Racism in the electronic age: Role of online forums in expressing racial attitudes about American Indians

Jesse A. Steinfeldt, Brad D. Foltz, Jennifer K. Kaladow, Tracy N. Carlson, Louis A. Pagano, Emily Benton, M. Clint Steinfeldt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


This study investigated racial attitudes about American Indians that are electronically expressed in newspaper online forums by examining the University of North Dakota's Fighting Sioux nickname and logo used for their athletic teams. Using a modified Consensual Qualitative Research (CQR) methodology to analyze over 1,000 online forum comments, the research team generated themes, domains, and core ideas from the data. The core ideas included (a) surprise, (b) power and privilege, (c) trivialization, and (d) denigration. The findings indicated that a critical mass of online forum comments represented ignorance about American Indian culture and even disdain toward American Indians by providing misinformation, perpetuating stereotypes, and expressing overtly racist attitudes toward American Indians. Results of this study were explained through the lens of White power and privilege, as well as through the framework of two-faced racism (Picca & Feagin, 2007). Results provide support to previous findings that indicate the presence of Native-themed mascots, nicknames, or logos can negatively impact the psychological well-being of American Indians.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)362-371
Number of pages10
JournalCultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2010


  • American Indian/Native American
  • Internet online forums
  • Native-themed sports mascots
  • Racial attitudes
  • Status
  • Two-faced racism
  • White privilege

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