Researchers have long discredited the link between video games and gun violence ̵
A new report published on Monday in the journal Psychology of Popular Media Culture (pdf) combines two experiments that come to similar conclusions: people are more likely to think that video games caused violent behavior if the suspect in question is white .
However, if the alleged shooter is black or Latino, the assumption is that the violence is the result of their upbringing: the neighborhood they grew up in or the way their family raised them.
As Technological Review writes, in one experiment, student participants were asked to read a report on an 18-year-old male shooter, "said he was obsessed with video games. ”
Half of the participants received a mug showing a young black man, the rest received an image of a young white man. Students, 88 percent of whom were white and 65 percent women, were "asked to classify their agreement with two statements … that the history of a violent video game perpetrator may have played a factor in his crime and that the perpetrator is not a crime. is related to violent video games. "
According to the technology review, citing Patrick Marki, co-author of the study, researchers find" small but statistically significant "increases the likelihood that participants associate video game play with violent white suspects rather than blacks.
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however, the second experiment, which uses Lexis Nexis to look for keywords in image media coverage, makes sense. Analyzing thousands of articles about shooting in the last 40 years, researchers have found that articles are eight times more likely to mention video games when a suspect is white.
James Ivorie, one of the study authors and researcher at Virginia Tech, cites bias implicitly as a reason for the differences.
"There are many of us who think we don't have a racist cell in our body, but we are pleased to see some explanations [for violence and crime] in front of others," he says
Chris Ferguson, professor of psychology at the University of Stetson put it this way:
"For an African-American or Latin American man, these are not video games; it's an urban crime or gang violence, and we should expect that in these neighborhoods, "Ferguson says.
"But when you look at a white kid from a reasonably affluent neighborhood, we're more likely to see outward signs of committing a crime," he says. "People are wondering, 'What would make a nice white kid to commit such a crime?' They think something has corrupted them. "
Citing video games as a cause of violent behavior – especially for mass shootings – functions as a shield for many politicians and students; it provides cover for them to be concerned about the problem without doing anything substantial about it (read: gun control).
But it works on a racial plane as well: it allows the media and its users to participate in the narrative that violence among black and brown youth is pathological, while young white men are "corrupt" and unjustifiably influenced by acts of violence. This framing, however subtle or subconscious, supports one of the most widespread aspects of white overseas ideology, which maintains whiteness as inherently virtuous before it, apparently through some external circumstance defiled.