"Acting white" on social media : a study of African Americans' racial identity performance on Twitter
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT AUTHOR'S REQUEST.] "Acting White" exists within minority communities across North America and the globe as a scarlet letter of shame to those perceived as performing an identity above or separate from their expected racial behavior. The following research study has explored the theory and phenomenon of "acting White" within the popular social medium of Twitter where African Americans, in particular, have been found to possess a high and influential presence. In order to understand the theory of "acting White" on Twitter, in-depth interviews were conducted in conjunction with an online ethnography of 14 respondents' tweets guided by the social identity and performance theories. Language and social behavior were found to be two prominent perceived "acting White" characteristics in which respondents identified. The consequence of online isolation within these two characteristics also demonstrated telling racial expectations. Here, the "acting White" theory is further extended to include new-media where performance of identity is paramount.