Start your review of Cybertypes: Race, Ethnicity, and Identity on the Internet Write a review Shelves: tech-studies-comps In Cybertypes , Lisa Nakamura examines how race gets coded on the Internet and in representations of the Internet. She explains how racism is often ignored online, and that representations are often stereotypes, or cybertypes: e. Additionally, she explains how white people taking on racial avatars can be an example of digital tourism, which reveals privilege, mobility, and capital, a "liberation" through In Cybertypes , Lisa Nakamura examines how race gets coded on the Internet and in representations of the Internet. She proposes that if the Internet is ever to be as utopian as people like to claim, "attention must be paid to discourses with rather than appropriations of the other Nakamura also discusses race as it is portrayed in cyberpunk literature and advertisements for companies like IBM and Microsoft, which cybertype and Orientalize: using images of the exotic and native to reinforce notions of progress. She also explores how options for race in pull-down menus limit choices and the possibility and existence of hybrid or mestiza consciousness.
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A conversation aimed at understanding the current theories and topics present in digital technology and culture. To begin, chapter one titled, "Cybertyping and The Work of Race in The Age of Digital Reproduction" discusses the role of race in the digital workforce.
As a precursor to chapter two, which deals with the different "head hunting" approaches to recruit a specific racially stereotyped Asian worker, chapter one aims to first explain and understand race in the online world. This notion can be seen in the digital identity tourism that Nakamura discusses in chapter one. The notion of "going native" or viewing the native as a means through "identity tourism" presents several problems of racial representation online.
In turn, Nakamura goes on to argue that in the Internet, nothing is authentic because it is a copy of the offline world. However, in the online world race is something that can be concealed, or an identity that can be created or utilized which deviates from "real life" representation. The notion of access is a concept we were introduced to first by T. Reed and I was happy to see Nakamura touch on it as well in chapter one. With this notion of access, the idea of representation from racial minorities is to be expected much less then an Anglo European of white user.
Nakamura also notes that studies are now indicating the number of racial minorities online has gone up, however she notes that when the number was so low to begin with, any increase at all would signify an overall increase. Essentially, what happens is a more intensified "othering" of racial minorities and stereotypes, often depicting their online identities to fit into these stereotypes rather then transcend them I noticed in the book Nakamura focused heavily on Asian avatars and stereotypes and was curious as to whether or not had she been perhaps African American or Hispanic if this emphasis would have shifted towards another minority.
The rest of the chapter focuses on a Westernized "American" globalization to an online participation, where Nakamura notes that "rather than destroying authenticity, cybertyping wants to preserve it" Chapter two titled, "Head Hunting on The Internet: Identity Tourism, Avatars, and Racial Passing in Textual and Graphic Chat Spaces" discusses identity on the Internet and how the identities constructed actually play into racial stereotypes rather than aim to defeat them.
This identity construct goes beyond the notion of merely choosing a sex and race, and begins to construct such an identity based on the racial out-dated stereotypes commonly associated with that group. Who are affiliating with these avatars? Nakamura notes that the majority of people operating under the female Asian identity are middle aged white men! The psychoanalytical reasons for such choices could be their own book, however, the main focus is that Nakamura argues that this is part of the problem rather than the solution, and that constructing an identity based on their racial stereotypes sets up a preconceived notion of what Asian presence "should be" in an online space.
As Nakamura notes, "Analyzing the ways that icons and avatars are raced in cyberspace allows us to lay bare the principles of ethnic image-building on the Net" Looking at the ways in which racial identities are stereotyped online can teach us a lot about the beliefs and perceptions people hold about race offline.
I thought the movie paired nicely with this whole notion of racial identity online specifically in the antagonistic view of the machines being the villain and race being the "resistance" to conforming to a monolithic society.
What I found particularly interesting was how the main character and "the one" was in fact a Asian American. This notion that as Nakamura puts it supports that "race must continue to exist, especially in the terrain of cyberspace, where so many foundational notions of identity as anchored in a body have become contingent, problematic, and difficult" Though this idea to me is a two-edged sword because Neo is in fact still partially white and as a result, is seen as the superior character over his female accomplice, Trinity, and his African American teacher, Morpheus.
Both Morpheus and Trinity are consistently viewed in advertising promotional posters and trailers standing behind Neo, as to suggest that they cannot exist or have purpose without him. Compaq specifically designed a series of posters and advertisements aimed at globalizing the use of technology as a means for people to "tour" other countries, cultures, and practices.
I found this advertisement campaign to be a little disturbing, and felt as though the campaign was essentially arguing that through technology, one could gain complete insight into other cultures. As Nakamura argues, "If technology will indeed make everyone, everything, and every place the same, as "Anthem" claims in its ambivalent way, then where is there left to go? What is there left to see? So whats the agenda behind these advertisements? And what are they trying to achieve in these campaigns to promote exotic and native culture?
As the text asserts, "these ads claim a world without boundaries, for us, the consumers and target audience, and by so doing they show us exactly where and what these boundaries are, and that is ethnic and racial. Rather than being effaced, these dividing lines are evoked repeatedly" This whole concept of race and lines that are drawn is a continually explored throughout the text.
It is an important question to consider. How are we globalizing our digital spaces? How do our representation of other minorities speak to the digital divide and the dividing line? Chapter five titled, "Menu Driven Identities: Making Race Happen Online" discusses racial representations online, and specifically self-chosen representation. The notion of "checking the race box" is discussed at length, noting that at times, options available will force people to identify with just one race, rather than multiple.
Portals are also another Web-based screening which directs you towards specific keywords or searches based on your initial prompt. Nakamura notes that "the structure of this menu works to close off the possibility of alternate or hybrid definitions of racial identity" The notion of racial masquerading online is reintroduced and emphasizes how this notion future stereotypes the stigmas or perceptions commonly associated with a specific type of minority does anyone else feel Nakamura has a tendency to be overly redundant?
This is an incorporation that I could identify with, as we see many examples of such "lists" available through social media and email chains today. However, what I thought was important to note was the fact that many of the recipients of this email were not Japanese Americans but rather a person who knew someone and could relate, therefore establishing a sense of community in sort of a racist backwards way. As Nakamura notes, "When they receive this list they are being interpolated into a racial identity search engine of sorts that accommodates--indeed, welcomes--their hybridity" Lastly, Nakamura ends the chapter by stating, what I feel is representative towards an overall way to view race online, in that "race is under construction in cyberspace" The Internets role in academia opens up many new arenas of study.
However, as Nakamura notes, "What is missing, however, in the scholarship is attention to race as an important component of online identity and community" Learning that many "new" professors are faced only with the possibility of teaching within their racial identity is troubling to me. Posted by.
Cybertypes: Race, Ethnicity, and Identity on the Internet
She names the images of racial identity online that shape these perceptions cybertypes. These cybertypes are often determined and defined by the racial and ethnic stereotypes that are already at work and at play in the "real world. Chapter one, "Cybertyping and the Work of Race in the Age of Digital Reproduction," looks at how race gets coded for different kinds of work in the IT industry. Nakamura makes the argument that while foreign minorities, such as Asians, get glorified as "model minorities," domestic minorities, like African Americans, are troped as digital outsiders. In this chapter Nakamura breaks down the idea and history of stereotypes in order to define the power and politics that drive cybertypes rhetorically online and in the offline spaces that surround technology.