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I want to know your experiences with racism in Second Life


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I checked the community guidelines and there doesn't seem to be any rule against what I am about to ask.   In reality we have so many examples and organizations we can draw on for information about this particular sensitive issue but in Second Life, there isn't a public record.  All we can do is submit individual reports that something happened.  We never know whether or not any action was taken.  However, in order to fill out that report, we have to be there to witness it as incidences of it unfold. But once the moment is gone - it's gone. 

The issue I am talking about is racism in Second Life.   With all the things that are happening in the real world, the conversation is a very relevant one and I know racist things have happened in world.  I have done a bit of reading on it already here.  There were past threads and posts that dated back several years.  Recent threads and their responses are more dealing with real life events than things happening in Second Life itself.  I am doing research on this because I want to write an article on it as it refers to the experience Second Life avatars have while logged in. 

If you would like to share your story, please send me an instant message here on these forums.

There are a few ground rules though. 

1) Please don't name names.   Naming an avatar is against the forum guidelines.  Naming a group or sim would be irrelevant and most have rules forbidding that kind of behaviour anyway (though it still happens).   

2) I want this thread to be safe for people that want to share.  Commentary on the posts aren't really necessary.  If negative or opposing comments are made please follow the "be nice, be respectful" rule.   Mostly I am looking for individual experiences of racism in Second Life towards darker skinned avatars and trying to find common experiences among them.

The important things I want to know about are:

What form did the racism take? 

Were the tools Linden Labs supplies to deal with incidents of this nature sufficient? 

Did you have support from other residents, sim owners/managers and group csr's? 

Did it only happen in Second Life or did it carry over onto your social media? 

What would you like to see done to support anti racist efforts in Second Life?

If you have been a victim of racism in reality,  were the feelings you experienced the same or different when you experienced in Second Life.

 

The deadline is June 30, 2020.  

In advance, thank you to everyone that responds. 

 

 

  

 

 

 

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It's a very interesting subject, Yhishara, and I wish you luck with it . . . but I suspect you'll have a difficult time finding people who will testify to their own experiences. One person you might want to contact directly is @Ashlyn Voir , if you haven't already: I'm pretty sure she has said she's had experiences in-world. You might also want to talk to @Pussycat Catnap - this subject is very much in her wheelhouse. I'm sure there are others, as well (maybe @Janet Voxel?).

You don't make your terms of reference very clear: would you include forms of RP in this? There is, for instance, a niche of "kink" that involves "white" women being harassed, peddled as prostitutes, or raped by so-called "black" men, often within an RP frame of the putative drug culture. Personally, although I understand that this is RP, no one is harmed, the RL identity of the people involved may differ from their racialized representations, etc., I think that such RP is racist and highly problematic. I'm not sure what LL's attitude towards it is.

Have you done a search through SL groups for racialized terms?

New World Notes, as you may already know, did a piece rather misleadingly entitled "The Impossibility of Real Hate Speech & Symbols in a Virtual World" on more or less this subject. It's interesting, but the notion that racism is "impossible" here is, of course, nonsense.

This may be more in-depth than you want to go, but there's also been a fair amount written, in scholarly or semi-scholarly sources, on the subject of race and racism in virtual worlds, including SL. As you probably know, this has been a particular issue with World of Warcraft. There's a book, dating from a while ago (2012, I think) called Social Exclusion, Power, and Video Game Play: New Research in Digital Media which I think has an entire section on race in virtual worlds; I think you can access at least parts of it via Google Books. And the Journal of Virtual Worlds Research, which is still I think, open access, certainly has some stuff on this subject, pertaining to SL and other platforms.

But I do think you need to refine your terms a bit. What exactly are you looking for?

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I was in a welcome area several years back and there was a new avatar that had a racist name and saying racist things in chat. I reported it using the abuse report tool and a Linden popped in after a few seconds. The troll avatar disappeared shortly after.  This was in the middle of the day pacific standard time.  I haven’t seen anything as bad before or since then.

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I don't know if the person was intentionally being racist, or just really slow in the head and could not figure out how insulting he was being.  Near a parcel of land I had lived on, the owner of another 8000SQM parcel of land put up these huge 64x64 walls as a barrier at the ground level.  On each one facing outside, was a RL picture of a disfigured minority I have seen used in the past by rather rude people who get a kick out of it.  I placed a report, which is something I very rarely do and nothing became of it.  It probably is still there, a monument for all to see.  It is one of the reasons I decided to just leave an otherwise pretty parcel.  

