Everyday Racism and «My Tram Experience»: Emotion, Civic Performance and Learning on YouTube


  • Shakuntala Banaji


YouTube, civic learning, racism, emotion, vlogs, learning, politic, engagement


Does the public expression and performance of shock, distress, anger, frustration and ideological disapproval of particular sorts of politics constitute a form of collective political expression from which individuals can learn about being citizens? When it comes to the expression of feelings of racial and other types of prejudice, has political correctness led to a deepening of entrenched racist beliefs with no channel for discussion? This article engages with such questions through a case study of YouTube responses to «My Tram Experience» a commuter-uploaded mobile-phone video of a racist diatribe on a tram in the UK. Using qualitative content analysis, and thematic analysis, it describes how these performed, networked and distributed moments of citizen angst demonstrate a limited but interesting range of civic engagements with and positionings towards racism, immigration, class and nationalism. For one reason or another these are not allowed to occur in other public for a such as the mainstream media or schools. The article argues that these vlogs are both a wide-ranging potentially therapeutic resource for those needing validation for their racist or anti-racist views, or for those who wish to express and garner solidarity for discomfort and pain caused by racism; they are also a significant though currently uncurated resource for citizenship education both formal and informal because of their engagements with technology, social context, emotional context and political rhetoric..



How to Cite

Banaji, S. (2013). Everyday Racism and «My Tram Experience»: Emotion, Civic Performance and Learning on YouTube. Comunicar, 20(40), 69–78. Retrieved from https://www.revistacomunicar.com/ojs/index.php/comunicar/article/view/C40-2013-09



Dossier (Monographic)