Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Stereotyping easier online?

The "Reading Race Online" made an interesting point about racial stereotyping online. Although it would seem that there should be little racial stereotyping when we can't see the people we're interacting with, Burkhalter suggests that there may actually be more racial stereotyping for that same reason! It's easy to assume that another person online must be of the race stereotypically associated with their views or behavior. Even if they claim otherwise there's no need to take their word for it, since people can lie about such things over the Internet.

This is an interesting idea, but I'm not sure if things often happen that way online. I suspect that white Internet users tend to just assume that everyone else online is white too, unless they explicitly say otherwise. I don't think I've ever seen anyone's claims about their own race challenged in an online community.

Maybe I'm wrong, though. I do know that in online communities people sometimes make incorrect assumptions about what sex other users are, and this does tend to be associated with gender stereotypes. Someone who seems coolly logical must be a man, someone who seems overly emotional must be a woman, etc.

1 comment:

  1. I think that more or less the problem arises in designated chat rooms/usernets that are created around racial issues/preferences. In most situations that I've come across, race isn't an issue to the sender and receiver of a message. However, the content covered in some of the postings refered to the article were discussing strict postings about racial issues that were blatently laid out. I don't know that I agree that there's always a problem with race online between two people of different races, or if people just assume that everyone they talk to are white. In the situations that I've come across, people weren't concerned about the race of the sender or receiver of a conversation online. It would only become an issue if made an issue between the sender and receiver.