Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Sociology, Applied

First Advisor

Sarah Mayorga-Gallo

Second Advisor

Philip Kretsedemas

Third Advisor

Lakshmi Srinivas


In this thesis, 6,715 tweets from September 24, 2017 that directly relate to protests during the national anthem during National Football League games are analyzed. Through a qualitative examination of the symbols and logics that are used on Twitter, mechanisms of epistemic ignorance are illuminated. These epistemic maneuvers and techniques of neutralization help to connect individual latent cultural values and the broad framing of the movement to the perpetuation of ignorance and colorblindness. Logical maneuvers that perpetuate racism through constructed ignorance, like willfully reasoned ignorance, are illustrated throughout the data. The concepts of strategic framing and frame amplification are discussed in relation to the anti-protest discourse on Twitter; specifically, the centrality of Donald Trump’s amplification of anti-protest messaging is discussed. Meaningful symbols related to the discourse are discussed in relation to political communities on Twitter. The limitations of the study are discussed alongside relevant theoretical insights, and numerous directions for future research are described. This project demonstrates the utility of closely reading social media to understand social and political context.

Included in

Sociology Commons