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Yhishara Cerise

I want to know your experiences with racism in Second Life

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4 hours ago, Drayke Newall said:

Oh me too. I'm so sick of IM's of "Hi there, nice avie" or even the dreaded one worded IM "hi", then I reply with something to start a conversation and get only cricket's chirping.

Not accusing you or anything but thought this was interesting snippet to discuss for my own awareness and curiosity in relation to the OP's question. At what point would you or any other people posting consider this to be or not be Blackfishing which is considered a form of racism?

For those that aren't aware, Blackfishing is the term used to describe a person, usually white, pretending to be someone of Black skin or another race. That being said, currently, the outcry is mostly prevalent in Social Media or films (one of which has recently potentially ruined an actors career due to doing a film as a white person acting as a Black person - for what ever reason) and in depiction of RL people wearing make-up etc to pretend or cosplay (RP) another race. The older term used would be Blackfacing. https://www.theweek.co.uk/98291/what-is-blackfishing

Whilst I am of the belief RL and SL are two different beasts entirely and at best, operate in a form of mutual understanding that there are differences and allowances given, if there has to be a correlation between the two worlds such as the OP's question and their so called 'article research' indirectly implies, my other questions (other than the one in the opening paragraph and especially directed to the OP) are the following:

How is one going to draw correlating stances of racism in RL and SL taking into account the aforementioned? and;

How is pretending to be another race in RL and pretending to be another race in SL considered different and not Blackfishing, i.e., does it purely come down to SL is not RL or is it just accepted because you haven't seen the RL person behind the avatar and therefore don't know if they are Blackfishing or not?

*Ducks for incoming pitchforks being thrown*

Though you directed your question to me I have to say that I am not in the position to answer you.   We are talking about racism and such a topic as "black fishing" falls into the same category as cultural appropriation.    I am not the one that will be negatively affected by it since I am white both in world and in reality.  In other words - I have no pony in this race like others do who are in a much better position to answer you on how they view it.   Having said that I will try to clarify some of your other concerns.

I am a staff writer for the Best of Second Life magazine. If you check out my in world profile (I use the same name there as here on the forums) you will find that my groups are not hidden, so you can confirm it if you like.  The articles I do are either one-on-one interviews or on topics that require research from many different sources.  For this particular article I wanted it from specifically a Second Life perspective because it is for an in-world publication.  Real world racism happens - but many may think that being in a virtual setting such as Second Life people wouldn't have to deal with it.  But they do my main goal is finding out in what ways it happens here.

Since there is no resource to draw from except talking to Linden Labs directly - which will only yield limited information (if any, since they don't share AR report statistics) the only other alternative was to ask Second Life residents for their experiences.  So I really am doing research for an article I am writing :) The questions I have asked are by no means exhaustive - think of them more as a starting off place - to get people thinking.   I'm sure I will ask many more before I stop visiting this thread at the end of the month.   I think you raised valid points about the black-fishing by the way.   I hope others will chime in on that issue.   I appreciate what everyone has shared so far. 

I put in a deadline because I need time to write it before my own deadline in mid July.   And a week should be enough time for those interested to respond. 

 

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1 hour ago, Jordan Whitt said:

I can't speak for the quality of darker skins as I do not use them.  I simply appreciate the beauty of the avatars who do though and think that it's definitely come a long way from how they used to look.  "Jordan" has always been a tall skinny white girl.  First a blonde, then brunette, and now black haired.

And my post has been misunderstood.  I was replying to a previous post where someone commented that they get told "nice black avi" and she didn't say how it made her feel, but given the theme of the thread, I'm assuming it's not a compliment for her.  I was trying to give her one, but people will interpret things how they will interpret them.  

 

The question about the skin tone is for everyone to answer. I know that the skin quality over all has gotten better (and after 17 years I should hope so! lol) but has it gotten better for everyone?    

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I was shopping once (around 2010) and got verbally abused (in text) and called a ton of apparently hurtful names and cussing words by a >supposed< female gansta avi.
As always you let people, (any sort of people), rant until you compute the ultimate smack-down reply. (doesn't take long lol).

Was this a real female gansta avi? I have no idea, she? certainly had the text chat & RP look down.
The abuse was such that any person would have copped the same single hit, gutter level reply from myself.
(which under no circumstances mentioned any of the derogatory terms some associate with POC - of course).

