Publication details [#67698]

Nguyen, Naomi-Minh. 2015. I tweet like a white person tbh! #whitewashed: examining the language of internalized racism and the policing of ethnic identity on Twitter. Social Semiotics 26 (5) : 505–523.
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Using data extracted from Twitter, this study analyzes the English expression whitewashed as it occurs with and without a hashtag (e.g.: whitewashed vs. whitewashed) through corpus analysis. As whitewashed has evolved to take on racial connotations to mean being too assimilated to a dominant white culture, I investigate whether the presence of a hashtag has an effect on how often this racial meaning of English whitewashed is employed. Based on collocative data, the findings suggest that the use of whitewashed carries a meaning predominately informed by internalized racism and works to bind ethnic minorities to racial stereotypes. The study explores whitewashed as a metacomment on human behavior, as whitewashed serves to characterize beliefs about what actions are considered socially marked when performing an ethnic identity. In contrast to whitewashed is the colloquial expression fobby, which characterizes an individual as being “too ethnic”; both ()whitewashed and ()fobby are discussed in tandem in this paper, for they create a double bind that marks the boundaries of ethnic identity. In this paper, I suggest that Twitter users mediate the demands of internalized racism by using whitewashed to mark their tweets.