The Brief: Meme-makers are using classic formats to spread awareness and information about the Black Lives Matter movement.
Although they’re often written off as apolitical distractions from current events, in reality, memes have long been used as tools for spreading awareness about social and political issues. In the wake of worldwide protests demanding justice for George Floyd, memes related to the Black Lives Matter movement have been circulating online. In addition to providing comic relief, memes such as these play a role in activism and political organizing.
Many BLM memes on Instagram use classic formats and styles to share activist slogans like “defund the police,” and to provide viewers with information on how to get involved by calling their elected officials, showing up to protests, or giving money to related organizations. In a time where social media feeds are saturated with posts expressing solidarity with Black Lives Matter and calling for changes to be made to systems that perpetuate racism such as the police, memes continue to be a method of spreading related information.
Some variations of these memes may seem strange as serious anti-racist messages are combined with cartoons, scenes from Twilight, and other unrelated image macros. This imagery, while potentially incongruous can effectively spread political messages with eye-catching, familiar visuals.
A Flex Tape meme criticizing police brutality that occurred at protests against police brutality:
An expanding brain meme:
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without Black LGBT people we wouldn't have #pridemonth or #blacklivesmatter, yet their lives continue to be undervalued and underserved, not only under white supremacy, but also inside the very communities they fought to liberate. We have to show up for them like they continue to show up for us.
A society if meme: