Race and Ethnicity

Editor: Anna Everett, University of California, Santa Barbara


Summary of Volume: This volume addresses one of the most persistent and yet still difficult topics to engage honestly, clearly, empathetically, and with informed understanding in 21st century America.  That said, it should hardly be surprising, then, that this volume revolves around a range of questions and issues pertaining to race and ethnicity.   Our present-day focus on the nexus of race and ethnicity, and youth cultures and demographics is juxtaposed to a very recent historical view of ascendant mainstream digital technologies and discourses.  For example, most of us certainly recall that in the early years of the internet’s massification, there was a popular cartoon depicting a dog typing on a personal computer with a caption reading “Nobody knows you’re a dog on the Internet” became extremely popular.  Around this same time, in the early to mid 1990s, the telecom giant MCI produced a compelling TV commercial claiming there is no race, no genders, and no infirmities in the new world of the internet because here “people can communicate mind to mind.” 

<<br/>Today, however, the popularity and pervasiveness visual and moving images in digital media produced by ubiquitous digital cameras, cell phone cams, webcams, streaming video, audio, etc., means that everyone knows if you’re a dog on My Space and elsewhere in the digital domain.   We offer this volume as an important next step or stage in pushing still further this important and vexing topic from margin to center.  This volume addresses themes that include but are not limited to: How race and ethnicity intersected with post 9-ll political economies, and today’s online hate-speech pratices (direct and indirect)?  What is the significance of race and ethnicity in digital youth and music cultures?   Where do we stand on matters of universal access (class matters) and the racial and ethnic digital divide in the 21st century, especially in terms of digital media learning (DML) and youth?

Volume Chapter Summaries and Authors:

The Future of (the) Race: Identity and the Rise of Computer-mediated Public Spheres
Dara N. Byrne  
Despite the hype of and hope for color-blind digital spaces, this essay reveals the fact of renewed interest in and practices of community building specifically dedicated to racial and ethnic identity positions, particularly post-Sept. 11. Using case studies such as Asian- Avenue.com, Blackplanet.com, and Miguente.com, this essay follows these sites' respective discussion threads to understand the persistence of such racialized online communities. 

Finding Tomorrow’s Progress in the Past: How Yesterday’s Minority Technology Innovators Stand to Conquer the Modern-Day Digital Divide
Tyrone D. Taborn  
This essay provides an historical overview of key technology leaders and innovators from underrepresented groups, and the importance of excavating and incorporating these often ignored histories into educational programs targeting young people. 

Turn Off That Goddamn Radio: Technicity, Digital Democracy, Internet and Wireless Music Distribution
Raiford Guins  
This essay explores how contemporary youth culture, particular hip hop music entrepreneurs, increasingly use the Internet to circulate politically conscious rap, and other modes non-conformist messages and images beyond the legal, economic, and social restrictions governing mainstream radio broadcasting, the MTV and other big media conglomerates, and the Big Box distribution chains like Wal-Mart. 

Decolonial Cyber Consciousness: Judy Baca's Digital Artwork with Community Youth
Chela Sandoval and Guisela Latorre  
This essay tracks an important shift in the history of Chicano/a community muralism in California as the popular art practice migrates from the real community spaces to the digital realm. Through an analysis of Chicana mural artists,Judy Baca’s work with Chicano/a youth from the 1970s to the present day, this project considers how under Baca’s tutelage, Chicana girls are empowered to participate in virtual and real life community art and activism usually dominated by Chicano boys and men as popular muralists and taggers. Framed by Chela Sandoval’s influential works on “methodologies of the oppressed”,and decolonizing cyberspace pedagogy, the essay combines digital media theory and praxis as manifest in contemporary Chicano/a communities.  Perspective: Humanities, Art History, New Media Theory, Community Activism

Chakaruna: Bridging Native America and Digital Media Literacy

Antonio Lopez  
This essay considers how media education is being practiced in First Nation or Native-American communities at the moment that the War on Terror functions to redirect funding away from community tech centers among the nation’s underserved minority populations. Of particular interest here is how digital learning occurs not in school, but in untraditional environments. 

Race, Civil Rights and Hate Speech in the Digital Era
Jessie Daniels  
This essay investigates how “cloaked websites” published by hate groups appropriate discourses and images of racial, ethnic and religious minorities to spread virulent anti-Semitism and other hate propaganda. Among the key concerns at work here is the development of educational strategies designed to impart 21st century critical thinking skills for adolescents who often are unprepared for these new modes of recruitment into regimes of hate. 

KPK, Inc.: Emergent Cultures in Online Games
Douglas Thomas  

This essay considers the resurgence of destructive nationalist sentiments in massively multiplayer online gaming (MMOG) even in this age of global media culture. At issue in this study of the MMOG, Diablo II is how racial bigotry becomes the motive force behind American gamers craft strategies to thwart Korean gamers’ abilities to continue gameplay because the American youths blamed the Korean youths for destabilizing the server and disrupting the games pleasure principles. 

Health Disparity and the Racial Divide Among the Nation’s Youth: Internet as an Equalizer
Mohan J. Dutta, Ambar Basu, and Graham Bodie  
This essay looks at the intersection of technology access and use among minority youth and the pervasiveness of Internet health information. Of particular concern is how online health seeking among the nation’s young adults from underrepresented or minority groups mirror general patterns of health disparities within the national health care system. The essay seeks to build a model of online health seeking that incorporates both general and social divisions and individual uses and expectations of e-health.