Beyond the Pale: The Blackbird Web Browser’s Critical Reception

Brock, André
New Media & Society

The browser has become part of our communicative infrastructure, invisible to our information literacy practices until a rupture occurs. In December 2008, the Mozilla-variant ‘niche’ browser, Blackbird, was released. Blackbird’s cultural affiliation with African American users became the rupture for pundits and early adopters. It was derided as racist, unnecessary, and pejorative to the actual needs of Black internet users. This article examines the racial and technological discourses surrounding Blackbird’s release on technology and cultural blogs. Findings indicate that racial ideologies play a factor in the reception of this culturally themed ICT artifact.