Race, Civil Rights, and Hate Speech in the Digital Era

Jan 01, 2008 | by
  • Description

Part of the Volume on Learning Race and Ethnicity: Youth and Digital Media. Young people today often have their understanding of race and civil rights shaped by what they find online. This chapter explores two forms of hate speech online: overt and cloaked. Overtly white supremacist sites serve to showcase racist propaganda for those outside the organization, including youth; and for those within, use the "private web" of encrypted messages for communication, command and control. Cloaked sites, such as www.martinlutherking.org, appear to be in favor of civil rights but disguise a hidden white supremacist agenda. These sites use a combination of carefully chosen domain names, deceptive graphic user interfaces (GUI), and subtly racist rhetoric that pose a pernicious epistemological threat to racial equality. Both overt and cloaked sites are a threat to civil rights in the digital era. To combat these, the chapter ends with a call for multiple literacies in digital media and critical thinking about race.