Widespread and deep-seated prejudice in Hungary

Originally I wanted to write about the Jobbik-affiliated police trade union and its leader, who delivered a rather significant speech at last Friday's demonstration. But then I happened on a story about a sociological study on the extent of prejudice against the handicapped, Roma, and gays. The results are devastating. The only good piece of news is that prejudice against the handicapped is less today than it was ten years ago. But the rest puts Hungarians squarely in the camp of the most prejudiced people in Europe.

The study wanted to find out the extent of prejudice, sliced and diced according to various sociological groups: inhabitants of Budapest versus the rest of the country; rich and poor; young and old; Gypsies and non-Gypsies; taxpayers versus people on assistance; Fidesz supporters versus MSZP supporters; foreigners living in Hungary versus natives. The researchers had two distinct groups to work with: (1) a sample of 1,000 nationwide and (2) a smaller sample of 500 from the most backward and disadvantaged regions of Hungary. The main goal of the research was to find out about local conflicts and strategies, if they exist, for the resolution of these conflicts.

Only 70 persons out of 1,000 (7%) thought that there are no serious conflicts within Hungarian society while about 300 people considered Hungarian society conflict-ridden. It became clear from the study that those living in very small hamlets, those having very little education, and those whose income is meager see the greatest conflicts in the country.

We all know about the deep-seated prejudice against the Gypsies. Several studies had been done on that subject already and therefore this sociological team's findings are not surprising. Sixty-seven percent would reject the idea of any kind of family relationship with people of Gypsy origin. Fifty percent couldn't imagine a Roma being a close friend. Forty percent wouldn't want a Gypsy to move into his neighborhood. Twenty-five percent don't even want to work with a Gypsy. Twenty percent don't want a Gypsy to move to Hungary and 13 percent wouldn't even want him to visit Hungary as a tourist.

Looking at these numbers, I'm actually surprised that they are not higher. I have seen studies that showed non-Roma rejection of the Gypsies to be well over 80%. But what was unexpected and shocking is that Hungarians seem to hate gays even more. Sixty-seven percent of those who answered couldn't even imagine having a close relative who is gay. Sixty-five percent couldn't imagine having a gay friend. Forty-six percent wouldn't want to live next door to a gay person while 37 percent wouldn't even want to work with a gay person. Not terribly surprisingly, those living in villages and those with little education have the fiercest anti-gay attitudes. 

Interestingly the anti-Roma prejudice is stronger in larger cities, among the better educated with a higher income. That is, people at the top of the social scale are even more prejudiced than those in the villages where Gypsies are very numerous in certain parts of the country. According to the head of the sociological team that conducted the research, the anti-Roma prejudice among people of higher status and education has actually grown in recent years.

The team also wanted to know about fears harbored against certain groups. Most people (21%) are very afraid of the Gypsies, 11% of the Hungarian Guard, and 10% of the internal revenue service.

Another question that was posed was whether the person has ever felt discriminated against. Apparently 81% never experienced discrimination as opposed to sixteen percent who on occasion felt discriminated against. The reason was mostly age-related discrimination. I might add here that the high number of people who claimed that they had been never felt discriminated against might not reflect the facts. There was plenty of discrimination against women in American graduate schools in the 1950s and 1960s, but when in the second half of the 1960s the universities asked their female students how they felt about their own situation, most of them claimed that they had never been discriminated against. It took some "education" for them to see the inherent discrimination within the system.

So, that's the situation. It is rather grim. Everywhere you look there is prejudice, and the political situation is also grave. Der Spiegel published a rather frightening article about the rapidly spreading neo-Nazi ideologies in Hungary. The title is "Ungarns hässliche Freunde," referring to the relationship between Hungarian and German far-right groups. Those of you who handle Hungarian can read the article in Galamus, but the Google translator between German and English is acceptable.

 

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Jo Peattie
Guest

The widespread prejudice against gays is very surprising. My daughter (aged 7) asked me this morning if women could “marry” women and men “marry” men? I answered yes- to all intents and purposes in the UK but never in Hungary. She then asked why not in Hungary? I could not answer…. I am proud that I have brought my kids up to accept that being gay is just fine. If we stayed in Hungary until they were much older I suspect my attitudes would lose influence in the face of the overwhelming prejudice here. Once again- shame on you Hungary.

Member

THe whole gay issue is just so beyond me. I have gay friends, gay neighbours and have worked together with gay people. I find gay man (least the ones I know) exceptionally funny, emphatic, and having great taste. I have never been hit on by gay people, never felt threatened by gay people and I never looked at them as gay people. I think people who preach so vividly against gay people have some hidden issues or are small minded and very badly informed (mainly through religious education). I am more afraid from boys hitting on my daughter than from lesbian girls hitting on her. If she is straight, she is straight, and f she isn’t then nothing will change that.

jto
Guest

it is no fun to mention that gays are coming in different shades.
a minority is very tasteless, another minority is completely pitiful.
altogether the pitiful and tasteless should be intensively rehabilitated.
the gipsy problem is totally different. it is neighorhood specific. poor gipsies live next to non-gipsy poor. this is the worst area of the confrontation.
the gipsies who live in budapest are completely integrated, and my gipsy friend was a chess genius, best jazz expert, and a great engineer. remarkable, enviable, still not exactly free of mistakes. too integrated, even in obscene language use.

