Data from surveys done over several years have shown significant increases in tolerance among the Georgian population for diversity in the country, among a wide range of criteria, as well as increased recognition of the importance of minority rights.
It is easy to remember instances of hate-motivated violence in Georgia — one only has to look to last July to see a hate-motivated riot and an attempted murder of someone based on the fact that they looked, to the attacker, like they might be queer. Despite this, new data from the CRRC and Council of Europe survey on hate crime, hate speech, and discrimination in Georgia released today suggests increased levels of tolerance in Georgia compared to 2018 along a wide range of measures.
The data indicates that Georgians are increasingly appreciative of diversity in the country. Between 2018 and 2021, there was a 14 percentage point increase in the share of the public reporting that diversity, in general, is positive. Similarly, there was a 12 percentage point and 14 percentage point increase in the share of the public reporting that ethnic diversity and religious diversity, respectively, are positive.
The data also shows large increases in the share of the public that would approve of someone like them doing business with a wide range of different groups. On this measure, people had the most negative attitudes towards homosexuals and Jehovah’s Witnesses, just as they did in 2018. However, the data shows a 10 percentage point increase in the share of the public that would approve of someone like them doing business with a homosexual and a 13 percentage point rise in the share of the public who reports the same about Jehovah’s Witnesses. In total, there were 10 point or greater shifts for 11 groups asked about on the survey.
Georgians also increasingly think that protecting the rights of different minority groups is important for the country’s development. While most people thought this was the case in 2018 for most groups, there is a marked rise in the share reporting that protecting the rights of LGBT people is important. In 2018, only a third of the public thought this was important, while in 2021, roughly half of the public (47%) reported the same.
The data tends to paint a positive picture more broadly. People became more willing to recognise the problems that different minority groups face. The public reports increased recognition of a wide range of minority rights. Georgians increasingly think that hate crime and hate speech are problems in the country.
The data points towards positive attitude changes in Georgia around tolerance, despite prominent instances of hate crime as well as the everyday discrimination that different groups face in Georgia.
The views presented within the article are the authors’ alone and do not reflect the views of CRRC Georgia, the Council of Europe, or any related entity.
The data this article is based on is available here.