Presider: Jessie Daniels
The panel I organized for the Theorizing the Web conference was called, “Cyber Racism, Race & Social Media.” A key theme of all the papers in this session was that race, racism and caste, are enduring features of media across geographic and temporal boundaries, and across cultures.
In the late 1990s, a popular television commercial advertisement captured the zeitgeist of thinking about the web at that time.
This notion that the Internet is a place where “there is no race,” is also one that’s permeated Internet studies. Early on scholars theorized that the emergence of virtual environments and a culture of fantasy would mean an escape the boundaries of race and the experience of racism. A few imagined a rise in identity tourism, that is, people using the playful possibilities of gaming to visit different racial and gender identities online (Nakamura, 2002; Turkle, 1997).
This post was originally published March 2, 2011 by Racism Review and is reproduced with permission. This work is part or an ongoing series by Jessie Daniels on race and social media.
(CC photo credit: ERNESTO LAGO)
I’ve been doing a series about what academic research on race and racism on the Internet. The series continues today with a look at what researchers are finding about one the most talked about aspects of the popular Internet: Social Networking Sites.
Social networking sites (SNS), such as Facebook and MySpace, are phenomenally popular and important to the field of Internet studies, (Boyd and Ellison, “Social Network Sites: Definition, History, and Scholarship,” JCMC, 2007, Vol.13(1):210-230). According to a recent report, the top SNS is currently Facebook, with over 65 million unique visitors per month. Facebook has displaced the former leader in the field, MySpace, which still currently gets about 58 million unique visitors per month. These are staggeringly high numbers of people participating in these sites. But what does this phenomenon have to do with race and racism? (more…)