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cybergeek

Feedback for dissertation on racial identity in cyberspace

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Hi second life users,

I am posting a thread to get your opinions and feedback for help with my dissertation. I am researching racial identity in cyberspace and would like to hear your views on a few issues. I would be very grateful for your help!! (This information will not be used for any other purpose and is for my University dissertation only).

 

Here are some questions to think about...

 

Is your avatar the same racial identity as your offline self?

 

Are you more likely to interact with avatars of the same racial background as yourself/or your avatar?

 

Do you take into consideration other avatars racial background when in Second Life?

 

Are you more likely to explore places in Second Life where you are more likely to meet other avatars as the same racial background as you?

 

Do you think avatars hold the same preconceptions from the offline world in terms of racial background?

 

Have you ever come across any confrontation because of your avatars racial identity?

 

Do you think it is ever possible for an avatar to be anonymously raced?

 

Thank you for your time.

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Is your avatar the same racial identity as your offline self?

Not even the same species!!

 

Are you more likely to interact with avatars of the same racial background as yourself/or your avatar?

Nope.  What someone is in SL is variable and doesn't matter one whit -- it can change with a Keystroke.  (I was pink last night incidently...)

 

Do you take into consideration other avatars racial background when in Second Life?

I know zilch about their RL selves.  And I don't care to.  As for avatar race, as I said, it means nothing.

 

Are you more likely to explore places in Second Life where you are more likely to meet other avatars as the same racial background as you?

I go where I go and I wouldn't even know HOW to narrow a search so that it was limited to "gray wolf" in the first place.

 

Do you think avatars hold the same preconceptions from the offline world in terms of racial background?

No.  That's silly.  It's a cartoon body, and nobody I know of thinks that Cartoon is a race.


Have you ever come across any confrontation because of your avatars racial identity?

 The only thing close to that has been "Furry Haters" where someone doesn't like furry avatars and asked us to change to human.  In that case, I didn't make a fuss, I simply left.  (I have no human skins...)


Do you think it is ever possible for an avatar to be anonymously raced?

Avatars don't have races at all.  Black or white, Aisian or Hispanic, Furry or Neko, they are all under the label "Computer generated image".

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cybergeek wrote:

Hi second life users,

I am posting a thread to get your opinions and feedback for help with my dissertation. I am researching racial identity in cyberspace and would like to hear your views on a few issues. I would be very grateful for your help!! (This information will not be used for any other purpose and is for my University dissertation only).

 

Here are some questions to think about...

 

Is your avatar the same racial identity as your offline self?
Yes

 

Are you more likely to interact with avatars of the same racial background as yourself/or your avatar?
No - but other 'racial backgrounds' can be hard to find esp as they need to speak english which is the only language (unfortunately) I can speak/type

 

Do you take into consideration other avatars racial background when in Second Life?
Not especially - there's so much diversity here with species etc it's not an issue

 

Are you more likely to explore places in Second Life where you are more likely to meet other avatars as the same racial background as you?
nope

 

Do you think avatars hold the same preconceptions from the offline world in terms of racial background?
Possibly, but as many people use SL to explore or'vent' parts of themselves they feel they can't in RL - who knows

 

Have you ever come across any confrontation because of your avatars racial identity?
Nope (though I have been told my avi should be prettier)

 

Do you think it is ever possible for an avatar to be anonymously raced?
well if one is a feral wolf, a dragon or any of the very many other species - I guess that would do it.

 

Thank you for your time.

 

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Is your avatar the same racial identity as your offline self?    Yes

 

Are you more likely to interact with avatars of the same racial background as yourself/or your avatar?  Race or species is not a factor in my Second Life

 

Do you take into consideration other avatars racial background when in Second Life?   No

 

Are you more likely to explore places in Second Life where you are more likely to meet other avatars as the same racial background as you?  No

 

Do you think avatars hold the same preconceptions from the offline world in terms of racial background?   It depends on the person

 

Have you ever come across any confrontation because of your avatars racial identity?  No

 

Do you think it is ever possible for an avatar to be anonymously raced?   Yes

 

Peace!

