Reactive Ethnicity and Anticipated Discrimination among American Muslims in Southeastern Michigan

Document Type

Article - Merrimack Access Only

Publication Title

Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs

Publication Date


Abstract/ Summary

Researchers are beginning to understand the extent and consequences of interpersonal discrimination experiences for the identities and attitudes of Muslim Americans. However, is first-hand discrimination required to bring about these consequences? The current study builds on previous research by examining how both experienced and anticipated interpersonal discrimination can influence the identification with and attitudes toward America and with Islam among American Muslims. Four hypotheses are generated and tested based on a combination of reactive ethnicity theory and general strain theory. Results from 208 Muslim-identified Americans from the Ann Arbor and Dearborn Area Religion Study indicate that both experienced and anticipated discrimination matter for Muslim identity and attitudes. The former is associated with more negative attitudes toward America and the latter with more positive attitudes toward Islam. Further, among South and Southeast Asian Muslims, anticipated discrimination predicts more negative attitudes toward America and weakened American identification. The results suggest that through anticipation, the consequences of discrimination can be felt even in the absence of direct experience.