Gender and Race Online

Nakamura, Lisa

The Internet provides a space that could celebrate diversity and bridge potential divides created by age, nationality, gender, or race. Virtual communities present the potential for escaping the history and geographies of division in communities anchored in the material world. Unfortunately, as this chapter makes very clear, many virtual communities, particularly among gamers, exhibit major problems with communication across gender and racial differences. Is this just part of playing the game, or do these virtual communities not only mirror but also exacerbate problems that might be suppressed in everyday life? Will naming and shaming and other self-regulatory efforts to address racism and sexism online succeed?