Jump to content
Adeindra

Race bending in Second Life

Recommended Posts

This may be a sensitive topic, but I am curious about the etiquette surrounding race-bending in SL. If I am white, and I make a black avatar, is that like blackface?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How would anyone know what you are in RL? And why would anyone care. My SL boyfriend started out as a skinny white guy, but me and my partner gave him a makeover, now he is a big black bull.

*grins*

 

 

  • Like 6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Adeindra , Just as Pam and Billi mentioned, you can really be anything you want, any race or species. 

I do think you need to be smart about how you do it. Like how you mention your concern over "Blackface"; any kind of caricature stereotyping people might be problematic? Honestly you will run into many more problems based around your BEHAVIOR than your appearance. If you are Role-Playing, lets say, an Urban Black Woman and you yourself are a Rural White Man, you just might rub people the wrong way, even if your intentions are good. 

Cultural appropriation and fashion is a whole other topic, but honestly we are just splitting hairs. As was already mentioned, no one can know exactly what you are in real life, so go ahed and be whatever you want to be!!! 

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, Zsigmond Alcott said:

Race bending??? Did he or she or it really ask that as a serious concern? GOD help us!

Oh yes, there is quite a lot of conflict between people with different skin colors in something called Real Life so it's quite understandable that somebody more used to that environment are worried about such things. And they have so few colors to choose from there. It's all just various shades of reddish-brown.

Edit: sorry, couldn't resist it ;)

You deserve a serious answer too. I use both Erupean, Asian and African avatars and I can tell you that if you are female, the darker you avi's skin is, the less unwanted attention from obnoxious males you get. But the ones you do get tend to be harder to get rid of.

Apart from that, go for whatever you feel comfortable with.

Edited by ChinRey
Adding a serious reply
  • Like 6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it's something a lot of people might take very seriously, so I was curious about people's thoughts on it. I can easily see how people might view it as a controversial thing to do. Saul Goodie brought up a good point that as long as you aren't caricaturizing or stereotyping, it might be okay, but the "black bull" is definitely a stereotype that many people find offensive. The fact that the race-bending is hidden--no one knows who is at the keyboard seems to take the sting out of it, but does that really make it okay, or does it just make it easier to get away with?

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm also open to the idea that it's just always okay! The fact that SL lets you explore different ways of being is a big draw! But, like I said, I'm curious about people's thoughts.

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Race bending may not be an issue for the immersionist SL residents (those who feel you can be anything you want), but it may be an issue with the Augmentationist residents (those who feel SL should reflect your real self). Then again, I haven't ever seen someone saying they've been race verified in their profile so it may not be an issue.

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Remember that "black" is not a culture (it's an ethnicity), and thus do not perpetuate offensive stereotypes. As long as you aren't offensive, I see no problem with it. If anything, seeing more non-white ethnicities in SL is probably a positive thing.

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

While I had never intended to do this, my choice of a darker skin tone (meant to be tanned, I am from Florida) and certain hairs, has lead to people questioning my race. I personally like it when my racial identity isn't obvious. 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Personally, I think SL is at its best when people use the opportunity to experience facets of life that they might not in RL.

I have a male avatar I keep to use while Building and on those rare occasions he has to interact with others; it's "different" and that's educational.

Having spent a lot of time in role play sims, I once had occasion to play an African-origin Non-player-character to help with a sim story-arc, and she was Definitely treated differently, and that was also educational. I did an Asian character once for the same reason and got similar results.

There are people (possibly insecure-ones) who default to shrieking "Cultural, Racial, Gender Appropriarion" - but I am not one of those. Learning to understand each other is also learning to get along. We need more of that. 

 

  • Like 8

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Real Life me is a mix of Chinese, Amazon Quechua Indian, Nigerian, Afghani, and Iberian.

I started out in SL trying to look similar to myself, but my attempts just landed me in Gorean sims because that is what some people seem to think 'native american', 'inca', or 'inter-racial' means...

All I could find in terms of skin tones was Caucasian - in degrees from pale to paler to 'makes albino look tanned'...

Eventually I found other options, but that was after some time. I put on the first African skin tone after finding my Rasta self in RL. As a sort of self-exploratory thing.

First reactions were things like "OMG a darkie", "It's black", and similar - from friends... who are no longer friends. I noticed my social reactions got negative, and I had fewer and fewr people talking to me. I got reactionary... so I tried this with a few alts: going around SL as white or black. And noticed a dramatically different response: that I could verify were not tied to any reputation I might have had.

As the skins I found improved in quality, my avatar also took on a darker skin tone - and my social circles shrank...

But I'm the sort of person who, when pushed, pushes back harder.

 

Am I African in RL? No. Not Caucasian either.

And I don't portray myself as a stereotype. Just as myself.

 

  • Like 10

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, Adeindra said:

This may be a sensitive topic, but I am curious about the etiquette surrounding race-bending in SL. If I am white, and I make a black avatar, is that like blackface?

I am a neko in SL, does that make me a cat?

But to answer your question, no. It's not like blackface in most cases because one hopes that a person creating a black avatar does it with respect, and not as a subject of humour.

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, Adeindra said:

 but the "black bull" is definitely a stereotype that many people find offensive. 

There are whole blatantly racist sims devoted to the "black gangsta" type of person.

