Backlash: The Politics and Real-World Consequences of Minority Group Dehumanization

Nour Kteily*, Emile Bruneau

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

54 Scopus citations

Abstract

Research suggests that members of advantaged groups who feel dehumanized by other groups respond aggressively. But little is known about how meta-dehumanization affects disadvantaged minority group members, historically the primary targets of dehumanization. We examine this important question in the context of the 2016 U.S. Republican Primaries, which have witnessed the widespread derogation and dehumanization of Mexican immigrants and Muslims. Two initial studies document that Americans blatantly dehumanize Mexican immigrants and Muslims; this dehumanization uniquely predicts support for aggressive policies proposed by Republican nominees, and dehumanization is highly associated with supporting Republican candidates (especially Donald Trump). Two further studies show that, in this climate, Latinos and Muslims in the United States feel heavily dehumanized, which predicts hostile responses including support for violent versus non-violent collective action and unwillingness to assist counterterrorism efforts. Our results extend theorizing on dehumanization, and suggest that it may have cyclical and self-fulfilling consequences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)87-104
Number of pages18
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Volume43
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017

Keywords

  • 2016 U.S. Election
  • Donald Trump
  • dehumanization
  • intergroup relations
  • meta-dehumanization
  • meta-perceptions
  • prejudice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

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