The Rhetorics of Color-Blind Racism in Racefail 09
During the first six months of 2009, a number of intense, wide-reaching discussions about issues of cultural appropriation and racism in science fiction/fantasy took place on LiveJournal and on a number of science fiction blogs. This discussion differed from previous ones that occurred in media fandom because a number of professional writers and editors participated rather than the discussion remaining primarily within the fandom communities. Over 1000 posts concerned with the topic were compiled by Rydra Wong at:
My presentation will be a pilot for a larger project. I will be drawing on a methodology described by Eduardo Bonilla-Silva in Racism Without Racists: Color-Blind Racism and the Persistence of Racial Inequality in the United States (2006). He blends sociological and linguistic methodologies to identify rhetorical structures that he argues reveal an ideology he calls color-blind racism, as opposed to Jim Crow racism. Color-blind racism has developed since the late 1960s in order to explain "contemporary racial inequality as the outcome of nonracial dynamics. Whereas Jim Crow racism explained blacks' social standing as the result of their biological and moral inferiority, color-blind racism avoids such facile arguments. Instead, whites rationalize minorities' contemporary status as the product of market dynamics, naturally occurring phenomenon, and blacks' imputed cultural limitations" (2). This ideology accompanies "'New Racism' practices that are subtle, institutional, and apparently nonracial" (3).
Bonilla-Silva's work is not specific to fandom, but I believe his methods can be applied to rhetorical patterns found in postings by fans, writers, and editors.
I will capture and download text from selected LiveJournals and blogs, including discussion threads. Using a linguistics program, UAM Corpus Tool, I will work through large amounts of text and "mark" examples of the diction choices and rhetorical structures that Bonilla-Silva identifies (such as racial epithets, phrases such as "I'm not prejudiced, but" and "Some of my best friends are."). The results will be expressed in quantitative results, identifying key patterns in the data.
Handout for Conference Presentation robin-anne-reid.dreamwidth.org/33624.
Bear, Elizabeth. http://matociquala.livejournal.com/
Bidisha. Guardian online. Blog Entry. January 25.
Bonilla-Silva, Eduardo. Racism Without Racists: Color-Blind Racism and the Persistence of Racial Inequality in the United States. 2nd ed. New York: Rowman & Littlefield, 2006.
Feminist SF Wiki. http://wiki.feministsf.net/index.php?
Henry, Liz. http://rydra- wong.dreamwidth.org/148996.html?view=
Metafilter's "A tempest" in LiveJournal January 19, 2009
Lake, Jay. http://jaylake.livejournal.com/1692287.
Merrick, Helen. The Secret Feminist Cabal: A Cultural History of Science Fiction Feminisms. Seattle: Aqueduct Press, 2009.
Rydra Wong's Comprehensive List:
Shapiro, Laura. White Privilege Icon.
Yeloson. “Educate me!” http://yeloson.livejournal.com/718724.
THIS DOCUMENT IS A PROPOSAL/ABSTRACT DRAFT ONLY. BECAUSE OF MOST ACADEMIC JOURNAL'S POLICIES REGARDING 'PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED' MATERIAL, FULL DRAFTS OF ESSAYS WILL NOT BE POSTED HERE. EVENTUALLY, A RACEFAIL CORPUS WIKI OR EQUIVALENT WILL BE CREATED FOR SHARING DATA. EVENTUALLY, IN ACADEMIC TIME MEASUREMENT, MEANS PROBABLY THREE TO FIVE YEARS FROM NOW.
Links Page with all Racefail Scholarship Entries.