Friends or Foes? U.S. Women’s Perceptions of Racial Justice and the Black Lives Matter Protests during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Breanne Fahs, Eric Swank

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Scholarship on the first waves of the Black Lives Matter protests (2013–2014) has emerged in recent years but little is yet known about women’s responses to the cycle of Black Lives Matter/George Floyd protests that occurred in the Summer of 2020. This study analyzed semi-structured interviews with a racially diverse community sample of 20 women and two nonbinary individuals who mostly identified as feminists (mean age = 34.05, SD = 13.11). To address the salience of BLM framing practices during an ongoing protest, this study explored an awareness of structural racism and reactions to the presumed goals and tactics of this antiracism social movement. We identified six themes in how this racially diverse sample responded to these protests against racism and police brutality: 1) Caricatures of BLM protestors as criminals; 2) Protests were too extreme; 3) Concern about the COVID risks and social context of COVID; 4) More education needed about race relations; 5) Protests were long overdue; and 6) Protests were effective and necessary. Implications for better understanding the rhetoric of white liberalism, solidarity within racial justice movements, and fragmentation or unity among women were explored.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Women, Politics and Policy
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

Keywords

  • activism
  • allyship
  • attitudes
  • Black Lives Matter
  • protest
  • Racial justice
  • women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Sociology and Political Science

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