When I first saw this meme on Facebook the person it was shared from added the caption, “Notice anything?” Sure, I notice most of them look crazy. Oh, and a lack of diversity. That’s it… they’re all white. Huh. Imagine that. That’s certainly incriminating, isn’t it?
Or is it? Is it accurate? Or, is it a lie, or at least a lie-by-omission? What was the person who created the meme trying to convey?
I saw this on Facebook and immediately thought, “There has to more to this. This must be wrong. It’s too easy, too simple.”, but didn’t think too much about it other than I could remember a few high-profile cases where minorities were mass shooters. What a rabbit hole this turned into.
Maybe the meme maker was trying to say the vast majority (if not all) of mass shootings and unnecessary violence are at the hands of white people… which let’s other races and ethnicities off-the-hook. But is that true? Let’s take a look and dig a little deeper.
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation the 2018 population demographics of the United States fell thusly…
- White: 60%
- Hispanic: 18%
- Black: 12%
- Asian: 6%
- Remaining: 4%
This is important because the above meme suggests at first glance these crimes are almost wholly white-initiated. Let’s dig deeper, still…
On-going Mother Jones research proves conclusively race is NOT a factor regarding who does mass shootings. In fact, if anything, they’re all pretty much spot on with the overall population demographics. Blacks are a bit high, whites are a bit llight, Asians are almost exact. If any group is noticeably less, it’s Hispanics.
This graph, which draws from the Mother Jones research, is a great visual (from #2 below)…
Kinda sums it up. The breakdown is virtually identical.
So, why would a person make the original meme? I believe to purposely mislead others and promote a desired narrative, in spite of it not being true. It was outright cherry-picking. I mean, if you were randomly picking mass shooters out of a list what are the odds all sixteen examples would come out white when the truth is barely over half that? And save the, “These are the worst of the worst.” argument, this person missed VA Tech, San Bernadino, Orlando, and others of the higher body count shootings. But hey, truth is subjective anyway, right?
Why would a person distribute this meme (presumably without fact-checking)? Two words: Conformation bias. It’s what you’ve been told by other like-minded people you respect, and it’s what you want to believe. In this case it doesn’t help it’s also the mantra the mainstream media has led us to believe, it’s what they’ve been suggesting, also, to the exclusion of pretty much any other option.
Here’s what a closer at what a more truthful and accurate meme might look like (I couldn’t find a Hispanic shooter image, sorry)…
The bottom line remains: The… original… meme… is… not… true.