[Air-L] #ThingsBlackPeopleDo is number one twitter trending

Jessie Daniels jessiedanielsnyc at gmail.com
Sat May 22 04:50:26 PDT 2010

Liz is right - there have been several of these racial #hashtags on

I have a few thoughts about this.  First, Twitter is more popular with
African Americans than with whites (
http://www.businessinsider.com/twitter-study-results-2010-4 although this
study has been criticized for small sample size).  So, there's
(proportionally) more black folks hanging out there.  The kind of trending
topic that you mentioned is, as I see it, part of the "backstage" (using
Goffman's concept) race-talk that black folks have always engaged in among
family-and-friends encounters which serves to build community and Identity
within a racially hostile social context. Only now, the technology allows
that "backstage" conversation to move into the "frontstage."

Secondly, white people notice the hashtags about race and for many whites
(not all, certainly) this is the first time they "notice" race which is
usually an unmarked category for whites (as Frankenberg, and then lots of
other people, noted).    So, for example, there's this piece by Paul Carr at
TechCrunch recently, noting the hashtags about race (
http://techcrunch.com/2010/05/02/a-limey-writes/) and citing their
appearance as part of his evidence that there's "self-segregation online."
While I don't doubt that there is self-segregation online, I don't think the
hashtags are necessarily the best evidence of this.  To my mind, Carr's
observation about the hashtags is sort of like the question "why are all the
black kids sitting together in the cafeteria?" question (see Beverly Tatum's
book on this).  Short answer: because they're friends, hanging out together
and it only seems like "self-segregation" if you're white.

I'm sure danah boyd and other folks on the list have different thoughts on
these hashtags.

~ Jessie

* * *
My latest book: Cyber Racism

On Sat, May 22, 2010 at 12:05 AM, live <human.factor.one at gmail.com> wrote:

> It's an interesting tag, this #ThingsBlackPeopleDo
> Mostly invoked by (if pictures are indicators) primary by black
> individuals.
> Some evocative, some ironic racism, some culturally self-referential.
> Any thoughts on this current organic real-time global conversation? Part of
> some of whole, yet individualistic.
> Where's Barry, would love to hear his thoughts on this.
> Example tweets:
> netty2189: #thingsblackpeopledo call each other nigga and think its cute
> less than 20 seconds ago from TweetCaster · Reply · View Tweet
> Upt0wntruths: #ThingsBlackPeopleDo own maddddd jewlery ...regardless if you
> live in the projects
> less than 20 seconds ago from Echofon · Reply · View Tweet
> JessicaLXY: RT @Sugarscamp #thingsblackpeopledo Go "mmmm-hmmmm" with pursed
> lips and eye roll << mmmmmm-hmmmmm!!! lmao.
> LilRalphLauren: #thingsblackpeopledo Become the president of the united
> states of america!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
> Twin2388: #ThingsBlackPeopleDo learn how to become track stars when they
> hear a gun shot
> 6 minutes ago from Twitterrific · Reply · View Tweet
> Kenni329: #thingsblackpeopledo Start immature dumb trending topics like
> this that make them look like ignorant fools! C'mon, can we get it
> together?!
> Cheers,
> @SharonG
> _______________________________________________
> The Air-L at listserv.aoir.org mailing list
> is provided by the Association of Internet Researchers http://aoir.org
> Subscribe, change options or unsubscribe at:
> http://listserv.aoir.org/listinfo.cgi/air-l-aoir.org
> Join the Association of Internet Researchers:
> http://www.aoir.org/

More information about the Air-L mailing list