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Games As the Great Unifier

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the all-are-one-under-the-azeroth-sun dept.

104

OGX writes "In this racially divided world, who or what can step up and bridge the gap among people? Oddly enough, the answer comes from pop videogame technology. The anonymity of online gaming has made personal characteristics secondary to a game skill set. Michelle Dalrymple explores how online gaming vaults the issue of race in this editorial at OGX." From the article: "The computer/video console acts as a filter, extracting out any issues of race and placing emphasis on how quickly one can respond by selecting the correct button. Let's take a look at how this plays out in the online gaming world. As with any MMOG - character selection is core to the game play, and while one may have a skin color choice, usually appearance is tied to some imaginary 'race,' an arbitrary figure generator pulled from fantasy and folklore. It gives the idea of race a whole new meaning. What do fellow gamers care what race you the player really are, as long as your elf ranger or human mage can complete the task?"

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104 comments

Still far to go (2, Insightful)

the_demiurge (26115) | more than 7 years ago | (#16155599)

If this was really the case, why do I see so many racial slurs being thrown around in an average game of Counterstrike, not to mention the nearly ubiquitous use of "gay" as a pejorative.

Re:Still far to go (2, Insightful)

Apocalypse111 (597674) | more than 7 years ago | (#16155648)

This is the dark side of online anonymity - freedom from reprocussions if you want to act like an asshat. Fortunatly, many games also allow you to mute the input from obnoxious players, so you don't have to deal with them beyond that. Many other servers also let you kick those players with a majority vote. Worst case scenario, you can always jump to a different server - however, so can they.

Re:Still far to go (0, Offtopic)

alfs boner (963844) | more than 7 years ago | (#16155961)

Mods: Overrated is not short for "I'm going to disagree with you using my points". If you want to disagree, then post.

You know, you're just asking to get modded down(unfairly) with a sig like that. On the rare occasions I've had points of my own, I've used them to penalize people who I disagreed with. I've even downmodded someone just for having any whiny signature similar to yours.

^__^

Re:Still far to go (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16155728)

Dude, don't be so gay.

Re:Still far to go (1, Interesting)

Thansal (999464) | more than 7 years ago | (#16156022)

If this was really the case, why do I see so many racial slurs being thrown around in an average game of Counterstrike, not to mention the nearly ubiquitous use of "gay" as a pejorative.


Simple realy.

It rarely actualy has any relation to sexual orientation anymore, especialy online and in other casual situations.

"Don't be so gay", "that was gay", etc etc, are rarely even attached to something that is stereotypicly a homosexual action. After all, I don't realy think gays are well known for spawn camping, using an AWP, or anytihng else related to most video games. Heck, many of the people that use the word as a deragatory have no problems with homosexuals.

The same goes for the ussage of most racial/ethnic slurs. They no longer mean anything more than "a bad person", much like your everyday swearing no longer has any real meaning behind it (yes, the words actualy have deffenitions, but they are not ussed).

Now, I am not saying that the use of these wrods is in any way right (I ussed to admin a server that had a zero tollerance policy, and I gladely banned many an asshat for ussing just these words). I am just pointing out that these words nolonger mean what you think they mean.

Re:Still far to go (1)

testadicazzo (567430) | more than 7 years ago | (#16156508)

The same thing has happened with the slur "noob" which used to be an abreviation of newbie, or new person. Once upon someone doing something noobish or beeing a noob meant they were unskilled, unexperienced, and/or unaware of the social norms of the game being played. Now it gets used as a gamers substitute for 'asshole'.

Re:Still far to go (2, Insightful)

xappax (876447) | more than 7 years ago | (#16158571)

You're right that when people call $thing "gay", they usually don't mean that $thing is attracted to things of it's own gender. But, they almost always mean that $thing is stupid, wimpy, obnoxious, or otherwise bad.

Like, let's say we decided to use the term "Thansal" as an insult. If we got fragged due to lag, we'd say our internet connection was "acting like Thansal". Of course, if you got offended, we'd argue that we of course don't literally mean that our internet connection was acting like you...it's just an expression with it's own meaning. But the fact that we chose your name to represent bad shit that we hate...well, that could be seen as pretty disrespectful.

Maybe you personally wouldn't care, and I might not either, but I can understand why people might be pissed that a word describing a sensitive part of their identity is used in such a negative way.

