ERIC Number: EJ1110963
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Democratic Education Online: Combating Racialized Aggressions on Social Media
Gin, Kevin J.; Martínez-Alemán, Ana M.; Knight, Sarah; Radimer, Scott; Lewis, Jonathan; Rowan-Kenyon, Heather T.
Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, v48 n3 p28-34 2016
In the 21st century, mobile, low-friction, and easy to use social media have changed the landscape of college campuses. Social media have opened the doors for racial hostility to be displayed on campus in new ways and have been widely used to express racial aggressions toward students of color. Anonymity allows these behaviors to be freely enacted without consequence or stigma to the perpetrator. Equivalent real-world, face-to-face expressions of racial hatred have led to institutional action on the campus' brick-and-mortar settings, but equivalent expressions of hostility on social media have persisted due to a lack of administrative interruption and interference. In their work work examining college students' use of social media, the authors describe these overt expressions of racism on social media as racialized aggressions. While conducting a multi-year study that has examined the use of technology and social media by first generation college students, students of color who participated in the study were asked whether they had received or seen racialized aggressions on social media, and how they regarded the communications. They were asked to describe their experiences with racial hostility on social media in individual interviews with the principle investigators and again in a series of focus groups with other students of color in the study. The findings of this research suggests that students of color become cynical and suspicious of campus communities where anonymous social media flourish. These outcomes are concerning because research has shown that such exhaustion and mistrust engenders dissociation between college students and institutions, threatening institutional efforts to cultivate educationally safe spaces for students to learn and develop as holistic and engaged citizens of society. Suggested reading/references are provided.
Descriptors: College Students, Social Media, Racial Bias, Aggression, Computer Mediated Communication, Telecommunications, First Generation College Students, Minority Group Students, Interviews, Focus Groups, Student Attitudes, Administrator Role
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A