“Tolerant” Lithuanians avoid facing the “different” – poll

Five percent of Lithuanians admit to being intolerant, but only less than one third would be able to work and communicate with other foreigners, homosexuals or disabled, shows the poll by Center of Public Opinion and Market Research Vilmorus.
Specialists explain this phenomenon as “hidden intolerance” – when a person thinks and claims to be tolerant, but constantly endorses various stereotypes and any contact with individuals different than him.
Ruta Ziliukaite, doctor of Social Sciences of Vilnius University, says that there are more intolerant citizens, than confessed.
“The researches covering the EU revealed that tolerance among Lithuanians is far lower than average in union. There is even a trend of decreasing respect for certain social groups of Romany or homosexuals,” Ziliukaite said.
The poll shows that there are more men admitting their intolerance in comparison to women (respectively 7 and 3 percent of interviewees) and more residents from provinces than from capital (respectively 5 and 2 percent). While 100 percent of specialists claim to be tolerant, 11 percent of jobless admit being intolerant.
The director of EU structure funds department Nijole Mackeviciene said that a tolerant public is one of the main ways to prevent discrimination in the job market.
“When society is tolerant, the socially fragile groups are more able to employ and regain their position. If the society is intolerant and invoke the stereotypes, the vulnerable individuals become welfare recipients, and this is unfavourable for the both sides,” Mackeviciene said.
1000 respondents over 18 years old from various regions of Lithuania participated in the poll, conducted by request of Ministry of social security and labour.