Do We Stand Together? The Role of Perceived Personal and Group Threats in Predicting the Majority’s (Un)willingness to Confront Injustice on Behalf of a Minority
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionFrontiers in Psychology. 2021, 12, 694044. 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.694044
Purpose: By utilizing data from Estonia, Finland, and Norway, this study explores how the perceptions of personal and group realistic threats, namely perceived ethnic discrimination and economic insecurity among national majorities, predict their unwillingness to confront injustice on behalf of Russian-speaking minority groups. Background: Previous research on collective action to promote minorities’ rights and social standing has focused either on minorities’ own actions or factors promoting the willingness of majority group members to engage in collective action on behalf of minorities. In contrast, factors explaining the reluctance of majority group members to engage in collective action on behalf of minority groups have remained less explored. For example, studies have then ignored that the majority members may also feel threatened and may be economically insecure. Furthermore, the possible discrepancy between perceived personal vs. in-group’s situation may influence majority group members’ (un)willingness to confront injustice on behalf of a minority group. Method: We employed polynomial regression with response surface analysis to analyze data gathered among national majority members in three countries (N = 1,341). Results: Perceived personal and group realistic threats were associated with heightened unwillingness to confront injustice on behalf of the Russian-speaking minority. Furthermore, participants were more unwilling to confront injustice when they perceived more group than personal threat. Conclusion: We found that majority group members’ (un)willingness to confront injustice on behalf of the minority is related to how secure they perceive their own and their group status. Our results contribute to previous research by pointing out the important drawbacks of majorities’ support for minorities’ wish for social change.