Member

@jto I should say that the part of the straight population is also tasteless and a bunch of the straight people are also pitiful. So not much wisdom here … 🙂 On the other hand I’m glad that you mentioned the BP gipsies. It’s absolutely true. And you are also right saying it’s neighborhood specific. In other words it’s a social issue (not racial).

An
Guest

@Mutt Damon: Are you an anti-dentite? 🙂

An
Guest

Sorry, my absolutely silly comment went under the wrong thread…

kormos
Guest

@Joe Peattie
Please never forget that you are a privileged guest in Hungary.

Jano
Guest
“I find gay man (least the ones I know) exceptionally funny, emphatic, and having great taste.” I don’t know, I just find gay people exactly the same as non gay people. I don’t think most of them would like to be praised, or associated any kind of stereotypes, not even the positive ones. Amongst the comments at Nol under the article about the survey, there was someone who summarized the situation. Most of the Hungarians have no experience with gay people or they don’t know that they have as most of the gays are very understandably afraid to come out even to their closest social groups. So what’s left as a sole experience is the annual gay parade, where the exhibitionism dominates (or at least dominated and this impression lingers on, even though as far as I heard it was a lot more moderate last year. If you search meleg felvonulás in google you still find the famous pic with the guy imitating sex with the bible). I think if there was a survey to describe gay people, most of the people would answer that they are the ones dancing and swaying (I don’t know the word for vonaglás) with… Read more »
Lutra lutra
Guest

Wife-beating, tax evasion and prejudice against the Roma and Jews seem to be traditional Hungarian values, and ones that no true patriot should speak up against, and no politician will in case they are “outed” on at least one of them.

Eva S. Balogh
Guest

Kormos: “@Joe Peattie Please never forget that you are a privileged guest in Hungary.”
And I guess you are a privileged guest in Canada. Shame on you.

Johnny Boy
Guest

“just wait until our dear Johnny makes a visit under this post”
I wasn’t expecting you to come up with this.
But ok, let’s get this straight.
I have nothing against gay people for them being gay, and never had.
I’m against THOSE gay people who provoke the straight majority. Those who squirm arount on Andrássy street and provoke the religious, the straight, and just about everyone else.
So I have no problem with someone being gay, as long as it is not obtrusive and I’m not forced to relate to it in some way.
The fact that this blog’s commenters cannot differentiate between unobtrusive gays and provocative gays is not my problem.
Eva: “And I guess you are a privileged guest in Canada. Shame on you.”
Shame on you instead! Kormos is perfectly right. For anyone coming to Hungary, but not WILLING to abide by OUR rules, the borders are just as open to leave as to enter!
It shows your hatred and disdain against Hungary that you never ever respect any of our country’s rights to defend itself or just to live our own life.

Johnny Boy
Guest

Lutra lutra: “Wife-beating, tax evasion and prejudice against the Roma and Jews seem to be traditional Hungarian values”
I’m not going to refrain myself: fuck off you Nazi retard.

Jim
Guest

“Provocation” is a word only used by the Right in Hungary. It means “anything that makes us face our prejudices” — but what Johnny fails to realize is that “provocation” is not a legal category, and is clearly protected by freedom of speech.
But most of all, it is defined by the beholder. I have seen it used of all non-right groups. “There would be no anti-semitism in Hungary if the Jews didn’t bring it up constantly” — that sort of bs.

Eva S. Balogh
Guest

JB: “Eva: “And I guess you are a privileged guest in Canada. Shame on you.” Shame on you instead!”
Why? Was Kormos born in Canada? Surely not. He emigrated and the country was gracious enough to let him in. I do hope that under these circumstances he never criticized Canada at all.

Johnny Boy
Guest

“Was Kormos born in Canada”
I don’t know where (s)he was born, but if (s)he is an immigrant, (s)he must also comply Canada’s rules!

Johnny Boy
Guest

Jim: my words are mine alone, and no matter how you try to discredit them be labelling them instead of interpreting them, that does not change my message one bit.
So, after your post of zero significance, you could as well try and give a genuine answer, then that’ll be fine.
If not, that’ll be just as fine too.

Eva S. Balogh
Guest

JB: “”Was Kormos born in Canada” I don’t know where (s)he was born, but if (s)he is an immigrant, (s)he must also comply Canada’s rules!”
Why? Jo doesn’t obey the rules of Hungary? I presume that she does. She happens to be critical of the country. With good reason. Then comes Kormos with this “privileged guest” crap.

