Digital Representation: Racism on the World Wide Web


  • Indhu Rajagopal



This paper argues that the various rhetorical modes in which hate is expressed on the Web are tailored to the types of messages offered. The unique technologies of the Web, that differentiate it from the earlier media of communication, facilitate the various rhetorical modes. The Web, as an unregulated medium, fosters the worldwide dissemination of both 'actionable' and 'non-actionable' hate messages. The actionable hate messages, regardless of their intensity and potential to excite violent actions, are not legally restricted through any international censorship regulations; the power of restricting such messages is national, if such messages counter national laws and conventions. The questions explored here are: Does the Internet and the Web facilitate the spreading of hate messages? Should Internet hate materials be regulated? If so, how might that be done? What criteria should be used to differentiate between hate and non-hate materials? Is it possible to draw and enforce a line between hate and non-hate messages? What input would measures against hate messages have on the Internet culture itself?




How to Cite

Rajagopal, I. (2002). Digital Representation: Racism on the World Wide Web. First Monday, 7(10).