 

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Is your avatar the same racial identity as your offline self? It depends what alt I am on. 

 

Are you more likely to interact with avatars of the same racial background as yourself/or your avatar? In SL I see no racial differences, all I see is avatars. 

 

Do you take into consideration other avatars racial background when in Second Life? No

 

Are you more likely to explore places in Second Life where you are more likely to meet other avatars as the same racial background as you? I explore whatever seems fun, although I tend to stay away from the portuguese places only because I can't understand what they are saying worth a crap. 

 

Do you think avatars hold the same preconceptions from the offline world in terms of racial background? Yes, but I don't think anyone questions anybody about their rl racial background so it tends to make little difference. 

 

Have you ever come across any confrontation because of your avatars racial identity? No

 

Do you think it is ever possible for an avatar to be anonymously raced? ?????

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Is your avatar the same racial identity as your offline self? Yes

 

Are you more likely to interact with avatars of the same racial background as yourself/or your avatar?Absolutely not. I don't even interact with just avs of the same species, much less race, lol.

 

Do you take into consideration other avatars racial background when in Second Life? Absolutely not

 

Are you more likely to explore places in Second Life where you are more likely to meet other avatars as the same racial background as you? Absolutely not

 

Do you think avatars hold the same preconceptions from the offline world in terms of racial background? Some probably do, I don't, and I certainly don't see it as often as offline. But then, I don't wander the entire grid, so who really knows.

 

Have you ever come across any confrontation because of your avatars racial identity? Umm not that I can remember.

 

Do you think it is ever possible for an avatar to be anonymously raced? Of course it's possible. I don't think anyone could really say if it happens regularly or not. None of us has a magic ball that lets us see every corner of the grid at any given second 24/7. No matter where you go in life there will always be people who judge based on race(or perceived race anyway). Sl is absolutely no exception to that rule.

 

Thank you for your time.

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this is how race in second life works:

Avatar race is not important to most users because race characteristics are changed at will, and also is against the Community Standards to discriminate someone because of their race.

if some people have a prejudice against a real life race would find it hard to discriminate in second life because races are beyond the human races, like fairies, syrens, demons, furries, tinies.

real life race is hidden by most people that dont want to say their real life data, and most people conform with the race of the avatar so... people taking a different opinion towards you because of your race is very minimal.

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First off, there is no such thing as a race, unless we're talking about the arbitrary standards established by the breeders of domesticated plants and animals. But human beings are no domesticated species, and in the scientific world, the concept of race does not exist. The lowest taxons of the zoological taxonomy are species and subspecies, and the science community is in agreement about the fact that the human species cannot be broken down into subspecies.

The long-outdated idea of different human races is in itself racist. I hail from a country where the use of the word "race" in regard to human beings leaves a very bad aftertaste and is not only regarded as politically incorrect, but also seen as the sign of a certain ugly mindset that we're trying to overcome. I hope that the English speaking world will arrive there too eventually. The science community already has. For further information on this topic, I'd like to refer you to this statement of the American Anthropological Association: http://www.aaanet.org/stmts/racepp.htm

I'll nonetheless answer your questionnaire and mentally substitute "skin color" for "race", although I think that you might as well make it about other superficial phenotypic traits such as hair color or shoe size. (PS: Why not change the topic of your dissertation to ethnic / cultural identity in virtual worlds? That would be something worth researching, imho. Think of different language communities in SL, for example).

 

Is your avatar the same racial identity as your offline self?

My avatar is not even human. She sports elf ears, pink skin, purple-cyan eyes, blue hair, and elf ears. In addition, she is gender-ambiguous, although she's technically male.

Are you more likely to interact with avatars of the same racial background as yourself/or your avatar?