I can't say for certain it was racist, but a lot of these people like to skirt on the line, probably because they find upsetting people to be funny.  Regardless if the intention was racist or not, it was clearly trying to get a reaction from others.  I do wonder what brought about this from him, I think it must have been a dispute with one of his other neighbors.

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it happens at welcome area's quite often, more often then most may think but its usually taken care of quickly if any of the staff of that area is on at that time. usually they get ejected and banned from the welcome area.

so it does happen in sl.

9 minutes ago, Scylla Rhiadra said:

You don't make your terms of reference very clear: would you include forms of RP in this? There is, for instance, a niche of "kink" that involves "white" women being harassed, peddled as prostitutes, or raped by so-called "black" men, often within an RP frame of the putative drug culture. Personally, although I understand that this is RP, no one is harmed, the RL identity of the people involved may differ from their racialized representations, etc., I think that such RP is racist and highly problematic. I'm not sure what LL's attitude towards it is.

since its considered rp and is consensual between players ll doesn't do or care about it. since its not real and just fantasy. but yes it is racism, its just their way of getting around that naming of it. by calling it a kink/fetish... and since the idea of you cant shame anyone's kink, then all kinks even racism based is acceptable.. even if it leads to more problems of racism. fantasy racism is just as bad as real racism, it should not be tolerated or accepted or normalized even in kink/fetish communities. there are some kink/fetishes that should not be tolerated or accepted or normalized ever...

 

14 minutes ago, Scylla Rhiadra said:

New World Notes, as you may already know, did a piece rather misleadingly entitled "The Impossibility of Real Hate Speech & Symbols in a Virtual World" on more or less this subject. It's interesting, but the notion that racism is "impossible" here is, of course, nonsense.

this is because those kinds of people do not accept or believe in emotional or written or mental or psychological abuse they only believe in physical and since you are not being physically hurt you cannot be hurt. same as most of those in sl that try and say sl=/=rl to them. that its all just roleplay and you cant be hurt by it.

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A person insisted not being able to use the N-word was limiting his freedom. He had a Confederate flag on his SL house, and boasted of having RL cars with Confederate flag images on them.  Unfortunately, this was not some teenage kid one would tend to just dismiss.

Edited by Luna Bliss
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Let's see....just off the top of my head.

Sometimes when I get hit on I get, "Nice Black" "Nice African" and "Pretty Black Avatar" pretty often. When I was lighter I would sometimes get "You look part African..."

A couple months ago I reported an avatar because his name was "Big Nig"...nuff said.

Also, I think a sandbox got shut down a couple of weeks ago because the sim owner was doing some repugnant, racist things there.

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I always called SL an escape, Because I never had as much problems in SL as in RL..

For the most part, most of the people in world have been really good..

There were a few times, but nothing really that I couldn't handle or would  write home about , to be honest.

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17 minutes ago, Drakonadrgora Darkfold said:

since its considered rp and is consensual between players ll doesn't do or care about it. since its not real and just fantasy. but yes it is racism, its just their way of getting around that naming of it. by calling it a kink/fetish... and since the idea of you cant shame anyone's kink, then all kinks even racism based is acceptable.. even if it leads to more problems of racism.

I'm pretty sure that LL has some rather loose and slippery standards on this one.

For instance, I'd guarantee that RP based around Nazi concentration camps would get zapped in a hurry. So, I suspect, would RP based on slavery in the antebellum American south. On the other hand, I think that the kind of thing I described is likely "acceptable" -- although it's at least possible (probable?) that LL may be a little less lenient in the context of recent events, and their loud (and laudable) support of BLM.

Race has always been an iffy issue here. Gender, on the other hand? It's pretty much open season on women, for whatever reason. Rape 'em, enslave 'em, shoot 'em in the head and then desecrate the corpse, slice 'em and dice 'em and serve 'em for dinner? That's all entirely cool and allowable here.

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8 minutes ago, Scylla Rhiadra said:

I'm pretty sure that LL has some rather loose and slippery standards on this one.

For instance, I'd guarantee that RP based around Nazi concentration camps would get zapped in a hurry. So, I suspect, would RP based on slavery in the antebellum American south. On the other hand, I think that the kind of thing I described is likely "acceptable" -- although it's at least possible (probable?) that LL may be a little less lenient in the context of recent events, and their loud (and laudable) support of BLM.