No matter who it was, my mocking laughter would have had the same effect. (she  left, I didn't :P).
For an instant I jumped to a stereotypical conclusion, then I distinctly remember thinking:
Nooo.... its the attitude that's the problem, not who is represented.

Then I had two thoughts,

I doubt any genuine POC is really going to carry on like that.
What a complete waste of time stressing out to that level, only to be guffawed at and none of the same miserable slurs cast back.
Convincing RP perhaps? 
Totally! I was convinced the person was definitely a couple of sandwiches short of a picnic. 🍩🥧🍕🌮👉🥴 

 

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Posted (edited)

As to racism here in SL, I've seen a few horrible profiles with a nazi theme that had some graphically violent photos in their picks. They were a partnered couple and that day I learned how to file an AR for the first time. I usually don't step out of my small social circle here in SL so other than that, that is all I've experienced. From what I've seen and heard from others, LL handles these things quite efficiently.

.

Edited by LyricalBookworm
Deleted first part after some thought cause too personal and painful to share here.
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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, Yhishara Cerise said:

Though you directed your question to me I have to say that I am not in the position to answer you.   We are talking about racism and such a topic as "black fishing" falls into the same category as cultural appropriation.    I am not the one that will be negatively affected by it since I am white both in world and in reality.  In other words - I have no pony in this race like others do who are in a much better position to answer you on how they view it.   Having said that I will try to clarify some of your other concerns.

I am a staff writer for the Best of Second Life magazine. If you check out my in world profile (I use the same name there as here on the forums) you will find that my groups are not hidden, so you can confirm it if you like.  The articles I do are either one-on-one interviews or on topics that require research from many different sources.  For this particular article I wanted it from specifically a Second Life perspective because it is for an in-world publication.  Real world racism happens - but many may think that being in a virtual setting such as Second Life people wouldn't have to deal with it.  But they do my main goal is finding out in what ways it happens here.

Since there is no resource to draw from except talking to Linden Labs directly - which will only yield limited information (if any, since they don't share AR report statistics) the only other alternative was to ask Second Life residents for their experiences.  So I really am doing research for an article I am writing :) The questions I have asked are by no means exhaustive - think of them more as a starting off place - to get people thinking.   I'm sure I will ask many more before I stop visiting this thread at the end of the month.   I think you raised valid points about the black-fishing by the way.   I hope others will chime in on that issue.   I appreciate what everyone has shared so far. 

I put in a deadline because I need time to write it before my own deadline in mid July.   And a week should be enough time for those interested to respond. 

Thank you for the response and the clarification. I am sure that you will indeed get some good responses for your article, especially now that you have mentioned what it is for rather than leaving it open to interpretation. To many a time have others come to these forums with similar posed questions disguised under the intent of an 'article' and were found out to be just a student from a college wanting to inappropriately and secretively research for an assignment with bias etc.

____________

As to my questions, whilst I could understand the point of view that Blackfishing is looked at as being cultural appropriation, I would argue that it isn't as, skin colour in itself cannot be described as a culture (despite people trying) but is attributed to the race of a person. You cant say that "my culture is white" as that is a colour of skin. You could say that "white people have x culture and I would like to 'appropriate' that culture" but you certainly wouldn't say "I like that persons culture so I'm going to powder my face white". I suppose you could argue that it is appropriation as far as features go if they believe that race has nicer ones. That said as far as Second Life goes, I'm not sure how to take it as, a person is in essence 'playing' or 'role playing' their interpretation of a race which leans more over to the older very racist blackface.

Whilst Blackfishing is generally different from the older Blackface whereby the later was a caricature of the race, they both do put forward the same stereotypes of a race. For example, lips being fuller etc. This is also why some people define them as one in the same.

I appreciate your response and honesty in saying you cant answer it, even though blackfishing is being seen now more so as a form of racism, I do however still believe it is relevant to your article and needs to be looked at given that it is being increasingly defined as a form racism in RL. Given the complexities of the question "is blackfishing racist"? and how that applies to other races using a different avatar race in Second Life, I wont be holding my breath for a counter argument as it would I suppose be hard to argue for either. If it is more leaning towards blackface whereby you are playing your interpretation of that race especially in urban RP environments/sims, then Second Life and Linden Lab has some serious issues it needs to work out which given the platform would be impossible.