Re:Still far to go (1)

Thansal (999464) | more than 7 years ago | (#16160620)

If you read all of what I posted, I was simply answering a question, and NOT deffending it. I personaly despise the use of slurs on someone's ethnicity/race/religion/sexual orientation/dietary habbits/world views/etc etc etc. You are right, it does not matter if some one is actualy ussing the term in refference to those things or if they are just useing it as an all purpose derogitory. Admitedly it does not bother me personaly or emotionaly to see some one use these terms (even against my self, seeing how as I am a generic, white, middleclass, american male), as they are simply words, and words only have the power that we alow them to have. However on an intelectual side, it does bother me, I know that assaults on who you are can hurt, even when they are not really ment as that.

Now quit being so damn Thansal!

hehehe, I like that. I need to get people to start useing my nick as an insult/derogitory.

the internet presents people as "ding an sich" (1)

argStyopa (232550) | more than 7 years ago | (#16157156)

Well, the irony is that while a lot of people believe that internet anonymity allows people to be "assholes" (without ever really explaining WHY people's behavior heads south without supervision), I'd argue a more subtle point: with true anonymity, people have much more of a chance to behave AS THEY REALLY ARE.

In that sense, it reinforces theory of implied social contract; without the immediate coercive ability of the group (through the simple mechanism of individual recognition and following consequences), people may act in any way that they want. Without the 'smoothing' of one's egoist impulses by the compulsion (actual or implied) of the society around them, people feel free to shout "FAG" in circumstances where in real life they'd face at least ostracism if not outright punishment.

But the moment that the character begins to have some intrinsic value, that is, once the investment in the character and the character's relationship with the community has some value - you see less unjustifiably bad behavior. In WoW, this has proven itself out - by the time characters reach 60, you see much less dicking around. Who remains the main antisocialists at 60? Rogues, who as a particularly solo-capable class arguably LEAST need the goodwill of other players in endgame. Hunters, for the same reason but perhaps a lesser degree.

Re:Still far to go (1)

Gabriel227 (957840) | more than 7 years ago | (#16158076)

Voice chat can exacerbate the problem, too. I'm a Halo 2 player and for the most part, yes, people get along and play just fine. When someone sounds non-white or female, though, a lot of time they catch a lot of flak before the game even starts. I don't know how many games I've seen people quit out of (or teamkill in) immediately from the idiotic racist/sexist remarks as the match is loading.

Racists in WoW (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16155604)

I made the mistake of rolling an Night Elf Priest. I've had difficulties joining raiding guilds because I'm not a dwarf.

Don't tell me there's not racism in MMORPGs.

Re:Racists in WoW (2, Insightful)

RotJ (771744) | more than 7 years ago | (#16156228)

If a dwarf and a night elf only had cosmetic differences and had the capacity to perform the same tasks equally well, then it would be racist to choose dwarves over night elves. But that's not the case, so this gets tricky.

If in real life, practicioners of a certain profession who are of a certain race have two magical skills unique to their race that members of other races cannot learn, is it racist to make hiring decisions based on those magical skills?

Re:Racists in WoW (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16157322)

Of course not! Race is a meaningless term, so how could racism even exist? :P

Re:Racists in WoW (1)

l0cust (992700) | more than 7 years ago | (#16159616)

If in real life, practicioners of a certain profession who are of a certain race have two magical skills unique to their race that members of other races cannot learn, is it racist to make hiring decisions based on those magical skills?

...in real life... magic skills.. did I miss anything ?

On a serious note, I don't think your example of picking dwarfs over night elves even comes close to being a case of racism. Just because someone picks dwarfs over night elves (or vice-versa) doesn't mean that he/she is a racist. What if he has a dwarf fetish ? or a Nightelf fetish ? or he likes how the term 'night elf' somehow sounds like 'sexy female elfs walking in night' or.. erm.. you get the point right.

How about a same race scenario, mario and luigi can both stomp over ducks and stupid sliding thingies with equal ease but I would prefer to play with mario rather than luigi if given a choice. Does than mean I hate plumbers wearing stupid fuckin white jump-suits and trying to act like they are as cool as their twin brother...hmm .. come to think of it.. I actually do. Screw Luigi! That fuckin' poser !

I disagree. (3, Funny)

Skynet (37427) | more than 7 years ago | (#16155608)

I had a Human Warrior in WoW named "Rick James" (after my favorite musician), and everyone kept calling me "bitch." :(

anonymity can be bad (0)

neonprimetime (528653) | more than 7 years ago | (#16155654)

The increase in anonymity caused by the Internet, online gaming, and other technology is going to greatly hurt our great country. We are increasingly becoming so diverse that we having nothing in common, nothing that binds us. More and more people are less and less willing to sacrifice for our country. There are many cases where anonymity is a good thing, but there are also many downsides to it as well.

