All Title Author
Keywords Abstract

Racial Exclusion in the Online World

DOI: 10.3390/fi5020251

Keywords: racism, whiteness, exclusion, Internet, American Girl, online message boards

Full-Text   Cite this paper   Add to My Lib


As the internet has become an integral part of everyday life, it is understood that patterns of racial stereotyping and discrimination found in the offline world are often reproduced online. In our paper, we examine two exclusionary practices in an online environment for adult toy collectors: First, the exclusion of non-white individuals who are expected to form immediate friendships with other non-white members; and second, the essentializing of racial issues when concerns over the lack of racial diversity in the toys are discussed. This dismissal is often directly connected to non-white members’ decisions to no longer participate, resulting in a new form of segregation within virtual space.


[1]  Sandvoss, C. Fans: The Mirror of Consumption; Polity Press: Cambridge, UK, 2005.
[2]  Kozinets, R.V. The field behind the screen: Using netnography for marketing research in online communities. J. Mark. Res. 2002, 39, 61–72, doi:10.1509/jmkr.
[3]  Omi, M.; Winant, H. Racial Formation in the United States: From the 1960s to the 1990s, 2nd ed. ed.; Routledge: New York, NY, USA, 1994.
[4]  Daniels, J. Race and racism in Internet studies: A Review and critique. New Media Soc. 2012, doi:10.1177/1461444812462849. Available online: 12/06/1461444812462849 (accessed on 22 January 2013).
[5]  Feagin, J.R.; Elias, S. Rethinking racial formation theory: A Systemic-racism critique. Ethn. Rac. Stud. 2012, doi:10.1080/01419870.2012.669839. Available online: doi/full/10.1080/01419870.2012.669839 (accessed on 22 January 2013).
[6]  Bonilla-Silva, E. Racism without Racists: Color Blind Racism and the Persistence of Racial Inequality in the United States, 3rd ed. ed.; Rowman and Littlefield: Lanham, MD, USA, 2012.
[7]  Feagin, J.R. Racist America: Roots, Current Realities, and Future Reparation; Routledge: New York, NY, USA, 2000.
[8]  Frankenberg, R. White Women, Race Matters: The Social Construction of Whiteness; University of Minnesota Press: Minneapolis, MN, USA, 1993.
[9]  Lenhart, A.; Rainie, L.; Fox, S.; Horrigan, J.; Spooner, T. Who’s not Online; Pew Internet and American Life Project: Washington, DC, USA, 2000. Available online: ~/media//Files/Reports/2000/Pew_Those_Not_Online_Report.pdf.pdf (accessed on 22 January 2013).
[10]  Zickuhr, K.; Smith, A. Digital Differences; Pew Internet and American Life Project: Washington, DC, USA, 2012. Available online: PIP_Digital_differences_041312.pdf (accessed on 22 January 2013).
[11]  Gunkel, D.J. Second thoughts: Toward a critique of the digital divide. New Media Soc. 2003, 5, 499–522, doi:10.1177/146144480354003.
[12]  Everett, A. On cyberfeminism and cyberwomanism: High-techmediations of feminism’s discontents. Signs 2002, 30, 1278–1285, doi:10.1086/422235.
[13]  Jenkins, H. Cyberspace and Race. Available online: (accessed on 28 February 2013).
[14]  Hall, S. Representations: Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices; SAGE: London, UK, 1997.
[15]  Grasmuck, S.; Marting, J.; Zhao, S. Ethno-racial identity displays on Facebook. J. Comput. Mediat. Commun. 2009, 15, 158–188, doi:10.1111/j.1083-6101.2009.01498.x.
[16]  Tynes, B.M.; Markoe, S.L. The role ofcolor-blind racial attitudes in reactions to racial discrimination onsocial network sites. J. Divers. High. Educ. 2010, 3, 1–13.
[17]  Nakata, M.; Nakata, V.; Gardiner, G.; McKeough, J.; Byrne, A.; Gibson, J. Indigenous digital collections: An early look at the organisation and culture interface. Aust. Acad. Res. Libr. 2008, 39, 223–236.
[18]  Myers, K. Racetalk: Racism Hiding in Plain Sight; Rowman and Littlefield: New York, NY, USA, 2005.
[19]  Bimber, B. Measuring the gender gap on the internet. Soc. Sci. Quart. 2000, 81, 868–876.
[20]  Ono, H.; Zavodny, M. Gender and the internet. Soc. Sci. Quart. 2009, 84, 111–121.
[21]  Tuomi, I. Networks of Innovation: Change and Meaning in the Age of the Internet; Oxford University Press: Oxford, UK, 2002.
