Southeast Professor’s Essay Explores Media and Racial Protesting in New Book


Dr. Sarah Cavanah

Dr. Sarah Cavanah, assistant professor of public relations at Southeast Missouri State University, recently contributed an essay to a novel examining modern protesting.

Her essay, “E Kaepernick Unum: How Our Changing Media Habits Have Left Sports Our Place for Diverse Debate,” is featured in “Protesting on Bended Knee: Race, Dissent and Patriotism in 21st Century America.” The novel is published by The Digital Press at the University of North Dakota.

“Protesting on Bended Knee” examines the modern crusade for racial equality through the prism of the demonstrations associated with Colin Kaepernick, a professional football player who in 2016 began kneeling during the National Anthem to focus attention on discrimination and injustice.

Cavanah is one of 31 authors who contributed short essays for the book, sharing their thoughts and ideas about modern protesting, where the demonstrations fit within Americans’ quest to form “a more perfect union”; the legal landscape of dissent; the revival of athlete-activists; the tactics of protesters and counter-tactics of their opponents; and the perspective of others—reporters, coaches, players, and fans—“in the arena.”

Her essay explores the idea that media changes someone’s perception of political ideas.

Cavanah says she hopes her essay will inspire others to think about the influence of media on their political perceptions.

“I’m really proud of this essay. I like to think that this book is something teachers can use in classrooms to have a more holistic look at events,” she said. “At the very least, it let me channel my need to pontificate on how media choice might be affecting how you think.”