Hate crime laws are a highly controversial legal approach in society's response to intergroup violence. Argument acceptance, knowledge, and individual differences were examined in relationship to attitudes about these laws. These variables were also considered in terms of efforts to influence a peer's beliefs about hate crime laws. One‐hundred and sixty‐seven participants completed a measure of knowledge of human rights laws, Gough's Pr scale, the Selznick and Steinberg anti‐Semitism scale, and Cuellar's Machismo scale. Hate crime attitudes were measured on an affect rating scale and six statements reflecting arguments favoring and opposing hate crime laws. Peer influence was examined on Interpersonal Power Inventory (IPI). Results showed that while most participants endorsed positive attitudes about hate crime laws, men—and both women and men who endorsed machismo attitudes—were more likely to agree with media distortion and identity politics arguments opposing hate crime laws. The Pr and machismo scales predicted greater effort on the IPI to influence peer attitudes about hate crime laws, after controlling for demographic differences of the participants. These findings indicate that more explicitly biased individuals were more effortful in trying to change the attitudes of peers concerning the legitimacy of hate crime laws.
Analyses of Social Issues & Public Policy – Wiley
Published: Dec 1, 2004