Following a recent string of racist and antisemitic attacks in the country, an unsettling new survey has found some shocking insight into how over half of Italians think about hate crimes.
Polling firm SWG surveyed 1,500 Italians and found that 45% of respondents said racist acts are acceptable depending on the situation. A further 10% said that such acts were always justifiable. The remaining 45% said that such acts were never justifiable.
“What this means is that there has been a relaxation in attitudes towards racism – not necessarily that people have become racist, more that they are becoming more accepting of racist acts and do not consider them so scandalous,” said SWG scientific director Enzo Risso.
SWG conducts the same survey each year. This year, in contrast to previous surveys, most respondents did not outright reject racism and racist acts.
The results come on the heels of recent instances of racism and antisemitism in Italy. Liliana Segre, a Holocaust survivor and lifetime Senator, was recently assigned a police escort after she received a massive influx of death threats for proposing the creation of a commission designed to combat bigotry. The threats are believed to originate from far-right elements in the country.
Racist chants have also continued to occur at major and minor Italian soccer events.
“We can say anything about anyone and are becoming more used to it,” Risso said. “This is a bad sign from a civic point of view. It’s not only in Italy… what we’re seeing in other countries too is a sort of adaptation towards the worst.”