Visual Representations of Race and Gender: Analyzing “Me” in #IfTheyGunnedMeDown on Tumblr

Thursday, March 15, 2018 at 5:00pm to 6:30pm

Building 56, 114
21 AMES ST, Cambridge, MA 02139

On August, 9, 2014, unarmed Black 18-year-old teenager Michael Brown was shot and killed by 28-year-old White police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri. As media outlets began to cover the story, some news accounts chose an image of Brown that featured him as a high school graduate, in the traditional cap and gown, holding a diploma cover. Other news sources picked a different photo of Brown in a basketball jersey, holding his fingers up in what some termed as a “gang sign.” As a response to the media bias, Mississippi attorney C.J. Lawrence used Tumblr for online social media activism, starting the blog #IfTheyGunnedMeDown with the subtitle “Which picture would they use?” In this talk, Jenny Korn examines the answers of the Tumblr’s participants to the question: If “they” gunned “me” down, which picture would “they” use to represent “me?”

Jenny Korn is a feminist activist of color for social justice and scholar of race and gender in mass media and online communication. Korn is a Fellow at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. Korn has been published in Feminist Media StudiesHashtag PublicsThe International Journal of Interactive Communication Systems and TechnologiesThe Intersectional InternetThe Journal of Communication InquiryMulticultural AmericaPopular Communication; Harvard University’s Transition; and more. Her publications have won the Outstanding Book Chapter Award from the African American Communication and Culture Division of the National Communication Association and the Carl J. Couch Internet Research Award. Drawing on critical race theories and intersectional feminist theories, Korn explores how the Internet environment resonates user assemblages of race and gender and how online producers-consumers have constructed inventive digital representations and computer-mediated communications of identity.

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School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (SHASS)


Gender, Race, Ferguson, #IfTheyGunnedMeDown, Darren Wilson, Jenny Korn, Michael Brown, representation, Tumblr


Comparative Media Studies/Writing

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