More than a Joke: White Supremacist Humor as a Daily Form of Resistance

We conduct an ethnographic content analysis to examine the social interaction and racial identity constructed through the exchange of white supremacist humor shared on three Stormfront discussion subforums. Overall, white supremacist joke sharing functioned multidimensionally as it simultaneously fostered cohesion and contention among users. By mocking political correctness and non-Whites through the circulation of humorous images and text, white supremacists establish a communal atmosphere and produce a sense of solidarity among members in a more “fun” way than conventional speeches or publications. At the same time, joke sharing may serve as a source of contention when users exchange jokes that violate collective identity norms, such as sharing “blonde jokes” that disparage White females. These findings underscore the ongoing necessity among members of the white supremacist movement to negotiate different ideological tenets. By attending to the social function of white supremacist joke sharing, insights derived from this investigation move beyond more formal social movement events such as marches and demonstrations by attending to the daily activities that white supremacists utilize to resist external threats.

Tags: ethnography, humour, Stormfront, white supremacist