(not) Everybody loves good neighbours…

I read yesterday that one quarter of Australians (or, to be more accurate, one quarter of those surveyed in the Human Beliefs and Values Survey) said they wouldn’t want gay neighbours, according to Love Thy Neighbour: How Much Bigotry is there is Western Countries, a paper interpreting the survey statistics by Brisbane economist John Mangan.

His co-author was Professor Vani Borooah of the University of Ulster – an interesting little irony as the northern Irish topped the list of bigots, with 36 percent not wanting to live next door to homos and 19 percent thinking immigrants and foreign workers weren’t desirable neighbours either.

Now, there are statistics, lies, etcetera, etcetera, and I haven’t read the paper. But as one of the apparently undesirable, I find these results intriguing. It never would have occurred to me that so many of my countrypeople would not want to live next door to me. What intrigues me is exactly what they think would be the problem.

But perhaps (like most things in life) it’s not all about me. I don’t know how the question was worded, but if the generic “gay” was used, or “homosexual”, I imagine that most respondents would have thought of men. Two men living next door. Quel horreur!

Is it just a question of an abhorrence of gay sex and what people think might be going on behind closed doors? Do they imagine that used condoms would be flung from the windows to litter their lawns? Or that no condoms would be in use and HIV would spread like wildfire up and down the street?

If it isn’t all about unspeakable sexuality, I’m somewhat at a loss. Maybe they imagine being bombarded by loud music in the form of the Pet Shop Boys – or the Scissors Sisters – till four in the morning most weekdays. Or worse still, Elton John.

Don’t they know that gay men are usually in the avante garde of gentrification and gay neighbours could be good news for property prices? Or would they fear that their own property will lose value in comparison to the impeccably stylish renovation next door?

Of course, there can be no concrete reason behind a statistic like this. Gay people, men and women, make just as nice or lousy neighbours as everyone else, in every part of the country, rich or poor, rural or urban.

So it comes down to bigotry and I know bigotry is based on irrational fears. Even so, I’ll admit to still being surprised that so many Australians live such straightlaced lives that the prospect of someone different living next door apparently sends them into a spin.

Added: Thanks to Woulfe in comments, here is the full text of the paper.

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Posted in Australiana, culture, Lesbian and Gay, sexuality
86 comments on “(not) Everybody loves good neighbours…
  1. I prefer the more accurate version – one quarter of survey respondents said that.

    Frankly I’m pretty cynical about surveys on people’s attitudes to the Irish. How many people actually say that they’d be quite happy to have Irish neighbours because they’re worried about how their Irish neighbours would react if they somehow found out what they’d said? On the other hand, how many say the opposite because they’re worried that their Pommy neighbours might get the word somehow?

  2. I wonder what a similar Human Beliefs and Values survey of the cappucino-land suburbs in inner Sydney would reveal regards residents attitude toward neighbors who were die-hard Liberal Party activists?

  3. Cletus says:

    2418 people, in a poll like this where context (of both the questions and the people taking the poll) is king. I want to see some details before I make any judgements.

  4. I imagine the survey would show different results if the same question was asked first about openly “camp” neighbors, then the same question with mere “gay” neighbors.

  5. I wonder what a similar Human Beliefs and Values survey of the cappucino-land suburbs in inner Sydney would reveal regards residents attitude toward neighbors who were die-hard Liberal Party activists?

    I suppose that would depend on whether the poll respondents were Liberal voters or not Steve.

    But don’t sweat it – as a country pub proprietor (correct me if I’m wrong on that) – you’ll never have to live next door to an inner suburban Sydney cappucino-lander. That’s a win-win for everyone, don’t you think?

  6. woulfe says:

    Steve, as someone who’s had to spend Sunday morning dealing with Saturday night’s hate mail from the neighbours, let me just say that “die-hard Liberal Party activists” would have been greatly preferable to our (mercifully former) next-door neighbours. This happened in Sydney’s inner-west suburb of Leichhardt just over a year ago.

    Suz, I too am shocked but not surprised by the high percentage. I reckon that most people associate a particular suburb or even town with a particular type of people. They choose a neighbourhood because they think they will be living among people just like themselves, and they can’t conceive that this could include a gay couple (at least not until a gay couple chooses the neighbourhood for the same reasons they did, and they see that the gays aren’t so different after all). In addition, I suspect that many people are still buying the lie that homosexual = pedophile, and these people are contributing significantly to the 25%.

    The sad fact is that not only do many Australians not want gay neighbours, they will try very hard to drive them away. A lesbian couple in our street is being harassed by their next-door neighbour, and the only hope for them and their two small kids is that the guy will one day slip up in front of a witness.

    The only redeeming feature of these statistics is that they show very starkly how much further we have to go.

  7. Pavlov's Cat says:

    After the couple next door and their little girl moved out a few years ago in search of a bigger house, I was worried about who would buy their place; it’s a maisonette, so my neighbours are just the other side of the party wall. I prayed for a gay couple who would, in my fantasy, be civilised, yard-proud, and have excellent taste in music and no audible small children. When just such a couple moved in, I was thrilled. I’m sure they’re much more disapproving of me than I am of them, and rightly so.

  8. Geoff Honnor says:

    “I imagine the survey would show different results if the same question was asked first about openly “campâ€? neighbors, then the same question with mere “gayâ€? neighbors.”

