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RACISM in online gaming- how do you feel about it?

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August 29, 2009 9:12:11 AM

I play alot of Left for Dead, I love it, it's one of the best games I have ever played. There is one drawback for me though; Racism.

Because one of the characters is black (for those who don't know the game) I frequently experience comments like 'haha why do you want to play as the N*****?!' and ' Let's get the N***** first, die N*****! lol' (note the lol on the end, like it's funny).

I started a thread on the Steam forums about this and have had a mixed response. Many people think it's ok to be racist online, because it's just 'humour' and only directed at a fictitious character, others say that this is the internet and you cannot police it, they are merely exercising their right to free speech. Those who oppose it appear to be in the minority.

To state my position, I am white British and abhor racism wherever it may occur. It is not the words used but the feeling behind them that I object to.

Can anything be done about it? Could Valve (and other developers, I'm sure it's not just on L4D) introduce censoring software?
Your thoughts and ideas are welcome, this is an important debate.

AC


I can't and won't ignore it before you suggest that, I always speak out online, I have to live with it, I of course know that. Oh and don't take offence, I just want to talk about it in a sensible manner without name calling etc etc :D  .
August 29, 2009 11:27:13 AM

there is no such thing as a race. all humans are humans, there is no genetic difference. Thing is, people like to form groups. It starts with family & neighborhood, it goes way far as to nations and races. I guess people feel safer and better when identifying with other like them.
like u said, its a free speech. so i believe we will see a lot of online n offline racism talks, between people and in games. games reflect society, so u can tell how far we have "evolved" since a lot of the games are with killing, fighting, and in this case, even racist.
August 29, 2009 12:06:06 PM

Quote:
Yes they are scum and the only thing I can think of it to get their steam id and report them to the servers admin if that is possible.

Or you can post their ID with perhaps a screenshot of it and see if any action can be taken.

Just take a bit of pleasure knowing these are sad individuals who wouldn't say damn all to someone in person.



Check this thread out: http://forums.steampowered.com/forums/showthread.php?t=...

I tried to see if anything could be done and have ended up fighting my corner for saying it's wrong in the first place! I'm astonished at the apathy of the majority and the ignorance of a few.

Hope the link works.

AC :D 
Related resources
August 29, 2009 1:39:28 PM

I must admit that I'm more sexist than racist in L4D. Why is Zoey always the problem? :D 

This has inspired me to start another thread.
August 29, 2009 3:29:16 PM

Most people will say anything from the safety of sitting behind their computer. Many of them would never dream of saying such things in front of the group, especially black people, that they are talking about. Sometimes you cannot help it when people show their ignorance, but I am glad you are not sitting idly and speaking out against it. My son is Bi-Racial and I am glad for people like you who have moved into the 21st century instead of carrying on racism that has been passed down from generation to generation.
August 29, 2009 3:57:17 PM

cappster said:
Most people will say anything from the safety of sitting behind their computer. Many of them would never dream of saying such things in front of the group, especially black people, that they are talking about. Sometimes you cannot help it when people show their ignorance, but I am glad you are not sitting idly and speaking out against it. My son is Bi-Racial and I am glad for people like you who have moved into the 21st century instead of carrying on racism that has been passed down from generation to generation.



Thankyou for saying that Cappster. It really pi**es me off and I won't just ignore it. Even though people are entitled to free speech, I don't believe that extends to racist comments on servers that I have had to pay for the privilege to play on. Many of my opponents on the Steam forum say that I can just leave or attempt a votekick but it's not that easy and it's not the point.

Tacit acceptance of this behaviour allows it to fester and erode and for the younger generation might make it seem ok, which it wholeheartedly is not.

What I need to know is if there is a way that racist comments can be censored and/or players warned about their behaviour by Valve, even though the servers may be private? Surely they must abide by some kind of code of conduct, after all they are playing under the Valve banner.

What do you think guys? Possible? Feasible?
Your thoughts are welcome.

AC
August 30, 2009 1:57:23 AM

The suggestion to votekick is stupid. Nobody is going to vote yes just because of a racist comment. You'll probably end up being kicked yourself.