Anyway wish you luck with your article.

Edited by Drayke Newall
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5 hours ago, Yhishara Cerise said:

I am a staff writer for the Best of Second Life magazine.

 

BoSL is still around?  

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I was recently involved in SL with a proud Chinese-American man. He is Chinese/Korean IRL and has an Asian looking avatar although it is subtly so. We had some wonderful conversations about race and his life growing up, his children's lives, his parent's lives... In SL he gave me a gift of some traditional Chinese clothing and also some Japanese clothing. I wore them and never RPed "Asian" in them. I never changed my features. But my pale, green-eyed avatar looked very pretty in them, we BOTH thought so. I took photos of me in full dress, posted them on the forum and flickr, and no one complained of cultural appropriation! He certainly didn't! He loved the photos. And he did talk about cultural appropriation when it was relevant! Everyone wants to make these into SIMPLE discussions, into binary yes/no answers, and few things are that simple and when you try to make them so you end up with wrong results.

So which variation of ME in SL is wrong?

 

xi xiang 022720_004.jpg

China 022620.jpg

SR052719B_001.jpg

dya's abandoned vacation 032220_003.jpg

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On 6/24/2020 at 10:34 AM, Bree Giffen said:

I was in a welcome area several years back and there was  ...

Yes, the welcome areas and safe hubs are the worst places in SL. LL still has major problems with the new user experience.

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On 6/24/2020 at 12:37 PM, Velk Kerang said:

I have had absolutely none, zip, zilch, nada, in all honesty. In all my years on SL I have never been called the N-Word or any other racially derogatory name.👍😎

Sup' nerd....  heheh

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This isn't really racism but whenever I tell people I'm from Singapore they'll ask me if it's in China... 

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13 hours ago, Tarina Sewell said:

Sup' nerd....  heheh

Sup' nerd! *Waves back.* Lmao!!!!🤪😎

 

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4 hours ago, SassySam87 said:

This isn't really racism but whenever I tell people I'm from Singapore they'll ask me if it's in China... 

and then say "your English is so good!" 

ya lor...

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On 6/25/2020 at 12:51 AM, Drayke Newall said:

Whilst I am of the belief RL and SL are two different beasts entirely and at best, operate in a form of mutual understanding that there are differences and allowances given, if there has to be a correlation between the two worlds such as the OP's question and their so called 'article research' indirectly implies, my other questions (other than the one in the opening paragraph and especially directed to the OP) are the following:

How is one going to draw correlating stances of racism in RL and SL taking into account the aforementioned? and;

How is pretending to be another race in RL and pretending to be another race in SL considered different and not Blackfishing, i.e., does it purely come down to SL is not RL or is it just accepted because you haven't seen the RL person behind the avatar and therefore don't know if they are Blackfishing or not?

At the risk of rerailing this discussion, I'd like to go back to this.

I think you answered your own question at the end there, but there is a fine line that is worth discussing.

First, you have to accept that you can be anything you want in SL, this is an idea that sets it apart from RL, in that you can do it at the click of a button. Wanna be a little cat today? *click* You're a cat! You want to change your avatar from male to female? *click* You're a woman! It's baked into the game and for many...that's the appeal.

Real life on the other hand, isn't that binary and doing something like that can have some repercussions. Here's a little story my father, who's from Virginia told me. It was the early 60's, his parents took him to McDonald's. This isn't a story about segregation. He saw his aunt with her husband standing in line and him being a little kid, he shouted "Auntie!" and his mother promptly slapped him and dragged him off back to the car. "Why'd she slap him?" you're probably asking yourself. She slapped him and dragged him off because his aunt married a white man and because she was fair skinned, she was passing for white. So you can imagine, he almost blew her cover and at that time, interracial marriage was illegal, but it did happen. So you can imagine....people finding out about that could be very bad to say the least.

SL isn't like that. In SL you can be anything you want. *click* *boom* Done. Nobody is going to judge you like that. Like that....put a pin in that.

Let's go back to blackfishing. Blackfishing is a very narrow thing, that doesn't apply in SL because, you can be anything you want. Blackfishing is a real thing, but it mainly applies to the social media world. The textbook example is this: https://www.instagram.com/eemmahallberg/?hl=en  Pretty right?