    But the next thing you know, Steve. you’ve got some acceptably gay, built like a brick shithouse, ex league player like Ian Roberts living next door and the bastard’s doing Bette Davis impersonations at the neighbourhood barbie! What do you do then? You can’t trust them mate…..

    I was intrigued at the top 10 “no poofs next door” nations:

    Northern Ireland
    Italy
    Ireland
    Greece
    Austria
    Portugal
    Australia
    UK
    USA
    NZ

    and the last four are pretty close together on the scale. The tail-enders (scuse the pun) were all forged from Anglo-Celtic settler societies and they’ve absorbed many migrants from the upper tranche of “fag-free zone preferred” Who knows? Maybe we need more research?

    It was all kind of summed up by the self-identified straight bloke who phoned into Adam Spencer’s program on ABC 702 on this topic this morning and offered that he once lived in Darlinghurst and (somewhat redundantly) explained that his neighbours had been gay. “Mate, they were incredibly noisy” he said. He went on to explain that he had nothing against gay people but that he would avoid living next door to gays again because of the noise issue. I don’t know what proportion of “noisy neighbour” complaints in Australia are generated by unacceptably loud poofs but it’s probably about 0.2%.

  9. Rob says:

    I’m sure they’re much more disapproving of me than I am of them, and rightly so.

    Why ever so?

  10. Beats having the Blackshirts in your neighbourhood, Ms Cat. Those guys were weird, and not in any amusing way. They’re the ones who used to dress up in black shirts and balaclavas, then picketing thew houses of lesbian couples. Of course it was all done with the noblest of intentions – for the benefit of the kiddies – but cowardice and thuggery remain cowardice and thuggery no matter how you excuse it.

    They weren’t exactly popular here in the People’s Republic of Moreland. The State Attorney General didn’t much like them either.

  11. If you ever get remotely warm about where I live & what sort of business I conduct Gummo, I’ll let you know.

    I was merely speculating on the reaction of extreme political bigots (in this case, inner city green/alp adherents) at being subject to unavoidable social & daily intercourse with people whose stated political views are the diametric opposite of their own.

    We could survey any social group & find they are less than thrilled at living next to people from a different sector of society.

    If I conducted this “gay neighbors” survey in Lakemba, what would the results be? I’ll wager far more anti-gay than the results from conducting the same survey in coffee shops along Glebe Pt Road.

  12. Russell says:

    I think as Woulfe said it’s the paedophile thing. We’ve had pages and pages in The West Australian lately about a gay couple who abducted a boy, and …
    A case like that lingers in the public’s mind for a long time. On the other hand non-threatening seems OK – I used to wonder about all those farmers and their wives on holiday in Las Vegas who would flock to see Liberace (he wasn’t likely to come and live next door either).

  13. Christine Keeler says:

    If you ever get remotely warm about where I live & what sort of business I conduct Gummo, I’ll let you know

    Queensland? Runs a pub?

  14. mark says:

    It would be constructive to see the wording of the survey questions.
    Being a cup half full person, I’d say 75% of respondents seeing no problem in having gay neighbors has to be an improvement, albeit incremental, on past decades.
    The motives of the Brisbane Times reporting the negative position shows there is a way to go.

  15. Well Steve, your assumption that the inner suburbs of Sydney are a “cappucino-land” infested with “Green/alp adherents” isn’t exactly politically or ideologically neutral is it? Your own political colours are starting to show there a little.

    Here’s a bit of news you might have missed – there are actual, real-live Liberal supporters – even Liberal activists – living in the inner suburbs of all the major cities. Find me an inner city electorate somewhere where the Liberal party has polled 0% of the vote in a post Howard federal election and I’ll admit I’m wrong about that.

    How do they get along with their neighbours – I dunno. Me, I’d rather have a Liberal activist next door than:

    A family of Jehovah’s witnesses (they’re bloody pests). Ditto Mormons.
    One of those idiots with a big, butch looking dog that he doesn’t know how to train properly.
    A Sunday morning motor mower buff …

    Oh, and when it comes to train travel, I’d rather sit next to a poof any day, than some sociopathic bastard regaling me at the top of his voice, with tales of all the fun he had with his mates, stealing cars and driving down to Prahran to bash up poofters, when he was but a wee lad of 18. I saw someone in that predicament once and I felt for the guy – so I reckon did everyone else in the carriage.

  16. Rob says:

    I’m intrigued by PC’s comment, which, if I read it right, implied that her new gay neighbours were rightly disapproving of her, presumably as a heterosexual, and that this disapproval was somehow much more OK than straights disapproving of homosexuals.

    But perhaps it was down to yard-pride and taste in music.

    Just disambiguationin’….

  17. suz says:

    Mark, it wasn’t just the Brisbane Times – it was reported all round the world (and funnily, each country highlighted its own stats.) (The Australian had it too.)

  18. I’d go with the yard-pride and taste in music hypothesis Rob. No need to see lefty self-loathing everywhere you look – you’ll turn yourself into the thinking man’s John Ray if you go down that route.

  19. suz says:

    I wonder what a similar Human Beliefs and Values survey of the cappucino-land suburbs in inner Sydney would reveal regards residents attitude toward neighbors who were die-hard Liberal Party activists?

