The impact of unpunished hate crimes: when derogating the victim extends into derogating the group

Sullivan, Alison C., Ong, Aaaron C. H., La Macchia, Stephen T. and Louis, Winnifred R. 2016, The impact of unpunished hate crimes: when derogating the victim extends into derogating the group, Social justice research, vol. 29, no. 3, pp. 310-330, doi: 10.1007/s11211-016-0266-x.

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Title The impact of unpunished hate crimes: when derogating the victim extends into derogating the group
Author(s) Sullivan, Alison C.
Ong, Aaaron C. H.
La Macchia, Stephen T.ORCID iD for La Macchia, Stephen T.
Louis, Winnifred R.
Journal name Social justice research
Volume number 29
Issue number 3
Start page 310
End page 330
Total pages 21
Publisher Springer
Place of publication New York, N.Y.
Publication date 2016-09-01
ISSN 0885-7466
Keyword(s) just world beliefs
victim blaming
victim derogation
belief in a just world
modern racism
hate crime
Aboriginal Australian
Summary Just world research has shown that observers derogate victims more for their misfortunes if the perpetrator is not harshly punished (Lerner in J Personal Soc Psychol 1(4):355–360, 1980). However, few studies have investigated minority group derogation as a just world preservation strategy after instances of intergroup harm-doing. This study is among the first to demonstrate the derogation of both individual victims and of the victim’s minority group experimentally, using the context of a racist hate crime in Australia. In the present experiment, participants (N = 110) read a news article describing a hate crime against an Aboriginal Australian teenager and were informed that the perpetrator was harshly or leniently punished (secure vs. justice threat condition). Our results show that in the justice threat condition, participants not only derogated the individual Aboriginal Australian victim more after his death, they also expressed greater racism toward the victim’s group. An indirect effect of the justice threat condition on modern racism via individual victim derogation was observed, along with moderating effects of individual differences in belief in a just world. These findings provide support for the alarming hypothesis that racist hate crimes are not only the manifestation of a racist society, but may also bolster racial prejudices if leniently treated. The results highlight the important role of political and judicial authorities, whose response or non-response to a hate crime can exacerbate or ameliorate existing prejudices.
Language eng
DOI 10.1007/s11211-016-0266-x
Field of Research 2201 Applied Ethics
Socio Economic Objective 0 Not Applicable
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
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