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I want to know your experiences with racism in Second Life


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I think a more important thing to ponder is why we would even look through the lens of race. Its unfortunate that there are some in this world who see absolutely everything through a lens of race, I would assume that if we looked at that logically, if your looking for racism, you will find it. In Second Life I think its much easier to look at an individual based on their personal identity and character, because most times your not actually seeing their real selves. Similar to dating someone in SL, most times the barrier of "looks" is removed and you actually just talk to someone, which in most cases its hard to hide someones actual character for long periods of times. Ive had a few alts in SL and ive never seen any racism outright, but I have seen basic character flaws, and I am sure they have seen mine. I really believe we have to stop looking for racism around every corner, view someone for their individual character.

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1 hour ago, L3r0yj3nk1ns said:

I think a more important thing to ponder is why we would even look through the lens of race. Its unfortunate that there are some in this world who see absolutely everything through a lens of race, I would assume that if we looked at that logically, if your looking for racism, you will find it. In Second Life I think its much easier to look at an individual based on their personal identity and character, because most times your not actually seeing their real selves. Similar to dating someone in SL, most times the barrier of "looks" is removed and you actually just talk to someone, which in most cases its hard to hide someones actual character for long periods of times. Ive had a few alts in SL and ive never seen any racism outright, but I have seen basic character flaws, and I am sure they have seen mine. I really believe we have to stop looking for racism around every corner, view someone for their individual character.

The silly things I notice are, there are still some in world that even though all that is stripped away, still find reasons to put themselves above another.. Even though we were all new at one time..

I've watched people progress from new and lost in this world, into someone like that, so many times that I can pretty much spot them out in the early stages nowadays..hehehehe

I guess the things that it gets done over is what I find silly.. Like someone being a fury or not having mesh or just being new to the world in general..

I think a lot of people don't really realize just how big this world really is and get caught up in their cliques and thinking most of the world is like them..

I can't claim innocent's to that..I got caught up in it myself early on when people were feeding my ego like it was a free buffet night and the sizzler..hehehe

But I feel fortunate that I got humbled pretty quick..

It's easy to get caught up in a clique.. after that and comparing my outside world self to myself inside world self..Yea, I was being a hypocrite pretty hard at first..

I was grateful to be grounded..

 

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I haven't experienced any but I am mostly a Dinkie (tiny cat avatar).  There is an all black Dinkie avatar too.  I think people are a species like cats.  Cats come out all different colors but they are all cats.   We are one of a few multi-colored species.  Dogs and horses are multi-colored too.  Most other species more or less make a clone of themselves such as Doves or Peacocks or Kangaroos.  

Edited by JanuarySwan
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On 6/24/2020 at 10:01 PM, Kimmi Zehetbauer said:

On the racism, I only encountered it a couple times in world. The last time is when I was DJing one night filling in for my man who usually did the gig. I was playing some funk tunes.  After a few songs 2 avis there donned Afros and I got deeply offended. Maybe I overreacted but when that happened it bought back bad memories from my middle school years as some kids would don the Afros to make fun of me and the others. This was in the 70s, but it hurt a lot as it made me feel not welcomed. The club owner PMed say it was in spirit of the music and racism was a thing of the past, but I had a feeling she rarely left her house.

Your encounter rang a bell for me as a couple years ago my partner and I found a big afro hair while out shopping. We both grabbed a copy in case it would ever be useful for any themed event and it was less than a month later that at an inworld dance we were attending, the DJ played a set of 70's style funk that we were really getting into, being both old enough to remember when those tracks were hits on the radio.

I messaged my girlfriend that this was a perfect opportunity to wear the afro's we had picked up, both  to be in theme and as a tribute to the DJ for the great tunes being played. Certainly no intent as any sort of put down of either.

The hair and event I am talking about was actually in Osgrid , not Secondlife but on the off chance that this happened to you there also, I will just say that I am sorry you were offended and that in our case at least, causing any hurt with our outfit selection was the furthest thing intended.

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Since I'm a white person, some will find that I can't speak to this legitimately. I have an Asian avatar, which gives me some little insight to this issue -- people treat me as if I am invisible or "the help" at times.

But generally, I don't find the level of racism there is in RL inside SL.

