Some mass shooters openly express intent to target ethnic and racial minorities, but members of the public still do not agree on whether the gunman was indeed motivated by prejudice and/or hatred. The present research finds that members of a dominant majority often express uncertainty about hate crimes when they privately sympathize with the perpetrator’s cause; specifically, aggrieved members of a dominant majority do not want to acknowledge the victimhood of minority groups. The tendency to deemphasize hate crimes can be traced back to each individual’s own frustrations with society and resentment of other groups. Ultimately, the same general process that explains support for violent extremism, around the world, may also explain supremacist sympathies in modern Western democracies.
Leander, N. Pontus, Jannis Kreienkamp, Maximilian Agostini, Wolfgang Stroebe, Ernestine H. Gordijn, and Arie W. Kruglanski. 2020. "Biased Hate Crime Perceptions Can Reveal Supremacist Sympathies." PNAS (July). https://www.pnas.org/content/early/2020/07/21/1916883117.short