What it Means to be American: Identity Inclusiveness/Exclusiveness and Support for Policies About Muslims among U.S.-born Whites

Marina M. Doucerain, Catherine E. Amiot, Emma F. Thomas, Winnifred R. Louis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Americans’ support for policies targeting Muslims was hotly debated during the 2016 presidential campaign. This study of U.S.-born White Americans seeks to move beyond explanations of this political polarization as a matter of liberal versus conservative, Democrat versus Republicans by focusing on the content of the superordinate American identity, in terms of how inclusive versus exclusive it is. In line with the ingroup projection model, we expected that a more inclusive representation of the American identity would be related to support for more welcoming (rather than hostile) policies about Muslim people. White Americans (N = 237) were recruited online during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign (June 2016). Results supported our hypothesis and showed the independent associations of identity inclusiveness and exclusiveness with policy support. This study makes three important contributions to a growing literature on the relation between national identity representations and hostility toward immigrants and minorities: (1) directly and independently measuring inclusive and exclusive representations of the superordinate identity, alongside national identity, party affiliation, and political ideology; (2) focusing on Muslims, an understudied group targeted by a great deal of divisive political rhetoric in the 2016 campaign; and (3) considering policy support rather than general attitudes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)224-243
Number of pages20
JournalAnalyses of Social Issues and Public Policy
Volume18
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018

Keywords

  • Muslims
  • America
  • policies
  • political polarization
  • inclusiveness
  • exclusiveness

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