If you don't know the story, she's a girl that is not biracial, not black...but Swedish. Well, whats the problem with that? She's kind of making money off of....blackness. Well whats wrong with that? She's pretty...she never said she was black or part black (she did for a while, but that's not important). The issue there is....instead of hiring her, why not use a black or biracial model? So if she was advertising Dark and Lovely hair products, my first question knowing this would be..."Why didn't they just use a black model for that?" So now we're in a weird zone as a buyer of That's me...but not me...but...why didn't you use someone like me? Part of it is the pretending to be another race, but its moreso about profiting off of pretending to be another race.

In SL, there isn't anything like that. You could say bloggers....but bloggers change appearance often and they really aren't profiting on the scale of a social media influencer. Influencers make BIIIIIIG bucks. In SL bloggers are getting freebies and maybe some ad revenue. In SL, there is no blackfishing.

So with someone like @Seicher Rae deciding she wanted to make a black avatar, that's perfectly fine. It's SL, you can do that. There are no repercussions, not even an echo of real life pain, not even close to blackfishing.

Now we're coming to the fine line. So lets say tomorrow, I change my name to Lupita Voxel. Nothing wrong with that, right? Say I wanted to wear a different skin, a lighter skin. Nothing wrong with that, right? Say I wanted to change my shape to be more curvy. Nothing wrong with that.....right? Lets say I wanted to give myself a background story of being a promiscuous maid and I wrote an RP pick about it. Let's say I started doing things like using Joo instead of You when I typed things. Some people would say that's fine its RP, its second life. Some people would say....at some point I crossed a line. 

Some people might call something like that....a name like blackfishing, but the truth is its way closer to something like blackface. It's hard to quantify where that line is because it would vary from person to person. Substitute that for Asian, Black, native american....anything really. It sort of breaks up someone's peace. We all come here to escape reality, but why bring an ugly thing like stereotyping into secondlife, which brings an ugly aspect of reality into secondlife. Therefore, breaking someone else's reverie?

Its not an issue until it goes down a certain path. Hope I've illustrated what that path is.

 

 

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3 minutes ago, Janet Voxel said:

Now we're coming to the fine line. So lets say tomorrow, I change my name to Lupita Voxel. Nothing wrong with that, right? Say I wanted to wear a different skin, a lighter skin. Nothing wrong with that, right? Say I wanted to change my shape to be more curvy. Nothing wrong with that.....right? Lets say I wanted to give myself a background story of being a promiscuous maid and I wrote an RP pick about it. Let's say I started doing things like using Joo instead of You when I typed things. Some people would say that's fine its RP, its second life. Some people would say....at some point I crossed a line. 

This is where I see the issue and wanted some perspective on it. As I mentioned in one of my posts it can be seen in places like urban RP and is why I just wanted to know where people would draw that line.

3 minutes ago, Janet Voxel said:

Some people might call something like that....a name like blackfishing, but the truth is its way closer to something like blackface. It's hard to quantify where that line is because it would vary from person to person. Substitute that for Asian, Black, native american....anything really. It sort of breaks up someone's peace. We all come here to escape reality, but why bring an ugly thing like stereotyping into secondlife, which brings an ugly aspect of reality into secondlife. Therefore, breaking someone else's reverie?

I agree that how you put the last analogy is indeed blackface. My question about blackfishing was really to substantiate as to whether the milder form not involving the acting but just the skin could be defined as blackfishing. But as i also said it would be hard to argue for and against considering as you also say, you can be whoever you want to be.

3 minutes ago, Janet Voxel said:

Hope I've illustrated what that path is.

Perfectly. many thanks.

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13 minutes ago, Drayke Newall said:

This is where I see the issue and wanted some perspective on it. As I mentioned in one of my posts it can be seen in places like urban RP and is why I just wanted to know where people would draw that line.

I think the issue there is what you predominately see is a massive black man doing something like wearing a fitted cap, no shirt, a loin cloth, timberland boots and has a massive dong that hangs past his knee "Dat luv da whyte ladies" is the problem most people have with it.