I have Black tenants who have reported racist attacks on me, and after I investigate them, those other tenants are expelled and reported. Sometimes reports go "nowhere". Sometimes they work. Fortunately this has not been a common occurrence.

Most of the incidents of racism I have seen in 15 years come from a notorious commuter college group related to 4chan involving white kids going around in what amounts to blackface, which should have been instantly discredited -- but was not. They went around in Black avatars with large 1960s Afros and the "Pool's Out" meme. They were most definitely not Black or Hispanic but white kids as they were happy to tell you at SL meet-ups and on social media. They would spam Bill Cosby jello ads and other strange racist and anti-semitic memes, and crash sims. They even had a RL professor who also dressed in this blackface and did not hide this fact. It's the sort of thing that cost people their jobs now in RL. But instead, this group was treated as "edgy" and various left-wing professors would write thinky studies of how they were "transgressive" -- when really they were criminals. And this sort of Internet group tragically has spilled over into RL with RL racist and terrorist attacks. So I think it was always the right thing to AR these miscreants, even if "virtual". And eventually I think it works.

I would like to think they could not get away with these antics now. But I could be wrong.

I remember for a time -- again about 14 years ago -- when there was a set of white bloggers absolutely convinced that there were no Black skins in SL, and this was a sign of racism. This was so patently false, and there were so many people with Black skins (and I remember for a time I had an Indian avatar with a Nehru jacket) that it just made no sense. It was one of these white liberal concoctions that they needed to invoke about SL because it's real crime, in their minds, was that they protected copyright.

I find the capture roleplay sites absolutely abominable and I think LL should outlaw them. They are also based on a racist meme often, and involve denigrating women. But there are so many of them, and I guess some high-value patrons, that LL thinks they need to keep them in them of free expression.

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apart from the blatant trolling stuff inworld from new-ish accounts firing off spam rezzers and making grotesque caricature avatars and saying provocative stuff in the chat then I don't see a lot of racism inworld. With these troll caricatures then I find that Linden Governance responds pretty quickly

as Janet mentioned earlier tho I have seen people getting into blackface at events for giggles and laughs. Not so much in more recent times, which I think is because the blackface issue has surfaced quite a lot in RL mainstream media in recent times, so people are more aware of this than they were a few years ago

where I have encountered racism inworld has more been targeted at my RL me. And this usually happens because other than how-do-i-stuff inworld  conversations, then I pretty much end up chatting about RL issues.  Politics, classism, religion, culturalism, racism, economics, sexism, genderism, symbolism, etc

when racist verbals get chucked at me in inworld conversations (which isn't all that often) then is usually because the other person has ended up doing their banana. The slurs usually come in clustered phrases with other denigration words beginning with F and D and C and B

when this happens I just let it woosh over my head, knowing that the conversation has come to an end

in this respect I agree with what Luca said earlier.  SL is a whole lot less toxic than are many other online spaces. And I think is because as others have mentioned already.  People on SL are and behave a whole lot more mature on SL than people do elsewhere online

i think is because SL takes a whole lot of personal time commitment to level up to where we are comfortable within ourselves as expressed thru our avatars within the environment. Those that don't reach this level, most often just quit and go fulfill themselves elsewhere   

Edited by Mollymews
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On 6/27/2020 at 7:43 PM, lucagrabacr said:

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.

i like the first part of your sentence. Am not sure about the last part tho. Is a bit of a leap to say impossible and will result in more racism and discrimination

were Linden to tighten up further than they have then it will be on the lines of what Twitter, Reddit, Facebook, etc are attempting to do.  More racist behavior on the platforms is not the outcome of this. Lesser numbers of rabid accounts on the platform is the outcome

Edited by Mollymews
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1 minute ago, Mollymews said:

i like the first part of your sentence. Am not sure about the last part tho. Is a bit of a leap to say impossible and will result in more racism and discrimination

were Linden to tighten up further than they have then it will be on the lines of what Twitter, Reddit, Facebook, etc are attempting to do.  More racist behavior on the platforms is not the outcome of this. Less accounts on the platform is the outcome

Well, Second Life already has a rule which basically says "don't be racist", that's already as clear as it can be.

What tend to happen when someone or an entity try to push that limit is either borderline tokenism or a parody of social justice and equality instead of actual justice, and equality. When either of those happens racial relations usually sour instead of improving.

