gender (0 = female, 1= male). b Identify with a religion and/or spiritual Group (0 = no, 1= yes). c Parental status (0 =
not a parent, 1= a parent). d Relationship status (0 = not in a relationship, 1= in a relationship). e Employment status (0 =
not employed, 1 = employed). f Urban versus rural (0 = rural, 1 = urban). g Political orientation (extremely left-wing = 1,
extremely right-wing = 7). hEducation (0-10 NZ Qualifications Authority ranking)
DISCUSSION
The present research uses data from a
nationally representative sample to
explore how New Zealanders define what
it means to be a ‘true’ New Zealander, and
then tests how such beliefs predict
prejudicial attitudes toward Muslims and
support for diversity in New Zealand.
Data revealed that a vast majority of New
Zealanders believe that respecting New
Zealand’s political institutions and laws,
having New Zealand citizenship, and
being able to speak English are somewhat
to very important for someone to be
considered a ‘true’ New Zealander. While
the first two represent more civic
characteristics of national identity where
no specific cultural traits or heritage is
placed above any other, the third
characteristic is argued to represent an
ethnic conception of national identity
(e.g., Citrin et al., 1990; Schildkraut,
2003; 2007) by placing higher importance
on an Anglo characteristic of national
identity. With that said, the ability to
speak English is an achievable
characteristic as anyone regardless of
their heritage can learn the language. By
comparison, a sizeable minority (35%)
believe that having European or Māori
ancestry is somewhat to very important
for someone to be a ‘true’ New Zealander,
making it impossible for anyone outside
of these ancestral bloodlines to ever be
considered a ‘true’ New Zealander.
Overall, these findings suggest that
people tend to endorse both ethnic and
civic aspects of national character
simultaneously, although there appears to
be greater consensus around civic aspects
of national character.
However, as these data show, beliefs
about what makes someone a ‘true’ New
Zealander are not just confined to
people’s general beliefs they also have
important bearings on how others in
society feel about minority groups, and
diversity more broadly. Specifically, the
more people believe that having certain
ancestral bloodlines or certain cultural
characteristics are defining of what it
means to be a ‘true’ New Zealander, the
more negatively they evaluate a minority
group like Muslims, and the more
negativity they express toward diversity.
These relationships emerge even when
controlling for a range of demographic
factors and participant’s political
orientation, accounting for approximately
9% and 20% of the variance in people’s
attitudes toward Muslims and opposition
to diversity, respectively. This implies
that changing these beliefs about what
defines ‘us’ to be less exclusive is an
important step for forging positive
relations in our increasingly diverse
nation.
Broader Implications
While the present work reveals beliefs
about what makes someone a ‘true’ New
Zealander and how such beliefs that
define national identity in terms of
specific ancestral heritage or prioritising
certain cultural characteristics can
negatively predict attitudes toward
Muslims and diversity, it is also important
to consider the broader implications of
these findings for New Zealand. For
example, by a sizeable minority (35%)
believing that having European or Māori
ancestry is required for someone to be a
‘true’ New Zealander, it implies that
anyone who is not of European or Māori
ancestry simply can never become a ‘real’
New Zealander, even if they are born and
raised in the country, participate and
contribute to the country, and the same
would apply to their children and
grandchildren in the future. As evidenced
by research on identity denial, ethnic
minorities (especially Asian westerners)
who have their national identity denied to
New Zealand national identity and attitudes towards Muslims and diversity
New Zealand Journal of Psychology Vol. 48, No. 1 April 2019
34
them experience a host of negative
emotions, reduced life satisfaction, hope,
and increased depressive symptoms
(Cheryan & Monin, 2005; Huynh, Devos,
& Smalarz, 2011; Wang, Minervino, &
Cheryan, 2013). Moreover, identity
denial increases compensatory
behaviours and unhealthy eating in order
to try fitting in (Guendelman, Cheryan, &
Monin, 2011). The experience of identity
denial might be especially harmful for
ethnic minorities who are second-
generation New Zealanders and those
beyond as these individuals do not have a
sense of connection to any other place and
expect to be accepted in nations that claim
to possess inclusive and egalitarian ideals
(e.g., Wang et al., 2013). This, we argue,
is a significant challenge for New Zealand
going forward. As the nation has
experienced large increases in the ethnic
diversity of its populace including people
from East Asia, South Asia, the Middle
East, the Americas, and Pacific Nations,
the national inclusion of these groups will
be a critical issue for the country in the
coming decades. Defining national
identity in ways that allows people of
diverse backgrounds to feel fully
accepted into society will be critically
important for these individuals’ health,
well-being, and participation in wider
society. In fact, some of our own recent
research (Yogeeswaran, Shurmer, &
Hewstone, 2019) reveals that when Asian
New Zealanders are exposed to video
messaging that frames New Zealand
national identity as normatively civic,
they show greater national belonging, and
in turn a stronger desire for civic
participation and engagement with wider
society. However, video messaging that
frames New Zealand national identity as
normatively ethnic in nature reduces
Asian New Zealanders’ sense of national
belonging and decreases their desire for
civic participation, as well as reduces
their desire for engagement with wider
society. Collectively, such work suggests
that more attention is needed to consider
how national identity is framed in order to
examine its impact for both majority and
minority groups.
