Skip to the main content

Apryl A. Williams is an Assistant Professor of Communication & Media and an affiliate with the Digital Studies Institute at the University of Michigan. Williams is also a Faculty Associate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University and an affiliated researcher at NYU's Center for Critical Race & Digital Studies.

As a multidisciplinary scholar, Williams studies the experience of race and racism online. Her work positions the Internet as an inherently racialized space with its own processes, norms, and rituals of racial meaning-making. Williams' critical race perspective on the Karen and BBQ Becky memes has been widely cited in popular press including but not limited to Time Magazine, On the Media, Slate, and Detroit NPR. Her forthcoming book on digital inequalities in online dating examines racial bias in online dating platforms both from the macro-level perspective of safety protocols and policies in dating apps and presents perspectives from individual users. Williams' work interrogates user agency when using match-making algorithms and highlights the experiences of people of color as they navigate the ever-changing social rules that govern online dating. 



Are your dating preferences racist?

Apryl Williams shares the ways in which race underlies much of online life.

Jul 1, 2021
Harvard Law Today

Deconstructing the ‘Karen’ meme

Apryl Williams puts memes in historical, cultural context

Feb 3, 2021
Social Media + Society

Black Memes Matter: #LivingWhileBlack With Becky and Karen

Apryl Williams publishes in Social Media + Society

Dec 18, 2020
Museum of the Moving Image

Surveillance of Black Lives

Apryl Williams, Mutale Nkonde, and Allissa V. Richardson speak at event

Jul 16, 2020
BKC Medium Collection

Ken and Karen are White Supremacists

Apryl Williams explains that although memes are humorous, Karens and Kens of the world express a dangerous, audacious kind of White supremacy

Jul 1, 2020

How the 'Karen Meme' Confronts the Violent History of White Womanhood

Apryl Williams discusses the historical context, significance of the ‘Karen Meme’

Jun 25, 2020
Detroit Today

White People: Learn How To Become Better Allies

Apryl Williams discusses how white allies can express solidarity without centering the conversations on themselves.

Jun 11, 2020

What Is the Male Version of a Karen?

Apryl Williams on how to make sense of memes as an act of resistance, and what it means to be a Ken

Jun 9, 2020
On the Media

Boiling Point

Apryl Williams examines the Karen meme and what it tells us about criticism of privilege in the pandemic and Jessie Daniels discusses the history of white women in racial dynamics…

May 29, 2020
The Boston Globe

Facebook’s new dating service is flopping.

BKC fellow Apryl Williams sheds light on online dating and context collapse

Nov 8, 2019


Feb 1, 2021 @ 12:00 PM

White Surveillance and Black Digital Publics

Video & Podcast: A Conversation with Dr. Apryl A. Williams and Dr. Allissa V. Richardson

Video & Podcast: Dr. Apryl A. Williams and Dr. Allissa V. Richardson will address the long-standing history of White vigilante-style surveillance of Black people in public spaces

Apr 28, 2020 @ 2:00 PM

[Virtual] Racial Health Disparities and the COVID-19 Pandemic

Video: Featuring Dr. Guadalupe Marquez-Velarde and Dr. Gabe Miller

Video: The most important factors behind racial health disparities, and how they are influencing health and mortality outcomes in the age of COVID-19.