Geografie 2003, 108, 115-129

Racism and xenophobia in the Czech Republic

Kateřina Danielová

Přírodovědecká fakulta Univerzity Karlovy v Praze, Czechia

The aim of this article is to describe and to explain racism and xenophobia in the Czech Republic. The paper is based on some contemporary theories which explain racism and xenophobia as a consequence of a bad economic situation, of an increasing inflow of immigrants, of cultural differences between the majority and the immigrants coming from a different social environment, of modernization, urbanization and globalization which make people feel unsure and weak what leads them finally to intolerance towards the others. Some authors explain racism and xenophobia as an effort to safeguard the existing hierarchy in the society in view to justify the exploitation of immigrants. To describe and to explain racism and xenophobia, I analysed data describing prejudice, racially motivated crime and support of extremist movements by the Czech population. I found that the current level of racism in the Czech Republic is not very high but that the Czech population is rather xenophobic. Racism and xenophobia are mainly influenced by the social climate of the locality and by the cultural distance between minorities and the majority.