A Tale of Two Pandemics: Black Emerging Adults’ Social Media Experiences of Racism

Dana S Jennings, Tennessee State University


#Wetired, #CheckonyourBlackfriends. #Blackandtired. These are just a few popular social media hashtags trending throughout 2020 and 2021. These hashtags serve as indicators that the psychological health of Black America is at risk. Trending topics on social media suggested that two pandemics were taking place in Black America: The Covid-19 health pandemic and a subsequent race pandemic. Through the lens of Critical Race Theory (CRT), the interplay of two pandemics was explored with a sample of nine Black emerging adults. Mental health consequences related to vicarious racial stress, racial trauma, and racial battle fatigue were investigated through the proliferation of race-related social media. This Crit Race analysis uses a phenomenological framework to present the lived experiences of how dual systems of oppression attribute to the socioemotional and behavioral stressors for Black emerging adults. Methodological triangulation was utilized to measure trustworthiness and subjectivity by including three data sources---nine individual interviews, two single-gender focus groups, and social media artifacts. Thematic analysis revealed six main themes from the data and thirteen subthemes were developed to further align with critical race ideology. Implications for future research, clinical practice, and new avenues for social change are discussed with a renewed focus on Black mental health and advocacy work for practitioners on social media platforms.

Subject Area

Psychology|African American Studies|Mental health|Counseling Psychology

Recommended Citation

Dana S Jennings, "A Tale of Two Pandemics: Black Emerging Adults’ Social Media Experiences of Racism" (2023). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI30571839.