African-American Scholar at the University of Illinois Examines Consequences of Exposure to Online Racism

In a unique study, Brendesha Tynes, an assistant professor of educational psychology and African-American studies at the University of Illinois, has found that young blacks face a significant amount of racist material when they are online. This exposure to racism, according to Professor Tynes, is a form of cyber-bullying that increases stress, anxiety, and depression among many young blacks.

Her study, published in the December 2008 issue of the Journal of Adolescent Health, attempts to quantify online race-related victimization. Her research found that nearly three quarters of both young blacks and young whites reported that they observed racism while online in chatrooms, instant messaging, while playing online games, or at social networking sites such as Facebook or MySpace. But 29 percent of blacks and only 20 percent of whites reported online racism that was directed specifically at them.

Dr. Tynes’ research found that regardless of race, adolescents who were victims of online racial abuse were more likely to be depressed.

Professor Tynes is a 1997 graduate of Columbia University. She holds a master’s degree in education and social policy from Northwestern University and a Ph.D. in psychological studies from UCLA.