The Birth of a Nation: Media and Racial Hate

  title={The Birth of a Nation: Media and Racial Hate},
  author={Desmond Ang},
  journal={SSRN Electronic Journal},
  • Desmond Ang
  • Published 2020
  • Economics
  • SSRN Electronic Journal
This paper documents the impact of popular media on racial hate by examining the first American blockbuster: 1915’s The Birth of a Nation, a fictional portrayal of the KKK’s founding rife with racist stereotypes. Exploiting the film’s five-year “roadshow”, I find a sharp spike in lynchings and race riots coinciding with its arrival in a county. Instrumenting for roadshow destinations using the location of theaters prior to the movie’s release, I show that the film significantly increased local… 

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