Despite Media Narrative, White Americans Are Underrepresented As Mass Shooters
A number of media outlets and commentators have taken to criticizing white men after the mass shooting in Las Vegas, but statistics show white Americans actually commit fewer mass shootings than their demographic share of the population would provide for.
According to data from Mother Jones, 51 out of the 91 mass shooting tracked were committed by white Americans, meaning Caucasians commit about 56 percent of mass shootings in America.
Given the fact that whites commit over 50 percent of mass shootings in America, it is fair and accurate to conclude that you are more likely to be killed by a white American in a mass shooting than by someone in another demographic.
However, given that the number of Americans who identify as “white” is currently much higher than 56 percent, whites committing 56 percent of the mass shootings shows that whites are less likely than other groups to engage in these offenses.
According to the 2010 census, Americans classified as “white” are make up 72.4% of the American population. Americans who are “white alone” (excluding white Hispanics) made up 63.7% of the population in the last census.
The share of white Americans in the United States has long been dropping, meaning that the number has likely decreased since then.
The Mother Jones data set started collecting mass shootings in 1982, tracking them all the way up until the current day. According to the 1980 census, white Americans were 83.1 percent of the population that year, further showing that white Americans are underrepresented as mass shooters over the decades collected by Mother Jones.
Despite this, the media has largely zeroed in on white people as being culpable for mass shootings:
Newsweek reports, “White en Have Committed More Mass Shootings Than Any Other Group.”
An op-ed on CNN.com states, “How America has silently accepted the rage of white men.”
ThinkProgress bleats, “When we talk about mass shootings, we are talking about white men.”
Bustle: “White Men Commit Mass Shootings More Than Any Other Group — Why Aren’t We Talking About That?”
A column published on the Philadelphia Inquirer claims, “Vegas killer viewed differently because he is white”
A number of journalists on Monday further criticized white people and white men. Slate writer Jamelle Bouie said, “by the definition currently in common currency, a white person cannot be a terrorist.”
Former Clinton White House staffer Claude Taylor stated, “We need Travel Ban for white men. One that prevents them from traveling to gun stores/shows or wherever they acquire this type of weaponry.”
CNN’s Brian Stelter said, “We terrorize ourselves.” (RELATED: Media, Journos Unite Against ‘White Men’ In Wake of Las Vegas Shooting)
Note: There is no solid, legal definition of “mass shooting.” This article, like many others published in the wake of the Las Vegas shooting, is relying on Mother Jones’ data on mass shooters.
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