Issue 13.3 - 14.1 | 2016 / Guest edited by Patrick Keilty and Leslie Regan Shade

A Future for Intersectional Black Feminist Technology Studies

The most general statement of our politics at the present time would be that we are actively committed to struggling against racial, sexual, heterosexual, and class oppression and see as our particular task the development of integrated analysis and practice based on the fact that the major systems of oppression are interlocking.
—Combahee River Collective, 1986[1]

When we are able to end hyper-criminalization and sexualization of Black people and end the poverty, control, and surveillance of Black people, every single person in this world has a better shot at getting and staying free. When Black people get free, everybody gets free. This is why we call on Black people and our allies to take up the call that Black lives matter. We’re not saying Black lives are more important than other lives, or that other lives are not criminalized and oppressed in various ways. We remain in active solidarity with all oppressed people who are fighting for their liberation and we know that our destinies are intertwined.
—Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi, 2014[2]

Introduction

Neoliberal narratives of digital technologies and the internet have flourished in information and internet studies and suggest that the web is a panacea of social liberation and empowerment. These ideas have been refuted with much evidence by critical theorists in the field, yet work remains to be done in shifting the complex, global patterns of capital that build the material infrastructures of the information and communications revolution at the expense of Black life diasporically.

Meanwhile, in other academic and political arenas, the struggle to recognize multiple, interlocking systems of oppression has been ongoing for roughly 40 years. Brittney Cooper has already offered a detailed analysis of intersectional theory,[3] tracing the emergence of the term “intersectionality”[4] and its problematics and possibilities. Yet the term remains highly pertinent to the field of information and communication studies, which has not sufficiently responded to nor benefitted from intersectional lenses such as Black queer feminist intervention. Indeed, systems of interlocking oppression have rarely been a framework of analysis in the field of internet studies, overlooked in favor of dominant and frequently technologically deterministic perspectives that ignore interlocking, structural, and globalized sites of oppression.

What is potent about Black feminism is its focus on the liberation of Black women globally, intentionally linking Black women in the West with Black women in the Third World, and making interdependent experiences shaped by race, gender, patriarchy, capitalism, and imperialism a driving imperative for liberation movements to end oppression. This through line—from the pan-Africanist movement of the early twentieth century, to the Combahee River Collective—powerfully resurfaced in the 2014 statement by the three Black and queer women who founded the #BlackLivesMatter movement. It is this lens that I wish to invoke in theorizing whether a liberatory, intersectional internet is even plausible, when contextualized in a Black feminist tradition.

In doing so, I explore the ways that the internet and its infrastructure are central to the myriad oppressive conditions facing Black life in the US and in the African diaspora. The goal of theorizing a liberatory, intersectional internet is to heighten awareness of how the global communications infrastructure is not just a site of communications affordance, nor is it made equally and equitably available to all people. On the contrary, it is implicated in a number of environmental and oppressive conditions for Black life. By making these connections more visible, my hope is to shift discourses away from simple arguments about the liberatory possibilities of the internet toward more critical engagements with how the internet is a site of power and control over Black life—a perspective relevant to scholars working in Black Studies, gender studies, and information studies.

Intersectionality was developed by many feminist, antiracist scholars and activists of color as a framework for deepening an analysis of power and oppression across multiple axes.[5] Intersectionality, however, has been woefully under-engaged as a way of thinking about the political economy of the internet and has, in fact, been separated from its Black feminist roots. To echo the critiques that Black women have levied at feminist movements over time, the pervasive under-commitment to the concerns of Black women as we intersect with, and are intersected by, technologies exemplifies a broader unwillingness among those promulgating mainstream discourses to engage with notions of racism, class, and sexuality in the fields of computer science, digital media studies, information, and technology studies.

We need more interdisciplinary research and theorizing about how a range of digital technologies are embedded with intersectional and uneven power relations, from the ways in which technologies are structured, through the range of engagements that happen on the web, to the materiality of digital communications infrastructures that include the role of the state and capital in the extraction, manufacture, and disposal of the digital.

