race online

As an endnote to our discussion on race online, I brought up a point about race on discussion boards concerning the Jeremiah Wright clips that populated youtube. This was a rare occasion in the blogosphere that allowed many to vent their anxieties about race relations in this country, and also defend and denounce his racially charged comments.

When the story broke, as a Barack Obama supporter I wanted to see what potential legs it had. These discussion boards provided a good sense of the pulse, which as we all know now, turned out to be very strong. "Race in/for cyberspace: Identity tourism and racial passing on the internet," suggests that race issues are still alive online despite the non-physical aspect of the internet, and my observations on the Rev. Wright issue support that. The article describes the portability of race. How one can assume a virtual identity, or engage in racial "passing", by being whatever they want.

I found curious in the case of these discussion boards the racial positions that were often assumed. One strategy of examination I employed was following the comments and responses from some of the more outlandish commentators.
When a rather flaming comment was posted, that individual would be pounced on by a number of individuals sifting out their perceived inaccuracies. What was curious about this is when the individual who posted the inflammatory comment responded, he would claim that the responders were assuming too much about him/her self, and often made the claim they themselves were African American. Now this observation is completely speculation, but I wonder if these individuals were truly African Americans. I would not have been so suspect, had I not witnessed this phenomenon occur so many times.

So while our discussion, and the readings, focused mainly on gaming, and avatars, I thought this would be an interesting perspective of how racial passing crosses over into the blog space.