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.
SOURCE: Yogeeswaran K, Afzali M, Andrews N, Chivers E, et al. “Exploring New Zealand National Identity and Its Importance for Attitudes toward Muslims and Support for Diversity.” New Zealand Journal of Psychology, April 2019.
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