Summary: This video, created by sociologist Jessie Daniels, explores how race is depicted on the Internet. It begins by arguing that how we think about the Internet is a utopian vision where "this is no race, there are no genders, there is no age ... there are only minds" (quoting from an MCI commercial). But as Daniels notes, "the reality is different. Rather than a 'raceless' utopia in the US today, hate groups are on the rise." The video illustrates quantitative data showing the rise of hate groups, and questions how this might be related to the Internet? Contrary to popular belief, Daniels argues the issue is not with people using the Internet to "recruit" people into hate groups; instead, the issue is how the Internet shapes knowledge and how people perceive realities of race. Everyday people use the Internet to spread racist messages. They create content themselves and share it with friends, normalizing common stereotypes. For example, the video documents "The Funny Racist" on Twitter with over 366,000 followers. She notes that one of the top searches for Martin Luther King, Jr, is a cloaked site that appears legitimate but was created by Storm Front, one of the largest hate groups online. Daniels argues the danger of this new medium is not its capacity to recruit people into hate organizations but through shaping knowledge, such as people's understanding of slavery or civil rights leaders. She argues we need more than "Internet literacy" but also "racial Internet literacy." Viewers may reflect on why Daniels argues that racism is built into the Internet? How does the Internet create new opportunities for promoting racism, and does this reflect the idealist notions we often associate with the Internet and "free information"?
Submitted By: Paul Dean