Race has always been an iffy issue here. Gender, on the other hand? It's pretty much open season on women, for whatever reason. Rape 'em, enslave 'em, shoot 'em in the head and then desecrate the corpse, slice 'em and dice 'em and serve 'em for dinner? That's all entirely cool and allowable here.

yep because its a kink/fetish and you cant shame anyone's kink or fetish..

your kink is not my kink but its ok..... 

the only real morals ll makes anyone follow is the morals of the legal justice system beyond that anything pretty much goes. because its rp.. its not real.. your not being hurt..because it was consensual and that makes it ok. you can just log out.. you can just not respond.. you can just tp away.. you can just block them.. so you cant be hurt....

absolute total bs...

Edited by Drakonadrgora Darkfold
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I am sure it does exist and thats expected but personally never faced any issues regarding Racism and neither my Tenants did any complaints about other Tenants to me.

Most of the complaints had to do with other things like stalking, and "relationship" drama.

I also have an african american avatar in my list of alts that i play sl with (you can be anything in sl) and nobody ever bothered me.

Edited by Nick0678
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1 hour ago, Scylla Rhiadra said:

It's a very interesting subject, Yhishara, and I wish you luck with it . . . but I suspect you'll have a difficult time finding people who will testify to their own experiences. One person you might want to contact directly is @Ashlyn Voir , if you haven't already: I'm pretty sure she has said she's had experiences in-world. You might also want to talk to @Pussycat Catnap - this subject is very much in her wheelhouse. I'm sure there are others, as well (maybe @Janet Voxel?).

You don't make your terms of reference very clear: would you include forms of RP in this? There is, for instance, a niche of "kink" that involves "white" women being harassed, peddled as prostitutes, or raped by so-called "black" men, often within an RP frame of the putative drug culture. Personally, although I understand that this is RP, no one is harmed, the RL identity of the people involved may differ from their racialized representations, etc., I think that such RP is racist and highly problematic. I'm not sure what LL's attitude towards it is.

Have you done a search through SL groups for racialized terms?

New World Notes, as you may already know, did a piece rather misleadingly entitled "The Impossibility of Real Hate Speech & Symbols in a Virtual World" on more or less this subject. It's interesting, but the notion that racism is "impossible" here is, of course, nonsense.

This may be more in-depth than you want to go, but there's also been a fair amount written, in scholarly or semi-scholarly sources, on the subject of race and racism in virtual worlds, including SL. As you probably know, this has been a particular issue with World of Warcraft. There's a book, dating from a while ago (2012, I think) called Social Exclusion, Power, and Video Game Play: New Research in Digital Media which I think has an entire section on race in virtual worlds; I think you can access at least parts of it via Google Books. And the Journal of Virtual Worlds Research, which is still I think, open access, certainly has some stuff on this subject, pertaining to SL and other platforms.

But I do think you need to refine your terms a bit. What exactly are you looking for?

Thank you.

 

No,  not stories based on roleplay.   I am looking specifically for people just randomly going about their day and getting into a situation with another resident that was racist towards them - completely out of character.   In character racism (while I do have a problem with that) is mutual - both parties signed up for it and know what is going to happen in advance.  They know what to expect and that is (for some reason) what they want to experience.   This is for people that didn't expect it - it could be in a group when they are asking for help, experiences while shopping, rezzing into a sim and seeing racist items... things like that.  These are the things they didn't sign up for. 

I will put the avatars you mentioned on my list of contacts.   Thank you. 

I don't see the problem as non-existant.   It is definitely there.    

Due to limited words,  I am leaving my search specifically to Second Life and what it's residents have experience.   But I will look into those sources as well. 

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24 minutes ago, Drakonadrgora Darkfold said:

yep because its a kink/fetish and you cant shame anyone's kink or fetish..

your kink is not my kink but its ok..... 

the only real morals ll makes anyone follow is the morals of the legal justice system beyond that anything pretty much goes. because its rp.. its not real.. your not being hurt..because it was consensual and that makes it ok. you can just log out.. you can just not respond.. you can just tp away.. you can just block them.. so you cant be hurt....

absolute total bs...

So I guess that's another question - were people hurt just as much dealing with racist residents here as they would be if the same thing happened to them in reality?   I mean part of it may be physical in reality but emotional scars can be left behind that might be much harder to deal with. 

 

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13 minutes ago, Yhishara Cerise said:

I am looking specifically for people just randomly going about their day and getting into a situation with another resident that was racist towards them - completely out of character.   In character racism (while I do have a problem with that) is mutual - both parties signed up for it and know what is going to happen in advance.

There certainly is a difference, of course, but it's not as clear cut as one might think, given that representation is so fluid here. I could be representing as black, and find myself the target of racism. It wouldn't "hurt" in the same way as if I actually were black in RL, but it would still cause damage, in the same way and for the same reasons as RP racism does: it causes social damage, by reinforcing or insisting upon racist stereotypes. A novel that features racist depictions of characters, by analogy, is also damagingly racist for the same reason, even if no "real" people have been directly targeted.

