Published online by Cambridge University Press: 11 March 2021
Chapter 5 presents the results from a national survey experiment in which we manipulated racial/ethnic cues in an ambiguous news vignette depicting a potentially threatening situation at an airport. Compared to whites, African Americans and Latinos exhibited substantially higher levels of outgroup empathy and more favorable attitudes toward Arabs. In reaction to the experimental vignette, African Americans and Latinos were more likely to side with the Arab passenger and find the additional search and questioning by the airport security officer unreasonable than were white respondents. They were also more likely to support civil rights policies and commit to political action to protect the rights of targeted groups in this threat context. These reactions occurred even though African Americans and Latinos perceived themselves to be at greater personal risk from terrorism. Group empathy helps explain the racial/ethnic differences in attitudes and reactions we observed here.