As for Valve, I'm pretty sure they couldn't care less. They'll go along with popular opinion.
August 30, 2009 5:22:45 AM

I find just voicing your opinion on it and just leaving it at that is about all that works.
It works because it gives the ignorant another point of view, and lets them know it isnt right.
Other than that, theres not alot that can be done. People get their cookies off in strange ways, all of them not just safe nor harmful them to themselves alone, or, being racist is being harmful to themselves, and carries with it hurt towards others, but some are too ignorant to understand
To me, friendship comes in all colors races languages and citizenship, and if youre even luckier, love also
August 30, 2009 2:34:39 PM

I know on some servers that I play on, Racism is a automatic kick. I don't play L4D and never have, but I would think it is up to server providers to not accept racism. JDJ is pretty much right. Call them out and let them know they are being low grade humans and move onto a new server or realize that they have a lower brain function then us that do not have prejudice.
August 31, 2009 4:43:55 AM

Unfortunately it affects every server. Now if there were Christian servers like there are for CoD you might not find many racist comments, the players would all be banned :p 
August 31, 2009 9:31:48 AM

What you guys have suggested is pretty much exactly what I do do. I make sure they know they are being ignorant morons by voicing my distaste but like Randomizer says, the votekick does not work very well for this problem, YOU are the one who ends up getting kicked (speaking from bitter experience lol)

On a side issue, the thread on the steam forum was closed by a moderator more than likely nobbled by a longstanding forum member who was arguing with me. It seems that intelligent debate cannot be found over there. If you haven't read it, it is worth a read, if only to see how ambivalent and accepting the gaming community is of racist behaviour...I was surprised.

Of course I will just continue to speak out but I am angry that there is very little 'will' to change it, kind of makes me feel ashamed to be a gamer.

Racist abuse coupled with the usual verbal abuse prevalent online is making online gaming less and less attractive for me, I think I might learn how to make my own server and just game with friends.

It's sad though isn't it, to have your hobby marred by complete idiots.

AC
August 31, 2009 10:31:14 AM

You should be no more ashamed of being a gamer as for being a decent person.
If decency isnt existing in gaming, then we do have problems.
It just plays into the "there goes the neighborhood " thing. Dont be ashamed, just be thankful that youre not ignorant nor insensitive to these things, and being a gamer actually puts hopes to an end of this behaviour.
I like some answers to the problems we all face here, and to me, its only encouraging.

PS To clarify, the there goes comment was meant to say, dont move out, your neighbors need you
August 31, 2009 12:59:16 PM

I absolutely hate it. I do challenge it, and normally get something like "why, are you a *****" in response. Frankly, as others have said, I shouldn't have to explain why it's wrong.
If it's a server being run by me or my friends, they get kicked. No warning. If you don't know why saying things like that is wrong, you'll do something else stupid in a second. If it's not my server, I'm out of there.
And yes, people say things from the safety of their computers.
http://www.myconfinedspace.com/2006/01/03/punch-to-the-...

@ac3144 - Keep fighting the good fight buddy ;) 
August 31, 2009 9:03:50 PM

Thanks for the support guys, after the attempted mauling I got on Steam forum, I needed some back up!

Happened again tonight, spoke out, nothing more was said so a result I guess. I think this is going to be a Loooong battle :D 

For me personally, one of the worst things was that around half of the dimwitted plonkers who make stupid comments are from MY country; the UK. We have to be one of THE most multicultural societies in the world and still some of us brew such hatred towards others it beggars belief.

I'm thinking of getting a mask and a cape made up and venturing out at night dispatching bad guys....what do you think? A step too far? ;) 

AC
August 31, 2009 10:26:05 PM

Haha, I am also one of those racist people, well... Not because I try to be.. It's just. that sometimes, words just slip out and most of my friends drop the N bomb quite a bit. So I have gotten used to hearing that word.
August 31, 2009 10:57:26 PM

In Australia the infected team are usually annoyed when someone other than Louis dies first. :??: 
September 1, 2009 12:03:56 PM

I dont see too much of the black / white racism as being the problem. But there is a huge issue over gaming online (PC & Console) and hearing some group of Americans (sorry but im sure others do it too) talking non stop about crap or worse still playing some heavy rap music for all to hear.