An additional challenge going forward
is that national inclusion needs to be
internalized in order to create a more
equitable society. Many studies have
shown that even when people explicitly
perceive certain racial/ethnic groups as
equally defining of the national identity,
they may implicitly possess prototypes
that certain groups are more authentic
than others. For example, in the USA,
Devos and Banaji (2005) demonstrated
that while participants of all races
implicitly perceived African Americans
and White Americans to be equally
American, at an implicit or automatic
level, reaction-time measures revealed
that White Americans were perceived to
be more American than African
Americans (for reviews, see Devos &
Mohamed, 2014; Yogeeswaran &
Dasgupta, 2014). In New Zealand, Sibley
and Liu (2007) demonstrated that both
explicitly and implicitly, New Zealanders
perceived both Māori and Europeans to
be equally defining of New Zealand
national identity suggesting that Māori
were rightfully included at both the
implicit and explicit levels, unlike in
Australia where Aboriginal peoples were
implicitly perceived as less ‘Australian’
(Sibley & Barlow, 2009). However, even
in New Zealand, New Zealanders of
Asian descent who participants were
explicitly told were New Zealand citizens
born and raised in the country were still
not considered to be New Zealanders as
evidenced by both implicit and explicit
measures (Sibley & Liu, 2007).
Beyond the implications such
exclusion may have for minority group
members’ psychological health, well-
being, and emotions (see Cheryan &
Monin, 2005; Huynh et al., 2011; Wang
et al., 2013), research demonstrates that
such implicit beliefs also predict
discriminatory behaviours and judgments
(Dasgupta & Yogeeswaran, 2011; Devos
& Ma, 2013; Yogeeswaran & Dasgupta,
2010). For example, in the USA, implicit
beliefs that real’ Americans are White
predicts discriminatory job-hiring in
contexts that require national loyalty, and
more negative evaluations of public
policy promoted by an Asian American
(Yogeeswaran & Dasgupta, 2010).
Similarly, implicit conflation between
Whiteness and American identity
predicted reduced willingness to vote for
Barack Obama during the 2008
Presidential election (Devos & Ma,
2013). Such studies reveal that how we
define who belongs in the country and
who counts as a ‘true’ member has direct
implications for our own behaviour and
judgment, including who we are willing
to vote for and who we are willing to hire
for certain jobs. Moreover, such beliefs
also negatively impact psychological
outcomes for minority groups
experiencing national exclusion making it
an important issue for future work. Taken
together with the present data, we argue
that it is important to recognize that
defining national identity in exclusive
terms that prioritize specific cultural
characteristics or specific ethnic heritage
can have negative implications for
creating an inclusive and equitable nation.
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... A month after the attack, the New Zealand Journal of Psychology published a rapidresponse issue to provide more research on this problem. The issue included many review-style articles written in response to the attack (Khawaja and Khawaja 2019;Mirnajafi and Barlow 2019;Waitoki 2019;Wetherell 2019), alongside several further analyses of NZAVS data exploring the predictors of anti-Muslim prejudice (Hawi et al. 2019;Highland et al. 2019;Yogeeswaran et al., 2019), and data from a community sample exploring prejudice towards different religions (Wilson 2019). Of particular relevance was subsequent work by Sibley et al. (2019) which reported rates of reported warmth and anger to the different groups the NZAVS measured, the predictors of anti-Muslim prejudice, and change in attitudes over time. ...
... Our second objective was to systematically assess the relative strength of anti-Muslim prejudice compared to the other types of religious prejudice in New Zealand, and the predictors of this prejudice. Our findings replicate previous studies from the NZAVS (Shaver et al. 2016(Shaver et al. , 2017Hawi et al. 2019;Highland et al. 2019;Sibley et al. 2019;Yogeeswaran et al. 2019), as well as a community sample study (Wilson 2019), revealing a substantial Muslim Acceptance Gap in New Zealand. This past work has shown that politically right-wing attitudes positively correlate with anti-Muslim prejudice, and that education, and religious identification are negatively associated with anti-Muslim prejudice. ...