Racial Identity and the Western Internet

Theorizing about the liberatory potentials of the internet for activism, communication, media-making, and culture is often the focus of research about the internet. Often, this research focuses on the United States and is without sufficient power critique. The study of race on the internet is not new and has been written about by many scholars who have argued that race is a meaningful part of the field, albeit under-theorized. The primary focus of research on race and the internet is in the US context and has largely engaged issues of representation and racial formation. In response to this, Jessie Daniels has called for more attention in the nascent field of digital media studies to critique what is truly missing; namely, discussions of white supremacy as the primary framework that structures research inquiries in the field.[6] Lori Kendall and André Brock, in particular, have also offered meaningful critiques of how normative presumptions of whiteness and maleness serve as a default identity of internet users.[7] Brock characterizes how technology design and practice are instantiated with racial ideologies:

[T]he Western Internet, as a social structure, represents and maintains White, masculine, bourgeois, heterosexual and Christian culture through its content. These ideologies are translucently mediated by the [internet] browser’s design and concomitant information practices. English-speaking internet users, content providers, policy makers, and designers bring their racial frames to their internet experiences, interpreting racial dynamics through this electronic medium while simultaneously redistributing cultural resources along racial lines. These practices neatly recreate social dynamics online that mirror offline patterns of racial interaction by marginalizing women and people of color.[8]

Brock argues that technology discourses normalize White masculinity as a presupposition for the prioritization of resources, content, and design of information and communications technologies (ICTs); in this, Brock’s work is representative of recent important scholarship that calls attention to the culture of the internet and how racism operates or structures it. Jerry Kang’s foundational 2000 paper addressing critical race theory and cyberspace was also among the first to look at the architecture of racial representation on the web, and the liberatory possibilities thereof, which unfortunately, were never fully achieved as envisioned by early web theorists.[9] Since that time, many new media scholars have continued to write about race online, addressing the complexities of multiple and simultaneous racialized and gendered identities that affect values embedded in the internet.

Nevertheless, the large-scale uptake of intersectional analysis as applied to the internet in its various forms had been notably missing, particularly in discussions of the internet’s materiality. In recent years, there has been a shift: Black feminism, where once missing from information studies, is now being used as a theoretical framework for thinking about Black women’s representations and engagements online.[10] Black feminist scholars examine digital technology phenomena by seeing how race, gender, class, power, sexuality, and other socially constructed categories interact with one another in a matrix of relations that create conditions of inequality or oppression.

Black feminist thought also offers a useful and anti-essentializing lens for understanding how both race and gender are constituted through historical, social, political, and economic processes,[11] creating openings for challenging research questions and new analytical possibilities. As a theoretical approach, it challenges the dominant research on race and gender, which tends to universalize problems assigned to race or Blackness as “male” (or the problems of men) and organizes gender as primarily conceived through the lenses and experiences of White women, leaving Black women in a precarious and understudied position.[12] Intersectionality has moved to the fore in Black studies, gender studies, sociology, and other fields; so much so that in some cases the concept and word have been divorced from Black feminist epistemologies and scholarship entirely. The word “intersectionality” is often invoked even as the Black, radical, queer, and feminist intellectual traditions from which the term was generated are silenced. It has rarely been invoked in information studies research, making this contribution to the scholarship even more important.

In previous research, both critical race theory and Black feminism helped me make sense of the ways that technology ecosystems—from traditional classification systems such as library databases[13] to new media technologies such as commercial search engines—are structuring detrimental narratives about Black life,[14] and reproducing racist narratives that work in service of material disenfranchisement. I have used Black feminism to study the potency and problematics of the hypersexualized image of Black women and girls in Google searches and the implications of such for public information resources. In doing so, I show how Black women are located in a long and tragic history of misrepresentation that has material consequences in Black women’s lives. The prevalence of derogatory images of Black women in the media is meaningfully tied to the real-world circumstances that demean the value of Black women’s lives, and these images serve as justification for systemic exclusion and oppression.[15] For example, the Center for American Progress reports a number of sobering facts about Black women’s lives in the US:

  • Black women receive 65% of new AIDS diagnoses
  • Single African American women have a median wealth of $100
  • African American women with children have zero median wealth
  • The poverty rate of African American lesbian couples is 21.1 percent versus 4.3 percent for White lesbian couples
  • African American women are three times more likely than White women to be incarcerated. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, Latinas and African American women are disproportionately affected both by crime (since they are more likely to be victimized) and by incarceration, especially those who are primary caregivers for their children.[16]