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I can't really be my own race in peace ingame because 

 

1: people will say I look "too young" and accuse me of having a teen/child av. keep in mind I give my avatars very filled out figures.

2: I'll get THAT kind of guy trying to treat me like a sub cause we're all submissive unlike western ladies amiright?

3: people will tell me the weirdest ***** like "I hate 'realistic' anime avatars they're so creepy." ok? and?

4: que random words people think are chinese but they're actually just nonsense. (I am not chinese.)

 

then again I've been all over, and this mostly happens at spawn sims, sandboxes, and weirdly enough furry/furry related sims. I already avoid anime sims because thats a can of words I don't want to open. a suitcase better left unpacked. I sort of get things like this in real life but people see far more comfortable saying it in sl.

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On 6/30/2020 at 6:34 AM, Prokofy Neva said:

I find the capture roleplay sites absolutely abominable and I think LL should outlaw them. They are also based on a racist meme often, and involve denigrating women. But there are so many of them, and I guess some high-value patrons, that LL thinks they need to keep them in them of free expression.

I have also seen the racism associated with BDSM in Second Life. Someone took me to a sim that was full of white avatars looking for black slaves, people with profiles full of Aryan crap. I was so astonished by this that I tried to TP another friend in to the sim to show them, and they couldn't get in, the sim was so popular that it was full.

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  • 1 year later...

I've witnessed with my own eyes people treat me differently based on the color of my skin/avatar. Everyone on sl seems to want to be blissfully ignorant and stick their heads in the sand when it comes to racism. And I've also witnessed/experienced people blackfishing, and copying black avatars and roleplaying as black people and when you call them on it their excuse is "oh it's just a game." It's not a game when people - who are not black - wear darker skins/roleplay being black/using the n word and use our culture as a costume. But you know.... nobody wants to have that conversation.  🙃

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2 hours ago, EnchantrixWillow said:

I've witnessed with my own eyes people treat me differently based on the color of my skin/avatar. Everyone on sl seems to want to be blissfully ignorant and stick their heads in the sand when it comes to racism. And I've also witnessed/experienced people blackfishing, and copying black avatars and roleplaying as black people and when you call them on it their excuse is "oh it's just a game." It's not a game when people - who are not black - wear darker skins/roleplay being black/using the n word and use our culture as a costume. But you know.... nobody wants to have that conversation.  🙃

Serious question.  I would never RP as a black person as I am white but what is the difference between RPing as a black person or Asian or Mexican or any other culture vs. RPing as a man if you are a woman or visa versa?  Maybe I'm just not understanding what the difference is.

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1 hour ago, Sam1 Bellisserian said:

Serious question.  I would never RP as a black person as I am white but what is the difference between RPing as a black person or Asian or Mexican or any other culture vs. RPing as a man if you are a woman or visa versa?  Maybe I'm just not understanding what the difference is.

I'm not black so take my opinion with a grain of salt on this issue, but I think it's not necessarily that the thing itself is wrong/bad, just that the vast majority of actual examples are. With analogy to gender, Guys playing girls is fine, but guys playing a 'Bimbo' in a non-sexual setting (or in a sexual one, to be honest) is kinda sexist.

If you were to ask a non-black person playing a black character in SL why that's a thing they would want to do, I don't think "Because I want to learn more about African American culture" or "Because I feel more comfortable with that image of myself" would be the normal response.

If the Race/Ethnicity/Gender of a roleplayed character isn't one's own, there's generally a reason, even if not explicit.

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One of my alts is Indian (South Asian), and has been since she was created in 2010. I added a note to her profile early on to state that I am not Indian in RL and I speak only English, after someone tried to have a conversation with me in Hindi. 

Indra frequently wears traditional Indian dress and often gets complimented on it, usually by women. She occasionally gets "nice Desi girl" but when she does, this is almost always from a Desi guy, and as Desi is the term that South Asians (India, Pakistan and Bangladesh) use for themselves I don't interpret that as a racist comment at all. Sexist undertones perhaps, but not racist. While South Asians, at least in the UK, are often a target for racism, it doesn't seem to be on the same scale as with black people (which is incidentally why I have an issue with "all lives matter" - while they do all matter, let's focus on the ones that are in the most danger right now).

