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New Research on Race and Social Media Discussion

Discussions surrounding race and racism are prevalent in an online community in which users can hide their own race, gender and any other identifying information. Russell Spiker, a doctoral student in the University of Cincinnati's Department of Sociology, will presented his research at the 108th annual meeting of the American Sociological Association in New York, N.Y

Spiker's presentation, "From My Living Room to Yours: A Grounded Theory of Typology of Racial Discussions on YouTube.com," examined English-language comments posted from YouTube's top 10 most viewed videos of the day, over a 14-day period in February, 2012. Twenty-three videos—generating approximately 200 comments each—were examined for the study.

The analysis found that 34 discussions from nine videos contained racial content. Spiker found that three major themes surrounding the racial discussions emerged: hostility, overt racism and racial stereotyping. Two minor themes—claims of racism and racist slurs—also were observed.

Spiker adds that claims of racism tended to originate discussions, but not characterize them.
Spiker found that themes of hostility occurred in seven videos and 20 discussions. Overt racism was found in five videos and 16 discussions.

Variations on a racial slur occurred in three videos and eight discussions.
Racial stereotyping was found in four videos and 14 discussions, but Spiker says racial stereotypes did not necessarily appeal directly to overt statements of racism.

Spiker says claims of racism, which occurred in eight videos and 22 discussions, were the most common theme, as well as how most of the racial discussions began.

Spiker says hostile responses were frequent in racially-themed discussions, including hostile responses to claims of racism and hostile responses to racism. "In the first, comments involved insults such as 'idiot' and 'moron' alongside evidence to disqualify the perception of racism as preposterous," says Spiker.
"In the second, responses to racist remarks involved insulting the intelligence and moral worth of the perceived racist poster, but did not provide counterexamples."

Spiker also discovered that hostility to racism and denial of racism—seemingly contradictory trends—were nearly universal in racial discussions.

Posted by Omkarr singh on Monday, August 12, 2013. Filed under . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0

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