Iceland's Immigrants Experience Frequent Prejudice - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Iceland’s Immigrants Experience Frequent Prejudice

Published January 30, 2014

Photos by
Hörður Sveinsson

The results of a new poll show that almost all foreigners in Iceland say they have experienced some form of prejudice from Icelanders within the span of two weeks alone.

Vísir reports that the study in question, conducted in 2012, showed that 93% of foreigners polled said they had experienced some form of prejudice or discrimination at least once during the previous two weeks.

Of this sample, 36% said they had experienced prejudice or discrimination ten times or more during the same period of time. The majority of these instances happened in the workplace.

Sociologist and InterCultural Centre director Guðrún Pétursdóttir, who conducted the study, told reporters that prejudice is often only visible to those who experience it, often making it difficult to prove.

“Icelanders believe they have a quite positive opinion of foreigners,” she said. “But it is rather typical for the majority to deny they discriminate, as this is usually not seen as a positive social norm.”

Guðrún advises that when someone says they have experienced prejudice, that one not dismiss or make light of their experience, even if what they experienced does not seem like a big deal. Taken by themselves, individual acts of prejudice may seem slight, but they can have a cumulative effect when experienced on a daily basis.

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