The kinds of economic and social precarity described above are tied directly to the legacy of enslavement and colonization, which persists in contemporary life for many Black women and children around the globe. Therefore, rather than follow the traditions in new media and information studies that primarily focus on racial representation without direct ties to the material conditions of oppressed people, I now co-locate my digital studies work with Daniels’s call[17] for an analysis that foregrounds how white supremacy structures the internet as we know it in the West. In the context of the digital, this intersectional framing allows for questions—absent from other analyses—that link the processes and structures of hegemony, imperialism, and power to the material implications of the project we know as the internet.

The Intersectional Internet Infrastructure

I now move to theorizing the materiality of the internet through an intersectional analysis of the labor of extracting and disposing of digital technologies. This move from representation to other forms of materiality provides an important new contribution to moving the fields of information and communication studies toward research that examines the global distributions of resources that disproportionately and negatively impact Black life, and the lives of those in the Global South, in the material creation, use, and disposal of digital technology engagements.[18] To engage in these continued research efforts requires an expansion of our definitions of white supremacy to include how global flows of capital from US corporations and Silicon Valley structure labor markets and material infrastructures that are part of an oppressive system of digital technological engagements, largely hidden from view in the consumerist model of technology adoption.

In the US, Black women’s participation with the digital is frequently evinced in neoliberal preoccupations with learning to code, or to enter science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields, given and in spite of the low employment rates of Black women in Silicon Valley and across science and information technology fields. Rather than focus this paper on how Black women and girls can participate in such projects, a matter I take up elsewhere, I will say that these projects are largely an individualized, privatized approach to thinking about Black women’s empowerment, in neoliberal fashion. Here, I instead focus on the “interlocking oppressions” that are now entering the collective consciousness of academics and activists, who are engaging in what I have previously termed a Black feminist technology studies approach to thinking through the implications of the internet as global communications infrastructure.[19] I focus on this because many African American digital technology projects are disconnected in their context, content, and intent from the materiality of ICT processes in the Black/African diaspora. Framed for a Western audience—commonly presumed as the intended target for many internet technologies and platforms—they are hidden from view. Further, the neoliberal project privileges the technology experiences of individuals over the collective, the consumer over the producer, the African-American over the Black/African diaspora. Intersectional analysis allows for needed linkages between the labor and resources involved in the web and other global communications infrastructure projects that both facilitate, and are a source of, globalized extractive capitalism.

The New Scramble for Africa: An Intersectional Analysis of the IT Sector

In the new scramble for Africa’s resources, transnational information and communication industries are racing to control the minerals and land needed for their aggressive expansion and growth—an echo of earlier colonial pursuits by European nations looking to open new markets for cotton and revitalize depressed Western economies.[20] Neocolonial processes remain intact, particularly in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo. That nation’s history of Western plunder began a century and a half earlier, under the rule of King Leopold II of Belgium, when its rubber and ivory resources were extracted for the manufacture of tires and condoms destined for the sprawling automobile and leisure culture of the United States.[21]

Efforts to reclaim autonomy over the Congo and its natural-resource riches were led in part by the pan-Africanist Patrice Lumumba, whose opposition to Belgian and US control of the Congo resulted in his assassination in 1961. This was but one of many efforts to subdue and effectively put down Black liberation movements on the continent of Africa. The foreclosing of African anti-colonial movements by Western state powers was mirrored in the US government’s simultaneously enacted Counter Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO), which systematically assassinated and jailed Black feminist and Black Power liberation and civil rights movement activists in the US from the 1960s to the 1980s. Many of these same strategies are being re-enacted in this historical moment under the USA Patriot Act. The North American activists targeted by COINTELPRO were seeking liberation from interlocking oppressions, and developed relationships of solidarity and mutual aid with many pan-Africanist movements. Since the 1940s, pan-Africanists had been actively engaging in conferences and knowledge production designed to unify the interests of oppressed peoples directly affected by imperialist projects around the globe. This is an important intellectual lineage from which intersectional feminist critiques and activism emerged, their origins evident in the statement issued in 1945 from the Fifth Pan-African Conference:

