Slipping Racism into the Mainstream: A Theory of Information Laundering


Corresponding author: Adam Klein; e-mail: (A.K.)


Many studies in recent years have addressed the notable ways that Internet features such as blogs and search engines have democratized the community of information seekers and providers, however, fewer investigations have addressed the darker element that has emerged from that same democratic sphere. That is, the huge resurgence and transformation of racist communities across cyberspace. This article presents a new theory of information laundering to explain the process by which racial hate speech is becoming legitimized through a borrowed network of online associations. This Internet-specific theory builds upon research of “information-based” racist propaganda to explain how today's search engines, social networks, and political blogs unwittingly enable purveyors of bigotry to infiltrate into mainstream spaces of public discourse.