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Perhaps it is age speaking here but in life it is not about what happens to you it is about how you react that makes you the person you are. (I also read that on a bathroom stall at a concert and it stuck with me)

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28 minutes ago, Tarina Sewell said:

Perhaps it is age speaking here but in life it is not about what happens to you it is about how you react that makes you the person you are. (I also read that on a bathroom stall at a concert and it stuck with me)

I have a similar one that I can't remember where I heard it,but I heard it when I was younger..It may have been one of my uncles..

When you fail, don't make it about the failure, it's all about the come back.

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Posted (edited)
On 6/24/2020 at 10:33 AM, Scylla Rhiadra said:

You might also want to talk to @Pussycat Catnap - this subject is very much in her wheelhouse.

I am extremely NOT going to talk about it here because it's not going to end well if I do...

A lot of it's far enough in the past that I'd also like to try to leave it there...

I probably will end up on it again over something - maybe even past drama... but I would prefer not to if possible...

Edited by Pussycat Catnap
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48 minutes ago, Ceka Cianci said:

When you fail, don't make it about the failure, it's all about the come back.

I partly agree.

Only excepting in that... I wouldn't have the come back if I at first hadn't had the failure.

I do not wish the experience of suffering under hate upon anyone - but I also know that I would not have the empathy I have towards others had I not been through that fire from as early an age as my first arrest at age 5.

Your struggles in life will define you - it's just a question of whether in such, they defeat you or defeat them.

 

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Welp. The chains are free on me, I suppose. For now, anyway. Felt like I was let out of SL jail or something. Haha. And, I’m late the conversation. 
 

One instance of odd...racism I can recall in SL is back when I used to rent this little skybox out, I had someone who was spying on me. And, they IMed me asking if I was into race play and if I wanted to do the pixels with them and have them call me racial slurs. I blocked the person, of course. It was a strange experience. I never knew race play was a thing. Plus they were asking for RL photos because they had seen the one I had in my RL tab at the time. But...I dunno. It was all weird.
 

I also was talking to a straight up racist. But, he didn’t know I was black IRL. I had been trolled several times or hit with scripted objects every time while having a black avie. 
 

For the longest, I didn’t want to play as a black avatar in SL for several reasons. One, the skins weren’t really good before but there are so many pretty ones I see coming out now. Second, I get ignored a lot with my black avie even though I had more interactions with my non-black one. So, I felt that the only way for people to interact with me wasn’t to play the race I am IRL. Or play a white male. 
 

 

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1 hour ago, Pussycat Catnap said:

I am extremely NOT going to talk about it here because it's not going to end well if I do...

A lot of it's far enough in the past that I'd also like to try to leave it there...

I probably will end up on it again over something - maybe even past drama... but I would prefer not to if possible...

Please accept my apologies. It was absolutely not my intention to volunteer you to talk about something you feel uncomfortable going into, for whatever reason. Sorry!

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Second Life has always been the least racist or discriminatory place on the internet since its conception, to try and make it even less so is impossible and will only do the opposite of that.

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7 hours ago, Pussycat Catnap said:

I partly agree.

Only excepting in that... I wouldn't have the come back if I at first hadn't had the failure.

I do not wish the experience of suffering under hate upon anyone - but I also know that I would not have the empathy I have towards others had I not been through that fire from as early an age as my first arrest at age 5.

Your struggles in life will define you - it's just a question of whether in such, they defeat you or defeat them.

 

I just feel fortunate enough that we had elder support around us that communicated like that trying to pick each other up.. when you are the only ones of your kind surrounded by many different groups, Hate comes from all directions.. We clung to what we could..

I didn't get arrested, but I did get fight tested all the time..So I got pretty good at that..

It helped set the tone when we moved from the inner city to the south..

I didn't learn to appreciate it and realize a lot of things until i was in my early 20's. I just feel fortunate that I took all that in from them and not what the world was trying to make me..

SL was a pretty good help also..

What SL did for me was showed me a place where it seemed like all that went away..it also introduced me to a much bigger world where I could for the first time talk to people and make friends from around the world..

A lot of debunking of things i had learned from my world, happened just in getting to know people from around the world.. I didn't realize just how much propaganda there was in my world..

My Father  is the one that really had it much much rougher than us.. He went through much worse and still pulled us out and where we are now..all without my so called mother..

Honestly,I feel she would have held us back..

hehehe

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