We condemn the monopoly of capital and the rule of private wealth and industry for profit alone. We welcome economic democracy as the only real democracy. Therefore we shall complain, appeal and we will make the world listen to the facts of our condition. We will fight every way we can for freedom, democracy and social betterment.[22]

These intellectual linkages of critique and resistance demonstrate the connection between colonial projects of the past to the neocolonial, transnational, and neoliberal projects of the contemporary moment. Indeed, the neocolonial projects that fuel extraction industries (and their concomitant environmental and human catastrophes) in places like the Congo today persist in a historical trajectory of global capital’s thirst for expansion at the expense of Black life. Pádraig Carmody details the colonial quest for rubber and ivory in the Congo that led to the slaughter of more than ten million people; Carmody estimates that another three to five million were killed from 1983 to 2003 in wars over minerals and the control of coltan.[23] Coltan, short for columbite-tantalite, is a mineral, more potent than steel which is needed for computers and electronics to release electrical charges in small capacitors.[24] Contemporary global communications infrastructure, including the internet and the billions of devices, appliances, electronics, and “things” connected to it, could not exist without cheap access to coltan. Nevertheless, the bloody “conflict mineral” wars over its control—the rape, violence, and loss of human life involved—are largely invisible byproducts to digital tech users in the West.

In the networked economy of resources needed for global communications infrastructure, Black lives are engaged in some of the most treacherous labor essential to the growth and proliferation of the internet. Capital’s organization in multi-tiered global supply chains[25] obfuscates the direct relationships between Black labor, child labor, civil war, rape, and a smartphone, laptop, or iPad. Electronics companies such as Google, Apple, Dell, Intel, Sony, Nokia, and Ericsson are heavily invested in the computer and electronics hardware manufacturing industries and need raw minerals such as coltan to produce components such as tantalum capacitors for microprocessor chips. But this labor is outsourced, and thus conveniently out of sight and out of mind, going to low-bidders who provide the cheapest labor under favorable neoliberal economic policies. These practices are consistent with other forms of racialized and outsourced internet labor, such as commercial content moderation for large internet companies.[26]

In a transnational and neoliberal context, such practices are not limited to sites located geographically outside the West. David Pellow and Lisa Sun-Hee Park have written a comprehensive study of the underside of Silicon Valley—touted as a panacea of innovation, wealth, and opportunity, when this is the reality only for a choice few.[27] Just as in other areas of the globe, the technology and communications industries headquartered in Silicon Valley achieve their capital accumulation at the expense of overuse and abuse of the environment, gross poverty, and health degradation as they rely on an invisible labor force of immigrants and others living in the transnational, racialized margins:

Power, privilege and wealth are relational, which often means that one person’s riches and leisure time are derived from another’s impoverishment and hard labor; one’s socioeconomic or racial/ethnic group’s access to safe, high-salary jobs and clean neighborhoods is frequently linked to another group’s relegation to dangerous, low-wage occupations and environmentally contaminated communities. This is the essence of environmental racism and environmental injustice: ecological policies and practices are characterized by unfair treatment, discrimination, and oppression.[28]

Intersectional analysis makes these relational elements visible and allows us to trace the connections forged by inequities of wealth and power that bind local communities to others around the globe. Taking an intersectional approach to the internet and its infrastructure bridges the African diaspora, to help us see where and how oppressions are operationalized in similar ways and in the service of shared agents or shared motivations. The internet and its infrastructure are implicated in cases such as the recent public health crisis in Flint, Michigan, where state and corporate abuses, in the interest of multinational companies heavily invested in the technology sector, resulted in poisoned water supplies. The web is functioning as a site of online hyper-surveillance and trolling of Black activists engaged in the #BlackLivesMatter movement in the US and beyond. It is fundamental to Wall Street, where, through the mortgage crisis and Great Recession of 2008, information technology and the gamification of financial markets led to the largest decimation of Black wealth in the history of the United States. It is central to the oppressive working conditions facing Congolese laborers engaged in mineral extraction, in mineral wars, and in creating the greatest site of sexual violence in the world, according to the United Nations. It is evident in the toxic waste sites on the west coast of Africa, in Ghana, where e-waste is shipped in from the West and dumped, poisoning land, water, people, and environments.

