reading response 10: Race & Racism ONLINE?

As mentioned in our class discussion and in the reading "Race In/For Cyberspace: Identity Tourism and Racial Passing on the Internet", Lisa Nakamura brings up a point identifying the internet to be somewhat tangible allowing us to "surf" through sites. This idea of surfing through an idealogical thing like the internet is somewhat amusing as although we identify the internet as "not real" we apply things that are "real" to it. Another example was the idea of gender or race.

The online realm I feel really brings out the "darker" side of humanity. People, as I mentioned in a past reading response will do things that they usually wouldn't do in real life. This is due to the anonymity of the internet. However, it is strange for this idea of anonymity and race to co-exist on the same field of existence. A great example in my mind is youtube.

While surfing through youtube, imagine yourself randomly landing on a video of three girls dancing. People will comment mostly masculine comments. For example, "damn she's f---ing hot!" or "i'd tap that". While feminine comments are kept to a minimum. This shows how a gender neutral world does not exist in the online realm. Then you see another video dealing with rape and telling tales of victims to rape. Here you will mostly see a feminine response, whether they be true or false. For example you will see things like "I was also a victim to rape...The song that's playing really reminds me of me and my ""boyfriend"" who raped me...". It's really weird to see how people who may or may not be the specified gender will still act out the role of being a male or female. Reasons behind this usually are "for laughs".

Now moving on to the race issues online. Race is another huge issue especially where people are able to comment. Racism seems to be an outrageously big problem, noticeably on youtube. If you see an asian person singing along with a song in the background, you will definitely find every racial slur you can find on an asian person, as well as sexual orientation related comments like "you're gay". People will biase based on race all the time. Black people and Asians seem to be the most popular target. However, you see no one standing up for them. Just a bunch of hateful people. This is weird and makes me think that people tend to hide their race if they are being attacked. In real life there is no escape from hate crimes, but on the online realm all you have to do is say you're some other race. You can be as straight as an arrow online as long as you project it.

So how real is the online realm when so much is fake? It really makes me question the authenticity of people in general online.