Posted on July 20, 2023

Structural Racism May Contribute to Mass Shootings, Study Says

Nicole Chavez, CNN, July 19, 2023

Mass shootings in major metropolitan areas in the United States disproportionately affect Black people, and structural racism may play a role, according to a study published on Wednesday in the journal JAMA Surgery.

Researchers at Tulane University analyzed data relating to the 51 largest metropolitan areas, including demographic and income data as well as reports of mass shootings from 2015 to 2019 compiled by the Gun Violence Archive, a non-profit organization that tracks gun violence in the US.

CNN and the Gun Violence Archive define a mass shooting as a shooting that injured or killed four or more people, not including the shooter.

The study found that in areas with higher Black populations, mass shootings are likelier to occur compared to communities with higher White populations. There are also more Black people injured and killed when mass shootings take place, the findings say.

The study examined 865 mass shootings between 2015 and 2019, which resulted in a combined 3,968 injuries and 828 fatalities.

Researchers intended to find whether mass shootings are a consequence of structural racism, which they described as “the normalized and legitimized range of policies, practices, and attitudes that routinely produce cumulative and chronic adverse outcomes for people of color.”

They correlated the cities’ Black-White segregation index, demographic data, poverty rates, educational attainment and crime rates.

Chicago had the greatest number of mass shootings during that period with 141, which led to 97 deaths and 583 injuries. According to the study, Milwaukee had the highest segregation index, which tracks racial disparities in schools and neighborhoods, while Baltimore had the highest unemployment rate.