Beyond Our Screens: Yik Yak and Racism

  • Tenzin Kunor (Iowa State University)


Social media is, and will undoubtedly continue to be a huge part of college students’ lives. 97% of college students have a social networking account and 77% of college students visit social networking sites several times a day (Jesse, 2013). Recently Yik Yak has been added to the list of continuously growing social media outlets. Yik Yak has become the most frequently downloaded anonymous social app in Apple’s App Store (Mahler, 2015). What has race got to do with all this? Yik Yak provides anonymity; anonymity provides the opportunity for social media users to hide who they are while allowing them to say exactly what they think without any social consequences. Unfortunately, this is allowing the expression of not only unpacked racial biases, but also messages of racial violence. Thus, does Yik Yak allow for civil discourse or is it simply unveiling a larger issue of campus culture? This session should particularly benefit participants who are interested in campus climate, free speech, critical race theory, and social media at college, specifically regarding the intersection of racism and social media on Yik Yak. Join us as we explore racially charged Yaks.



Published on
03 Mar 2016
Peer Reviewed