#BlackLivesMatter news coverage

Examining racial projects and hegemonic imagery


  • Simone N. Durham University of Maryland, College Park


Race, social movements, #BlackLivesMatter, controlling images, racial projects, research article


This study examines the theoretical concept of racial projects and how social institutions carry them out to support or challenge racial formation in a given society. In particular, it examines how news media outlets create divergent racial projects surrounding the #BlackLivesMatter movement while drawing on shared racial imagery existing in society through a qualitative content analysis of 83 news articles published in 2018 by Slate and TheBlaze, which are liberal and conservative news outlets, respectively. I outline how these organizations construct contradictory controlling images and advance two different racial projects in response to this contemporary racial justice movement. Slate ultimately advances a controlling image of prejudiced police to support a racial project I call advancing anti-racism. In contrast, TheBlaze deploys a controlling image of problematic protesters to support their racial project of reproducing white supremacy. I conclude with a discussion of the implications of these racial projects for the racial formation of the United States and the theoretical importance of racial projects carried out by social institutions and organizations more broadly.

Author Biography

Simone N. Durham, University of Maryland, College Park

Simone Durham is a doctoral candidate in sociology at the University of Maryland. Her research broadly covers the intersections of race, social psychology, and social movements. Currently, most of her research focuses on the #BlackLivesMatter movement.



How to Cite

Durham, S. N. (2022). #BlackLivesMatter news coverage: Examining racial projects and hegemonic imagery. Understanding and Dismantling Privilege, 12(1), 6–27. Retrieved from https://wpcjournal.com/article/view/21126