Date: Thu, 9 Sep 2004 13:33:27 -0700 (PDT)
From: Art McGee
Subject: Am I Black?
> i want you to convince me that you're black.
Hey, this wasn't directed at me, but it's still a good
question. How do I signify that I'm Black in a virtual
medium with no visual cues, when Blackness has become
so commodified that many non-Black people could pass?
Talk amongst yourselves...
we were talking about this in my CMC class the other day - how do online communities determine membership without the verification of face-to-face contact? i brought up the Afrofuturism listserve (even though i'm a lurker more than a poster) because people are often called out to verify their "ghetto pass".
- one of the ways i thought of was to be culturally literate - although the AF list tends to privilege radical black media over other, more popular stuff.
- one of the ways that doesn't always work is the online version of the dozens. the insults and rejoinders are often witty,
but some posters who are always online tend to "loudtalk" or post many times in order to shut dissenters down.
- my personal favorite method of Blackness authentication is anecdotal stories of resistance, since the personal affront of racism recounted tends to make people vulnerable and perhaps more credible.
i don't think many non-blacks can pass both cultural literacy tests and the dozens, though.
in any case, why does it make a difference whether or not you're black online? one of my (non-black) classmates asked me this, and so i'll put it to the blog before i post my own answer.