This would be hard to do in an SL context, seeing that I'm possibly the only pink-skinned and blue-haired elf/fairy/pixie thing on the entire grid :) As for the RL skin color of my SL friends: Why would I possibly care about that? For the most part, I don't have the slightest idea who they are in RL. The few who told me some RL details come from different countries, but except for one Korean-American friend, I don't know what skin color they might have.

Do you take into consideration other avatars racial background when in Second Life?

Are you asking about RL or SL skin color? I do take the latter into consideration, but only insofar as it adds to the overall appearance of the avatar. I mean, it's mostly a fashion statement in SL. My favorite skin colors are light blue and purple. I only chose pink for myself because I wanted to be a bit unique. Human skins with an orange-brown tan are a bit of a turn-off for me, but only because they're so overused. There already is a lot of color variation in SL, but I'd like to see even more of it.

Are you more likely to explore places in Second Life where you are more likely to meet other avatars as the same racial background as you?

Certainly not. I stick to places where English is the prevalent language, although it is a second language for me (at the risk of repeating myself, your dissertation would probably make more sense if you changed the subject to cultural / ethnic identity in the metaverse). But as far as skin color goes, the places that I frequent sport a colorful mixture that goes far beyond the meager range of skin colors that can be seen in RL.

I mean, we're talking about a world where people role play different species, such as furries or dragons :) I know a few (very few) places that are restricted to human avatars, but I wouldn't know of any that cares about virtual skin color. That kind of thing would probably be in violation of the terms of service anyway.

Do you think avatars hold the same preconceptions from the offline world in terms of racial background?

I try not to hold any preconceptions in either world. A more interesting question would be if people hold preconceptions about social groups and non-human species that only exist in this virtual environment, such as anthropomorphic animals (furries). That's a bit of a hot button issue :)

Have you ever come across any confrontation because of your avatars racial identity?

No. Although I might run into problems if I were to visit a historic role play sim with my pink-skinned elf avatar, simply because fantasy avatars would ruin the RP ambiance and authenticity. If I visit such a place, I switch to one of my human avatars, which vary in skin color.

Do you think it is ever possible for an avatar to be anonymously raced?

All RL details can be kept secret in Second Life. There is no need to reveal your RL gender, age, or location, and of course you can be anonymous about your skin color too. Not that the latter would matter to anybody, or at least I can't imagine that it would. 

Cultural background and language is a different matter though. I can't always hide the fact that English is a second language for me, and that I don't "get" some of the cultural references used by my American friends. But that has little to do with skin color or "race".

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I prefer to think of my avatar as most closely related to the Tocharians.

I do not think of that as being my own RL ethnic group, and I have no racial preferences for associating with other avatars.

OTOH, there does seem to be some demography in which some activities in SL seem to be more attractive to users who also choose specific racial avatar types. When I interact with a group of AV's that all have similar racial characteristics (to each other), I don't usually find them to be as friendly as people met in a more randomly associated way.

But I don't know whether the phenomenon is a simple cultural issue, or if the cultural questions are related in some way to the  RL racial identifications of the avatar users.

My own avatar is considered to be a primitive-looking person. In my interaction with other primitive-looking AV's, I find they are not often as Tocharian ("whitish") looking as my own. I understand that there's a kind of racial thinking in which whiteness is more or less equated with modernity, but I'm not some kind of ethnic epithet police who thinks it is his business to investigate any possible lack of a RL racial basis for having a primitive nonwhite avatar. Moreover, modern racial caricatures in SL are just as offensive, but I suspect that if that starts getting policed, LL will find that something like half of the offensive avatars are used by people of the same racial identity as that caricatured. The best I figure I can do is to stay out of that. Other than being comparatively pale and having reddish hair, there's no clear ethnic basis to my avatar. There's no specific part of the RL world where a primitive person could accumulate his total appearance.

I did used to use an alt who was meticulously engineered to be Afro-Korean, but I learned nothing from that. Maybe because I didn't do anything to make it seem ironic or otherwise politically interesting. If races are a thing of the mind in RL, they are only more so in SL.