[22]  Irving, C.J. Community in cyberspace: Gender, social movement learning, and the internet. Adult Educ. Quart. 2011, 61, 262–278.
[23]  Shifman, L.; Lemish, D. Between feminism and fun(ny)mism: Analyzing gender in popular internet humor. Inf. Commun. Soc. 2010, 12, 870–891, doi:10.1080/13691180903490560.
[24]  Pedersen, S.; Smithson, J. Mother with attitude—How the Mumsnet parenting forum offers space for new forms of Femininity to emerge online. Women’s Stud. Int. For. 2013, 38, 97–106.
[25]  Savicki, V.; Lingenfelter, D.; Kelley, M. Gender language style and group composition in internet discussion groups. J. Comp.-Mediat. Commun. 1996, 2. Available online:–6101.1996.tb00191.x/abstract (accessed on 21 April 2013).
[26]  Hemphill, L.; Otterbacher, J. Learning the Lingo? Gender, Prestige and Linguistic Adaptation in Review Communities. In Proceedings of the ACM 2012 Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work, Seattle, WA, USA, 11–15 February 2012.
[27]  Danet, B. Text as Mask: Gender, Play, and Performance on the Internet. In Cybersociety 2.0: Revisiting Computer-Mediated Community and Technology; Jones, S., Ed.; SAGE: London, UK, 1998.
[28]  Aries, E. Men and Women in Interaction: Reconsidering the Differences; Oxford University Press: Oxford, UK, 1996.
[29]  Diamond, N.; Sherry, J.F.; Muniz, A.M.; McGrath, M.A.; Kozinets, R.V.; Borghini, S. American Girl and the brand gestalt: Closing the loop on sociocultural branding research. J. Mark. 2009, 73, 118–132.
[30]  Acosta-Alzuru, C.; Lester Roushanzamir, E. Everything we do is a celebration of you! Pleasant Company constructs American girlhood. Commun. Rev. 2003, 6, 45–69, doi:10.1080/10714420309433.
[31]  Acosta-Alzuru, C.; Kreshel, P.J. I’m an American girl...whatever that means: Girls consuming Pleasant Company’s American Girl identity. J. Commun. 2002, 52, 139–161.
[32]  Medina, V.E. And that’s What I Think Being an American Girl is all about! Girls’ Reflections on American Girl and Contemporary American Girlhood. Ph.D. Thesis, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO, USA, 2012.
[33]  Marshall, E. Consuming girlhood: Young women, femininities, and American Girl. Girlhood Stud. 2009, 2, 94–111, doi:10.3167/ghs.2009.020107.
[34]  Stalp, M.C.; Williams, R.; Lynch, A.; Radina, M.E. Conspicuously consuming: The Red Hat society and midlife women’s identity. J. Contemp. Ethnogr. 2009, 38, 225–253.
[35]  Rafaeli, S.; Ravid, G.; Soroka, V. De-Lurking in Virtual Communities: A Social Communication Network Approach to Measuring the Effects of Social and Cultural Capital. In Proceedings of the Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, Big Island, HI, USA, 5–8 January 2004; Available online: (accessed on 22 January 2013).
[36]  Hines, C. Virtual Ethnography: Modes, Varieties, Affordances. In The SAGE Handbook of Online Research Methods; Fielding, N., Lee, R.M., Blank, G., Eds.; SAGE: London, UK, 2008.
[37]  Acosta-Alzuru, M.C. The American Girl Dolls: Constructing American Girlhood through Representation, Identity, and Consumption. Ph.D. Thesis, University of Georgia, Athens, GA, USA, 1999.
[38]  Nakamura, L. Cybertypes: Race and Ethnicity on the Internet; Routledge: New York, NY, USA, 2002.
[39]  Nakamura, L. Digitizing Race: Visual Cultures of the Internet; University of Minnesota Press: Minneapolis, MN, USA, 2007.
[40]  Bobo, L.; Sidanius, J.; Sears, D.O. Racialized Politics: The Debate about Racism in America; University of Chicago Press: Chicago, IL, USA, 2000.
[41]  Miller, K.D.; Fabian, F.; Lin, S. Strategies for online communities. Strat. Manag. J. 2008, 30, 305–322, doi:10.1002/smj.735.
[42]  Villalpando, O. Self-segregation or self-preservation? A critical race theory and Latina/o critical theory analysis of a study of Chicana/o college students. Int. J. Qualit. Stud. Educ. 2003, 16, 619–646, doi:10.1080/0951839032000142922.
[43]  Nakamura, L.; Chow-White, P.A. Race after the Internet; Routledge: New York, NY, USA, 2011.


comments powered by Disqus