Document Type


Date of Award



School of Communication (SOC)

Degree Name

MA in Communication

Committee Chairperson

Vera H Hawkins

Committee Member 1

Tyrone D Dixon

Committee Member 2

Howard H Henderson

Committee Member 3

Christian U Ulasi


• Accountability • Critical Race Theory • Cultivation Theory


Since the turn of the century, a large mass of both African American men and White American men in the United States have been gunned down in numerous proportions when police were involved (Fatal Encounters, 2020). More recently, the deaths of Michael Brown, Philando Castille, Alton Sterling and George Floyd left many in the African American community noticeably bleak and perplexed as a ration of young individual lives were seemingly taken unjustifiably. In the aggregate, many believed this was intentional and thus, immediate action against Law Enforcement was inevitable. Without context, the deaths were just seen as a stain in which black men had to carry the caution of treading lightly just to survive. Over time, there have been many organizations such as Black Lives Matter, who after the death of Trayvon Martin became more vocal in raising a consciousness among non-black citizens that deaths by police must be taken seriously and with accountability at all cost, and even having members within the organization stepping into the arena of political access like Cori Bush and winning a seat in the House of representatives.

However, though the underlining deaths of African American males by police runs deep through its complex history of racial injustice, many White males who have had interactions with police may also have met a fate to where their community may have seen their demise as unlawful as well thus reeling in a question as to see if all deaths by police go beyond color or just a fact of law and order. In this literature, I will pose the questions to better understand the research: 1) Is the social structure of the 21st century ways of policing play a part in the deaths of black and white men ; 2) Does media framing incorporate the behavior of the police; and 3) Does the accountability factor of police happen because of public influences? The purpose of the questions is to reveal if there is really a definitive difference in the killings and if there are true biases in relation to those killings.