African American Serial Killers: Over-Represented Yet Underacknowledged?

The article of Branson (2012), “African American Serial Killers: Over-Represented Yet Underacknowledged,” touches upon the issue of serial killers, who are African Americans, and who escaped the attention of the American public. Ninety black serial killers were identified by the previous researches, though America was not aware of their notoriety. What is important about this study is that it demonstrates the presence of the serial killers among the African Americans, who are told by the media to be low-level criminals. In the media, there are mainly the white criminals.

The assumptions, based on the race are dangerous for the whole society. Branson (2012) suggests that the ethnocentric profile of the serial killer being a white man was created by the FBI, and this myth was only strengthened by the media portrayals. The law enforcement agents are those people, who created the lack of public awareness and visibility about black serial killers in the Unite States. To find any information concerning this issue in the crime literature, shows or movies is really difficult.

Even the scholarly literature does not relate to this topic, except for a few findings. Moreover, African American serial killers over-represented in the field of the known killers, but, in fact, they are not present in the contemporary pop culture. The findings relevant to forensic psychology is in the testimony made by the FBI when they created the image of the white serial killer, thus creating a myth, drawing people’s attention to the white serial killers only. Thus, the blacks were out of their perception and attention.

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Such a psychological approach helped the FBI to distract attention and interest from the black serial killers. According to the research (Branson 2), one in five serial killers is black, which is a big proportion of the American population. The findings of the article suggest that issues of race are the main reasons for over-representation and underacknowledgement of black serial killers.

The author examines three factors of this phenomenon (Branson 2): the continuation of the negative imagery in the result of slavery; the creation of the serial killer through the media and FBI; commodification of the serial killer, The study investigates and compares two multiple murders, coming to a conclusion that there actually is a race-based disparity. The author (Branson 3) finds that both killers had similar backgrounds and psychological traumas, what afterwards led them to the decision to kill people Here, we see the elements of forensic psychology because the study investigated the killers on the issue of their psychological state and traumas throughout their life This is an evidence, which reveals the main causes of these killers to become murders. As children, they were abused, which had certain effects on their psychological and mental state. So, if there is such a disparity towards the blacks, then no one should wonder about the negative perceptions of these people in the media. The findings also illustrate that there are even more white serial killers compared to the number of the black ones.

The black serial killers get attention from the part of the media, but their appearance needs the characteristics, which have their white counterparts, and the features, contributing to the longer notoriety. The main emphasis is made on the racial variable throughout the paper, what makes the white serial killers more notorious than the blacks What is important, those murders, which have been committed during the same period of time by white and black killers, are different in their notoriety: black serial killers are limited in their notoriety, whereas the white ones were intensively discussed in the media, Too many cases of the blacks, committing the serial murders, are left unnoticed by the media, Better to say, these cases are omitted, and Branson (13) points at the consequences of the slavery and racial inequality as the main factors that let these murders to be left aside. The article is good and important from the point of view of its informational content and deep historical background It really highlights main aspects of such an essential issue, It also reveals a lot of new things and knowledge concerning the black serial killers.

The aspects that have not been known to the general public appear to be essential. The author mainly concentrates on the media and FBI being the main reasons of black serial killers to be not so notorious compared to their white counterpartst According to the article, the main reason for omitting the presence of numerous black serial killers is in the racial prejudices, This may be a reason, but the question is too serious to let it be unknown just because of people’s racial preconceptions The author could give broader statistics on the issue of serial killers, comparing the white and black ones. Also, there could be more information on how many murders were committed by the black serial killers and their severity in order the general public to understand the seriousness of the situation, There should be other reasons for the black serial killers to stay aside from the public.

Race is not the reason to hide the serial killers In this case, the government should bear considerable responsibility, because the population of the country is not informed about the hazardous situations, in which they may find themselves. This subject should be further researched, because of the lack of information, people are at risk of being offended, The main question here is why the government allows the legislature to conceal these facts from the general public If this issue is under a strict ban, to find the answers to the questions that left unanswered will be very difficult. Though, the current paper shed much light on the problem of the under acknowledgment of black serial killers.

Work Cited

  1. Branson, Allan L. African American Serial Killers: Over-Represented Yet Underacknowledged. The Howard Journal 521 (2012): 1—18,

Cite this page

African American Serial Killers: Over-Represented Yet Underacknowledged?. (2022, Sep 13). Retrieved from

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