97% of young people have friends of other races
-Rights of Children survey
31% experienced racial discrimination

Stabroek News
July 18, 2003

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A survey conducted by the racial harmony group, Rights Of Children (ROC) has found that 97% of young people had friends of other races and almost three-quarters (72%) of them believed inter-racial friendships were more popular than when they first started school.

This information was obtained in the “Promoting Racial Harmony” part of the “Express Yourself” survey conducted by ROC to raise the level of attention paid by the adult world to young people’s views.

According to an ROC release, almost two-thirds (60%) said that they have done something personally to improve racial harmony. In contrast to this strongly positive personal attitude towards race, a high percentage of them were pessimistic over the society’s ability to resolve its racial problems.

Almost two-thirds (64%) said they have witnessed acts of racial discrimination and almost one-third (31%) had experienced them, the release further said.

And with respect to creating a racially harmonious society in Guyana, over one-third (35%) believe it will never happen and a further 18% stated that it will take over 10 years. In reference to the most positive influences on attitudes to race, choices were distributed evenly across home (22%), school (22%), religion (18%), and friends (17%). This, according to the release, suggests that none of them is decisive or an outstanding influence. With regard to ‘negative’ influences, politicians (47%) fared badly, television with 12% came a distant second and friends, school and religion all more or less equal with 9%, 8% and 7% respectively.

ROC also said that two clear choices were indicated in the areas in which most improvement is needed with respect to racial harmony. Political life at 61% was by far the highest figure and school at 42% was also in a category by itself.

Figures for home (24%), religious bodies (23%), television (17%) and workplace (15%) suggest that effort is also needed in all these locations, the release said.

Results of the first two parts of the survey, “Our Country, Our Future” and “Who Can You Trust” were published recently.