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Defending race privilege on the Internet: how whiteness uses innocence discourse online
journal contributionposted on 18.01.2021, 03:47 by Anastasia Kanjere
© 2018, © 2018 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This article considers the comments sections of three controversial articles by commentators of colour in order to analyse the discursive strategies through which whiteness is defended and reproduced online. While the ‘racelessness’ of the Internet has, in some quarters, been upheld and celebrated, more recent Internet scholarship recognises the importance of the impact of race in delimiting and constituting online spaces. A discourse analysis, informed by Critical Race and Whiteness Studies, finds that, just as ‘offline,’ whiteness mobilises discursive strategies to protect its interests online. Specifically, discourses of vulnerability, simplicity, ‘colour-blindness’ and neutrality affirm whiteness in its central and privileged racial position. This article argues that these strategies are arranged around a central organising principle of white innocence.