General Factors Leading to Group Expressions of Hate

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· Worsening economic conditions, political repression or instability, a perceived sense of injustice, or a struggle of groups for self-identity or power are among the conditions that may precipitate planned or spontaneous outbursts of violence by groups against individuals, other groups, or the state (see, e.g., Lieberson and Silverman 1965; Libman-Rubenstein 1979; Graham 1989; Gurr 1989b).

· Research on genocide, group violence, and hate crimes effectively illustrate that such factors as economic problems, political conflict, or rapid and substantial social change interact with group characteristics such as the need to scapegoat or devalue other groups, the inclination to hinge a better future on identifying enemies who stand in the way, and a pattern of aggression in dealing with violence (Staub and Rosenthal, 1994; Levin and McDevitt, 1993).

· Corporate downsizing, declining real wages, changing technology, increasing gap between the wealthy and everyone else, and the steady decline in manufacturing jobs replaced by lower paying, less secure jobs in the service sector, have all combined to leave the average American worker feeling vulnerable and betrayed. For rural Americans, economic uncertainty is compounded by threats to traditional rural industries like logging, mining, ranching, and farming (Dyer 1997; Lamy 1996).

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