The imaginary threat is a rhetorical device used in fearmongery, hatemongery, and demonization to create a target against which strong negative emotions can be directed, building a unity of cause among those who can be convinced of the threat.
Imaginary threats used widely in Euro-centric cultures have included:
- gay people (anti-gay)
- transgender people (transmisia)
- socialism and communism
- psychoactive drugs
- black people
- nonwhite immigrants