2014 SXSW Interactive Session Spotlight: Does Race Equal Racism Online?

Written by Megan Simpson | February 6, 2014

Jenny Korn discusses online racial experiences at SXSW Interactive 2014

In this installment of the Session Spotlight, speaker Jenny Korn promises that her Core Conversation will put the interactive into SXSW Interactive. The goal of her fishbowl discussion titled “Does Race Equal Racism Online? (Honestly)” is to give participants an opportunity to lend their voice to experiences regarding race online. To learn more about this topic, read our conversation below and visit Korn’s blog. Or follow her on Twitter @JennyKorn where she discusses race, gender, identity, and optimism.

SXSW: How will you approach your conversation about race online with the SXSW audience?
Korn: We will address questions like, how is race portrayed online and what have your experiences been on the Internet? We’ll start the conversation starts with scholarly research on negative (racist?) and positive digital representations of race, and then turns into an "open fishbowl" discussion. All audience members may choose to spend some time in the fishbowl to take part in our interactive discussion.

SXSW: What kinds of people will benefit from your presentation? Why should they attend?
Korn: The people who will want to attend this session are ones who have ever been online. Each individual’s experiences on the Internet are valuable, and we want you to be part of this important conversation about race online. This format gives people the opportunity to converse openly about race online. SXSW registrants should attend this session to experience a dynamic discussion format that they can take back home with them to use. You may choose to participate and engage in actual discussion about your own experiences online, or you may choose to observe and listen to others share. With this fishbowl discussion, you have the opportunity to talk, in person and via Twitter through #RaceSXSW. By the end of the session, attendees will have learned about perspectives on race different from their own, including those rooted in academic research and those stemming from other participants' experiences.

SXSW: In your experience, can those who are unfamiliar with this subject matter follow the discussion?
Korn: Every SXSW Interactive registrant is familiar with this topic, to a degree, because we all have been online and read, witnessed, or received interactions based on others' perceptions of our identity. This fishbowl discussion is open to all and welcomes everyone.

SXSW: Why are you qualified to lead this SXSW Core Conversation?
Korn: For more than a decade, I have studied race and gender online. I have been interviewed by NPR, CNN, Colorlines, and more. I have led fishbowl discussions at other conferences, and I look forward to sharing this fishbowl discussion with participants at SXSW.

SXSW: You obviously spend a great deal of time researching race online. How has this, if at all, affected your social media habits?
Korn: I embrace online social media. Who I am online is congruent with who I am in general. You can find me on Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, and Flickr.

SXSW: Help us get to know you better - who or what inspires your creativity?
Korn: My friends inspire my creativity. Seriously, you should meet the amazing people in my life. They freakin' rock!

SXSW: What achievement in your life are you most proud of?
Korn: I am pretty proud of completing my first marathon, the Chicago Marathon. Marathons are no joke!

Watch this website for more installments of the 2014 SXSW Interactive Session Spotlight. Click here for the complete list of programming for March in Austin. For tips on interesting sessions to attend, visit the new Recommendation page. Register now to attend “Does Race Equal Racism Online? (Honestly)” and other incredible programming at SXSW Interactive 2014.  

Jenny Korn photo by Jason Smith.