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Race and Gender Online
libra Posted: Mon Oct 3 22:41:21 2005 Post | Quote in Reply  
  I'm taking a class on Race, Gender and Technology right now (how race and gender shape technology and how technology can shape race and gender at the same time).

one of the things we've looked at recently is race and gender online. How the internet was seen by some as a 'democratic' and 'blind' sort of tool to be just yourself, without having to deal with racial and gender problems/stereotypes, etc.

But one of the things that one of the women's essays said was that despite the fact that the internet is blind, we still find it necessary to tell each other and ask each other about race/gender.

Soo, seeing as i keep on zooming in on GT in my head when i read these articles, essays, and books about the topic, i thought i'd see what you guys thought.

Can we use internet as a tool to rid the world of 'lines of color' or is that useless? do we want to get rid of this diversity in the first place? Do those of you who are not white or male find the internet to be a more inviting arena, or is it bound by the same constraints as society?


 
Asswipe Posted: Tue Oct 4 00:41:58 2005 Post | Quote in Reply  
  oh, oh god. i just threw up a bit in my mouth.

Sure, let's bundle the outline of a whole semester long course into one thread and see where it ends up.

Good luck with this one.

My negative response comes because I just recently took a class titled "race and gender in science fiction" where we examined sci-fi movies along the same lines that your class is examining the internet. While my class focused more on the creation of art and what each character/plot represents for the society, yours seems more involved with the individuals. So they're a bit different but surely the discussion probably spews forth the same circular topics.

It is interesting though.

I used to play a game called Everquest which was an online RPG, where I played with thousands of other people in this fantasy world. Basically, you make your own character, choosing a race and gender, and you parade around and kill dragons and shit with other people. In the game, people all of the time pretended to be female, or vice versa, and they were treated drastically different when they did so. Mostly people just flirted a lot, similar to various people's words towards yourself and other GT fems, but power oppurtunities presented themselves as well and this came into play. Here not only did the roleplayer have a textual voice, but also a pixalated sexy elf to speak it with, fully equipped with all the curves.



On friends and people I get along with online. Originally I was swayed a bit when I thought someone was female, in how i acted towards them online, but I got over it. I find that the people i get along best with online are also the people I get along with best in real life--those around my age in the same sort of situation. This situational bit transcends race and gender lines--whether i know them or not. SO. I've been online friends with crazy blacks from canada, loudmouthed texans, quiet sarcastic white boys from suburbia. These people have all shared similar histories as my own. I guess they're mostly middle class highschool/college kids--the majority of online gamers. And i've listened to stories from 45 year old ex-strip club owners, with the same eagerness and suprise as I'd listen in real life.

While I have come into contact with a variety of different people, I generally only click w/ those around my age group and having gone through similar experiences as my own. So, NO. The internet does not do a thing for ironing out diversity and gender/racial labels. But i don't think these things are necessarily bad.

I'll have another ten pages for you tomorrow to make you sad to have started this thread. as will perhaps everyone.


 
Dancer Posted: Tue Oct 4 02:08:45 2005 Post | Quote in Reply  
  i think it doesn't matter so much in race and gender as it matters in culture, talking about interacting online. I have a couple of customers whom i liase with online and they all hailed from different countries from the US to China. Even as a chinese myself, i have had difficulties communicating with another chinese from china, but i have no problem communicating with a nepalese or a maldivian who are non-chinese. I think the internet is useful in blocking out the race element but in the end i think it is the culture that will shape an identity online.

talking about gender, technology has affected women alot. In Iran, many oppressed women are taking to the internet to voice out their thoughts and their angst, perhaps that's their only channel, and the only way people can hear their voice. In a way, it also encourage other similar women to become stronger.

as to whether we want to get rid of this diversity, for me it doesn't matter, in the end we are all slaves to technology so let's sit back and watch how technology shapes us in time :)

until recently i thought so that the internet is a free place and with an online identity, one is free to do and voice out whatever one likes.. but sad, it's not the case here in singapore. last month, 2 bloggers here got charged because they have posted elements of racism in their blogs. so in a way, it is still bound by some constraints, here's one example.


 
Posted: Tue Oct 4 02:47:49 2005 Post | Quote in Reply  
  I used to go by handles all the time. When I played video games, I was pretty often the female character (mostly just because Rogues and Amazons were the best in Diablo/DII). Even in FFXI I played the sexy cat chick.

