This week’s readings all revolved around the pertinent issue of race and how the concept has developed through online platforms in modern society. Race and racism has always been a touchy subject, but I feel like the Internet has definitely transformed the way both these subjects are presented in society. One particular way is through the integration of race and humor on social media and online activity. I remember stumbling upon this article, Kanye West’s Super Bowl Selfie Face Perfectly Captures How Everyone Feels About White People, that discusses infamous Kanye West’s Super Bowl selfie face in the context of race, overlaying his face on certain situations that are meant to poke fun at white people. One example:
Obviously, these images are meant to provoke laughter. Senft and Noble, in their essay “Race and Social Media, bring up the SWGSBG video, the concept of micro-aggressions, and how examples like that ‘use humour to say something smart and discomforting about race,” which is definitely related to this article’s aim. Yet, I feel like it also defines a sort of racial divide, one that identifies a specific racial community by communities of other races. It speaks on racial stereotypes as well. Senft and Noble also point out examples of racial activity online, like Black Twitter, that show how the Internet is used to perform racial identities, which I feel is what’s happening through this article.
In terms of the idea of reverse racism, which is also discussed by Senft and Noble, this Buzzfeed article definitely acquired some backlash in the comments section. Examples:
I just think that the fact that humor is so often used on the Internet in the context of racial relations is a very important thing to note. Because all of this is happening in the Cyber world through jokes, Vines, etc., has it desensitized people on the real issues of racism in this society? How can this sort of approach to race online affect the discussion around it in the real and physical world?