Cyberspace, Whiteness, and Vegan Rhetoric…

My Master’s thesis about manifestations of whiteness, via a vegan forum, is now available as an e-book for $5.99 (Well, I gotta payback those Dartmouth and Harvard loans somehow!).

Got the Dean’s award for it, so I think it’s a good purchase for those interested in this stuff! http://www.lulu.com/commerce/index.php?fBuyContent=7795020

Abstract:
Cyberspace can be a central site for excavating the
invisibility of covert whiteness (a tacit form of racialized
consciousness), which does not manifest itself at the
surface level in the same overt manner that extreme white
cyber hate “imagined communities” do. Through the
application of Critical Race Theory and Black Feminist
methodology-based discursive analysis, this thesis
investigates performances of whiteness in a vegan/animalrights-
oriented website called Veganporn.com. As a
progressive forum associated with social justice,
Veganporn.com provides a radically different environment in
which to examine white supremacist ideologies; ideologies
typically found in more overtly-racist, “extremist” online
dialogues already examined by critical research.
Discourse analysis of a specific Veganporn.com forum
topic revealed three major themes in the computer-mediated
discussion: (1) discursive patrolling of epistemic borders
to “protect” Standard English and colorblind expressions
(whiteness) of veganism/animal rights from non-Standard
English and non-white racialized expressions; (2) the use of
blackface cyber-minstrelsy to reinforce the “superiority” of
Standard English (whiteness) over the “inferiority” of
speakers of Black English and Ebonics; (3) the premise among
several white-identified Veganporn.com participants that a
vegan- and animal-rights ideology is “colorblind” thus
making invisible the current socio-historical implications
of power structures created around white skin color.
Though this thesis focuses on one discussion within a
forum, the analysis of this event offers insight relevant to
understanding whiteness as a system, an ideology, and a
structure. Specifically, by employing certain theoretical
components of critical race studies (racialized
consciousness, social ontology of whiteness, and racial
mapping), my analysis reveals how the World Wide Web can be
an effective site for cyber-ethnographers focusing on
“decoding” whiteness within progressive social justice
movements.

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