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The March 15th terrorist attack started a national dialogue about prejudice in New Zealand. Previous research has investigated attitudes towards Muslims in comparison to ethnic minorities. However, presently, there are no nationally representative studies in New Zealand systematically comparing attitudes to Muslims with attitudes to other religious groups. Here, we present evidence from the New Zealand edition of the International Social Survey Programme module on religion, a national postal survey (N = 1335) collected between September 2018 and February 2019. We assess perceived threat and negativity towards Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Jews, and Atheists. We find substantially greater perceived threat and negativity towards Muslims compared with other groups. In particular, older people, New Zealand Europeans, men, and those with more right-wing attitudes report greater threat and negativity towards Muslims. In line with previous studies, higher religious identification and higher education predict greater acceptance. Taken collectively, these results reveal that the Muslim Acceptance Gap in this country is substantial, and greater challenges for acceptance are evident among lower-educated, right-wing, older, secular, and male populations. The magnitude of this gap reveals a substantial challenge to the future of New Zealand where religious and secular people can live without evoking prejudice.
... It concluded that the New Zealanders' beliefs tend to endorse both ethnic and civic aspects, which is reflected negatively on their evaluation of minorities in general and Muslims in specific. (Yogeeswaran et al., 2019) Another study compares attitudes towards Muslim with attitudes towards other religious groups. According to this study, there is more threat and negativity related to Muslims in comparison with other groups. ...
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Since the March 15 attacks in Christchurch, there has been raised awareness and new and strong enthusiasm to understand the experiences of the Muslim minority community. This exploratory paper investigates the perceived discrimination as experienced by Muslims or those who identify with coming from a Muslim background and who work at New Zealand universities. Using a questionnaire, we surveyed the experiences of perceived discrimination of Muslim staff working at universities across the country and the impact it has had on the wellbeing of these members of the society. The study concludes that a significant minority perceive themselves as targets of discrimination within their workplace and even more people while not being directly impacted acknowledge that there is discrimination. This study hopes to raise awareness of the extent of discrimination perceived by Muslims with the hope of encouraging government and ministers to investigate the issue in more depth and providing guidelines for organizations.
... Positive and safe learning environment is very important for every student. In the absence of safe and learning positive environment a student may feel disconnected, uncomfortable and engage in bullying, act of violence, criminality or other destructive behaviors (Yogeeswaran, Afzal, Andrew, Chivers, Wang, Devos, & Sibley, 2019). There are four contrasting types of schools namely open, closed, engaged and unengaged. ...
... The civic conception of national identity was operationalized as respecting political institutions and laws (Devos & Banaji, 2005;Reeskens & Wright, 2011). The ethnic conception of national identity was operationalized as having Māori or European ancestry, an element specific to the New Zealand context (Sibley et al., 2011;Yogeeswaran et al., 2019). Although these operationalizations do not encompass other elements typically linked to the contrast between civic vs. ethnic conceptions of national identity (Bloemradd et al., 2008;Pehrson & Green, 2010;Schildkraut, 2007Schildkraut, , 2011Wright et al., 2012;Yogeeswaran & Dasgupta, 2014), they do provide insight into the role of an important component of civic and ethnic national identity on opposition to social policies. ...
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... … I would like to see it actually come out of the mouths of people that are in positions of power because right now we need people to talk about it for what it is. (One News Now, 2019).The extent of the everyday racism Guld Mire was referring to was revealed in research conducted byYogeeswaran et al. (2019) to identify who people consider to be a New Zealander, and to analyse people's thoughts about national identity and attitudes towards Muslims and diversity. It was reported that in the survey carried out in 2015, 35% of the participants stated that to be a true New Zealander one has to have European or Māori ancestry. ...
