My infographic

Were I doing the “In Pictures” assignment, I would start with organizing my ideas.

Organizing what I want to talk about. I wanted to talk about the mechanisms we explored in Pasquale’s “Black Box Society”. I used a spreadsheet to do that:

I drew on our readings in race, theory and inequality to brainstorm some categories. I settled on cumulative disadvantage (see: Tilly), Market Exclusion/Predatory Inclusion (see: Oliver and Shapiro; Seamster and Cherron) and Spatial Segregation (see: Massey).

You’ll see I have a few that I’m not sure how to classify:


No worries. It isn’t an exact science. I’ll think bout them some more as I develop my thinking. I’ll talk with people about them. I’ll read more about them. I’ll keep tinkering. In the meantime, I get some tallies, just to see what I’m working with. Do a quick sort:

Not the most meaningful descriptive data but it gives me something to play with.

Then I start thinking about the “so what?” What is it? How am I going to communicate it. Keeping in mind that I am not a visual person, I start playing with my categories and their relationship to my reading (i.e. theory) in a simple browser app for infographics

I do lots of fussing around with this. What is a finance mechanism and what is a stratification or cumulative disadvantage mechanism? I make decisions as I go, playing with visuals to clarify my decisions for audiences on different levels. Colors signify my core text (i.e. Pasquale, also credited in the titling). Flows suggest that something is linked. I thought of this as translating Pasquale into terms that should sound familiar to readers of Omi and Wining. Then I used images to try to communicate the common everyday-ness of these interlocking transactions.

The result is:



Nothing is written in stone but this kind of intellectual exercise helped me clarify some key concepts and figure out how to integrate readings into a single narrative. That should sound familiar (i.e. literature review).  And by communicating it in a way unfamiliar to me I had to revisit my own ontological assumptions and biases.

Next, I’ll write a post for public audiences at Medium on why I did this and I’ll use that raw data in an academic paper on how and why we need cohesive middle theories of racial projects in the digital society. COORDINATE. MY PROCESS COORDINATES.


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