Re:anonymity can be bad (1)

Apocalypse111 (597674) | more than 7 years ago | (#16155686)

Don't just pigeon-hole this into an American phenomenon - the internet spans the whole world. And this decrease in patriotism that you are percieving isn't necessarily a result of information abundance, but perhaps simply because we lack strong leadership. You are mistaking correlation for causation here, a dangerous proposition.

Re:anonymity can be bad (0)

neonprimetime (528653) | more than 7 years ago | (#16155767)

Don't just pigeon-hole this into an American phenomenon

I said no such thing. I would agree that it affects all countries. But of course, me being an American citizen, My main concern is and should be the patriotism of my own country.

this decrease in patriotism that you are percieving isn't necessarily a result of information abundance

I also said no such thing. Information abundance is not an issue. The idea that you are on this anonymous tool (the internet), and you don't have to share your background allows you to ignore it, which most people do. If you're in a chat room, game room, or whatever there are very few people that actually inform you honestly of where they're from. There is no forced tie to your country or your location, and therefore that tie is becoming lost.

but perhaps simply because we lack strong leadership. You are mistaking correlation for causation here.

I knew that if we spoke about anything that's wrong with America, a liberal would swing it back around and blame GW. Typical.

Re:anonymity can be bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16155934)

you sir, are an idiot.

Re:anonymity can be bad (1)

CrashPoint (564165) | more than 7 years ago | (#16155981)

I knew that if we spoke about anything that's wrong with America, a liberal would swing it back around and blame GW. Typical.

After starting your first two points with "I said no such thing", you follow up with this.

If only we could convert irony into electricity. That comment alone would keep L.A. lit up for two weeks.

Re:anonymity can be bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16156037)

I don't know if anyone takes your insanely weird comments seriously, but I hope not, or else you'll get Terrible karma and I won't be able to see your posts anymore.

Between the utter absurdity you posted just now and your whacky, light-years-off-the-mark comments in the global warming threads, you're one of the funniest people on Slashdot right now.

Re:anonymity can be bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16156071)

makes life interesting, doesn't it?

Re:anonymity can be bad (2, Interesting)

Apocalypse111 (597674) | more than 7 years ago | (#16156040)

No, you didn't specifically say that this was an American phenomenon, but your vernacular heavily implied it, specifically the "our great country" and "sacrifice for our country" bits (esp. without prior reference to your country of origin - seems a little pompous to me, but whatever). However, why shouldn't you be concerned about the global implications of a percieved problem? You're also living on this planet, I assume?

I made my reference to information abundance after reading your "increasingly becoming so diverse that we have nothing in common" bit. We don't become more diverse by just sitting at home in a pool of intellectual stagnation, we become more diverse by learning, which requires new information, new opinions, new points of view. Anonimity does not cause diversity. Anonimity protects you from any number of attacks on your person. It allows you to share and retrieve information without risk. It also allows you to be an asshat without fear of reprisals. True, anonimity allows you to detach yourself from ties to a region, but that's only if you chose not to share those interest about yourself - a personal decision. The tie to locality may be lost, but it is being lost in favor of a tie to ideals or shared interests or goals, which to me is more important and significant than being tied to, say, "Podunk, Mississippi".

Further, I didn't blame Bush by name for anything. Bush isn't the only leader. If you're a member of a community, then you have leaders on the local, regional, state, and national levels - and not just the President at the national level. We also have Congress and the Supreme Court. I see failures and lack of leadership ability at all levels of government.

And for the record, I'm not one of your "liberals", my values tend to allign more with the Democratic Libertarian party. Trying to dismiss me by labeling me is the height of ignorance and arrogance. I'm not some party-line spewing drone, I'm an individual with my own ideas and opinions about things.

Re:anonymity can be bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16156252)

I'm not some party-line spewing drone, I'm an individual with my own ideas and opinions about things.
Oh now you've gone and done it. You've proved his point for him. If you didn't have that thar interweb thingie, you wouldn't have these "ideas" and "opinions", now would you? Damn you for not being a sheep!

Side note, anonymity is horrible, isn't it? - signed AC :-)

Re:anonymity can be bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16155816)

Sacrifice _what_ for the country?

