Racial Narratives and Mass Shooting Project

Through our lab’s interest in understanding how gang-involved youth use media and social media to express themselves, we found that the contexts of these posts were often misinterpreted, leading to real life consequences both in the legal system and in public perception. Aspects of these young people’s lives (specifically Black and Latinx youth) that did not connect to anything but violence were ignored, and their human dimensions were diminished. While our lab was doing this work, mass shootings became a central focus of the gun violence conversation in our country. We want to explore whether similar patterns of racial bias are persisted in media descriptions of these shooters - and whether those descriptions differed on racial lines.