If people wish to be offended, they can easily find things to offend them.

The decor of my club offends many many people, but oh well, sucks for them.

As my hero Happy Bunny would say in reply, I know how you feel but i just don't care.

 

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 hours ago, Adeindra said:

I think it's something a lot of people might take very seriously, so I was curious about people's thoughts on it. I can easily see how people might view it as a controversial thing to do. Saul Goodie brought up a good point that as long as you aren't caricaturizing or stereotyping, it might be okay, but the "black bull" is definitely a stereotype that many people find offensive. The fact that the race-bending is hidden--no one knows who is at the keyboard seems to take the sting out of it, but does that really make it okay, or does it just make it easier to get away with?

In there,it's your world your Imagination..You can walk it on eggshells giving a hoot what everyone else thinks and live it by how they think you should.. Like a lot of people try do to others in the real world or, you can make it about your world your imagination and realize,there is nothing to get away with an you own it ,nobody else does..

Because when it all comes down to it,what you are asking is subjective to each person..Some may have zero tolerance,while others will be fine or don't give a hoot or some tolerant..

 

It's about your fantasy..It's not about,is this fantasy gonna be ok with you guys?

Edited by Ceka Cianci
  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You are not obligated to represent your real life self in Second Life.

You are not obligated to represent your age, style of clothes, haircolour, gender, sexual orientation or race (or anything else that may define the real life you). You owe nobody an insight into who you are behind the screen (not that anyone could even be 100% sure you claim to be matches your real life self anyway) or why you chose to create your avatar the way you did. You are not even tied to using your avatar as an extended version of yourself, it could be a character, if you like to take a roleplay- and immersive focused approach.

Go ahead, be free.

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, Callum Meriman said:

It's not like blackface in most cases because one hopes that a person creating a black avatar does it with respect, and not as a subject of humour.

I get your drift and agree with it Callum, but respect and humor are not mutually exclusive.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, AmandaKeen said:

Learning to understand each other is also learning to get along. We need more of that. 

 

While I agree, I'd also caution that any understanding we obtain by bending a convention in SL will pale in comparison to the education we'd get by doing it in RL. We can escape SL by logging out, RL has a more tenacious grasp on us. And SL is more accepting of bent conventions than RL.

I think we're all bozos on this bus.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I invited a friend into SL and he decided to be a chair, you can be anything on SL, no worries about etiquette or anything as long as you comply with the ToS and (preferably) common decency :)

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In SL, anyone can be Rachel Dolezal. Best to keep it virtual though,  it's not going well for Rachel Dolezal.

  • Like 9

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/31/2017 at 6:54 PM, Talligurl said:

While I had never intended to do this, my choice of a darker skin tone (meant to be tanned, I am from Florida) and certain hairs, has lead to people questioning my race. I personally like it when my racial identity isn't obvious. 

I used to have a very dear friend that I met in SL (she has left SL, but we are still close in RL) who is black in RL. "Back in the day" black skins were few and far between, and really good ones almost non existant. She usually settled on a very tanned skin, but with her hair choices it made her race questionable. I used to call her my racially ambiguous twin. 

Edited by Aislin Ceawlin
  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/1/2017 at 11:00 AM, Madelaine McMasters said:

While I agree, I'd also caution that any understanding we obtain by bending a convention in SL will pale in comparison to the education we'd get by doing it in RL. We can escape SL by logging out, RL has a more tenacious grasp on us. And SL is more accepting of bent conventions than RL.

My RL best friend is Muslim. She had come home for a visit, and we were going to the mall. I commented on how pretty the hijab she was wearing was. She asked if I would like to wear one out on our excursion as an experiment, and I thought it might be interesting to see what sort of reactions I would get, so I did. I was treated with hostility, rudeness, and in a lot of other negative ways that had I looked like a middle class, white "probably Christian" woman, I never would have. . I realize this isn't the same as skin color, but I got a RL taste of what a lot of Muslim women go through that I otherwise never would have. I had WITNESSED it plenty of times, but to experience it first hand was something altogether different. It was a real eye opener. ETA I live in very close proximity to the largest community of Muslims (Middle Easterners) in the world outside of the Middle East ETA (again) my friend is not Middle Eastern, she's actually of Yugoslavian descent, but converted many years ago.

Edited by Aislin Ceawlin
  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, Aislin Ceawlin said:

I used to have a very dear friend that I met in SL (she has left SL, but we are still close in RL) who is black in RL. "Back in the day" black skins were few and far between, and really good ones almost non existant. She usually settled on a very tanned skin, but with her hair choices it made her race questionable. I used to call her my racially ambiguous twin. 

The only one I could find when I started was that Malabu skin which was pretty much just tan if I remember right.. but much darker than the other skins I could find at the time.. Then finally Nomine came out with some really nice darker skins that were not just recolors of lighter tones..

Then SC and others started getting them..It was nice being able to find a variety of choices after awhile..

I remember bumping into darker avatars  every once in awhile and feeling like we had to say something to each other,which we did..Until they started to become more popular it seemed..

I'm  South West indigenous,Chiricahua  myself..

Nowadays,SL has so many nice options that after coming back from break and seeign how user friendly mesh has become..I'm having a hard time  finding a place to start..

hehehehe

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...