A Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence led by the University of Maryland

A consortium of researchers dedicated to improving the understanding of the human causes and consequences of terrorism

New research analyzes partnerships between authorities and racial/ethnic minority communities


New research analyzes partnerships between authorities and racial/ethnic minority communities

July 6, 2016Aileen St. Leger

Experts believe that fostering a strong relationship between authorities and racial/ethnic minority communities is critical to counterterrorism efforts.  Dr. Demis E. Glasford conducted research that examines how minority-outreach communication frames influence the relationship that racial and ethnic minority community members have with those in positions of authority.  This report is part of the START project, “Social Identity and Perceptions of Counterterrorism,” led by Dr. Glasford.

The report’s major findings include:

  • The type of minority-outreach communication frame that authorities use has a strong influence on perception of intergroup boundaries, emotions, preference for engagement, and support for counterterrorism policies.
  • The report identified three major communication frames: paternalism, commonality, and respect.  The paternalism minority-outreach frame showed a decrease in willingness of the racial/ethnic minority community to cooperate with the authorities or participate in counterterrorism policies, and an increase in the feeling of seclusion and anxiety among the racial/ethnic minority community. 
  • Although a commonality minority-outreach frame is used most frequently, a respect-based minority-outreach communication frame showed to be more beneficial in fostering relationships between racial/ethnic minority communities and authorities. 
  • When the respect minority-outreach frame was used, the report concluded that the racial/ethnic minority community displayed an increase in trust in authorities, preference to engage with authorities, and support for counterterrorism policies. 

To read the research brief, click here