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South Asians are a minority group generally reported in New Zealand as part of the category ‘Asian’. Studies in New Zealand have raised questions about how the huge diversity of peoples from Asia or from Asian backgrounds can be covered by the generic term ‘Asian’. The process of acknowledging and accepting South Asians as a minority group has been an ongoing debate globally. This thesis focuses on domestic South Asian students in New Zealand universities by asking:  What measures have been successful in improving outcomes for domestic South Asian undergraduate students at AUT? This research reported in this thesis used a single case study approach to study domestic South Asian students enrolled in bachelors programmes at Auckland University of Technology (AUT). The study used mixed modes of data collection, both qualitative and quantitative, to conduct the research. Analysis of quantitative data found that there has been a growth in the domestic South Asian population in the Auckland region but an underrepresentation of this population in bachelor’s degree enrolments at AUT. Furthermore, domestic South Asian students’ degree completion rates in AUT are below the university average rate of completion. However, the lack of sufficiently detailed data means these problems are largely masked by South Asian students being subsumed into the category ‘Asian’. Universities in New Zealand and institutions in the tertiary education system more generally, need to collect more fine‐grained data so that the performance of different groups of students can be observed and responded to appropriately where necessary. Interviews with 16 participants from academic and professional staff at AUT and two focus groups with nine domestic South Asian students studying at AUT, were carried out and participants invited to share their experiences. Staff shared their experiences of teaching and supporting students and the students shared their current experiences of their study journey at AUT. Four themes emerged from the qualitative data: 1) the absence of fine‐grained data to inform participation and completion of domestic South Asian students in undergraduate programs; 2) issues with academic and support services offered to students; 3) the absence of South Asians in university policy and strategy; and 4) a lack of acceptance iii and acknowledgement that meant participants felt difficulty in integrating into and feeling part of the wider student body. In addition, as a minority group, students encountered financial hardship when combining work and study, and if they did not have targeted financial support or scholarships. Despite efforts made by AUT to provide academic and pastoral support to students overall, this study finds that minority domestic South Asian students within the broader Asian group are struggling and the lack of adequate support for these students has serious implications for them, and for universities such as AUT.
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Following the March 15th Christchurch terrorist attack, members of our research team have been repeatedly asked to comment or provide summary statistics from the New Zealand Attitudes and Values Study (NZAVS) on prejudice toward Muslims. As the curators of the NZAVS, we think that these findings should be in the public domain and accessible to as wide an audience as possible. In this article, we aim to provide a comprehensive summary of what we know from the NZAVS about attitudes toward Muslims and prejudice in New Zealand more generally. From 2012 onwards, the NZAVS included a feeling thermometer rating of people’s level of warmth toward Muslims. Here, we summarize what we know from the NZAVS about levels of warmth toward Muslims in the New Zealand population. We describe the distribution of thermometer ratings of warmth toward Muslims annually from 2012 onward, and compare these with thermometer ratings of a range of other groups that we also track. We present a regression model documenting the extent to which a broad range of demographics and aspects of personality are associated with low levels of warmth toward Muslims, and present a parallel model assessing warmth ratings toward immigrants as a comparison. Finally, we present a series of growth curve models outlining the relative level and rate of change over time in warmth toward Muslims and other groups from 2012-2018. Results from these analyses indicate that over the 2012-2018 period, levels of warmth toward Muslims in New Zealand were comparatively low relative to warmth ratings of other groups. However, warmth toward Muslims has also been steadily but gradually increasing over time in New Zealand. (PDF) Prejudice toward Muslims in New Zealand: Insights from the New Zealand Attitudes and Values Study. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/343152264_Prejudice_toward_Muslims_in_New_Zealand_Insights_from_the_New_Zealand_Attitudes_and_Values_Study [accessed Jul 24 2020].
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Donald P. Green is assistant professor of political science, Yale University, New Haven CT 06520-3532.
Article
Les prédicteurs et les composantes des attitudes envers le multiculturalisme ont étéétudies chez 341 Néerlandais tout-venant. Les attitudes relèvent d’une structure unidimensionnelle, mais le niveau d’adhésion au multiculturalisme varie significativement selon les domaines. Le niveau culturel et le fait de vivre en ville avec peu d’immigrés étaient les seules variables positivement corrélées avec l’adhésion au multiculturalisme. Un modèle en pistes causales s’est révélé pertinent, les attitudes et les comportements dépendant des variables psychologiques suivantes; connaissances, satisfaction générale, perspectives d’avenir, désirabilité sociale et perception des normes sociales favorables au multiculturalisme ou en faisant au contraire une menace. Globalement, l’exclusion était désapprouvée par la majorité des Néerlandais, mais le pluralisme culturel nétait pas ressenti comme étant un atout précieux pour leur société, et ils nétaient pas disposés à faire beaucoup d’efforts pour faciliter l’intégration des minorités. Predictors and components of attitudes toward multiculturalism were studied in 341 native Dutch people. Attitudes were found to have a unidimensional structure, but the level of support for multiculturalism was found to vary significantly over societal domains. Level of education and living in city districts with few non-natives were the only background variables that were (positively) related to support for multiculturalism. A path model, with psychological background variables (knowledge, life satisfaction, life opportunities, perceived social norms about multiculturalism as a threat and support for multiculturalism, and social desirability) predicting attitudes and behavior, showed a good fit. Generally, exclusionist positions were not endorsed by majority Dutch, but cultural pluralism was not seen as a valuable asset of their society, and they are not inclined to put much effort into minority integration.