Introduction: Coded in Technology Literacy

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



Computers & Composition Digital Press


Immigration, language, and racially marked difference will remain rhetorical commonplaces in public discourses as “minority” populations become the majority demographic in regions across the U.S. and gain increasing economic, ideological, and political capital. Across the nation, there are sites of activism, including Ferguson, MO, where images and various forms of narratives surrounding the #BlackLivesMatter marches and protests have been shared across Instagram, Vine, Tumblr, Facebook, and Twitter social media platforms. Video posts, photos, and news articles have been “liked,” “favorited,” tweeted, and retweeted. Dominant media shorthand has represented these activists, who are exercising their rights to civil disobedience, as “thugs,” looters, and anarchists. At the same time, however, social media networks (organized and archived by hashtags), YouTube channels, vlogs, and e-mail listservs communicate the experiences in the form of images and voices from those who organize social activism in digital and physical public spaces.

Chapter of

Racial Shorthand: Coded Discrimination Contested in Social Media


Cruz Medina
Octavio Pimentel