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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 Two: The Trouble With White Feminism: Whiteness, Digital Feminism, and the Intersectional Internet

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CHAPTER TWO

The Trouble With White Feminism: Whiteness, Digital Feminism, AND the Intersectional Internet

JESSIE DANIELS

 

INTRODUCTION

In the summer of 2013, writer and pop-culture analyst Mikki Kendall grew increasingly frustrated watching her friends being viciously attacked online, particularly by a White male academic who identified as a “male feminist.” Kendall’s friends, like her, are women of color engaged in digital activism through social media, particularly Twitter, and through writing in longer form on their own blogs and for online news outlets. Kendall’s friends were being called names, bullied, and threatened by the self-professed male feminist. During a rather public meltdown, the man admitted that he had intentionally “trashed” women of color, posting on Twitter: “I was awful to you because you were in the way” (Kendall, 2013).

The behavior of this one man was hurtful and disappointing, but it was the inaction of prominent White feminist bloggers1 who failed to acknowledge the racist, sexist behavior of one of their frequent contributors that prompted Kendall to create #SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen.2 Kendall’s hashtag quickly began trending on Twitter and ignited a wide range of discussions about hashtag campaigns as a form of cyberfeminist activism and, more broadly, about social media, feminism, and call-out culture. One journalist, Michelle Goldberg, excoriated Kendall specifically, and women of color more generally, for starting a “toxic Twitter war” that is destructive for feminism (Goldberg, 2014). Another journalist referred to Kendall’s hashtag in...

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