Digitizing Race: Visual Cultures of the Internet (Electronic by Lisa Nakamura

By Lisa Nakamura

In the nineties, neoliberalism at the same time supplied the context for the Internet’s speedy uptake within the usa and discouraged public conversations approximately racial politics. while many students lauded the frequent use of text-driven interfaces as an answer to the matter of racial intolerance. Today’s on-line international is witnessing text-driven interfaces resembling email and speedy messaging giving method to way more visually in depth and commercially pushed media varieties that not just display yet exhibit people’s racial, ethnic, and gender identity.


Lisa Nakamura, a number one student within the exam of race in electronic media, makes use of case stories of well known but not often tested makes use of of the net corresponding to being pregnant websites, fast messaging, and on-line petitions and quizzes to examine the emergence of race-, ethnic-, and gender-identified visible cultures.


While well known media comparable to Hollywood cinema proceed to depict nonwhite nonmales as passive audiences or shoppers of electronic media instead of as manufacturers, Nakamura argues the contrary—with examples starting from Jennifer Lopez song movies; movies together with the Matrix trilogy, Gattaca, and Minority document; and on-line shaggy dog story sites—that clients of colour and girls use the web to vigorously articulate their very own different types of digital group, avatar our bodies, and racial politics.


Lisa Nakamura is affiliate professor of speech conversation and Asian American stories on the college of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She is the writer of Cybertypes: Race, Ethnicity, and id on the net and coeditor, with Beth Kolko and Gilbert Rodman, of Race in Cyberspace.

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Extra resources for Digitizing Race: Visual Cultures of the Internet (Electronic Mediations)

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32 The rest of the video consists of scenes of Jennifer Lopez viewed through her as-yet-fictional Web site as we witness people in a wide selection of networked computing environments watching her: we see a young girl in her bedroom with her computer, a pair of mechanics watching a wall-mounted television with an Internet connection, a rank of call center workers with headphones and computers, and two young Latina women using a laptop in their kitchen. These scenes clearly reference television/Internet convergence as they depict both public and private televisual screens and solitary and shared instances of screen usage.

Much of Fiske’s work establishing this theoretical position was formulated before the popularization of the Internet, much less its increasing adoption by users of color and women. Perhaps an examination of the deployment of the Internet as a racial and gendered visual cultural practice might help us to take a closer look at the ways that cultural resistance to normative gender, racial, and national narratives might be enabled in new digitally interactive spaces. While Jennifer Lopez is probably not the first media figure that comes to mind when pondering the potential of the Internet as a space of resistant digital practice, the uneasy balance between viewer and viewed, ethnically marked and ethnically neutral, producer and produced, commodity and gift, and user and used that we can see in “If You Had My Love” posits a future in which there are no easy answers to the question of identity in the representational world of the Internet.

The page on the site titled “Jennifer’s Rooms” lists buttons and icons for “Corridor, Living Room, Shower, Hair Dryer, Bathroom, and Dressing Room,” thus spatializing the Web site in terms that evoke the star’s private home and the space of intimacy. The surveillance cameras and arrangement of the interface as clickable “rooms” enforce webbed voyeurism, evoking the visual culture of liveness through Webcams, and a particular sort of eroticized, privileged view of the star. (Of course, videos have always purported to give a privileged look at a star.

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