Digitizing Race: Visual Cultures of the Internet

U of Minnesota Press, 20 .. 2007 - 248 ˹
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In the nineties, neoliberalism simultaneously provided the context for the Internets rapid uptake in the United States and discouraged public conversations about racial politics. At the same time many scholars lauded the widespread use of text-driven interfaces as a solution to the problem of racial intolerance. Todays online world is witnessing text-driven interfaces such as e-mail and instant messaging giving way to far more visually intensive and commercially driven media forms that not only reveal but showcase peoples racial, ethnic, and gender identity.

Lisa Nakamura, a leading scholar in the examination of race in digital media, uses case studies of popular yet rarely examined uses of the Internet such as pregnancy Web sites, instant messaging, and online petitions and quizzes to look at the emergence of race-, ethnic-, and gender-identified visual cultures.

While popular media such as Hollywood cinema continue to depict nonwhite nonmales as passive audiences or consumers of digital media rather than as producers, Nakamura argues the contrarywith examples ranging from Jennifer Lopez music videos; films including the Matrix trilogy, Gattaca, and Minority Report; and online joke sitesthat users of color and women use the Internet to vigorously articulate their own types of virtual community, avatar bodies, and racial politics.

Lisa Nakamura is associate professor of speech communication and Asian American studies at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She is the author of Cybertypes: Race, Ethnicity, and Identity on the Internet and coeditor, with Beth Kolko and Gilbert Rodman, of Race in Cyberspace.


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Digital Racial Formations and Networked Images of the Body
1 Ramadan Is Almoast Here The Visual Culture of AIM Buddies Race Gender and Nation on the Internet
2 Alllooksame? Mediating Visual Cultures of Race on the Web
3 The Social Optics of Race and Networked Interfaces in The Matrix Trilogy and Minority Report
4 Avatars and the Visual Culture of Reproduction on the Web
Users Identity and Cultural Difference in the United States
The RacioVisual Logic of the Internet
Publication History

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˹ 203 - Visual culture is concerned with visual events in which information, meaning or pleasure is sought by the consumer in an interface with visual technology. By visual technology, I mean any form of apparatus designed either to be looked at or to enhance natural vision, from oil painting to television and the Internet.
˹ 157 - The eyes have been used to signify a perverse capacity - honed to perfection in the history of science tied to militarism, capitalism, colonialism, and male supremacy - to distance the knowing subject from everybody and everything in the interests of unfettered power.
˹ 105 - Lorde (1984) captures the tone in the title of her Sister Outsider. In my political myth, Sister Outsider is the offshore woman, whom US workers, female and feminized, are supposed...
˹ 84 - After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor brought the United States into the war...
˹ 67 - II ritratto della donna nella poesia d'inizio cinquecento', in Lettere Italiane, Anno XXXI-N1, Gennaio-Marzo 1979, Francois Lecercle, La Chimere de Zeuxis, Gunter Narr Verlag Tubingen 1987. In Roland Barthes' words, '.... once reassembled, in order to utter itself, the total body must revert to the dust of words, to the listing of details, to a monotonous inventory of parts, to crumbling: language undoes the body....', S/Z, Jonathan Cape, London, 1975, p.
˹ 129 - In the war in which we are now engaged racial affinities are not severed by migration. The Japanese race is an enemy race and while many second and third generation Japanese born on United States soil, possessed of United States citizenship, have become "Americanized", the racial strains are undiluted.
˹ 181 - Ours is a world that is both everywhere and nowhere, but it is not where bodies live. We are creating a world that all may enter without privilege or prejudice accorded by race, economic power, military force, or station of birth. We are creating a world where anyone, anywhere may express his or her beliefs, no matter how singular, without fear of being coerced into silence or conformity.
˹ 98 - I suggested in my opening paragraphs, the equation of being white with being human secures a position of power. White people have power and believe that they think, feel and act like and for all people; white people, unable to see their particularity, cannot take account of other people's; white people create the dominant images of the world and don't quite see that they thus construct the world in their...
˹ 17 - A racial project is simultaneously an interpretation, representation, or explanation of racial dynamics, and an effort to reorganize and redistribute resources along particular racial lines. Racial projects connect what race means in a particular discursive practice and the ways in which both social structures and everyday experiences are racially organized, based upon that meaning.
˹ 76 - Minds aren't read. See, you've still got the paradigms print gave you, and you're barely print-literate. I can access your memory, but that's not the same as your mind.