An analysis of George Floyd-themed memes

A Critical Race Theory approach to analyzing memes surrounding the 2020 George Floyd protests


  • Mia Moody-Ramirez Baylor University
  • Gabriel B. Tait Ball State University
  • Dorothy Bland University of North Texas


George Floyd, framing, Black Lives Matter, social movement, memes, protests, systemic racism, social media


Protests took place around the world in response to the death of George Floyd who police officers killed in Minnesota on May 25, 2020. In response, activists and everyday citizens began creating, posting and sharing memes related to racism, oppression, peaceful versus violent forms of protests and historical parallels to Floyd’s death throughout history. This study employs CRT and a qualitative content analysis, to examine memes that emerged following pivotal historical moment. Study findings indicate memes went far beyond “just the facts” and humor to spread misinformation and feed negative stereotypes about Black people. The three dominant meme themes that emerged from the study were 1) Stereotypes and systemic racism; 2) Just the facts; and 3) Peaceful demonstrations. Study implications highlight the importance of CRT and how memes are used to highlight the deep wounds of systemic racism that exist in America. 

Author Biographies

Mia Moody-Ramirez, Baylor University

Professor and Chair

Gabriel B. Tait, Ball State University

Associate Professor

Dorothy Bland, University of North Texas



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