    SATP, you are mixing up people’s opinions (ie who they vote for) with an intrinsic aspect of who they are (ie sexual orientation). I might disagree with the political views of a Liberal activist but that doesn’t mean I dismiss them as human beings and don’t want to share the neighbourhood with them.

  20. Russell says:

    I have lesbian neighbours just opposite (referred to by the rest of the street as ‘the girls’, they’re about 50, both nurses, maintain perfect standard roses, and are ideal neighbours). Next to them are 3 young blokes who come and go at all times, don’t clean and have probably attracted rats; next door is an old couple who have their TV too loud and somewhere in their backyard an amplification of their telephone ringtone – earsplitting; at the back some ethnic people – you can’t hang out washing when they’re cooking or you’ll never get the smell out of the clothes; and two doors up a quite disabled guy in a wheelchair who makes me feel continually guilty for not being nice enough to stop and talk (he’s very hard to understand). So any more gay couples would be quite welcome.

  21. Pavlov's Cat says:

    Sorry, Rob, but lefty self-loathing is one form of weirdness of which I am innocent; au contraire, I regard leftiness as one of my virtues. Gummo is correct. I have a regrettable front fence and a huge jungle for a back yard. I play the piano, have the telly up loud, sing to and swear at the cats, have strange visitors at odd times, and often do not bring the bins in for hours and hours.

    On the other hand, I usually pay for the shared ancient plumbing, bring their mail in when they’re away, and have offered to babysit the kid (for there is, after all, a part-time poppet; that’ll teach us all to stereotype) in any hypothetical emergency. But I still think they are ahead on points.

  22. Here’s another neighbour I wouldn’t want. But then I never could stand the bloody Welsh.

    It’s not about your politics, or your sexuality, it’s about what you’re like to live next door to. Unless you’re bloody Welsh, of course.

  23. Rob says:

    PC — gotcha. And Gummo — John Ray’s where I would not want to be.

  24. woulfe says:

    Mark, the question was “Would you like to have persons from this group as your neighbours?â€?

    The full report is available here.

  25. j_p_z says:

    “Love Thy Neighbour: How Much Bigotry is there is Western Countries?”

    How much? Much, much less than everyplace else. But to discuss that would be, uh, bigoted, I suppose. Funny how these questions get framed.

    Gummo T: “…A family of Jehovah’s witnesses (they’re bloody pests). Ditto Mormons.”

    But as long as you’re cool with living next door to gays and Liberals, it’s okay, man, you’re not a bigot! After all, some people *should* be sneered at because of their group affiliations. The trick, as we know, is to pick the *right* group. Christians are usually good.

    “…as the northern Irish topped the list of bigots, with 36 percent not wanting to live next door to homos and 19 percent thinking immigrants and foreign workers weren’t desirable neighbours either….”

    Nothing to analyze or interpret or, y’know, ‘deconstruct’ in this finding; people only deserve to have their responses parsed carefully and with fine distinctions, when they give the ‘right’ answer. So long as they give the ‘wrong’ answer, we need look no further into their motives and ways of thinking; they can just be safely dismissed as ‘bigots.’ Whew, what a relief! Saves me from having to do any more thinking today — and now I feel so nice and warm and righteous inside, too. Thanks!

  26. suz says:

    So long as they give the ‘wrong’ answer, we need look no further into their motives and ways of thinking; they can just be safely dismissed as ‘bigots.’

    Hmm, I thought my post was an attempt to look into their possible motives.

  27. My political colours are starting to show Gummo?

    And what political colours would those be?

    And what would the results on a Lakemba survey of the acceptability of gay neighbors be? Just hazard a guess. Compared to coffee shops in Glebe Pt Road?

    Come to think of it, how many gay couples live in heavily muslim streets in that part of Sydney. Their stories of neighborhood life would be publishable. After all, surely there are just as many gay amongst the muslim citizenry as the rest of society?

  28. Rob says:

    j_p_z: here’s a story about tolerating your neighbours.

  29. dj says:

    I think you’ll find there is quite a lot of Cappuccino being consumed in the outer suburbs of most Australian cities. I mean, my mum who is not really a coffee drinker was drinking them 15 years ago, along with a lot of the other women she hung out with at craft and keep fit classes.

    My second question would be – do you know the sexual preference of your current neighbours? How many people could answer that question with any certainty? The only people could have a guess at mine is because we gave our neighbours notice when we were going to have our wedding reception at our house. I certainly wouldn’t hazard a guess at whether my neighbours are gay, straight, bi- or asexual, I mean, I can go weeks if not months without seeing them.

  30. Gummo T: “…A family of Jehovah’s witnesses (they’re bloody pests). Ditto Mormons.â€?

    But as long as you’re cool with living next door to gays and Liberals, it’s okay, man, you’re not a bigot!

    Touche, j_p. All I can say by way of extenuation is that the last thing I want, when I’m trying to indulge in the quiet enjoyment of the property that is every tenant’s right under a standard rental contract, is to have it interrupted by a knock on the door from someone trying to sell me anything – whether it’s a new mobile phone plan or the salvation of my soul.

    Long ago, well before I got old and grouchy, I was several times befriended by people who made it their personal mission to rescue me from my benighted state of atheism. The friendships didn’t last – I found them too wearying. Oddly enough, one with a Mormon did – but then we had very similar senses of humour. And he never tried to convert me.

