#AskRachel: signifying performances and Black racial authenticity on Black Twitter

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Ashley G Evans (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/
Stephanie Irby Coard

Abstract: Definitions of Blackness and what are deemed as accurate portrayals of Blackness have changed over time. Connections to Blackness have been linked to biological, social, cultural, and phenotypical means that construct strict boundaries around how race functions in American society. Therefore, when racial boundaries are presumably crossed, understandings of race and how they function are questioned. Guided by symbolic interactionism, this study explored racial performances and indicators of Black racial authenticity on Black Twitter, a socially discursive space. Specifically, a qualitative content analysis of tweets regarding Rachel Dolezal, whose controversial racial passing for a Black woman led to conversations about racial boundaries among African Americans through the #AskRachel hashtag, was conducted. This study explores discursive performances of Blackness and the boundaries of racial authenticity as expressed on Black Twitter. The findings indicate the emergence of popular culture, sociocultural products, socialization agents & community structures, and positive & negative appraisals were the domains. With the rise of Twitter as a common discursive space within the Black community, there is potential for it to become a more prominent socialization sphere. This thesis discusses the findings and their present and future implications for Blackness and its understandings. Limitations of the study and suggestions for future directions for the field are discussed.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2020
Black Twitter, Cultural studies, Racial authenticity, Racial performances
African Americans and mass media
African Americans $x Race identity
African Americans $x Communication
Dolezal, Rachel, $d 1977- $x Public opinion

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