Gin, Kevin Jason. “Racism Online: Racialized Aggressions and Sense of Belonging Among Asian American College Students”, PhD, Boston College, 2017. http://hdl.handle.net/2345/bc-ir:107420.
College students today are the most connected and social media savvy generation in the history of higher education (Junco & Cole-Avent, 2008) and maintain constant connections to online platforms such as Facebook and Twitter (Clem & Junco, 2015). Social media are now understood as a central component of campus and student life across colleges and universities (Martínez-Alemán & Wartman, 2009). Coinciding with the proliferation of social media use has been a rise in racialized hostilities on online settings. These offenses often target racially minoritized students, and scholars have become increasingly interested in understanding the ways this antagonism on social media impacts college student experiences (Tynes, Rose, & Markoe, 2013), including Asian Americans (Museus & Truong, 2013). This dissertation uses a critical race theory framework to examine the racialized environment on social media, how Asian American college students experience racialized aggressions, and how their sense of belonging is impacted by racially hostile online encounters. This dissertation addresses the following question: How do encounters with racialized aggressions on social media impact Asian American students’ sense of belonging at a PWI? 29 participants from a predominantly white institution, East Oak University, engaged in individual interviews, participant observations, artifact collection, and focus groups as part of this study. The findings of this study suggest that the encounter of racialized aggressions on social media, especially those on the anonymous platform Yik Yak, are detrimental in facilitating positive sense of belonging among Asian Americans at East Oak. These online racialized encounters are asserted to be rooted in the endemic nature of racism at East Oak, and the claiming of social media as a property that enabled Whites to define and dictate campus culture by engaging in racist discourse. The nature of these online communications speaks to the ways that social media is suggested to influence both sense of belonging and institutional racial climates on today’s college campuses.