A new study belies the conventional wisdom that bigotry in general, and Jew-hatred in particular, is tied to ignorance. Quote:
The belief that anti-Semitism is associated with lower levels of education may therefore be a function of who gets caught by surveys, rather than based on an accurate relationship between education and antipathy toward Jews.
To test this hypothesis, we developed a new survey measure based on what the human rights activist and former Soviet refusenik Natan Sharansky identifies as a defining feature of anti-Semitism: the double standard. We drafted two versions of the same question, one asking respondents to apply a principle to a Jewish example, and another to apply the same principle to a non-Jewish example. Subjects were randomly assigned to see one version or another so that no respondent would see both versions of the question. Since no one would see both versions of the question, sophisticated respondents would have no way of knowing that we were measuring their sentiment toward Jews, and no cue to game their answers.
When we administered these double-standard measures in a nationally representative survey of over 1,800 people, our results differed widely from the conventional view about the relationship between education and anti-Semitism. In fact, we found that more highly educated people were more likely to apply principles more harshly to Jewish examples. By preventing subjects from knowing that they were being asked about their feelings toward Jews, we discovered that more-highly educated people in the United States tend to have greater antipathy toward Jews than less-educated people do.
Contrary to previous claims, education appears to provide no protection against anti-Semitism, and may in fact serve to license it—in part by providing people with more sophisticated and socially acceptable ways to couch it.