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Is your avatar the same racial identity as your offline self?

Yes

Are you more likely to interact with avatars of the same racial background as yourself/or your avatar?

No (see below)

Do you take into consideration other avatars racial background when in Second Life?

 No. Race is of no importance to me and I don't notice it at all.

Are you more likely to explore places in Second Life where you are more likely to meet other avatars as the same racial background as you?

 No. My choice of places to hang out in is more linked with my sexual orientation.

Do you think avatars hold the same preconceptions from the offline world in terms of racial background?

 Yes. I've seen incidents of avatars being harrassed because they were presenting as an ethnic minority.

Have you ever come across any confrontation because of your avatars racial identity?

 
No

Do you think it is ever possible for an avatar to be anonymously raced?

 
Of course. Non-human avatars.

 

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Is your avatar the same racial identity as your offline self?

Nope.
 

Are you more likely to interact with avatars of the same racial background as yourself/or your avatar?

 
More likely than what?  I am more likely to interact with tanned skinned women because that is the majority of avatars. If you are asking if I avoid interacting with people/animals/robots/parking-meters/whatever because they are different than eith myself or my current avatar the answer is no.

Do you take into consideration other avatars racial background when in Second Life?

 
Avatars are pixels.  There is no race to consider.  What is the race of a yellow submarine?  I had a rather plesant conversation with one just a few days ago.

Are you more likely to explore places in Second Life where you are more likely to meet other avatars as the same racial background as you?

Umm ... What? Are we talking about the same platform here?  Have you even gone in world?

Do you think avatars hold the same preconceptions from the offline world in terms of racial background?

 
Avatars are pixels.  They are inable to have thoughts thus the answer is ... another WTF?

Have you ever come across any confrontation because of your avatars racial identity?

 
Yes.  There are many places I can not go with my partner unless she tucks her ears under her hair and pulls a skirt over her tail. 

Do you think it is ever possible for an avatar to be anonymously raced?

 
That has been my point the whole time.

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Ishtara Rothschild wrote:

{snip}  although she's technically male {snip}

If you understand that phrase and all of its implications, you are a SL resident :D

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Patricia Mattercaster wrote:

I wish everybody would think like you, Ishtara.

Unfortunately (or otherwise) not all of us are blessed with the combination of intellect, learning anfd experience that Ishtara has...

... Which is not to say that people like me don't have our own lovable bits :smileyindifferent:

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Patricia Mattercaster wrote:

I wish everybody would think like you, Ishtara.

Yes, a wonderful and intelligent mind.  I enjoy many, many of Ishtara's posts.  

 

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Is your avatar the same racial identity as your offline self?

NO 

Are you more likely to interact with avatars of the same racial background as yourself/or your avatar?

I SOCIALIZE WITH ALL RACES IN RL AND SL

Do you take into consideration other avatars racial background when in Second Life?

NO 

Are you more likely to explore places in Second Life where you are more likely to meet other avatars as the same racial background as you?

NO, RACE DOES NOT COME INTO THE MATTER 

Do you think avatars hold the same preconceptions from the offline world in terms of racial background?

MAYBE 

Have you ever come across any confrontation because of your avatars racial identity?

NO 

Do you think it is ever possible for an avatar to be anonymously raced?

NO

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cybergeek wrote:

Is your avatar the same racial identity as your offline self?

 
In RL ... people couldn't make up their mind if I am Eurasian, Asian or Polynesian..The Koreans thinks I'm chinese, the Filipino speaks spanish/tagalog to me, my ex-fiance convinced I have european blood and I even had a group of Japanese doing 20 guesses on me once because they initially thought I was Japanese. In SL, people only have to look at my boobs and they'd think I'm Cuban...:smileyindifferent:

Are you more likely to interact with avatars of the same racial background as yourself/or your avatar?

 I have problem 'interracting', period!

Do you take into consideration other avatars racial background when in Second Life?

