Why is it not Just a Joke? Analysis of Internet Memes Associated with Racism and Hidden Ideology of Colorblindness

InJeong Yoon

Abstract


This article discusses how Internet memes associated with racism can be analyzed and pedagogically utilized through the theoretical frame of Critical Race Theory. The assumption of the study is that Internet memes, as a site of ideological reproduction, can show one aspect of racial discourse. I consider Internet memes regarding race and racial issues as racial humor in this study. I gathered a total of 85 memes addressing or connected to racism primarily from the Memecenter website (www.memecenter.com). In this study, I analyzed their forms and content to consider how these memes deal with racism in different ways. Methodologically, this study implements critical discourse analysis in combination with multimodal discourse analysis. Through this study, I found that the majority of Internet memes about racism perpetuate colorblindness by mocking people of color and denying structural racism. I argue that challenging colorblindness through critical analysis of Internet memes and creating counter- memes will enhance students’ critical awareness of racial issues.


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