|Second Life: Where the justification for "White Flight" is explicit|
Just as the sun rises, Black people will follow the “white flight” wherever it travels and, inexorably, “white flight” will transpire again in a vain attempt to flee the problems caused by our greatest strength. Cheap land outside major cities and cheap gasoline made the short-term strategy a smart, quick investment for the betterment of ones family, though the long-term ramifications of fleeing major metropolitan areas should be obvious.
The first suburbs that popped-up around major cities were once pristine, but all succumb to the “Black Undertow” effect. Just look at Atlanta’s suburbs for an example of this, as “white flight” and the subsequent “Black Undertow” effect has left Clayton County, DeKalb County, and – soon – Fayette County as undesirable locations to raise a family.
A thriving city can survive with a population that is less than 10 percent Black. Once it goes over 10 percent Black however, “white flight” is going to occur soon and the “Black Undertow” will enable a slow metamorphosis completely changing that once thriving city into… a small-scale version of Detroit.
Black people will eventually flee from their Frankenstein creation, Disingenuous White Liberals serving as the deceptive Igor in the process.
So, yes, we’ll discuss “white flight” at length, though at later date.
But first, a story from the South by Southwest (SXSW) conference that was held in the incredibly Stuff White People Like (SWPL) city of Austin. What is SXSW?:
The South by Southwest® (SXSW®) Conferences & Festivals offer the unique convergence of original music, independent films, and emerging technologies. Fostering creative and professional growth alike, SXSW is the premier destination for discovery.
At the SXSW conference in Austin, a panel discussion dealt with racism in online gaming. In the real world, “white flight” from deteriorating cities and counties (consult the “Black Undertow” effect) transpires just as frequently as people living in the virtual world of online gaming enjoy a computerized world free of Black people:
At the SXSW conference in Austin, Texas (March 11-20), the intersection of online identity and racism was explored in a panel called "E-Race: Avatars, Anonymity and the Virtualization of Identity." Jeff Yang, who writes the "Asian Pop" column for the San Francisco Chronicle, organized and opened the panel, remarking that we are at the dawn of a new era.
Racial identity is becoming more malleable than ever before, as mixed-race and minority populations are steadily increasing and changing the American demographic. At the same time, our online selves are becoming larger reflections of who we are in the real world -- but why is that occurring? Yang asked Wagner James Au -- an expert on the virtual avatar community Second Life, and the pioneer of digital racial studies -- and Lisa Nakamura, a professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, to reflect on the changing nature of online racial identity.
The panel set out to explore a key theme: "What does the ability to hide or disguise identity mean in particular for the experience of race -- and racism -- online?" Counter to common assumptions, the ability to camouflage one's race online doesn't equal liberation from racism. In fact, since the default person online is assumed to be white and male, revealing yourself to be racially different often prompts other users to lash out.
Jenny McCarthy, Yes; Serena Williams, No
Au, the author of the blog New World Notes, said that in Second Life, "you can design your stereotypes from the bottom up." Users select every part of their bodies -- from hair, skin and eye color to lip shape and shade. However, with that selection comes a heavy serving of assumptions and stereotypes…
Au also noted that many African-American Second Life players often practice virtual skin lightening. While many Second Life players have the ability to look completely like or unlike their real-world selves, many black players find the racism and discrimination too much to deal with in both the online and offline worlds. Therefore, these players try to strike a color compromise: Au explained that some African-American users will choose a skin that looks more "Latino" -- still identifiably brown, but lighter-skinned -- in an attempt to lessen the discrimination.
Nakamura repeatedly framed the cost of racism online in terms of how it harms those who attempt to participate. She brought up the example of how Quinton Jackson, a mixed martial arts fighter in real life who quit playing the game Halo 2 online because of the excessive racist chatter over the game's voice channels, which players use to talk to one another. She talked about how users are discouraged from choosing darker avatars by game companies (who rarely create more than one or two darker-skinned avatars from which to choose) as well as other players (some of whom use the anonymity of the Internet to indulge their inner racist).
Nakamura points out, "Race doesn't happen because of biology; it happens because of culture." Race (and racism) is something that develops when our culture rewards the persecution of a smaller group. Unfortunately, it seems that as our lives move more and more into the digital world, we are migrating more and more of the racism in our culture along with us.
The virtual world of online gaming offers an explicit example of a real-world where implicit thought dictates white people’s actions, most notably “white flight.”
It would seem that in the virtual world where anonymity allows a freedom that the real-world can’t replicate, the one common unifier among online gaming enthusiasts is their disdain for Black people.
“White flight” into a virtual reality where implicit thoughts are given an explicit platform is a hilarious reminder of the primary motivation for what drives white people to flee the “Brown Undertow” in the first place.
When primary roles are considered, all groups appear less often except for whites, who appear more often than overall. White characters account for 84.95 percent of all primary characters, black 9.67 percent, biracial 3.69 percent and Asian 1.69 percent. Hispanics and Native Americans did not appear as a primary character in any game, they existed solely as secondary characters.