Meme-ing white nationalism: Alt-right social media reactions to Colin Kaepernick

Dickerson, Nikolas (2018) Meme-ing white nationalism: Alt-right social media reactions to Colin Kaepernick. In: International Society for the Sociology of Sport.

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Item Type:Conference or Workshop contribution (Presentation)
Item Status:Live Archive


On September 1, 2016, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick kneeled for the playing of the national anthem arguing that he was “not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” noting that “this is bigger than football and it would be selfish…to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.” Kaepernick received a tremendous amount of backlash for this action, and many white fans/media pundits accused him of disrespecting the flag and US military. This act took place during the very contentious presidential election in the United States between eventual winner Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. During this election, the Trump campaign mobilized discourses of white nationalism, and even employed alt-right member Steve Bannon as Trump’s chief advisor for a period. The Trump campaign capitalized on a set of white backlash politics that had been growing since the 1990s (Kusz, 2001), and the reactions to Kaepernick’s protest cannot be separated from this larger context. This paper will examine how the alt-right mobilized discourses of white nationalism, whiteness, and the rhetoric of the alt-right through anti-Kaepernick memes. Thus, this paper will use reactions to Colin Kaepernick’s protests to gain insight into how the alt-right have constructed and reproduced discourse of race, masculinity, and nationalism through social media.

Keywords:race, social media, masculinity, nationalism
Subjects:W Creative Arts and Design > W213 Visual Communication
T Eastern, Asiatic, African, American and Australasian Languages, Literature and related subjects > T700 American studies
L Social studies > L300 Sociology
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Sport and Exercise Science
ID Code:34193
Deposited On:15 Nov 2018 08:36

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