All I ask is stop being so selfish and ruining it for the rest of us. If you must talk to each other (non game related) get a cell phone. And if you REALLY must play music get some headphones so the rest of us dont have to put up with it.
September 1, 2009 1:10:03 PM

They're probably using HLDJ, not playing it through their mic.
September 1, 2009 4:36:52 PM

@stevensl2 - That's a rubbish excuse. "I can't help it, my friends are racist". Doesn't mean it's ok.
September 1, 2009 10:33:41 PM

stevensl2 said:
Haha, I am also one of those racist people, well... Not because I try to be.. It's just. that sometimes, words just slip out and most of my friends drop the N bomb quite a bit. So I have gotten used to hearing that word.


Sorry man, that's bullshit. If you engage in it, however peripheral, YOU are a racist thug and so are your friends. I'm sure many Germans had gotten used to hearing that Jews were animals, it never EVER makes it right.

AC
September 2, 2009 5:53:31 AM

625585,1,418952 said:
I play alot of Left for Dead, I love it, it's one of the best games I have ever played. There is one drawback for me though; Racism.

Because one of the characters is black (for those who don't know the game) I frequently experience comments like 'haha why do you want to play as the N*****?!' and ' Let's get the N***** first, die N*****! lol' (note the lol on the end, like it's funny).

Erm...I'm a pretty big Steam/Valve gamer and from the game like Tf2, CSS and L4D I don't really encounter much if any racism. If there is racism its not usually as bad as that. It's usually stereotyping, such as " y does the black guy always die first :{ " etc.

I try not to worry about it... Just play the game and continue on, gamers shouldn't let racist comments ruin the time they spend playing their online games.
September 2, 2009 8:18:43 AM

Mystical_Chicken said:
625585,1,418952 said:
I play alot of Left for Dead, I love it, it's one of the best games I have ever played. There is one drawback for me though; Racism.

Because one of the characters is black (for those who don't know the game) I frequently experience comments like 'haha why do you want to play as the N*****?!' and ' Let's get the N***** first, die N*****! lol' (note the lol on the end, like it's funny).

Erm...I'm a pretty big Steam/Valve gamer and from the game like Tf2, CSS and L4D I don't really encounter much if any racism. If there is racism its not usually as bad as that. It's usually stereotyping, such as " y does the black guy always die first :{ " etc.

I try not to worry about it... Just play the game and continue on, gamers shouldn't let racist comments ruin the time they spend playing their online games.
said:



Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

AC
September 2, 2009 4:50:56 PM

I'm not a racist. But i must be honest here in saying i really dont give a crap about racism in games, any of them. I play World of Warcraft and we have a running joke in our guild about Gnomes (were not the only ones). Is this racism? Gnomes are a race so i guess it is. But you know what.. its funny because no one actually cares, even those guys who play Gnomes (I have a gnome alt myself). So if you get off your moral high horse and enjoy the game your playing, rather than looking to get a moral "1-up" all the time you might actually have more fun.
September 2, 2009 5:08:58 PM

Sorry, i thought this was about games. Ofcourse real life racism isnt a good thing and ofcourse it is something to speak out against. But when it comes to gaming, its ALL fantasy characters, wether they are coloured black, white, or blue for gods sake.
Enjoy your games. The guys saying ***** having great fun winding you up about it, so Lighten up and ignore it. Aint doing anyone any harm is it?
September 2, 2009 5:24:04 PM

I don't give a monkey's if it's a fictional character, using the N word is out of order. I don't think anyone should have to "lighten up and ignore it". I'd think it was wrong if someone was saying it down the pub, and I think it's wrong saying it online. And yes, casual racism does harm.

And it is in no way similar to talking about fantasy races.
September 2, 2009 5:59:59 PM

It's something either either just have to deal with or avoid the games where you find yourself being offended. Racism is just one part of all the ridiculous crap that goes on/gets said in these types of games and there's not really much you can do about it. It would be like trying to get rid of porn on the internet.

I think a lot of why people make racist comments is because it's a form of griefing. The people say racist things may not even be racist but they will say or do just about anything because a.) they think it will give them and edge and b.) they can get away with it.