With regard to being open about being non-Desi in RL, no-one has ever once accused me of cultural appropriation. I have discussed this issue with some RL Desi people I know at work, and the concept of "cultural appropriation" doesn't register with them. They are proud to share their culture with others as long as it's taken respectfully, and that's one of the reasons I chose for Indra to be Desi rather than (for example) Native American. 

As I'm interested in the 1940s, including WW2, I have occasionally seen white-supremacist content (Nazi memorabilia) in SL but it doesn't seem to last long before getting pulled. 

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Last year I saw a cop car on a private RP sim that had a racist slogan on the warning lights in the back window. I reported it and within a week it was removed.

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The only experience I have seen was a friend of mine was DJing and a guy called her   N*****, at which point, I got in his s*** and things went downhill from there. Fortunately, she had ban rights and she sent him packing.

 

I've experience FAR more sexism than racism.  Not sure why a total stranger would IM me to ask  me if I wanted to f***.  What's worse was telling them "NO!" and getting the reply "Why not?"    Talk about going ballistic and starting a flame war.  I finally started wearing a tag that said "Hi, fine, USA, NO!"

Edited by Doris Johnsky
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I'm of Asian descent, as are several of my inworld friends. We've been holding our breath in SL but happily none of us have received AAPI hate. Having said that, just like in RL we stay away from places where Asians are fetishized, spots with any sort of right-wing political signage, and even most places with flags (potentially nationalistic). Erring on the side of caution is safest.  

Knowing that POC are all in this together, a few of us did several BLM protests by holding BLM signs and taking a knee. We stood on the sidelines quietly, out of everyone's ways, just wearing BLM shirts and masks and holding signs. It was disappointing to have numerous avatars abuse us verbally and push us around. All were reported and blocked. On the bright side, several people asked for signs, shirts, masks, and the kneel pose, and joined us.

Taikou have a nice "Asian Solidarity With Black Lives Matter" banner as a freebie in store. We put one of the back (ocean-facing side) of my old LH houseboat, and I was later surprised to find the banner missing, along with some of the other Japanese stuff we keep inside the houseboat. Luckily none were gatchas or no-copies so we just put everything back in place, but it was disturbing to think that somebody de-rezzed that stuff. I'm hoping that this was just a temporary error rather than a stalker. 

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On 8/22/2021 at 7:50 AM, Waiomao said:

Taikou have a nice "Asian Solidarity With Black Lives Matter" banner as a freebie in store. We put one of the back (ocean-facing side) of my old LH houseboat, and I was later surprised to find the banner missing, along with some of the other Japanese stuff we keep inside the houseboat. Luckily none were gatchas or no-copies so we just put everything back in place, but it was disturbing to think that somebody de-rezzed that stuff. I'm hoping that this was just a temporary error rather than a stalker. 

From the Linden Homes restrictions -

*Activities and/or displaying items that could be construed by Linden Lab as political campaigning is not permitted in Bellisseria.

That could explain why your items went missing.

 

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For anyone who's been in SL for 10+ years as only the same gender/race as their RL, is missing the opportunities of a multiverse.

I've used SL primarily for roleplaying, which occurred intermittently over the years. People do react differently to your avatar depending on the race.

Hispanics have the best selection of slang and profanities and consequently are fun to roleplay (I know, I appropriate for all the wrong reasons.) My Mexican characters had good times.

My caucasian characters had an easier time engaging with other men on the sim(who're generally white too), but less likely to find themselves intimately involved with women. Far, far less likely. 

An Italian character I roleplayed could immerse himself into intimate scenarios so casually, it was obscene. I was genuinely appalled at how easy everything was for him.

A black character I roleplayed in the late 2000's could generally feel the distrust he encountered. On an IC, and OOC level. If I needed something diplomatic done it was just easier to take my other character.

I would have roleplayed a Japanese character too, there weren't the skins and head shapes available back then.

 

This recent attitude of vilifying those who make avatars not of their race, is a step backwards in cultural integration. It's going to lead to where you cannot be partnered, or associated with anyone outside of your race. The world's already been there and I'm not going back.

And I do get the cultural appropriation argument, but this isn't it. So long as the avatars are done responsibly and not stereotyped versions of African American men in ghetto bling, and tiny Asian waifu girls. There are opportunities for promoting diversity in SL.

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