Group Threat Theory
Group threat theory proposes that increased diversity in an area can lead the dominant group to feel threatened.
Group threat theory argues that when areas become very diverse, dominant groups feel like they are losing power, even if that is not the case. For example, California, Texas, Florida, and New York are states with extremely racially diverse populations, but also have high numbers of hate groups. Less diverse states, such as Oregon, Idaho, and Colorado, have become somewhat more diverse, and have relatively high numbers of hate groups. Group threat theory would argue that the presence of these hate groups is a result of the high or increased level of racial and ethnic diversity––members of these hate groups are members of the dominant, white majority who feel threatened by the increasing diversity. As the United States becomes increasingly more racially and ethnically diverse overall, calls to build a wall on the southern border have grown. Jobs, health care, education, and other opportunities are seen as finite resources that are being consumed by minority groups. With greater religious diversity, more Christians perceive Christianity as being under attack. As minority groups of all kinds increase in a society, the dominant group sees calls for equality for minority groups as unfair. Their perception is shaped by their dominant position in society, which encourages them to expect to maintain power, privilege, and reward, as well as attitudes of submission from other groups. In urban areas, demographic shifts can lead to strife, as one social group feels pushed out by another.