Re:anonymity can be bad (1)

neonprimetime (528653) | more than 7 years ago | (#16155963)

If somebody defames your country or fellow citizen, sacrifice your time to address them, ask why, and work something out.
If somebody threatens your country or fellow citizen, sacrifice your time to contront them, and prevent the threat from being followed thru.
If somebody harms your country or fellow citizen, sacrifice your time to capture and bring to justice the guilty party.

With no sacrifice, we have no sense of one-ness. We see that today with many examples because it seems like if our country or fellow citizen is defamed, threatened, or harmed we just seem to shrug it off. If we don't unite, Hugo Chavez will be right in his recent flames, and America will crumble, much much sooner than we expect.

Re:anonymity can be bad (2, Insightful)

testadicazzo (567430) | more than 7 years ago | (#16156549)

If somebody harms your country or fellow citizen, sacrifice your time to capture and bring to justice the guilty party.
Me, I think it would be better to sacrafice your time to try to heal the harm that was done.

Re:anonymity can be bad (1)

DesireCampbell (923687) | more than 7 years ago | (#16156704)

Holy crap - you are probably the strangest person I've ever seen. Let's take this step-by-step:
...With no sacrifice, we have no sense of one-ness.
"One-ness"? Uh...
... We see that today with many examples
Too bad you didn't cite any of them.
... because it seems like if our country or fellow citizen is defamed, threatened, or harmed we just seem to shrug it off.
Huh? 'Defamed' is nothing, 'threatened' is something for authorities to look into, as is 'harm'. And, unless I'm mistaken, The United States hasn't exactly been 'not' invading countries lately.
... If we don't unite, Hugo Chavez will be right in his recent flames, and America will crumble, much much sooner than we expect
What?! "[S]ooner than we expect"?! When exactly do you expect your "great country" to crumble?


You are a crazy asshat.

Re:anonymity can be bad (1)

neonprimetime (528653) | more than 7 years ago | (#16157111)

we have no sense of one-ness.
"One-ness"? Uh...


Did you not just prove my point?

... We see that today with many examples
Too bad you didn't cite any of them


Groups protesting an American soldier funerals instead of paying their respects. Immigrants burning our flag at rallies in San Fransisco. American citizens calling for the assasination of our president. Slashdot posters constantly making references / jokes about moving to Canada. I guess I just see the examples and you don't.

... If we don't unite, Hugo Chavez will be right in his recent flames, and America will crumble, much much sooner than we expect
What?! "[S]ooner than we expect"?! When exactly do you expect your "great country" to crumble?


Directly from Chavez's speech in which he referred to GW as the devil: "I have the feeling, dear world dictator, that you are going to live the rest of your days as a nightmare".
Groups around us are preparing to act now, as we speak to destroy our country. They won't pick and choose, Democrat, Republican or Independant it won't matter. They're coming to get us, and according to Chavez's threat, it'll be soon ... within GW's lifetime. Thus, if we don't stand up and do something, we going to be in a "nightmare" within the next 50 years. Does that answer your questions?

I should really jump on the "GW is always wrong, we should worry about Global Warming, not terrorism", Slashdot bandwagon. It would help my karma.

Re:anonymity can be bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16157719)

"American citizens calling for the assasination of our president."

Once again: this is not just an American phenomenon :)

P.S. We are united. We are nerds, citizens of the internet! Forget this outdated, inefficient and isolating "nation-state" nonsense and join us!

Re:anonymity can be bad (1)

DesireCampbell (923687) | more than 7 years ago | (#16157866)

..."Groups protesting an American soldier funerals instead of paying their respects."
"Paying respects", like, not flying the flag at half-mast? Or "paying respects" by not giving them proper equipment in combat? How about "paying respects" by sending them into a war without a clear, if not totally false, reason to? How exactly do you want people to "pay respects"? Perhaps some people are focusing on the fact that these soldiers died invading another country that had not, would not, and could not make any serious threats to your "great country". Perhaps these people are focusing on the fact that your "great country" has been wiretapping their own people, subverting all manor of personal freedoms, and using scare-tactics to control the very people they claim to protect? Perhaps these 'protesters' are angry about the fact that your "great country" has kept people prisoner in facilities outside the United States - some of them 'secret camps' - where these people are tortured. Tortured. Some of these people have committed no crime, most haven't even been charged with a crime.

So, why should these people treat the dead better than you treat everyone.


Moving on...