  31. suz says:

    After all, surely there are just as many gay amongst the muslim citizenry as the rest of society?

    Indeed, gay muslims march in the Mardi Gras every year as a group (as well as individuals in the many other groups.)

  32. Mark says:

    People who believe that gay people only live in inner city suburbs should consult their metropolitan gay street press and note the large number of social groups for suburban lesbians and gays. Just sayin…

  33. nasking says:

    Who cares if you have Gay neighbours when they’re your work mates…your siblings…your children…your parent…your relatives…your associates…your loved ones…your BEST FRIENDS.

    A BIG SHOUT OUT TO TONY!…& the Golden Girls of Sydney.

  34. Mark says:

    And as a resident of inner city New Farm, I’ve had annoying gay neighbours and lovely gay neighbours, and then more to whom I was totally indifferent. The annoying ones played music far too loud far too often (leaving me with a lifelong hatred for Kylie, I must say…). But then I’ve had annoying straight neighbours who played music far too loud too often. And I reckon the strike rate is about the same. That is, on the whole, most people are not annoying and a minority are regardless of sexual orientation.

    I’d also note that I think the survey is methodologically flawed. If you’re trying to measure prejudice, you have to pick questions that really get at it, not introduce other factors into respondents’ heads which might be completely unrelated. I think the fact that most people on this thread are thinking in terms of actual neighbourliness shows that the question fails in its intent. It was probably inspired by the fact that there are very many segregated neighbourhoods in many countries between races, and the willingness to entertain those of a different race living next door is an actual indicator of prejudice. But it’s not at all the same with people of diverse sexualities. There are some very good methodological protocols for researching prejudice – which is very difficult to do accurately because people don’t want to admit it. It’s a very good rule of thumb for a start to ask multiple questions, none of which appear obviously to be asking about the issue itself in stark terms. And even better is to triangulate research methods so that not only quantitative survey research but also qualitative and behavioural and observational methods are used. Speaking as a social scientist, I think what we’ve got here is junk data.

  35. My instinct would be that 25% of Australians preferring to not have gay neighbors is actually understating it.

  36. Mark says:

    I don’t think you’ve grasped my point, steve. It probably overstates prejudice because other factors intervene. I’m sure, given the provenance of the survey, it’s an accurate measure of the response to the question it asks. My point is that the question it asks reveals other attidudes than prejudice.

  37. Shaun says:

    We had a lovely gentleman of the single persuasion and his elderly mum next door until they moved. Their house was brought by someone with an eye for development and they ruined with some half-hearted attempts at renovations (inadvertently giving us water views) and then renting it out to a bunch of 17-18 year olds.

    We had to put up with drunken fights around 2:00am a couple of times a week. The cops were called a few times and there was one incident of domestic violence. Thankfully they moved and the family next door are nice and quiet.

    Sexual persuasion, politics etc aren’t important for most people. Keeping the peace and being friendly is what matters.

  38. Adam Gall says:

    I agree about it appearing to be a bit of junk data, Mark. Plus, prejudice is a difficult little concept to put a finger on before you even get to the quantitative stuff. I mean, prejudice in which concrete situation or context and at what level of consciousness? Is it only prejudice if you rationalize and acknowledge it to yourself and others? What if unpleasant words or ideas come to mind in some situations, but you dismiss them in advance and never let them cross your lips? This is potentially quite a complex question that can be taken from a few different angles.

  39. No, I see your point Mark.

    It is just that my experience, limited though it may be, reveals a lot more underlying hidden bigotry than I first expected, and often in the most unexpectd places.

  40. Mark says:

    Well, I think it goes to the questions Adam asked. It’s a heterosexist culture, fundamentally. “Prejudice” and that fairly awful word, “tolerance” don’t really cover the field.

  41. nasking says:

    Speaking as a social scientist, I think what we’ve got here is junk data.

    lol

    Mark, you kill me, in that botanist kinda way…:)

    anybody see the coconuts?…time to move on.

  42. j_p_z says:

    I lack the professional training to meaningfully sift data like that, but my hunch as a betting man is that Mark is right to fault the study. It’s also telling just how biased and slanted and burdened with an uncritical values set even the title of the study is. “How Much Bigotry Is There…?” Dear me. What is this “bigotry” of which you speak, Mr. Objective Scientist? Care to define your terms?

    Perhaps the learned professors can follow up this masterpiece with one called “How Much Philistinism Is There in Western Countries,” where they ask a bunch of citizens whether or not they’d like a gigantic Donald Judd sculpture installed in their front yard. Those who decline the honor will be handily labeled “philistines,” then we can look down on them, as is our right, and then move on.

    As Mark suggested, a lot is skewed by how you ask the questions, but I bet there’s also a problem with what sort of questions you ask, viz. concrete vs. abstract, for instance. If you ask someone “What would you think about having a gay neighbor?” you have unwittingly (or not) isolated the abstract value-term “gay” at the expense of myriad other values and qualities, and you have also put it in spot-lit relief. It’d be a different thing to ask, “What would you think of having a charming, responsible orthopedic surgeon for a neighbor?” and bury in the follow-up questions that he had a same-sex partner.

