Review by Choice Review
In this collection of papers, Nakamura (speech communication and Asian American studies, Univ. of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign) presents a compelling analysis of race identity in the popular culture of the Internet. Placing her work in a historical context, the author asserts that the text-driven interfaces that dominated only a decade ago are giving way to a more commercial, visually oriented Web in which people of color and women are assertively negotiating identity and shaping community by visual means. Though some scholars predicted that textual online mediation would establish racial neutrality, thus fostering racial tolerance, Nakamura provides many detailed examples of the creation of nonwhite racial and nonmainstream gender identity through visual means, such as avatars, online music videos, buddy icons, and films. Her argument, that the racial neutrality hoped for on the Internet is in reality being persistently defied in practice, supports her claim that race does matter in establishing identity, creating community, and engaging in public discourse. Digitizing Race is germane to collections focusing on cultural and visual studies, politics, and communication. An extensive bibliography and index accompany the text. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through researchers/faculty. S. M. Frey Indiana State University
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.