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I remember back in 2009 when I was a newbie and  I lived at New Citizens Inc, the place was greifed by a rain of Swastikas more than once.   The people in charge handled it, I was just a newb and I don't know how they did it but they shut it down.

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4 minutes ago, Scylla Rhiadra said:

There certainly is a difference, of course, but it's not as clear cut as one might think, given that representation is so fluid here. I could be representing as black, and find myself the target of racism. It wouldn't "hurt" in the same way as if I actually were black in RL, but it would still cause damage, in the same way and for the same reasons as RP racism does: it causes social damage, by reinforcing or insisting upon racist stereotypes. A novel that features racist depictions of characters, by analogy, is also damagingly racist for the same reason, even if no "real" people have been directly targeted.

That could be both good and bad though. 

I am white in reality and I play a pale skinned avatar.   But if I did play a darker skinned avatar and was treated badly for it then it might give me an experience to draw from when talking to people that actually have experienced it in real life.   And I have heard it explained that at the end of the day - it is offensive to some because if I did that, I could just go back to my pale skin look if it got too uncomfortable.  Those in reality cant' do that.  But I think the experience would be invaluable to understanding this issue from the "other side".    Might open some eyes to the harsh reality of racism.  

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33 minutes ago, Drakonadrgora Darkfold said:

yep because its a kink/fetish and you cant shame anyone's kink or fetish..

I would happily shame someone for this one. I probably won't here, because this is SL and I know the culture and I haven't really got the energy to fight it out, but there are some things for which "I get off on it" isn't good enough for me.

My consolation, of course, is that nobody is really harmed etc etc, and also that what I've seen of the RL kink scene is so vastly different to SL that it might as well be another planet (despite all the self-proclaimed experts being on SL. I'm sure there are reasons for that but I'm not in the mood to debate them). 

But there are some things that I don't think are OK, and I suspect most right-thinking people also wouldn't think are OK. If I'm going to use SL then I must accept that the Lab thinks it's ok, but I'm still pretty sure there are a few things that wouldn't fly here, although if the target is women then it seems there are no limits.

The Lab is a private company, not a law maker, and does not actually HAVE to tolerate anything (it seems pretty good at coming down on anything involving children, so clearly it can be done). 

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35 minutes ago, Drakonadrgora Darkfold said:

yep because its a kink/fetish and you cant shame anyone's kink or fetish..

your kink is not my kink but its ok..... 

the only real morals ll makes anyone follow is the morals of the legal justice system beyond that anything pretty much goes. because its rp.. its not real.. your not being hurt..because it was consensual and that makes it ok. you can just log out.. you can just not respond.. you can just tp away.. you can just block them.. so you cant be hurt....

absolute total bs...

Even the legal system is not the same in every country on the planet and there are 200 countries.

Second Life is a game and we are talking about virtual characters.

Personally i have alts that were Asians, Africans, Caucasians, Males, Females, Kids, Adults, Old, Dogs, Cats, Dragons, Mosquitos, Aliens, Trees and the list goes on.

Every aspect of Second Life Is all about RP and has nothing to do with RL.(Otherwise the majority would get a divorce for sure.)

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1 hour ago, kali Wylder said:

I remember back in 2009 when I was a newbie and  I lived at New Citizens Inc, the place was greifed by a rain of Swastikas more than once.   The people in charge handled it, I was just a newb and I don't know how they did it but they shut it down.

I used to go to nci as well.. but stopped because of  the attitude of the few of its staff 

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57 minutes ago, Nick0678 said:

Even the legal system is not the same in every country on the planet and there are 200 countries.

Second Life is a game and we are talking about virtual characters.

Personally i have alts that were Asians, Africans, Caucasians, Males, Females, Kids, Adults, Old, Dogs, Cats, Dragons, Mosquitos, Aliens, Trees and the list goes on.

Every aspect of Second Life Is all about RP and has nothing to do with RL.(Otherwise the majority would get a divorce for sure.)

not true, not everyone rp's here in sl, some do take it very serious and personal.

and again not true, just because you see sl=/=rl to you does not mean everyone else does. for some people sl=rl..

it doesnt matter what other countries legal systems are.. it only really matters what the us legal system is for ll is based in the us so it has to follow us laws. so even if some other country said xyz was ok does not mean it would be in sl if it was not ok by us laws.

Edited by Drakonadrgora Darkfold
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