Islamophobia and Reactions to Anti-Muslim Hate Crime: The Role of Prototypic Thought and the Ideal Minority Victim
Erentzen, Caroline Andrea
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This dissertation explored victim blaming in the context of Islamophobic hate crime, including the role that model victim expectations might play. Study 1 and Study 2 explored the nature, content, and frequency of prototypes surrounding hate crimes, finding evidence of clear prototypic expectations for both perpetrators and victims. Study 3 found that anti-Muslim hate crimes with highly prototypical perpetrators (White, uttering Islamophobic slurs) were rated most typical of a hate crime, with increased certainty of guilt, longer recommended sentences, higher perpetrator blaming, and lowest victim blaming. In the low perpetrator prototypicality conditions (South Asian perpetrator, no slurs), participants were less certain that the offence was a hate crime, recommended lighter sentences, reduced perpetrator blame, and higher victim blame. Study 4a confirmed experimentally that observers recognize Muslim victims as equivalent to other, more traditionally studied targets of hate (i.e., Black, gay). Having established that Muslims do not differ, Study 4b explored prototypes of the typical victim of hate crime. Where the victim was depicted as a passive South Asian Muslim man, participants were most certain the offence was a hate crime, recommended harsher sentencing, imposed the highest perpetrator blame, and the lowest victim blame. When the South Asian Muslim victim responded verbally or physically to the perpetrator's harassment, however, victim blaming increased, perpetrator blame decreased, and guilt and sentences were reduced. This was not the case for the White, non-Muslim victim, whose behaviour was not so scrutinized. Overall, the research reported in this dissertation demonstrates the implications of prototypic expectations of "true" hate crime characteristics, and the behavioural expectations placed on Muslim victims to behave passively in the face of harassment.