Chileans consider race key for immigrants’ success

SANTIAGO – A study by the Jesuit Service for Immigrants, revealed that the color of skin plays an important role for success in Chile. The survey showed that most Chileans consider the race of an immigrant as an important aspect for the person’s place in society. Discrimination thus plays a key role in the search of opportunities.

The Jesuit Service for Immigrants SJM (Spanish acronym) conducted a study to determine Chileans’ perception of  immigrants. The research aimed to establish if skin color is an important factor in Chile. Although the result showed that Chileans became more tolerant of  immigrants, it also proved that discrimination still works against immigrants in their search for opportunities.

According to the study – based on a sample of 871 cases, men and women, all living in Santiago – most people surveyed considered skin color an important factor for immigrant’s success. Most of the surveyed also thought that immigrants are better off in Chile than in their homelands.

Chileans used terms like “opportunities” and “work” to describe an immigrants’ situation, but also associated immigration with “poverty,” “need,” and “Haitian.” Moreover, the word “depends” appeared to show that opportunities for immigrants are determined by skin color.

Haitians suffer the most from discrimination

Maria Emilia Tijoux, a sociologist at Universidad de Chile, said that the rejection of immigrants with different skin color has been very strong in Chile. According to Tijoux, Peruvian immigrants have suffered discrimination in the past due to race difference. But now, Haitians suffer the most from discrimination. “The rejection is due to the economic conditions of the Haitians that arrive in Chile. That is to say, people who don’t have economic possessions, only their labor power,” said Tijoux.

See also:

About 2,000 immigrants face deportation as Piñera unfolds plans

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