CriminalSaint has been a long lasting screen name of mine, and I rather like it. It's from a Matthew Good song, and it's quite nice.

lately, though, I've just been going by my real name on the internet. Phil Renaud. I bought http://philrenaud.com and retired my old domain names that just had names I thought were "cool".

The point being, I have one identity, and I don't much need a pseudonym to carry out others. I want to be held responsible for my actions, and that includes my thoughts and personal opinions, even online.


 
beetlebum Posted: Tue Oct 4 08:54:01 2005 Post | Quote in Reply  
  CriminalSaint said:

>The point being, I have one identity, and I don't much need a pseudonym to carry out others. I want to be held responsible for my actions, and that includes my thoughts and personal opinions, even online.

I respect that. I wish more people were that way.

Frankly, I find it hilarious that anyone would insinuate that the internet's quality of allowing people to be whoever they want to be is a quality that is actually propagating/allowing for any sort of truth. I have no idea how many users switch their names on GT, mess around with their identity, have lied about their age or gender or friends or life or whatever... but my guess is, it has happened quite a bit.

Not only is the internet blind, it's deaf and dumb, as well. People are who they want to be online... and they present what they want to present. To be sure, I'm sure there are some people on GT who have been honest (in fact, I know there are), but I think that GT is the exception to the rule anyway.

Finally, even if I were to concede that the internet did allow a person "to be him/herself" and that the internet was the one medium where he/she didn't have to deal with racism/homophobia/whatever, I'm still confronted with the ideas that: (1) a person, by not mentioning their colour or gender or sexual orientation is purposefully hiding a part of who he/she is, which means that he/she is still coping with the effects of said prejudice and, in fact, is somewhat ashamed/embarrassed which is, quite frankly, worse
or (2) they have created a fantasty world of friendships based on lack of information that would never translate to in-person-friendships, an idea I find equally as heinous and pathetic.

I have some "internet friends" (well, hopefully it's okay that I call them that), but I recognize their limitations so far as friendships go. That's not necessarily a bad thing, I don't think... Just a fact of life.




 
addi Posted: Tue Oct 4 09:43:39 2005 Post | Quote in Reply  
  beetlebum said:

>I have no idea how many users switch their names on GT, mess around with their identity, have lied about their age or gender or friends or life or whatever... but my guess is, it has happened quite a bit.

Well put, Beetlebum. If I wasn't so busy at work I'd flatter you even more.

...and I suppose this is an appropriate time to set the record straight and let ya'll know my real name is Lucia. I'm a 65 year old female living in Bolivia. I think George Bush is an alien, and I've had a secret crush on hif for 3 years.



 
FN Posted: Tue Oct 4 10:27:44 2005 Post | Quote in Reply  
  I'm actually addi, koff and niki.


 
FN Posted: Tue Oct 4 10:31:50 2005 Post | Quote in Reply  
  As far as race issues go, I'm not too keen on the whole multicultural thing. No rainbow nation for me, I'll just take vanilla.

I don't see why you would/should get rid of these "lines of colour", as you put it.

The 2 basic things you identify yourself with as a person is your gender and your race, why would you want to lose that.


 
beetlebum Posted: Tue Oct 4 10:39:26 2005 Post | Quote in Reply  
  Christophe said:
>I'm actually addi, koff and niki.

I'm your mom.


 
FN Posted: Tue Oct 4 10:43:13 2005 Post | Quote in Reply  
  beetlebum said:
>Christophe said:
>>I'm actually addi, koff and niki.
>
>I'm your mom.

I'm you.


 
libra Posted: Tue Oct 4 11:57:49 2005 Post | Quote in Reply  
  Christophe said:
>As far as race issues go, I'm not too keen on the whole multicultural thing. No rainbow nation for me, I'll just take vanilla.
>
>I don't see why you would/should get rid of these "lines of colour", as you put it.
>

I agree with you there, one of the girls in the class mentioned something similar when talking about 'blurring boundaries' of race and gender. She said that she likes that we are all different. She likes being a girl and she loves getting dressed up and putting on make up in the morning and she doesn't care if other people see this as some sort of anti-feminist action.

>The 2 basic things you identify yourself with as a person is your gender and your race, why would you want to lose that.