    There’s also the issue of what constitutes a community, and what do the members of a community see as its essence, its purpose, its level of importance to them as individuals, what is the definition of its survival and continuity, etc. If I tell a group of villagers in Malawi, “Congratulations! Your new neighbors will be wealthy Chinese tech entrepreneurs who want to build summer homes adjacent to your kraal. The only drawback is that they’re building on the ancestral burying ground, and they violate all the taboos of your spiritual head-men. Got a problem with that?” If some say, “Yes, we do,” should we then condemn them categorically?

  43. Bernice says:

    Yes – the methodology is very sloppy, but presumably the same questions were asked in the other participating countries. & allowing for the cultural differences that these type of questions bring with them there is still a comparative quality in the respondents’ answers.
    But as per Mark, its the 75% who don’t mind having gay neighbours that is more important. If we are to get anywhere with the issue of legal recognition of same-sex relationships, via civil unions, it would seem to Bernice, more useful to focus on the wide spread support in the community for the queerer than thou, than to allow the 25% of bigots to dominate debate with their prejudice & fear.

  44. John Greenfield says:

    Suz

    I think you might find the number would be much higher had they asked if they would like YOU personally as a neighboor :)) JOKE Joyce!

    But seriously I think 25% is a very encouraging number. I wonder what the response would have been even ten, let alone thirty, years ago?

    I haven’t read your links yet, but did they survey other “types” of neighbours? For example I would hate a house of uni students next door to me, because I know what a neighbour from hell my uni. mates and I were!

    Did they ask about nuclear families? I once lived next door to a very middle-class married white couple who had two young children. Mum drove a white Volvo station wagon with a “Mum’s Taxi” sticker on the back. I used to fantasize that I would come home one day and find their house had burned down! 🙂

    What about DJs? Sudanese refugees? Muslims? Aborigines? South African Jews? As a child an Arab(?) family moved next door to us. To this day I do not know where they came from as they never left the house. I say Arab because they used to blare that music of middle eastern appearance” night and day. They could have been from Turkey for all I know.

  45. Angharad says:

    But then I never could stand the bloody Welsh.

    It’s not about your politics, or your sexuality, it’s about what you’re like to live next door to. Unless you’re bloody Welsh, of course.

    Yeah, well I’m glad I don’t live in Moreland (wherever that is) either!

    You’re probably lucky not to have me as a neighbour Gummo. What, with the constant singing, depressing poetry, odd bit of digging for coal in the backyard and that damn chip on my shoulder resulting from the thousand year occupation of my home country and those stupid Welsh costumes the English imperialists make us wear so we can be quaintly different… that’d have to get annoying after a while.

  46. Alex on the Bus says:

    I wonder what a similar Human Beliefs and Values survey of the cappucino-land suburbs in inner Sydney would reveal regards residents attitude toward neighbors who were die-hard Liberal Party activists?

    Probably more along the lines of “Morning, Sam”, “Morning, Ralph”. Which is more than what could be said for the reverse.

  47. Are you trying to prove my point Alex? That bigotry exists everywhere, even (& often especially) amongst those who claim to eschew it.

  48. philip travers says:

    I have taken many a lift whilst hitchhiking from aforesaid type humans.It is easy,I wanted to go somewhere.My neighbours now are cattle,and the odd bull and scrotum behave in ways that account for nearly every attempt to belittle other human beings.I have my bad hide days as much as the assembled throng and Herefords and potatoes are easy to talk to and listen.I have been known to unkindly cut stinging nettles and thrash myself with them,even experimentally around scrotum parts.I am still alive and well even the owners of land other than this,where I am typing from… really do not expect any housing.After-all the cattle are breeders!?

  49. Oh dear, there’s a brick on my big toe. I wonder where that came from.

  50. John Greenfield says:

    Pavlov’s Cat

    For somebody who is usually so PC, I am stunned you would think this.

    I prayed for a gay couple who would, in my fantasy, be civilised, yard-proud, and have excellent taste in music and no audible small children.

    What an awful stereotype. I don’t know how many gay men you actually, but I know quite a few, and allow me to assure you they can be just as yobbish, untidy, rude, inconsiderate, Cold-Chisel blaring as straight men.

    And thank god, too. Imagine if they were REALLY like that awful ponce Carson Kresley and the “Queer Eye” gang!

  51. Graham Bell says:

    Everyone:
    A gentleman who is gay did me very important favour only a few years ago [and no strings attached] at a time when the great and glorious “war heroes” upon whom I depended showed themselves to be as useless as an ashtray on a motorbike ….. so why the h*ll would I object to gays or lesbians moving in next door????

    Sorry but I just go on how people treat me, not on what they are or how they look or where they come from or what they do ……

    Mind you, if they throw empty stubbies [glass ones, not cloth ones:-)] though my windows or turn up headbanger music in the middlre of my sleep, that will cause instant intolerance and perhaps even rude words.

  52. Mark says:

    I wonder what a similar Human Beliefs and Values survey of the cappucino-land suburbs in inner Sydney would reveal regards residents attitude toward neighbors who were die-hard Liberal Party activists?

    How would you know they were die-hard Liberal Party activists? My neighbours wouldn’t have a clue about my politics – it’s not as though we paint the apartment red or fly a black flag from a balconey or something. There’s very little discrimination in Australia on the basis of political affiliation.