These connections need to be made in order to understand the tradeoffs and true costs that come with the overemphasis, financially and in policy, on digital technologies and internet infrastructures. Communications scholar Robert Mejia has critiqued the multiple ways in which electronics and communications devices and infrastructures have material consequences with potent environmental impacts. He notes:

it is imperative that media and cultural studies scholars offer an account of how the 3.7 million gallons of water used per day by Intel in Hillsboro, Oregon, and the millions more used elsewhere, contribute to an ecology hospitable to infectious disease and its natural reservoirs… Knowing that an estimated 632,000 pounds of mercury were disposed of in United States’ landfills between 1997 and 2007, from just discarded personal computers alone, and that about 130 million cellphones are thrown away each year.[29]

The consequences of these ecological disasters are not equitably applied to everyone. The study of the materiality of the internet includes thinking through the specific contexts of who is affected by the social, environmental, economic, and policy arrangements of the digital.[30]

Intellectual investments in thinking of the internet and the digital as disembodied and ephemeral—as if they have no materiality—come at a great cost of erasure and denial. Jean-François Blanchette has written one of the most detailed critical accounts of the development of computing—including the ways in which information is processed, networks are developed and managed, and fiber infrastructure is built and maintained—in order to dislodge the idea that the internet and computing are immaterial or abstract.[31] An intersectional examination of the global information infrastructure underscores that it is predicated upon a complex, globalized, and fundamentally material economy of resource extraction and human labor, from Congolese labor to extract minerals, to Chinese labor working for poverty wages at Foxconn to make Apple’s iPhones, to the exclusion of African American labor from high-wage IT jobs in the United States, to Ghanaians sifting through electronic trash and toxic waste.

A Future for Intersectional Black Feminist Technology Studies

Technologies such as the internet and digitally enabled devices are never neutral and certainly never without consequence. A truer reckoning of how capital is organized in the interests of those who wield transnational power at the expense of Black life in the diaspora is an essential intervention and outcome of an intersectional approach to the study of the internet. Such an approach affords scholars a way of understanding and intervening upon the conditions of oppression by making global and historical linkages visible. Yet information and communication studies have been slow to apply an intersectional lens; for this reason, Black studies scholarship is particularly important and could serve as instructive to researchers in their pursuit of a more complete and accurate analysis. Where social construction of technology theorists explicitly name the political, social and economic dimensions of technologies as never value-free, they fail to identify how these practices are co-constituted in racialized and gendered ways that involve power and often foster and maintain systematic discrimination and oppression.

We need theoretical models that help us better understand the ways that technological practices[32] are intersectionally racialized and gendered.[33] We need to shed light on what is happening with our digital media and the internet, and denaturalize the idea that these “tools” are apolitical or without consequence. An intersectional approach can explicitly engage with the always-already concurrent existence of racism and sexism, rendering them visible as part of the social structures and economies fundamental to experiences in digital cultures, platforms, economies, and infrastructures. Taking up intersectionality affirms and is a response to Christian Fuchs’s call for a critical media and information studies that allows us to engage with digital technologies, social media, platforms, and global media as they intersect with capital, state policy, and global social formations, many of which are based in intersecting historical and contemporary patterns and practices of oppression. As Fuchs argues, we must have the tools to engage with and analyze various information and media as they affect, and are affected by, global capital and its attendant crises facilitated by the internet.[34] Intersectionality is a critical analytical framework that brings more nuance to the racialized and gendered dimensions of the political economy of the internet.

Here I invoke the work of Jemima Pierre, in her pan-Africanist analysis of the historical liberal separation of African Americans from the African diasporic politic that was previously concerned with “a reconceptualization of understandings of race from its global interconnected structural dimensions to more local concerns with the national integration.”[35] Pierre’s work on postcolonial Ghana is a wake-up call and powerful ethnography that traces the political economy of global Blackness. Her work is part of the through line that connects the interests of Black/African Americans to Africa, and I contend that these are the frameworks from Black studies that must be integrated with information and communications scholarship.