Well, Yes... I'm envious of the LAQ residents and I would prefer to stay away from the Curio skinned avatars. I heard they are snobbish, high maintenance type of skins. I like the down to earth Redgrave tribes and the unassuming but refreshing Freebie avatars.

Are you more likely to explore places in Second Life where you are more likely to meet other avatars as the same racial background as you?

Nah, unless they tell me the owner of the sim is of a Laq or Curio descendent, I usually can't tell what race created the sim
nor the avatars occupying the place i'm in.

 Do you think avatars hold the same preconceptions from the offline world in terms of racial background?

I'm not sure about the other avatars.. really kinda scary if they can think for themselves... imagine them suddenly turning to you and screamed .. "Stop telling me to walk to that place! I need to pee, now!!!" ... /me shivers... but so far, Willow has no preconception of colours whatsoeva...

Have you ever come across any confrontation because of your avatars racial identity?

 
Are you kidding me?.. as soon as I told them that I am racial-ly exotic and my people live in trees... the guys want to build treehouses for me and possibly bamboo-caged me in as their priced Nightingale Bird or something.

Do you think it is ever possible for an avatar to be anonymously raced?

I would like to, but it seems like my boobs sealed it for me.

Thank you for your time
.

Glad to take my time answering this.

 

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Is your avatar the same racial identity as your offline self?

YES (I tend to *meow* in my sleep and I can be very very lazy .... ofcourse I don't wear a tail in RL)

Are you more likely to interact with avatars of the same racial background as yourself/or your avatar?

 NO (I love the interaction with others or is it intercourse......)

Do you take into consideration other avatars racial background when in Second Life?

NO (why to consider this....must be a very boring life if people do so)

Are you more likely to explore places in Second Life where you are more likely to meet other avatars as the same racial background as you?

 
NO & NO

Do you think avatars hold the same preconceptions from the offline world in terms of racial background?

 
YES (I have seen cases like this)

Have you ever come across any confrontation because of your avatars racial identity?

 
YES (even got banned in places because I wasn't human enough according their TOS)

Do you think it is ever possible for an avatar to be anonymously raced?

YES

 

*meows*

 

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cybergeek wrote:

Hi second life users,

I am posting a thread to get your opinions and feedback for help with my dissertation. I am researching racial identity in cyberspace and would like to hear your views on a few issues. I would be very grateful for your help!! (This information will not be used for any other purpose and is for my University dissertation only).

 

Here are some questions to think about...

 

Is your avatar the same racial identity as your offline self?

Yes

 

Are you more likely to interact with avatars of the same racial background as yourself/or your avatar?

Yes, because the majority of SL avies that I've seen that are protrayed as humanoid have ethnic features common to the same small subset of races. 

 

Do you take into consideration other avatars racial background when in Second Life?

No.

 

Are you more likely to explore places in Second Life where you are more likely to meet other avatars as the same racial background as you?

Yes, but only for the reason I gave in question 2 above.


Do you think avatars hold the same preconceptions from the offline world in terms of racial background?

Yes, because avies are not self aware. They are agents for the RL minds behind them.

 

Have you ever come across any confrontation because of your avatars racial identity?

No.

 

Do you think it is ever possible for an avatar to be anonymously raced?

I'm not sure what that means. If it means having an avie whose racial identity can't be nailed down then probably yes, it is. Appearance-wise at least. Just as many people in RL have a mix of features that does not lend well to deciding one race over another.

But since the experiences common to some cultures is not duplicated in others, some of that can always rub off in the behaviors, styles, mannerisms, speech patterns, and/or life outlooks of a person, to where one may be able to make educated guesses. So when I consider that I have to file it under "perhaps".

 

Thank you for your time.

 

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cybergeek wrote:

Hi second life users,

I am posting a thread to get your opinions and feedback for help with my dissertation. I am researching racial identity in cyberspace and would like to hear your views on a few issues. I would be very grateful for your help!! (This information will not be used for any other purpose and is for my University dissertation only).