    Nor, would I think, is there much judgement of people as people on the basis of their politics. I’ve had heaps of friends over the years who’ve been Liberal or National voters and in many instances quite committed ones (possibly a shared interest in politics per se!), and I’ve gone out with women who were in the Communist and Liberal parties respectively. I’ve worked with lots of people whose politics I strongly suspect to have been different to my own but it’s never been a problem, and I’ve not gone looking to ask what people’s political beliefs are. I suspect people get a very wrong impression of society generally from blogosphere stoushes.

  53. Mark says:

    And thank god, too. Imagine if they were REALLY like that awful ponce Carson Kresley and the “Queer Eyeâ€? gang!

    Do you get your stereotypes straight from John Laws, John?

    The Queer Eye boys rule. I’ve got the book. I think they’d be fantastic neighbours – I’d be angling for an invite to cocktails!

  54. Angharad says:

    Personally I like living in a hotch potch of people – I like the noisy students behind, even on the nights where they have deafening parties that I can vicariously participate in. Even better when they drop the apologetic box of choccies round next morning. I liked it when the greyhound walkers lived on the corner – well for a while anyway. I wasn’t so keen on them when one of their nephews and frequent visitor got implicated in a violent murder round here. I like the gay guys opposite who entertain in their back yard and have interesting types visiting. And the old Greek mama who is a closet pavement waterer. Old habits die hard.

    The people I don’t want to live next door to are the people who are intolerant of their neighbours. Or sanctimonious types – haven’t got much time for them.
    Or the people who move next door / down the road from a pub and then complain about the noise of live music and the patrons leaving. Whingers.

  55. suz says:

    I was merely speculating on the reaction of extreme political bigots (in this case, inner city green/alp adherents) at being subject to unavoidable social & daily intercourse with people whose stated political views are the diametric opposite of their own.

    We could survey any social group & find they are less than thrilled at living next to people from a different sector of society.

    SATP, wherever you live it doesn’t seem to be the inner city. The innermost city where I reside is much more diverse than most outlying aspirational suburbs. So we inner city types enjoy unavoidable daily social intercourse with a very broad range of people, much broader in every sense, I would speculate, than the average suburban or rural type.

  56. Laura says:

    This is probably the topic for a different post, but it’s not really fair or accurate to type the suburbs as whitebread or monocultural.

  57. KoopaTroopa says:

    This is probably the topic for a different post, but it’s not really fair or accurate to type the suburbs as whitebread or monocultural.

    Isn’t it? I suppose there are statistics available on this, but anecdotally I would have said the inner city (where I live now) is much more culturally diverse than any of the outer suburbs I used to live in/frequent.

  58. Pavlov's Cat says:

    For somebody who is usually so PC, I am stunned you would think this.

    I prayed for a gay couple who would, in my fantasy, be civilised, yard-proud, and have excellent taste in music and no audible small children.

    What an awful stereotype. I don’t know how many gay men you actually, but I know quite a few

    Greenfield, I am breaking my self-imposed ban on engaging with you in any way, but only because other people might get the wrong idea.

    1) As far as I am concerned, PC stands for Pavlov’s Cat and nothing else.

    2) How many gay men I actually what? The absence of a verb intrigues. If you meant “actually know”, the answer is dozens, several of whom are *cliché alert* good friends of mine.

    3) I inserted the phrase ‘in my fantasy’ very specifically in order to signal that this stereotype was a bit of self-mockery. If you do not recognise self-mockery, it’s probably because the concept is so unfamiliar to you.

  59. Katz says:

    If you do not recognise self-mockery, it’s probably because the concept is so unfamiliar to you.

    To recognise it is not the same as practising it.

    It still may be quite unfamiliar to its practitioner.

  60. Nearly whooshed me there Katz! I dips me lid to you.

  61. suz says:

    This is probably the topic for a different post, but it’s not really fair or accurate to type the suburbs as whitebread or monocultural.

    True Laura, most suburbs have changed a lot (for the better), in the past couple of decades. They are of course very multicultural and given that something like 25% of Australians now live on their own (and another large chunk are childless couples), the suburbs cannot be all nuclear families as they used to be. (And rural towns too.)

    Still, partly due to density and partly for the socio-economic reasons that used to lead people to live in the inner city, the innermost city has more diversity, imo, though that’s probably changing as it becomes increasingly affluent and thus unaffordable for everyone but the rich. (That’s what’s happenning in Sydney.)

  62. Mark on 20 April 2007 at 11:15 pm

    I’d also note that I think the survey is methodologically flawed…There are some very good methodological protocols for researching prejudice – which is very difficult to do accurately because people don’t want to admit it…. Speaking as a social scientist, I think what we’ve got here is junk data.

    Whats with this pejorative term “prejudice”? I though we were trying to be value- free social scientists?  Its not reassuring to hear someone who styles themselves as a "social scientist" one moment hectoring the congregation from the pulpit the next.

    If people are homophobic then thats the way they are. Prejudice is not bydefinition empirically false or ethically bad. Although prejudiced people are more likely to be so because they are based on anecdotal, rather than
    statistical, evidence and foul-minded, rather than fair-minded, sentiments. ButCultural Leftists who might see themselves as post-judiced type people quitelikely to make howling non-sequiturs and harbour nasty sentiments. They are justso much better at camming them up.