L4D is kind of unique in that unlike other games (TF2,CS) you only need 1 teammate willing to put up with your crap and you can get away with anything. It's harder to find a majority of people on a team willing to deal with racism when you have 8, 10, 12 or more people. But in L4D you only need 1 person to facilitate whatever nonsense you want.
September 2, 2009 6:00:23 PM

"Casual" racism means that people become used to hearing it and can make it seem acceptable. It isn't.

I'm dead set against racism and even avoid watching some international sports with certain friends. ("Kraut isn't racist", Erm, yes it is...)

Your friendly mixed-race geek!
September 2, 2009 6:00:49 PM

Point is the thread was about online gaming, not Real Life. I dont think there is any question about racism IRL being bad. The beauty of the internet, and indeed online gaming as a part of that, is that no one has a face, a colour, a race or gender. We are usernames and avatars, faceless entities. If you take genuine offence to being called a N or indeed anything else. The diffrence with online games is you have the freedom to leave, which is much less drastic then exercising your freedom to leave this earth.
September 2, 2009 7:48:03 PM

@VampyreByte

I cannot believe you even tried to make a serious comment about racism using the analogy of Gnomes. Gnomes have not nor ever will be real in any sense of the word. Gnomes are not represented in society by any racial group, in stark contrast, Louis (in Left for Dead) very much is. Your point is ridiculous.

What you fail to understand (and unfortunately you are not alone) is that racism online (in any form but to stick to the topic, against black people) is a mirror for the sentiments held by real people in real life in some groups of society. To claim that racism in real life is 'bad' but online racism is somehow benign is either the words of the extremely naive or of the downright disengenuous.

I take your point regarding the freedom to choose whether to listen to such moronic drivel, but my point is why the bloody hell should I have to?

I am resigned to the fact that I will still be attempting to drag under-evolved, single synapse owners into the 21st century (maybe I would settle for the 19th in some cases) until I'm old(er) and grey(er)...so be it.

AC

Those who stand for nothing, fall for anything- Alexander Hamilton 1755-1804.
September 2, 2009 7:55:38 PM

purplerat said:

....I think a lot of why people make racist comments is because it's a form of griefing. The people who say racist things are racist and they will say or do just about anything because a.) they think it will give them and edge and b.) they can get away with it....



Don't talk the talk, if you don't want to be associated with the walk. Simple.

AC
September 2, 2009 7:56:36 PM

Louis always dies first :( 
September 2, 2009 7:58:49 PM

MGDJoker said:
Louis always dies first :( 



Is that sarcastic satire?

AC
September 2, 2009 8:04:48 PM

I wonder why Louis doesnt have an emote or something that mentions that Horror movie stereotype? Or whatever u wanna call it.
September 2, 2009 8:12:13 PM

Vampyrbyte said:
Point is the thread was about online gaming, not Real Life. I dont think there is any question about racism IRL being bad. The beauty of the internet, and indeed online gaming as a part of that, is that no one has a face, a colour, a race or gender. We are usernames and avatars, faceless entities. If you take genuine offence to being called a N or indeed anything else. The diffrence with online games is you have the freedom to leave, which is much less drastic then exercising your freedom to leave this earth.



The UK justice system does not back up your arguments, see:

http://technology.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/tech_and_w...

and neither does the US legal system, see:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/08/18/liskula-cohen-...

Anonymity on the net is a fading light.

AC
September 2, 2009 8:21:47 PM

Yea , what really pisses me off about online gaming is asshats and e-thugs and the fact that if someone said crap like that to me in RL I wouldnt have a problem knocking them on there ass. I really cant imagine how it is for a person of different race to have to deal with racism online on top of the other BS that we already put up with.

I think you should have to provide a valid drivers license in order to play online games. Someone would think twice about what they say wondering if that person they are talking smack to lives down the block.

Its like the concealed carry law lol.
September 2, 2009 8:25:37 PM

I've actually confronted someone in RL of a situtation that happened with then in ol CS 1.5 back when i was in highschool. Turned out that the guy that was E-Thuggin it up was a big fat slob. I guess his Clan failed to tell him that the scrim they played was against local people from the same town lmao.
September 2, 2009 9:18:12 PM

ac3144 said:
Don't talk the talk, if you don't want to be associated with the walk. Simple.