What we need is to keep sufficient feminist pressure on the development of technologies, in the context of material consequences that diminish any liberatory possibility. An intersectional approach to the internet and to digital studies widens the scope of analysis to include the the inequity of global development and the financialization and circulation of global capital that the internet both engenders and is supported by. It provides a point of entry to globalization, surveillance, control, and the power relations that are embedded within digital information and communication systems and infrastructures.

Rather than maintaining collective intellectual investments in the liberatory possibilities of the internet that ignore a broader accounting of the true cost of investment, an intersectional analysis, harkening to the Combahee River Collective, allows the bridging of historical, economic, and political agendas to the contemporary material realities of marginalized and oppressed peoples across the globe, and offers up a site of critique and the development of counternarratives to those in power. In this sense, intersectional critique provides liberatory potential for those who seek to understand power structures that control the lives of so many, among them, Black people across the diaspora.

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Footnotes
  1. Combahee River Collective statement. [Return to text]
  2. “A Herstory of the #BlackLivesMatter Movement” by Alicia Garza, October 7, 2014. [Return to text]
  3. Brittney Cooper, “Intersectionality,” in The Oxford Handbook of Feminist Theory, ed. Lisa Disch and Mary Hawkesworth (New York: Oxford University Press, 2016). [Return to text]
  4. Kimberlé W. Crenshaw, “Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence Against Women of Color,” Stanford Law Review 43, no. 6 (1991): 1241–1299. [Return to text]
  5. Gloria T. Hull, Patricia Bell Scott, and Barbara Smith, eds., All the Women Are White, All the Blacks Are Men, But Some of Us Are Brave: Black Women’s Studies (Old Westbury, N.Y.: Feminist Press, 1982); Angela Y. Davis, Women, Race & Class (New York: Random House, 1981; repr., New York: Vintage, 1983); Patricia Hill Collins, Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment (1990; repr., New York: Routledge, 2000); Sumi Cho, Kimberlé W. Crenshaw, and Leslie McCall, “Toward a Field of Intersectionality Studies: Theory, Applications, and Praxis,” Signs 38, no. 4 (2013): 785–810; bell hooks, Black Looks: Race and Representation (Boston: South End Press, 1992). [Return to text]
  6. Daniels, “Race and Racism in Internet Studies: A Review and Critique,” New Media and Society 15, no. 5 (2012): 695–719. [Return to text]
  7. Lori Kendall, Hanging Out in the Virtual Pub: Masculinities and Relationships Online (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002); André Brock, “Beyond the Pale: The Blackbird Web Browser’s Critical Reception,” New Media and Society 13, no. 7 (2011): 1085–1103. [Return to text]
  8. Brock, “Beyond the Pale,” 1088. [Return to text]
  9. Jerry Kang, “Cyber-Race,” Harvard Law Review 113, no. 5 (2002): 1130–1208. [Return to text]
  10. Safiya Umoja Noble, “Google Search: Hyper-Visibility as a Means of Rendering Black Women and Girls Invisible,” InVisible Culture 19 (October 2013); Noble, “Trayvon, Race, Media and the Politics of Spectacle,” The Black Scholar 44, no. 1 (2014); Noble and Brendesha M. Tynes, “Introduction,” The Intersectional Internet: Race, Sex, Class and Culture Online, ed. Noble and Tynes, Digital Formations Series (New York: Peter Lang, 2016); Catherine Knight Steele, “Signifyin’, Bitching, and Blogging: Black Women and Resistance Discourse Online,” in Noble and Tynes, Intersectional Internet; Miriam E. Sweeney, “The Intersectional Interface,” in Noble and Tynes, Intersectional Internet; Tiera Chante’ Tanksley, “Education, Representation, and Resistance: Black Girls in Popular Instagram Memes,” in Noble and Tynes, Intersectional Internet. [Return to text]
  11. Collins, Black Feminist Thought ; hooks, Black Looks; Cheryl Harris, “Whiteness As Property,” Critical Race Theory: The Key Writings That Informed the Movement, ed. Crenshaw et al. (New York: New Press, 1995); Crenshaw, “Mapping the Margins.” [Return to text]
  12. Hull, Bell Scott, and Smith, But Some of Us Are Brave. [Return to text]
