IT is a comforting narrative that many Scots like propagate both at home and abroad.

Indeed, the belief that Scotland is a more open, tolerant, less racist country than England has become perceived wisdom in many circles, not least among those keen to build on the concept of “Scottish exceptionalism” for political purposes.

But according to a new book edited by academics at the University of Glasgow , any such narrative is a simply complacent, misleading fantasy.

READ MORE: Scottish 'myth-making hides' country's racism problem

The authors of the tome, called No Problem Here, drew their conclusions after studying evidence from across different realms of Scots society, including analysis of the rate of murders with a racial element, employment statistics among black and ethnic minority applicants and reports of discrimination towards these groups when using public services. They also warn that racism towards Irish people is not taken seriously as it is often conflated with sectarianism.

Among the other interesting conclusions the authors draw is that Brexit continues to feed such “myths”.

Later this week, they will go to Holyrood to argue that Scotland will only be able to tackle racism when it is willing to admit and confront its presence in our lives, that it exists in workplaces, school playgrounds, university campuses and public institutions.

With this in mind, MSP Anas Sarwar, Labour chair of the Scottish Parliament’s cross party group on tackling Islamophobia, is right to call out complacency around racism, sexism and all types of discrimination, as well as any automatic assumption that Scots are somehow less intolerant than our neighbours. “It’s not talking down Scotland to expose this myth,” he adds.

READ MORE: Scottish 'myth-making hides' country's racism problem

At the same time, however, it is also important to point to instances where Scotland has indeed approached issues differently from its southern neighbour, striking a noticeably different – some may say more tolerant and egalitarian - chord.

Take, for example, the Scottish Government’s decision to welcome refugees from Syria. While the UK Government often appeared less than keen to oblige, Scotland stepped up and met a target to house 2,000 souls fleeing their war-torn homeland three years early.

It is also notable that while the Home office was actively creating a “hostile environment” and setting targets for deportation, resulting in the horrendous treatment of people who have every right to live in Britain, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has argued for immigration to be devolved to Holyrood in order that a more human and pragmatic approach could flourish here.

No country is free of racism, bigotry, hatred or discrimination, and Scots must beware self-satisfaction. But we should recognise the good as well as the bad.