Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Colin W. Leach, Thomas Craemer

Field of Study



Master of Arts

Open Access

Open Access


A growth in the number of hate groups that operate in the United States over the past decade counters many researchers’ claims that overt prejudice and discrimination no longer have influence. In this thesis, we explore how people react with moral outrage and moral cleansing toward hate groups’ moral transgressions of racial egalitarianism—a strong sacred value among those who desire group-based equality. Across two experiments, we find that people perceive hate groups as immoral social agents, and people express moral outrage against them. We also find that people who were morally contaminated by hate groups (i.e., by being led to believe that they share compatible ideological beliefs with hate groups) perceived more racism in their environments than people who are not morally contaminated by hate groups. We discuss implications for confronting prejudice, theoretical debates on moral licensing and moral cleansing, and engaging in progressive action to improve intergroup relations.

Major Advisor

Felicia Pratto

Included in

Psychology Commons