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Twitter is known for the abundance of racialized messages posted on its platform. Eruptions of racist abuse occur within a contested array of Twitter discourses, e.g. racial banter, ambivalent humour, hate comments and (anti-)racist sentiments. Surprisingly, only limited studies of everyday ‘race-talk’ on Twitter have been undertaken, and little is known about its ambient stream of racialized expression.
This project explores how racialised messages unfold in Twitter by focusing on the hashtag #notracist. Twitter users can include this (and other related) hashtags in messages to label seemingly ‘racist’ statements (and images/videos) as 'not racist'. The practice of hashtagging as a strategy of denying racist expression or propagating the ambiguities of race talk enables an understanding of the contested racialized digital ecology of Twitter.
The project is funded by British Academy/Leverhulme Small Research Grant (Apr 2013 - May 2014).