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The Intersectional Internet

Race, Sex, Class, and Culture Online

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Edited By Safiya Umoja Noble and Brendesha M. Tynes

From race, sex, class, and culture, the multidisciplinary field of Internet studies needs theoretical and methodological approaches that allow us to question the organization of social relations that are embedded in digital technologies, and that foster a clearer understanding of how power relations are organized through technologies.
Representing a scholarly dialogue among established and emerging critical media and information studies scholars, this volume provides a means of foregrounding new questions, methods, and theories which can be applied to digital media, platforms, and infrastructures. These inquiries include, among others, how representation to hardware, software, computer code, and infrastructures might be implicated in global economic, political, and social systems of control.
Contributors argue that more research needs to explicitly trace the types of uneven power relations that exist in technological spaces. By looking at both the broader political and economic context and the many digital technology acculturation processes as they are differentiated intersectionally, a clearer picture emerges of how under-acknowledging culturally situated and gendered information technologies are impacting the possibility of participation with (or purposeful abstinence from) the Internet.
This book is ideal for undergraduate and graduate courses in Internet studies, library and information studies, communication, sociology, and psychology. It is also ideal for researchers with varying expertise and will help to advance theoretical and methodological approaches to Internet research.
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Chapter Fourteen: Education, Representation, and Resistance: Black Girls in Popular Instagram Memes

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CHAPTER FOURTEEN

Education, Representation, AND Resistance: Black Girls IN Popular Instagram Memes

TIERA CHANTE’ TANKSLEY

 

INTRODUCTION

“Every child in America deserves a world-class education—especially in science and technology…we also need folks who are studying the arts because our film industry…tells us our story and helps us to find what’s our common humanity.” — President Obama, 2014

In the midst of a national education crisis, where burgeoning gaps in academic achievement, retention, and graduation rates between Black and White students continue to surge and swell (Howard, 2008; U.S. Department of Education, 2014), President Obama has come to understand the crucial connections among education, identity, and the American media. His recognition of the immense power of popular media, including social media, to sculpt our collective consciousness as Americans is pertinent, particularly given the recent groundswell in youth media consumption rates. When it comes to adolescents, a particularly impressionable group, media consumption rates are soaring, marking it as a primary agent of socialization among today’s youth (Kellner & Share, 2007; Rideout, Foehr, & Roberts, 2010).

Yet the circulation of racist and sexist media has likewise grown exponentially with the advent of the Internet, and ideological investments in “post-racialism” require new forms of racial common sense (Omi & Winant, 1994) and interrogations of how the invisibility of Whiteness (Daniels, 2013) serves to limit our ← 243 | 244 → understanding of the intersectional nature of race and...

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