  13. Jonathan Furner, “Dewey Deracialized: A Critical Race-Theoretic Perspective,” Knowledge Organization 34 (2007): 144–168. [Return to text]
  14. Noble, “Google Search”; Noble, “Trayvon, Race, Media.” [Return to text]
  15. Jessica L. Davis and Oscar H. Gandy, Jr., “Racial Identity and Media Orientation: Exploring the Nature of Constraint,” Journal of Black Studies 29, no. 3 (1999): 367–397. See the Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia for a detailed examination of how racial stereotyping is directly tied to thes denial of social, political, and economic resources for African Americans in the United States. [Return to text]
  16. Statistics provided by the Center for American Progress in their 2013 “Fact Sheet: The State of African American Women in the United States.” [Return to text]
  17. Daniels, “Race and Racism.” [Return to text]
  18. Sarah T. Roberts, “Commercial Content Moderation: Digital Laborers’ Dirty Work,” in Noble and Tynes, Intersectional Internet (2016a). Sarah T. Roberts, “Digital Refuse: Canadian Garbage, Commercial Content Moderation and the Global Circulation of Social Media’s Waste,” Wi: Journal of Mobile Media 10, no. 1 (2016b): 1–18. [Return to text]
  19. Noble, S. (2012). Searching for Black girls: Old Traditions in New media. PhD dissertation, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. [Return to text]
  20. Rodney, Babu and Harding, 1981; Pádraig Carmody, The New Scramble for Africa (Malden, Mass.: Polity Press, 2011). [Return to text]
  21. Mantz, J. (2008) Improvisational economies: Coltan production in the eastern Congo. Social Anthroplogy. 16(1), pp. 34-50. Rodney, Babu and Harding (1981). How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Washington D.C. Howard University Press. [Return to text]
  22. George Padmore, History of the Pan-African Congress: Colonial and Coloured Unity (London: Hammersmith Books, 1963). [Return to text]
  23. Carmody, P. (2011) The New Scramble for Africa. [Return to text]
  24. Karen Hayes and Richard Burge, Coltan Mining in the Democratic Republic of Congo: How Tanatalum-Using Industries Can Commit to the Reconstitution of the DRC (Cambridge: Fauna & Flora International, 2003). [Return to text]
  25. Fields, G., Territories of Profit. (Stanford, CA: Stanford Business Books, 2004). [Return to text]
  26. Roberts, “Commercial Content Moderation: Digital Laborers’ Dirty Work,” in Noble and Tynes, Intersectional Internet (2016a); Roberts, “Digital Refuse: Canadian Garbage, Commercial Content Moderation and the Global Circulation of Social Media’s Waste,” Wi: Journal of Mobile Media 10, no. 1 (2016b): 1–18. [Return to text]
  27. David N. Pellow and Lisa Sun-Hee Park, The Silicon Valley of Dreams: Environmental Injustice, Immigrant Workers, and the High-Tech Global Economy (New York: New York University Press, 2002). [Return to text]
  28. Ibid., 3. [Return to text]
  29. Robert Mejia, “The Epidemiology of Digital Infrastructure,” in Tynes and Noble, Intersectional Internet. [Return to text]
  30. Mél Hogan, “Data Flows and Water Woes: The Utah Data Center,” Big Data and Society 2, no. 2 (2015): 1–12. [Return to text]
  31. Jean-François Blanchette, “A Material History of Bits,” Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology 62, no. 6 (2011): 1042–1057. [Return to text]
  32. Arnold Pacey, The Culture of Technology (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1983); Langdon Winner, The Whale and the Reactor: A Search for Limits in an Age of High Technology (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1986). [Return to text]
  33. Noble and Brendesha M. Tynes, “Introduction,” The Intersectional Internet: Race, Sex, Class and Culture Online, ed. Noble and Tynes, Digital Formations Series (New York: Peter Lang, 2016); Safiya Umoja Noble, “Google Search: Hyper-Visibility as a Means of Rendering Black Women and Girls Invisible,” InVisible Culture 19 (October 2013); Noble, “Trayvon, Race, Media and the Politics of Spectacle”. [Return to text]
  34. Christian Fuchs, Internet and Society: Social Theory in the Information Age (New York: Routledge, 2008). [Return to text]
  35. Jemima Pierre, The Predicament of Blackness: Postcolonial Ghana and the Politics of Race (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013: 195). [Return to text]