CURA Colloquium: Are Minorities (In)Tolerant like Everyone Else?: Evidence from a Survey of American Muslims

12:00 pm on Friday, March 6, 2020
1:30 pm on Friday, March 6, 2020
152 Bay State Rd. 2nd Floor
Contact Organization:
Contact Name:
Arlene Brennan
Contact Phone:
Youseff Chouhoud, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Christopher Newport University
Charges of intolerance have long been leveled against minorities in America. Allegations that minority groups are not living up to certain societal standards often buttress claims that these populations are not assimilating (or are incapable of assimilation) and facilitate coding certain communities as a “threat.” The underlying assumption in these indictments is that the drivers of intolerance do not vary across populations. This study interrogates this supposition, offering empirical evidence to the contrary. I theorize and test how the considerations motivating intolerance differ between the general public and minorities in established democracies, drawing on a sample of American Muslims. My analysis highlights: 1) the enhanced role of egocentric threat (that is, perceived threat to personal safety) in motivating targeted intolerance among marginalized groups, and 2) the sustained (if not entirely homogeneous) countervailing effect of education and acculturation in augmenting overall tolerance levels. These findings support a theory of “defensive intolerance,” wherein minorities are reluctant to express forbearance toward political opponents that pose a viable threat to their security, which in turn suggests that the burdens of democratic citizenship in America are asymmetrically distributed. *Reading the working paper in advance is required for attendance.* Email for your copy. Co-sponsored with the School of Theology