    Mark says:

    It’s a very good rule of thumb for a start to ask multiple questions,none of which appear obviously to be asking about the issue itself in stark terms. And even better is to triangulate research methods so that not only quantitative survey research but also qualitative and behavioural and observational methods are used.

    An even better method is to compare this survey with others that use
    different methods or cover somewhat similar areas. The Pew
    Global Attitudes Project (2003)
    investigated attitudes towards homosexuals across the world. The survey found that in British Commonwealth countries (CAN, UK) there was ~ 25% rate of intolerance for homosexuals. This is in line with the Australian survey. 

    My guess is that the errors Mark notices and the ones he avoid more or less cancel themselves out. So the survey is probably pretty close to the mark.

    Mark on 21 April 2007 at 12:00 am 

    It probably overstates prejudice because other factors intervene. I’m sure, given the provenance of the survey, it’s an accurate measure of the response to the question it asks. My point is that the question it asks reveals other attidudes than prejudice.

    Actually the survey probably understates homophobic “prejudice”. Mark being a social scientist, is surely aware of the 2.0.CO;2-Q”>defects in all attitudinal surveys that give the respondent the opportunity to look
    good (halo effect); appear to be on the up and up (snob effect) or to be on the winning side (bandwagon effect).

    The halo effect will cause respondents to downplay attitudes that smack of illiberal prejudice. People want to show off their higher selves by means of ostenatious display of ideological hood oraments. Making nice in surveys is one low cost way of getting this done.

    The snob effect is comes through because homophilia tends to be high-status behaviour, as marked by celebrities and arty people. Overt homophobia is no longer considered acceptable in polite society. Borderline higher-status aspirants seeking entre to a classier society will tend to be at pains to express their homophilia. The movement to inner-city flesh-pots accentuates this trendiness. Although most people charged with the snob effect are, like Mark, guilty of nothing more heinous than “angling for an invite to cocktails!”.

    Bandwagon effect are in some way the converse of the snob effect. It occurs once normal majority acceptance of a formerly deviant minority behaviour reaches critical mass, at the so-called tipping point. Everyone then becomes eager to avoid being left out or stuck with the losers. Hence the prevalence of terms like "redneck" and "meat head" to describe die-hard homophobes.

    Mark says:

    There are some very good methodological protocols for researching prejudice – which is very difficult to do accurately because people don’t want to admit it.

    Precisely. But this implies the survey understates, not overstates,
    “prejudice”. This comment seems at odds with Mark’s previous comment that the survey “probably overstates prejudice”. He will need to straighten out his methodological ducks if he wants to make head way in the social science of culture.

  63. Mark says:

    Whats with this pejorative term “prejudiceâ€?? I though we were trying to be value- free social scientists? Its not reassuring to hear someone who styles themselves as a “social scientist” one moment hectoring the congregation from the pulpit the next.

    I’m happy to substititute “intolerance”, if “prejudice” seems to Jack prejudicial to those who are intolerant of same-sex attracted people.

  64. Mark on 22 April 2007 at 5:18 pm

    Mark on 22 April 2007 at 5:18 pm

    I’m happy to substititute “intoleranceâ€?, if “prejudiceâ€? seems to Jack prejudicial to those who are intolerant of same-sex attracted people.

    What about using the value-free “not accepting” or “disapproving” as the operant phrase in capturing the valency of public opinion? As in the wording of the Pew Survey I quoted, surely a reasonable methodological standard.

    Its fine with me if you want to make propaganda for your pet political causes. But then the pose you simultaneously strike as a “social scientist” becomes less credible. Remember we are measuring preferences here, not weighing souls in the balance.

    Also please make up your mind if the survey understates prejudice or overstates prejudice.

    Mark is a clever fellow and would surely make a nice neighbour, even if he is not in the slightest bit gay. Being the best of a bad bunch the obvious defects in his world-model shows just how much the rest of his push’s world-models need a thorough overall, if not outright replacement.

    The cultural constructivist intellectual paradigm is just about exhausted as far as the human sciences are concerned. As a corollary the Cultural Leftist ideological program is on the nose with the populus.

  65. Oh – so that medical condition some people have that causes them problems when they consume dairy products should be called “lactose disapproval” then?

  66. Chav says:

    If people are homophobic then thats the way they are.

    Interesting, given the category of ‘homosexual’ is a realtively recent phenomenon. i wonder what they naturally were before that..?

  67. Chav says:

    People want to show off their higher selves

    Shame on them! People don’t want to be thought of bigots!

  68. Chav says:

    As a corollary the Cultural Leftist ideological program is on the nose with the populus.

    If true then you’d expect parties like One nation to be in power, but, er, they’re not…

  69. Angharad says:

    There’s a Cultural Leftist ideological program? When’s it on? I must get out more.

  70. Chav on 22 April 2007 at 7:47 pm

    “As a corollary the Cultural Leftist ideological program is on the nose with the populus.”

    If true then you’d expect parties like One nation to be in power, but, er, they’re not…

    But, er, they are in a way. The median Australian voter is substantially more culturally conservative now than s/he was a decade ago. In part this Decline of the Wets is because of the Hanson phenomenon. Only professional sociologists of the Leftist persuasion are ostrich-headed enough to dispute this more or less slef-evident truth.