 

Here are some questions to think about...

 

Is your avatar the same racial identity as your offline self?
Yes

 

Are you more likely to interact with avatars of the same racial background as yourself/or your avatar?
It doesn't make a difference

 

Do you take into consideration other avatars racial background when in Second Life?
No

 

Are you more likely to explore places in Second Life where you are more likely to meet other avatars as the same racial background as you?
No

 

Do you think avatars hold the same preconceptions from the offline world in terms of racial background?

Some Residents do and some do not. "a profound change" -Philip-

 

Have you ever come across any confrontation because of your avatars racial identity?
No

 

Do you think it is ever possible for an avatar to be anonymously raced?
Yes but only if the avatar does not interact with other avatar's. The name an avatar chooses, the way they dress, how they talk, interest they follow, groups they join, locations they visit are all indicators of who that avatar is.

 

Thank you for your time.

A commonality I've found amongst avatars is that if you have a working computer and internet access, you probably have Money. I'm not sure if the Internet wants poor people. Then look at who are the poor people and you'll begin to find real answers.

If money is the answer to 9 of out 10 questions, what is the 1 instance when money is not the answer?

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Tricky to answer as race broadens out to species in SL, so I've answered for both a real life and SL perspective.

 

Is your avatar the same racial identity as your offline self?

No. I'm a mushroom tiny in Second Life.



Are you more likely to interact with avatars of the same racial background as yourself/or your avatar?

Avatar: No, as mushrooms are rare. I don't hang out in tiny places much either.

Me: No, most people I interact with have Northern European avatars. They're the majority in SL. I'm not Northern European.



Do you take into consideration other avatars racial background when in Second Life?

No.



Are you more likely to explore places in Second Life where you are more likely to meet other avatars as the same racial background as you?

No.



Do you think avatars hold the same preconceptions from the offline world in terms of racial background?

A racist person won't stop being racist because it's Second Life, so some people do for sure. I've seen people being harassed for not having white avatars. I doubt anyone who does the harassing will reply to a public survey.

SL also has an extra layer of prejudice based on species. Non-humans are banned from some places. People can be more open about non-human prejudice, as it's not a TOS violation to ban non-humans.
 

Have you ever come across any confrontation because of your avatars racial identity?

Yes. I've visited places where non-humans were banned, but I didn't realise until I got there.

 

Do you think it is ever possible for an avatar to be anonymously raced?

Yes. My avatar doesn't have a human race. If I didn't link it to my real identity, no one would know (and to be honest, few people check the real life stuff in my profile).

If I wanted to be anonymous at a species level, I could wear a default plywood cube as an avatar.

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cybergeek wrote:

Hi second life users,

I am posting a thread to get your opinions and feedback for help with my dissertation.

Considered not replying because of that...

Is your avatar the same racial identity as your offline self?


.More or less. I am a mix of Asian and Native American in RL, that's what I project in SL even as a Neko and Furry. Though some of alts vary.

Are you more likely to interact with avatars of the same racial background as yourself/or your avatar?


.Not particularly, and I've not encountered others of my mixing here.

Do you take into consideration other avatars racial background when in Second Life?


.Yes. And anyone who claims otherwise is lying. You can see a marked difference in how much attention you get when you shift looks in SL - and race will play a big factor..

Are you more likely to explore places in Second Life where you are more likely to meet other avatars as the same racial background as you?


.Well I have explored places that expound themes related to parts of my roots. So in that sense yes.

Do you think avatars hold the same preconceptions from the offline world in terms of racial background?


.Yes to an extent. See my note above. You can also see people playing up negative stereo types of varying races.

Have you ever come across any confrontation because of your avatars racial identity?


.Yes. Quite visciously so, but not inworld or where it can be AR'd.

Do you think it is ever possible for an avatar to be anonymously raced?

.No. People will treat even a prim cube with certain preconceptions - usually assigning it their own race.

 

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