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July 24th, 2010
09:32 PM ET

"White Flight" On The Internet

Facebook announced this week that it now boasts 500 million users. MySpace, by comparison, is getting left in the dust. Maybe you were one of the people who abandoned MySpace for Facebook in the last few years, and so, you're certainly not alone. But does that make you part of a larger racial trend without even realizing it? Danah Boyd, a researcher with Microsoft and Harvard University, certainly thinks so. She sees it as a form of "white flight" for the digital age.

"White flight" is a trend observed in urban areas when Caucasians leave and minority populations rise. Boyd says the siphoning of MySpace users to Facebook is a prime example of the same phenomenon happening on the Internet, proof that real-world social divisions are being reproduced online. Her theory will appear in a book she's writing, but she's previewing her chapter on this subject here.

 


Filed under: CNN Newsroom • Don Lemon
soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. Smith in Oregon

    Good grief pushing racism against society and now against the internet. And you recommend the Ole Dixie rewriting and Karl Rovian respining of confederate history I see also, how very telling!

    Do you disagree with the law giving Blacks and Hispanics the opportunity to Vote?

    Do you disagree with the law giving women the opportunity to Vote?

    American's are largely a mixture of many races, what are you using for the 'white standard'? Are brown skinned Europeans from Italy or Spain, White? Swed's are pretty white, do you mean only Swed's then?

    As the Hispanic population in America continues to balloon and rapidly overtake the 'White' majority, then 'Whites' would be a minority group wouldn't they?

    July 25, 2010 at 1:38 am |
  2. jhn

    We all just need to finally stop this crap and come together as what we have become in the REAL world. And that reality is that we are now, if only as a matter of pure necessity, just ONE America struggling to stay ahead of the pack.

    Folks have to realize that we no longer have the luxury of phony internal "divisions" based upon arbitrary and completely meaningless things like skin color, religion, or any other piece of absurdity. Bottom line, we either stand together or, literally, divided we WILL fall. (And, believe me, China and India are waiting in the wings.)

    July 25, 2010 at 10:05 am |
  3. Pianki

    I like to qoute the Honarable Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
    Says Justice Thomas in the Jenkins decision, "It is a fundamental truth that the Government cannot discriminate among its citizens on the basis of race. . . . Racial isolation itself is not a harm; only state-enforced segregation is." In the Jenkins decision, Thomas claims that the harm identified in the original Brown v. Board of Education decision was tied only to legal segregation, meaning separation that was demanded by government law. But this never had anything to do with individuals making choices.

    The Constitution does not prevent individuals from choosing to live together, to work together, or to send their children to school together, so long as the State does not interfere with their choices on the basis of race.

    If I choose not to associate with whites then is it not just that my choice? Without getting into all the many reason and name calling, I truly am sick and tried of the social engineers for ever trying to bring about social relations between blacks and whites. It's as if you have a deep suddle guilt.

    July 25, 2010 at 10:19 am |
  4. Pianki

    Corrections.

    I would like to contribute to this discussion with this qoute

    And Woodson declared, "I didn't fight for integration, I fought against segregation. The opposite of segregation is not integration, it is desegregation. I want the right to sit in a black church, if I choose to, without being called a separatist or supporter of a segregated institution."

    On Chief Justice Clarence Thomas:

    Says Justice Thomas in the Jenkins decision, "It is a fundamental truth that the Government cannot discriminate among its citizens on the basis of race. . . . Racial isolation itself is not a harm; only state-enforced segregation is." In the Jenkins decision, Thomas claims that the harm identified in the original Brown v. Board of Education decision was tied only to legal segregation, meaning separation that was demanded by government law. But this never had anything to do with individuals making choices.

    Being an African-American (I thought I should throw that in)

    If I choose not to associate with whites then is it just that ... my choice? Without getting into all the many reasons and name calling, I truly am sick and tried of the social engineers who are for ever trying to bring about this social relations between blacks and whites. It's as if you have a deep suddle guilt of something you are trying to bury or hide.

    July 25, 2010 at 10:32 am |
  5. S Gibs

    That is a terrible view point. The internet – particularly social networking sites like Facebook is a great place to model social interaction. Its anonymity allows people to make decisions without such interference. If people are moving from MySpace to Facebook it is not because of race. Its because of format. MySpace is messy, confusing and generally not user friendly. Moving to a better product from an inferior product is simply the execution of personal preferences within a given market. To say, that it is race, is actual race bating. You wouldn't say that racial predispositions or preferences were motivating factor if the number of LA Lakers jerseys sold increased after they won the NBA Championship. To assume that free and equal players with similar preferences within a fair market (and given the same information/options) would make a choice that does not maximize their utility is not only irrational, but just plain dumb.

    July 25, 2010 at 6:50 pm |
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