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The Intersectional Internet

Race, Sex, Class, and Culture Online


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 Six: Black Women Exercisers, Asian Women Artists, White Women Daters, and Latina Lesbians: Cultural Constructions of Race and Gender Within Intersectionality-Based Facebook Groups


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Black Women Exercisers, Asian Women Artists, White Women Daters, AND Latina Lesbians: Cultural Constructions OF Race AND Gender Within Intersectionality-Based Facebook Groups




Race and gender are common means for identification, offline and online. In this study, I look at how race and gender are constructed on Facebook, the dominant online social network site in the United States, with 67 percent of online American adults using Facebook (Rainie, Smith, & Duggan, 2013). Facebook is an ideal social network for a study focused on the intersectionality of race and gender. The Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project shows that Facebook is especially appealing to women, with women more likely than men opting to use Facebook. Women are also more likely than men to report increased importance of Facebook and to spend greater time on the site (Duggan & Brenner, 2013).

In addition to attracting women, Facebook is popular with communities of color. While the public may be aware of a “Black Twitter” (Brock, 2012; Koh, 2014; Korn, 2013), a “Black Facebook” and “Latin@ Facebook” also exist, though ← 115 | 116 → they have received less attention. Latin@s account for 14 percent of Facebook’s American users, making them the social network’s largest minority group. That number also exceeds the proportion of Latin@s that are online within the United States, with 14 percent on Facebook in contrast to 13 percent...

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