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Amidst the Violence: The Salience of Hate and its Impacts on Attitudes Toward Victimized Populations

Daniel R Schaub, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


What impacts does the salience of hate, specifically hate crimes, have upon attitudes toward the victimized population? I ask this question amidst a background of rising levels of hate-motivated violence targeting vulnerable communities in the United States. This dissertation contributes to the literature and discussion on hate crimes by advancing our understanding of the role of salience – the degree to which citizens, bystanders in the broadest sense, are aware of issues of hate. I delve into the role of the salience of hate as it impacts society – I argue that salience leads to positive outcomes including greater public support for the victimized population. In Chapter 2, I investigate this relationship from a state-level statistical analysis. I focus on LGBTQ+ attitudes in this study, and examine whether reported number of LGBTQ+ bias hate crimes and anti-LGBTQ+ hate groups, serving together as proxy variables for hate crime salience, can be used to predict subsequent years’ public opinion shifts regarding same-sex marriage. I find support for my theory - states with higher levels of hate crime salience tended to have higher positive public opinion shifts regarding same-sex marriage. In Chapter 3, I shift my focus to the interpersonal level; I test my expectations using an experimental design. I find evidence supporting my theory that bystander attitudes towards victims of hate crimes are partially moderated by the degree to which bystander’s perceive the perpetrator’s identity to be similar to their own. In Chapter 4, I examine the current strategies of anti-hate campaigns as they relate to salience. I argue that anti-hate campaigns employ strategies aimed at mitigating hate from both an institutional and cultural perspective, but regardless of the outcome of these strategies, the primary goal of anti-hate campaigns is to continually raise salience towards issues impacting vulnerable populations in hopes of creating long-term societal change. My dissertation contributes to our understanding of salience, as well as how salience might be used to better the human condition.

Subject Area

Political science|LGBTQ studies|Social research

Recommended Citation

Schaub, Daniel R, "Amidst the Violence: The Salience of Hate and its Impacts on Attitudes Toward Victimized Populations" (2023). ETD collection for University of Nebraska-Lincoln. AAI30421707.