Graduation Year


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Second Department

Legal Studies

Reader 1

Jennifer Groscup

Reader 2

Mark Golub


Control of the Black body has long been a necessary component of the United States’ formation and maintenance of White supremacy. The Black body has been the target and the sight of spectacles of violence during slavery and lynching. Prior research indicates that Black Americans have a legacy of trauma stemming from slavery, which presents itself as Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome (PTSS). In today’s age, this spectacle of violence and continuation of trauma has been reproduced and has emerged as police violence. The purpose of this proposed study is to investigate the psychological consequences of being exposed to police violence against the Black body via media platforms such as social media and television news. The study proposes to center the experiences and stories of Black Americans through the use of a qualitative methodological approach. Participants will be interviewed about their general thoughts on police killings including feelings and sensations that arise when being exposed to these stories. They will then be asked to complete a social media and self-identification questionnaire as well as the PTSD Symptom Scale Interview. It is predicted that Black Americans will experience psychological trauma after recollecting moments of police violence and to a greater degree than White Americans. Younger Black Americans will suffer from greater levels of psychological trauma than older Black Americans due to an increased use of social media which most likely exposes users to more frequent images and videos of Black death. Racism has recently been declared a threat to public health by the American Medical Association, and the results of this study will certainly demonstrate this by analyzing the mental health of Black Americans.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.