Michele Margolis - Sensitive Snowflakes? Understanding perceived discrimination against Christians
White evangelical Christians consider themselves to be one of the most discriminated against and marginalized groups in the United States. Using this surprising empirical finding at a jumping off point, this paper attempts to understand why White evangelical Christians report feeling discriminated against at such high rates. The results from a large-scale survey experiment reveal that White evangelicals are sensitive toward slights aimed at a co-religionist but do not perceive the same slight as discriminatory when it is aimed at a member of a religious out-group. Moreover, this pattern is specific to White evangelicals: White non-evangelical Christians are equally likely to perceive discrimination regardless of whether the target of the discrimination is a fellow Christian or not. These results highlight, in a general sense, that group membership can shape how people view the world and interpret events and, more specifically, that White evangelicals are interpret events through religion-tinted glasses.
Michele Margolis is an associate professor of political science at the University of Pennsylvania.
Her research interests are in American politics with a focus on public opinion, political psychology, religion and politics, and experimental methods. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in the American Journal of Political Science, Electoral Studies, Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, Journal of Politics, Political Behavior, Public Opinion Quarterly, and Politics and Religion, and has been featured in news media outlets including the Atlantic, Boston Globe, Huffington Post, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Salon, and Washington Post.
Her book, From Politics to the Pews, was published by the University of Chicago Press in 2018.