Collegians creating (Counter)space online: A critical discourse analysis of the I, Too, Am Social media movement


In 2014, an online student activist movement-"I, Too, Am"-exposed everyday racism Black collegians experience. The movement began at Harvard University and spread to universities throughout the U.S. and abroad. Student activism maintains a strong social media presence, but there is little empirical scholarship on the subject. This study mitigates the literature gap by investigating the "I, Too, Am Harvard" and "I, Too, Am Oxford" campaigns. While in a broad sense Black college enrollment grows in the United States and the England, these students face multiple forms of oppression including negative campus racial climate and microaggressions (Kimura, 2014; Solórzano, Ceja, & Yosso, 2000). We use critical discourse analysis as well as counterspaces as a theoretical framework to examine the "I, Too, Am" campaigns. Counterspaces provide a way for Students of Color to counter the institutional hegemony and racism they experience on their campuses by coming together to affirm and validate their racial identity and racialized experiences (Carter, 2007; Solórzano et al., 2000). Findings discuss (a) how British and American Students of Color are narrating and navigating their experiences with campus racism through social media, (b) I, Too Am as an avenue for exposing the transnational pervasiveness of institutionalized campus racism, and (c) social media as a means of promoting solidarity and counterspace among Students of Color across the Atlantic.

Publication Title

Journal of Diversity in Higher Education