The idea is, in the end, to be able to identify yourself as a certain gender or race while not receiving any sort of different treatment because of it.


 
ifihadahif Posted: Tue Oct 4 11:59:20 2005 Post | Quote in Reply  
  I am King Thong !


 
libra Posted: Tue Oct 4 12:05:56 2005 Post | Quote in Reply  
  As far as my own opinions/experiences go...

I think that the internet, like every other product, is a product of our culture. Yah, it can mess up with boundaries a bit (a guy pretending to be a girl in a chatroom could flirt with another guy who has no idea of his true identity) and things like that.

But in the end i think that gender at least, if not race specifically but perhaps location in the world, is really important to people in a lot of situations. Here on GT, if a person's avatar/screen name doesn't give them away, I look for clues in the way they talk to guess at their gender. It's not something I do because i think i could have a relationship or something...its just second nature.

I realize that I might have become more enmeshed into the gt crowd by the fact that i'm a girl and i let that show a lot.

One of the things we read in class was by Donna Haraway, who uses the metaphor of the cyborg (machine and biological organism, like the terminator) to show that minorities (women, people of color) could take technology away from it's male/war oriented status and use it to blur the boundaries of race and gender. To blur the boundaries and take pleasure in it, she says. I thought her ideas were interesting.
But i think that there is no way that we could do this any time in the near future, and I'm not sure if I would want to. Don't I like the fact that I'm a girl most of the time, even if I am treated differently? And aren't most people proud of their heritage, no matter where they are from? Don't we like this diversity, and don't we want to have ourselves be accepted as firm identities rather than needing to skew ourselves in order to create more equality.


 
choke Posted: Tue Oct 4 12:25:37 2005 Post | Quote in Reply  
  libra said:
> Here on GT, if a person's avatar/screen name doesn't give them away, I look for clues in the way they talk to guess at their gender.

Addi thought I was a boy...


 
ifihadahif Posted: Tue Oct 4 12:27:18 2005 Post | Quote in Reply  
  I think we should celebrate our differences with great vigor.

Everybody regardless of race or gender, with the exception of a few left wingers, has something of substance to offer the rest of us.

I see our differences as a positive thing, something that makes us all stronger.


 
Mesh Posted: Tue Oct 4 12:35:04 2005 Post | Quote in Reply  
  addi said:
>
>...and I suppose this is an appropriate time to set the record straight and let ya'll know my real name is Lucia. I'm a 65 year old female living in Bolivia. I think George Bush is an alien, and I've had a secret crush on hif for 3 years.
>


My name is really Harriet Miers, and I was recently offered a new job. I hope I get it.


 
Mesh Posted: Tue Oct 4 12:36:42 2005 Post | Quote in Reply  
  ifihadahif said:
>I think we should celebrate our differences with great vigor.
>
>Everybody regardless of race or gender, with the exception of a few left wingers, has something of substance to offer the rest of us.
>
>I see our differences as a positive thing, something that makes us all stronger.


I agree, but I most through in an exception of a few right wingers, as well.


 
Mesh Posted: Tue Oct 4 12:37:28 2005 Post | Quote in Reply  
  throw*, not through.


Sorry.


 
addi Posted: Tue Oct 4 13:29:47 2005 Post | Quote in Reply  
  choke said:

>Addi thought I was a boy...


a nice sweet wholesome boy too...man, was I off

: )


 
Zacq Posted: Tue Oct 4 15:37:40 2005 Post | Quote in Reply  
  libra said:
>I'm taking a class on Race, Gender and Technology right now (how race and gender shape technology

Like how high quality home audio equipment is designed to be disguisable as shelves and drawers so men's wives will let them have ten speakers?

I wouldn't say I'm exactly hiding it, but I really am a penguin.

I can't stand this humidity.


 
libra Posted: Tue Oct 4 20:07:20 2005 Post | Quote in Reply  
  Zacq said:
>libra said:
>>I'm taking a class on Race, Gender and Technology right now (how race and gender shape technology
>
>Like how high quality home audio equipment is designed to be disguisable as shelves and drawers so men's wives will let them have ten speakers?
>

actually, that's a good one. that definitely counts. We've talked about everything from tupperware parties to the internet and MUDs (which i had no idea about until i read this article about them...)


 
Christian Posted: Wed Oct 5 14:31:59 2005 Post | Quote in Reply  
  wwwwaaaahhhhhh Christophe (sniff sniff)...I'm Nikki, too!!! and I'm White
:-)


 



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