AC

Obviously you missed what I was saying in your attempt to get a cute little one liner in. I'm not trying to defend anybody for racist comments made during a game but you do have to take these things with a grain of salt - either that or just avoid the situation all together.

When I'm playing a game and I hear some idiot make a racist comment I don't get all wound up the way I might if I was sitting in a bar and heard it. Why? Because I'm a realist and I realize that it's probably just some kid trying to get under my skin and knows he can get away with it. And that's the key - there's almost never a way to as you say "associate the walk with the talk" - so why get too worked up over it? Unless it's a game/server where they can be reported there's really nothing you can do about it besides leave. Telling them they are idiots is only playing into their hands because like I said they are more interested in annoying you then they are in furthering a racist agenda.

I mean I've spoken to hardcore racist in real life before and if you start telling them they are backwards, inbred, morons they get pissed. But if you start yapping back at these internet idiots saying racist things 99% of the time it only makes them happier to know they've offended you to the point of drawing you into an argument they don't even care about in the first place.
September 2, 2009 10:13:27 PM

purplerat said:
Obviously you missed what I was saying in your attempt to get a cute little one liner in. I'm not trying to defend anybody for racist comments made during a game but you do have to take these things with a grain of salt - either that or just avoid the situation all together.

When I'm playing a game and I hear some idiot make a racist comment I don't get all wound up the way I might if I was sitting in a bar and heard it. Why? Because I'm a realist and I realize that it's probably just some kid trying to get under my skin and knows he can get away with it. And that's the key - there's almost never a way to as you say "associate the walk with the talk" - so why get too worked up over it? Unless it's a game/server where they can be reported there's really nothing you can do about it besides leave. Telling them they are idiots is only playing into their hands because like I said they are more interested in annoying you then they are in furthering a racist agenda.

I mean I've spoken to hardcore racist in real life before and if you start telling them they are backwards, inbred, morons they get pissed. But if you start yapping back at these internet idiots saying racist things 99% of the time it only makes them happier to know they've offended you to the point of drawing you into an argument they don't even care about in the first place.



@Purplerat

I didn't miss what you were saying, sorry if I gave that impression. It was your comment that even though people may say these things that they 'may not even be racist'. In my opinion if you engage in racist abuse you are a racist, it really is as simple as that.

It doesn't bother you that much, fine, that's ok but I don't share your apathy. I'm a realist too and know full well that many people spout this crud for a reaction, be that positive or negative, but I disagree with the attitude that you and many others subscribe to, which is to effectively ignore it.

By ignoring it I feel I am implicitly condoning it which just goes against the grain too much for me. I understand where you are coming from and respect your right to feel and act in any way you see fit, for myself, I will always speak out for better or for worse. If everybody ignored it, nothing would ever get done about it.

As I said in my OP, I really don't want to get into slanging matches (it stifles real discussion) and I usually agree with your other posts. Perhaps my earlier glib remark was smug, and if I cheesed you off I apologise, but hopefully you can see the point I was trying to make.

AC
September 2, 2009 10:16:25 PM

Excellent MGDJoker! I hope you rubbed it in!
Thanks for your comments.

AC
September 3, 2009 12:53:23 AM

DeeTee_uk said:
I don't think anyone should have to "lighten up and ignore it".

We've been told this for almost everything immoral that exists as commonplace today. It's often under the guise of "free speech" and "anti-discrimination." Except in this case it's anti-anti-discrimination.
September 3, 2009 1:47:20 PM

jimishtar said:
there is no such thing as a race. all humans are humans, there is no genetic difference.


jimishtar said:
it goes way far as to nations and races.