    In stable two-party democracies like Australia we find that fringe parties, like One Nation on the Cultural Right or Greens on Ecological Left, do not necessarily do well in attaining formal office. Their success works indirectly on forcing the major parties to accept moderated forms of their core policies. This has been the fate of One Nation.

    Both major parties now more or less accept a moderate version of One Nation cultural conservative policies ie strong border control, stamping out immigration rorts, aversion to hard-core multiculturalism, reform of indigenous welfare bureaucracies, promoting the birth rate of native women. Plus strong defence and plenty of flag waving.

    Not to mention falling over themselves to give handouts to rural and regional Australia.

    Larva Prodders seem to be afflicted with a bad case of false consciousness about the true state of political culture.

  71. Webmaster could you close the html tags on the first embedded link I embedded in the above comment.

    Also the phrase In part the Decline of the Wets link was improperly tagged.

    Sorry about the mess.

  72. Kim says:

    Done by a webatrix!

  73. John Greenfield says:

    Chav

    Given that people use the neologism “homophobic” is such incoherent ways, I think those who shriek accusations of “homophobia’ would be more interesting subjects for research. 😉

  74. Kim on 22 April 2007 at 11:03 pm

    Done by a webatrix!

    Webmistress?

  75. Kim says:

    I’m no one’s mistress, thanks.

    Webatrix!

  76. suz says:

    What about using the value-free “not acceptingâ€? or “disapprovingâ€? as the operant phrase in capturing the valency of public opinion?

    Interesting, one conservative here (SATP) is desperate to prove that everyone, of the left and right, is a bigot, while the other conservative is desperate for us to avoid prejudicial terms like “prejudice”.

    I’m not a social scientist. If people disapprove of the category of people to which I belong such that they state that they wouldn’t want to live next door to people like me, I call that prejudice and I don’t call it “value-free”.

  77. suz on 23 April 2007 at 10:02 pm

    I’m not a social scientist. If people disapprove of the category of people to which I belong such that they state that they wouldn’t want to live next door to people like me, I call that prejudice and I don’t call it “value-freeâ€?.

    You are right, you are not a social scientist. You are confusing observer denotation of a behaviour with participant commendation.

    I take my methodological cues from Max Weber whose attitude to political bias could best be described as Puritan paranoid. From the pov of a methodological puritan you are “getting involved” and should recuse yourself from the analytical case.

  78. suz says:

    Yes, I’m involved but I’m certainly not going to bow out of analysis and leave it to people like you who presumably feel that you are above involvement.

  79. Ontheotherhand says:

    Here’s a note to that bloke Steve at the pub: if you ever go to a Fruits in Suits meeting, you’ll quickly note that ‘camp as all get out gay’ and ‘die-hard Liberal party activist’ are in no way mutually exclusive categories.

  80. billy says:

    The day after this story was published, the front page headline of the central Queensland newspaper The Morning Bulletin (locally known as The Bully’ dated 20/4/07) read, “Daytime antics shock riverside residents GAY SEX ROMP IN ROCKY PARKâ€? and yet another gay witchunt driven by Queensland Police and local government… The gay witchunt (again) coincided with the inaugural screening in Rockhampton, on that same night of a selection of films from the Melbourne Queer Film Festival… who said the Queensland police state culture went away, post Fitzgerald? Seems the more things change, the more they stay the same in the smart ass state.

  81. Ontheotherhand: And your point is what exactly? Are you stating that I have suggested those groups are mutually exclusive?

    Suz: I am not “desperate” to prove anything. I made a statement, it was commented on, & counter commented etc. Matter closed (or not, as the case may be).

    Please state why you feel I am “conservative”. Is it something you read in the tarot cards? Or do you have more concrete documentary evidence?

  82. Mick Strummer says:

    Me, I don’t want to live next door to anyone, gay, straight, bi, black, white, asian, muslim, christian or pagan if they deal drugs to lots of customers late at night, play loud music, operate noisy machinery, leave garbage and dead cars/washing machines strewn around, have badly trained dogs that bark all the time, or indulge in any of a number of other inconsiderate behaviours. Otherwise, I couldn’t give a rats what they do/are in their private life. That is, after all, why it is called a private life. There are, unfortunately, far too many people in this world who are worried about the private and personal attributes of others where they really have no business doing so. Most reasonable people call them intolerant bigots
    Cheers…

  83. suz says:

    SATP, are you coming out as a leftie?

  84. Suz, you answered a question with a question. *spank*

  85. Nabakov says:

    As ole Greenfields John pointed out up there on this here thread, it’s actually quite a good result. Do you reckon even two decades ago, 75% of Australians would admit to being comfortable with same sexualists next door, indulging in perverse practices but not yet factored in as driving local property values up?

    Slightly OT, an old (straight) friend of mine who is now a thriving real estate agent and auctioneer, reckons the worst mortgage/home loan risks are young hetro couples (“they often break up and then fight really hard over the assets”) and the best are single gay professionals.

    I think around 25% is as good as it’s gonna get for now, equating roughly to a baseline “yuckiness” factor out there in the general populace at the moment.

  86. Katz says:

    If Australia is such an intolerant place, why did they call an entire state Queensland?

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