..."Immigrants burning our flag at rallies in San Fransisco."
That line's so chock-full of ignorance and hate - it actually startles me.

The use of "immigrants" and "our flag" shows you don't consider these people to be "American". They are Americans. The only difference between them and you, is their ancestors probably came here from Europe before yours.

..."American citizens calling for the assassination of our president."
Really? Then the American people must want to be liberated. Some kind-hearted country should go in, "shock and awe" style and topple the regime. Oh wait - that would be going outside of legitimate methods of change, and that would make them terrorists. I'm glad only "islamofacists" do crazy stuff like that.

..."Slashdot posters constantly making references / jokes about moving to Canada."
I live in Canada, it's better than the 'states, but the current PM is the worst we've ever had (even more than the actually insane one). We don't lower our flags to half-mast anymore either. Thanks for that, by the way.

..."I guess I just see the examples and you don't."
You mean those examples I just refuted? Yeah, they were hard to see before - because you didn't write them out. *sigh*

..."Directly from Chavez's speech in which he referred to GW as the devil..."
Not that I think Chavez is a good leader, but perhaps he's still a bit miffed about Pat Robinson saying, on national television, the US should assassinate him. I assume he actually threatened your "great country" somewhere else in his speech, and you just didn't quote it... because it's cool not to quote what you're talking about? The line you quoted is not a threat - it's a warning. The US is not seen in a good light in many countries. What, with the "saying one thing, and doing the completely opposite, evil thing" going on, people don't like that so much.

..."Groups around us are preparing to act now, as we speak to destroy our country. They won't pick and choose, Democrat, Republican or Independent it won't matter. They're coming to get us, and according to Chavez's threat, it'll be soon ... within GW's lifetime. Thus, if we don't stand up and do something, we going to be in a "nightmare" within the next 50 years. Does that answer your questions?"
Was my question "are you a paranoid nutbag?" If it was, then yes; my question has been answered. Are you serious? You actually think that "nightmare" line was a threat of war? Chavez was referring to the fact that your "great country" is degrading it's own citizens. The "nightmare" will be a dystopian America, brought on by itself.

..."I should really jump on the "GW is always wrong, we should worry about Global Warming, not terrorism", Slashdot bandwagon. It would help my karma."
Meh. My Karma is fine, and I regularly take Microsoft's side (and take Apple to task), bemoan 'Global Warming', and jump on people's grammar. You just have to not be a crazy asshat, and it'll all work out fine.

Re:anonymity can be bad (3, Insightful)

kalirion (728907) | more than 7 years ago | (#16155872)

As far as I'm concerned, the world would be a much better place with a little less nationalism.

Re:anonymity can be bad (1)

Krystlih (543841) | more than 7 years ago | (#16155885)

Patriotism has served its purpose, but maybe internet gaming will bring about a new sense of humanism which I personally believe is the next evolution of patiotism. We must realize that regardless of our nationality, race, sexual preference, etc, in the end we are all humans and we must treat each other as such. If it takes the virtual world of a computer game for us to realize this then so be it. I see this as the evolution Man's thinking rather than a step backwards.

I'm not discounting patriotism, but I do believe that is an old mindset that as we grow more connected as a human species will have to go away like so many mindsets of the past have.

Re:anonymity can be bad (1)

aliendisaster (1001260) | more than 7 years ago | (#16155915)

You say...

More and more people are less and less willing to sacrifice for our country.


but your sig says...
"we're all going to die, but we all don't have to die young"


You seem a little confused. I think your another crazy redneck who jumped on the "I love America! Never talk bad about our President no matter what he does" bandwagon. Think for yourself. America is supposed to mean freedom (although its really just limited priviledge) which means I can choose for myself whether I want to be anonymous when I want and I can hate the country if I choose.

Re:anonymity can be bad (1)

neonprimetime (528653) | more than 7 years ago | (#16156906)

I think your another crazy redneck who jumped on the "I love America! Never talk bad about our President no matter what he does" bandwagon. Think for yourself.

It's funny how I've never really been referred to as a "redneck" except for on /.
I do believe I'm thinking for myself, unless of course you're blaming GW for brainwashing Americans, which I wouldn't put past you.
Since when did it become a bad thing to jump on the "I love America!" bandwagon? I guess I'm supposed to buy into this global, we're all human beings, we should all get along, United Nations mentatility. But, you are then being ignorant to the fact that a certain branch of a religious group that has said over and over again that they will kill and destroy the western civilization. There is no negotiating with this group, they simply flat out refuse to live with us, and they will not stop until we have all been destroyed.

