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Lisa Nakamura, Cybertypes: Race, Ethnicity, and Identity on the Internet. ISBN 0-415-93836-8 (alternate, search), paperback ISBN 0-415-93837-6 (alternate, search) (2002)

Nakamura explores the myth of the raceless Internet and then destroys it. She supplants our view of the Internet as one grounded in the realities of meatspace, in an essentially imbalanced, racialist, and racist world. In the book, Nakamura describes how the Internet not only allows for systematized racism (with hints of CodeAndOtherLawsOfCyberspace), but allows something she calls IdentityTourism?.

This is one of the first books on racism in new media and is decidely PostWELL. For me, that makes it a perfect book as it combines my two favourite subjects--racism and the Internet--and looks at it in a way that I don't balk at its simplist idealism. On the other hand, you can sense the bitterness from Nakamura that clouds her ability to maintain objectivity and honesty. Her obsession with Asian stereotypes belies, I suspect, her own sensitivities or perhaps merely her own experiences. Her forays into American Black culture are definitely tinged with her own IdentityTourism?. -- SunirShah

A brief synopsis of her notion of Identity Tourism (aka PersonaTourism) is presented at [1].

See also this much longer [review] by Kali Tal.


I got as far in that review as her analysis of the character Cypher [in Wiki:TheMatrix]: "the only white man on the crew betrays the humans precisely because he wants to jump the ship of multiculturalism and reclaim his possessive investment of whiteness" before jumping ship myself. This author appears to have an extremely heavy chip on her shoulder. Don't get me wrong, I agree that there's a lot of Wiki:AmericanCulturalAssumption and so on going on on the wider net. But I find it hard to take anyone seriously who makes statements as ridiculous as that. -- EarleMartin

The book actually has a lot more bitter moments as a female Japanese American. It's like tragic humour when reading an academic treatise. Still, it does present an important perspective, and the book is right on several accounts if extreme in others. -- SunirShah


See also: UnbearableWhitenessOfBeing
CategoryBook CategoryIdentity DossierLivre

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