Bigotry and the Blogs

The color of one’s skin shouldn’t be a problem when people can’t
see each other face-to-face. But as anyone who’s ever visited the
oft-covered blogosphere knows, racism can be overt when people hide
behind the anonymity of the web. According to Celina De León,
writing for
ColorLines, the internet has ’emboldened
racists hiding behind the mask of virtual reality.’

One of the reasons why racism is allowed to flourish on the
internet is because of the under-representation of minority voices.
De León cites a Pew Internet & American Life Project report
which found that people of color account for 40 percent of bloggers
and just 26 percent of internet users. De León quotes Chris Rabb,
author of the blog Afro-Netizen, who posits that this lack of
representation makes bloggers shy away from discussions of race.
‘Whenever issues of race come up,’ Rabb writes, ‘it’s seen as a
distraction.’

In the world of internet dating, though, race can often take
center stage. Writing for the blog
Racialicious, Wendi Muse points to a
plethora of subtly and overtly racist posts that appear in
personal ads on Craigslist. ‘I LOVE WITE GRLS,’ one emphatic
love-seeker wrote. ‘No black or Latin women, please,’ specified
another.

These personal ads lay bare an ‘underbelly of racism’ on the
internet, writes Muse, that exposes ‘how people feel about race,
ethnicity, and nationality.’ The ability to post anonymously makes
Craigslist a haven for people to ‘abandon political correctness and
resort to exotification, stereotypes, and blatant racism when
referring to racial/ethnic ‘others’ in their attempts to choose a
mate,’ Muse observes.

To combat the bigotry, many bloggers and web-savvy users have
begun to organize ‘carnivals,’ or collections of reprinted blog
posts that are hosted by a rotating cast of bloggers.
The Erase Racism Carnival, for
example, aims to create ‘a world free of racism’ by providing a
forum for anti-racist blogging.
The Carnival of Radical Feminists,
is another site that aims to ‘build the profile of radical
feminist bloggers,’ a group that would simultaneously uproot
racism, sexism, and other forms of bigotry.

Chris Rabb of Afro-Netizen regards blogging as ‘very
low-hanging fruit’ for minority voices. Racist commentary may
abound on the internet, but it’s also a place where informed
conversations and rebuttals by minority voices can flourish. ‘This
is,’ Rabb says, ‘a great benefit to underrepresented groups.’

Go there >>
The Segregated Blogosphere

Go there too >>
Craigslist Personals: Desperately Seeking
Diversity Training

And there >>
Erase Racism Carnival

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