Excerpts:

  • “This article will describe this image production practice in order to explain how racist imagery becomes an object that motivates the circulation of the social media machine by offering material designed to encourage recirculation and reduplication. Memes are part of the fuel that powers the internet’s traffic in images, and an analysis of the origins and meanings of overtly racialized and sexist viral images such as these can tell us much about how racial and ethnic difference are enacted on the internet through visual means” (Nakamura 259).
  • “As Fusco and Wallis… have written in regards to photography, race exists to be seen and consumed with pleasure; it is, itself, spectacular. As memetic pleasures figure ever more largely in our lives within digital media, the origins of these images matter even more” (Nakamura 260).
  • “Scambaiters create these photographs to document their power over another, abject body. These photographs exemplify the circulation, distribution, and traffic in uncanny digital images of a spectacularized primitive and queered African masculinity. Tracing the travels of scambaiters’ trophy images through their origins and throughout different contexts helps us to archaeologically understand racism’s memetic histories as viral media and its digital future” (Nakamura 270).

Notes:

  • Scambaiters are ‘internet vigilantes’ who pose as a ‘potential victim to the scammer in order to waste their time and resources, gather information that will be of use to authorities, and publicly expose the scammer’
  • Byrne argues that pre-digital forms of anti-black vigilantism such as lynching produced strikingly similar artifacts, such as postcards, that were designed to spread from person to person
  • There are dozens of scambaiter sites

Thoughts: I do not like the fact that scambaiting exists. I feel like, similarly to the article “Can Social Media Resolve Social Divisions?” this article shows that social media can actually make racism and social divisions more common. I feel that this article relates to the previous reading’s example of how Siri better accommodates individuals with American/English accents. In these ways, social media users can further support social divisions without necessarily realizing what they are doing. However, in this article, supporting social divisions is an intentional act by scambaiters who post racist and vulgar images on purpose in order to separate society. 

Questions to Consider:

  • Do scambaiters exist in other cultures too?
  • How do scambaiters use social media to create racist ideas?

Citations:

Nakamura, Lisa. Journal of Visual Culture. London: Sage Publications, 2002. Web. 

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