Conversations About Crime: Re-Enforcing and Fighting Against Platformed Racism on Reddit Journal Article uri icon



  • With the emergence of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), people are being exposed to an increased volume of crime-related information, which induces fear. While the fear of crime has been explored around people's experiences with crime, little is known about how people frame their conversations about crime online. In this study, we explore how citizens talk about crime on Reddit. By collecting crime conversations from the subreddit r/baltimore, we find that, on the surface, redditors discuss topics such as comparing crime rates in Baltimore with other cities in an effort to destigmatize the depictions of Baltimore as a city rife with crime. On a deeper level, we find that through their conversations about crime, redditors are engaging in discourse frames that both re-enforce and fight against platformed racism. On the one hand, some redditors perpetuate racially coded language that is rife with anti-Black stereotypes, framing their conversations using old and new racism to cover their racism and discrimination against Black people. On the other hand, others push back against platformed racism by drawing attention to individual racism and systemic racism, and situating crime in root, societal causes. We then discuss how platformed racism operates in online conversations, and develop the concepts of weaponized identity and digital gentrification, which we argue are ways in which people, through their engagements in digital platforms, continue to perpetuate white hegemonic power structures in society. Finally, we discuss implications for how to design to support the fight against platformed racism in sociotechnical systems like Reddit. As a content note and warning, this paper discusses racist content which may be upsetting or harmful to some readers.

publication date

  • March 30, 2022

has restriction

  • bronze

Date in CU Experts

  • January 31, 2023 2:02 AM

Full Author List

  • Wu Q; Williams LK; Simpson E; Semaan B

author count

  • 4

Other Profiles

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2573-0142

Additional Document Info

start page

  • 1

end page

  • 38


  • 6


  • CSCW1