Exposure To Videos Of Racial Violence Is Harming Black People's Mental Health

black man sitting down on a curb and looking at phone
Briona Lamback
May 24, 2022

When a white supremacist walked into the East Buffalo grocery store, he was live-streaming his gruesome attack online. And he’s not the first to do so. 

The violent killing played live for two minutes before moderators stepped in, but it was quickly downloaded and shared for millions to view.

Experts say that social media companies too often take a hands-off approach to content moderation, and could be doing more to block violence from reaching so many people. 

This is especially important for us: viewing anti-Black violence online is severely harming our mental health.

Studies show that exposure to videos of race-based violence causes depressive symptoms and post-traumatic stress disorder. 

These findings are complex, because we often share violent content to help hold police accountable or to “stay informed.”

We fight for Black lives using the tools at our disposal, and recording police interactions to expose white supremacist behavior is often crucial. 

However, it’s also important to know the dangerous effects on our mental health - and create personal boundaries when engaging with violent content online.

White supremacists continue using technology to spread their hate far and wide. We cannot control their actions, but we CAN control how we receive the news. Protecting our peace is crucial to our liberation!

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