Most scholars believe that fear thwarts activism unless it is suppressed or transformed. We challenge this view. We argue that for racialized minorities, people for whom fear is rooted in daily lived experiences, fear mobilizes unless it is at extreme levels. We investigate this claim using the Detroit Arab American Study (2003), a representative sample of Arab Americans in metropolitan Detroit shortly after 9/11. Multivariate analyses support our curvilinear thesis: Arab Americans with intermediate levels of fear protest more than people unafraid as well as those with intense fear. Our findings suggest that fear can be a useful tool for organizers and speculate that fear is a racialized emotion because of the role the state plays in producing it. The vitriolic rhetoric of the Trump administration toward minority populations provides scholars a plethora of future opportunities to investigate how the emotional consequences of racialized repression affect political participation.

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