Adam LeBor
Guest

Can we please have a link to the NOL article? I cannot find it on the website. thx.

Eva S. Balogh
Guest
Member

There is a great disturbance in the Force today …
The Hungarian bunko-meter is off the charts.

Johnny Boy
Guest

“Why? Jo doesn’t obey the rules of Hungary?”
I don’t know but being critical has its limits too.
If you enter someone else’s house, you will usually mind your manners and not start lecturing the host.

Jim
Guest

“f you enter someone else’s house, you will usually mind your manners and not start lecturing the host.”
Great little folksy false analogy, Johnny. But a country is not a house.
But most of all, you did a very clever job of appointing yourself the host who makes the rules. Alas, there is no “Hungarian way” of dealing with homosexuality.

Member

Jano: “I don’t think most of them would like to be praised, or associated any kind of stereotypes, not even the positive ones.” it is not a stereotype. but this is my experience, as I stated in my post. Contrary to stereotype, I think what I expressed that they do have great qualities, probably not all of them, but they are not tasteless or deviant, as Johnny prescribed them in a previous post.
Johnny Boy: “I’m not going to refrain myself: fuck off you Nazi retard.” Make no mistake Johnny, you never do.

An
Guest

According to the article in Nepszabasag, the research was funded by the EU. I know, the Hungarian figures are horrific, but I’d be interested in similar research about other EU countries, especially Eastern Europeans… just to put the Hungarian numbers in perspective.
Similar numbers in the US, for Arabs, which currently the group Americans are most prejudiced against: 48% wouldn’t like to have them in the family, and 3.8% wouldn’t want them in the country (data from 2005).

Ivan
Guest
“Privileged guest”? I live in Hungary entirely legally. I pay taxes here. I contribute in every responsible way that I can. I live here, as is my right, as a citizen of the European Union. I am neither your guest and nor am I in the slightest bit privileged. Frankly, right now, I would rather be living somewhere else (though this was not always the case). Maybe circumstances will eventually allow me so to do. I am also delighted that Hungarians can avail themselves of EU law to live in my country. I am surprised, however, given how much people complain about the last (socialist) Hungarian government, how few linguistically competent people decided to leave. Anyway, I would never have the affront to describe anyone who took up their rights to live in my country as being in any way “privileged”. I would also welcome their comments – good, bad or indifferent – on my country. Most people do recognise that the outsider perceives much more than the insider. For good or bad the European Union is founded on principles of freedom-of-movement and plurality of culture. Citizens of the EU are entitled to expect to be treated equally (which does… Read more »
An
Guest

@Ivan: Sadly, seems to be a true description of the state of affairs in Hungary. I moved from Hungary 8 years ago, and every year I visit, and as I follow the news, it’s getting worse and worse every year. I think Hungary was a fairly decent place when I left, and I can’t help but wonder what the heck happened with most people there.

Privileged Houseguest
Guest
Privileged Houseguest

Johnny I will be visiting Hungary this summer as a privileged guest. Could you please post the URL of the website with the Hungarian Rulebook. I really want to make sure I don’t offend anyone. Thanks!

Johnny Boy
Guest

To sum things up, it is pretty straightforward that Hungarian conventions and people define the rules here.
You who falsify my words and act like my message weren’t completely obvious won’t change things one bit.
If you come here to live, then fine, but be prepared to adhere to conventions here. If you don’t like them, nobody keeps you from leaving the same way you came in.
If you don’t like it here but don’t leave regardless, that’s fine too: then you probably won’t feel yourself well here. But if that’s not a big enough motivation to leave, then live with it.
You are free to complain however.
someone: yes I do, a lot of the times.
But I won’t refrain myself from responding to nazis appropriately. It tells a lot of you anyway that you don’t have any problems with anyone abusing the Hungarian nation as a whole. You may even like it. And this is the best justification for people to ostracize you.

kis fiu
Guest

As usual, Johnny’s favorite debating trick: non-hungarian opinions not allowed! (Also facts concerning hungary pointed out by non hungarians are also invalid.) For that matter opinions of hungarians living abroad dont count either unless they happen to be Fidesz supporters like Fischer Tibor. I do wonder why Johnny bothers to read this blog as it is filled with so many meaningless opinions!
I suppose he does it as a favor to us since we didnt realize our opinions were invalid before he pointed it out. Thanks Johnny!

Member

@Johnny You are confusing again …
“You are free to complain however.”
Then what sense does it make to point out that they are “guests”?
It seems like Johnny and Kormos are pedaling the great Hungarian invention, the BUNK-O-MATIC together.
Kormos is from Canada? I thought he is one of the Swedish turul-troopers who hackled Bolgar a few weeks ago.

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