Interesting. :) 

ANyway, it's annoying and childish, but people will do what ever they can /want to online because they think it makes them funny or cool. Even online, people group up with one another with others of the same mindset, and when those type of people get together, they self perpetuate the issue. It all stems from sites like 4chan, where racism is seen as “the norm” and “funny.” I know a few people IRL that act “tough” online, and they are complete pussies or dorks IRL.
The best thing to do is ignore it though and simply report them to whoever regulates the game. The thing about people like that is, they are doing it to get laughs and get people riled up. If no one ever got riled up, they would stop and move onto something else.
September 3, 2009 1:55:11 PM

I'm not advocating being apathetic towards racism or "just lightening up and ignoring it", but what are you going to do or what do you think should be done about it?

Really I would like to hear your ideas on what should be done about racism in online games - specifically games like L4D where most of the time you are playing on a privately hosted server?

Personally I don't find arguing with these people does any good since that is exactly what they want. Sometimes I'll try to counter grief them, but what good does that really do. So mostly I just leave the game.

What I hope nobody is suggesting is that this somehow be policed by some type of extraneous entity. Something like forcing game makers to make sure online gaming complies with the appropriate ESRB rating would be a really bad idea. I don't like racism at all, but I do think it's free speech. I look at that from the perspective that I have some pretty strong ideas which I like to speak out on which I know a vast majority of other people not only strongly disagree with but believe I should not even say such things. So the idea that racists are going to be forced to shut up scares the hell out of me.
September 3, 2009 5:06:00 PM

I think ive been misunderstood with what ive said in this thread. I'm not a racist IRL, i dont let it fuss me i have friends of many diffrent ethnicities, on the same note in know people who i really dont like of many ethnicities. But when it comes to anyone saying anything of any kind of "ist" in a game, i really couldnt care less because i am trying to enjoy myself playing games.
I'm also a massive believer in Freedom, and true Freedom. If Person A has the right to be Anti-Racist, Person B has a right to be a racist.
If you start censoring what people say, where do you stop?
September 3, 2009 6:31:15 PM

Vampyrbyte said:
I'm also a massive believer in Freedom, and true Freedom. If Person A has the right to be Anti-Racist, Person B has a right to be a racist.
If you start censoring what people say, where do you stop?


Utter nonsense. That's like saying I have freedom, so you can't stop me urinating in your drink. Being racist is oppressive in nature. You don't have the freedom to perform actions that adversely affect another, and I agree with what randomizer said above. It's a weak excuse for a weak character flaw.
September 3, 2009 6:42:22 PM

DeeTee_uk said:
Utter nonsense. That's like saying I have freedom, so you can't stop me urinating in your drink. Being racist is oppressive in nature. You don't have the freedom to perform actions that adversely affect another, and I agree with what randomizer said above. It's a weak excuse for a weak character flaw.


Sorry but I have to disagree. Making racist comments is protected speech. Otherwise where do you stop in telling people what they can and can not say in terms of things that others might find offensive? Like I mentioned above I have personally opinions which many (probably a vast majority) find highly offensive. Should I keep my mouth shut because it may bother them?
September 3, 2009 6:59:21 PM

purplerat said:
Sorry but I have to disagree. Making racist comments is protected speech.


I don't know where you're based, and can only comment about the UK. But in the UK, it's not. Start dishing out racist abuse, and you could find yourself in a magistrate's court.

I'm interested in which bit you disagree with. Can I ask you to answer these:

Is it ok to say racist things, including the N word in real life?
Is it ok to say racist things, including the N word online?
If these two are different, why?
Is it ok to challenge racist language and behaviour in real life?
Is it ok to challenge racist language and behaviour online?
Again, if the two are different, why?
September 3, 2009 7:16:14 PM

DeeTee, in a total freedom society you would be able to take a leak into my drink, and i would be able to smack you in the pride while you do so
September 3, 2009 7:19:24 PM

VampyrByte - We don't live in one of those though, for which I am grateful. I, personally, don't like the idea of anarchy.
September 3, 2009 7:26:22 PM

Yeah i think we took this a little too far.
With respect to speech however we all should have freedom to say and believe what we want.
Be it racist or anti-racist or homophobic, xenophobic, anti-semitic or whatever. What is right and wrong is not necessarily what the majority believe it to be and this can depend on ones own experiences in life as well as the ammount of propoganda one has been subjected to.
Believe it or not, every race and group has given itself a reason for others to hate it, and where there is a reason to hate, people will hate.
!