Scapegoating is a process by which a person or group of people are wrongfully stereotyped as sharing negative traits and are singled out for blame for causing societal problems, while the primary source of the problem (if it is real rather than imaginary) is overlooked or absolved of blame. It is easier to get people to scapegoat if the target is demonized.[1]

[1] G.W. Allport, 1954: 243–60; R. Girard, The Scapegoat, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986.