Re:anonymity can be bad (1)

aliendisaster (1001260) | more than 7 years ago | (#16157021)

But, you are then being ignorant to the fact that a certain branch of a religious group that has said over and over again that they will kill and destroy the western civilization.


And you believe it's ok to destroy an entire country killing millions of people over a small percentage of that country? Using this mentallity, America should have started a war with Montana because a terrorist lived in the state.

Re:anonymity can be bad (1)

iblum (894775) | more than 7 years ago | (#16157203)

We would have, if GWB had called the governor of Montana and told him he was sending the FBI to arrest a terrorist and the governor told him to piss off. Not only piss off, but we, the people of Montana support this person and everything he stands for. So, if you come in here, better come armed with more than just sun-glasses and cheap suits.

Then, GWB sends in a) the National Guard, or b) the Marines. In Afghanistan, he sent both. In Iraq he sent bombers first, then marines and army, followed by National Guard troops to help setup infrastructure. Of course, he got criticized for going into Iraq, for hitting Iraq as hard as he did, and for sending in National Guard troops to help setup infrastructure.

Ira

Re:anonymity can be bad (1)

schtum (166052) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162115)

Exactly: OF COURSE he got criticized for going into Iraq, because none of the conditions you described in your first paragraph applied to Iraq. Maybe that was your point, but it sounded like you were trying to conflate Afghanistan and Iraq to "prove" that the invading the latter was justified.

Re:anonymity can be bad (2, Interesting)

timster (32400) | more than 7 years ago | (#16155917)

Diversity is way overstated. In America, if you go into an immigrant family's apartment, you're likely to see a PS2, a Dell computer, etc. Some people go to bars and drink with the good ol' boys, and some people go to coffee shops to blog, but there's not any crucial difference in what people want to do and buy.

The most crucial differences I have seen is what people in these groups are afraid of. Conservative Christians are afraid of Muslim terrorists and declining morality; young liberals worry about global warming; moderates worry about polarization; the underemployed worry about immigrants. I think it's important to understand that while the groups may find each others' fears unreasonable, all of these fears came about as a result of real concern that these problems would destroy the America that everyone basically wants.

It's hard for politics to be united since everyone wants government to solve problems, so it's natural to argue about our fears, but I think it's short-sighted to believe that this political split is indicative of a really fundamental split. We still have plenty in common, at least until the rising geek girl population leads to speciation, but that's another topic.

As for the statement that people are less and less willing to sacrifice for our country, I don't believe that's true. I do think that the political leaders on both sides have done a poor job of asking for sacrifices that the population is willing to make.

Re:anonymity can be bad (1)

Rockinsockindune (956375) | more than 7 years ago | (#16155945)

I don't really see how you can consider the anonymity of the internet a factor that is making the country's population more diverse. In my opinion, it is more of a common factor that is binding the people of the United States.

It also seems that the type of anonymity you are thinking of is concealing your actions behind a screen, rather than screening things that causes prejudice from your actions.

Re:anonymity can be bad (3, Interesting)

Denial93 (773403) | more than 7 years ago | (#16156043)

Nations are becoming less and less important as the information age gets going.
Similarily, extended families became less and less important with the industrial era.
Before that, the hometown/village.
Before that, the clan.
Each been the central social group everyone identified themselves by, each had seemed a natural constant in the lives of people and still each was replaced by the next. Currently, nation states are being replaced by continent-size cultural zones; most obviously so in Europe and South America.

You can call this unfortunate, like you can call any natural process unfortunate. Or you can realize that identifying yourself as a citizen of your country is a cultural habit, not a necessity, so the value you are losing was virtual in the first place. Other social reference groups (say your family, or your race, or mankind) may be used interchangably. And some choices give you more options than others.

Re:anonymity can be bad (1)

snuf23 (182335) | more than 7 years ago | (#16158030)

"Or you can realize that identifying yourself as a citizen of your country is a cultural habit, not a necessity"

Unfortunately claiming to be a "citizen of the world" doesn't seem to help when trying not to pay taxes.

Re:anonymity can be bad (1)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 7 years ago | (#16156239)

Sacrifice for their country? You mean there's fewer and fewer jingoistic people willing to die for a war that should never have been fought in the first place? This is a good thing. Patriotism is not- its an idea that a certain group of people are more important than everyone else because they happen to live near you. With the global scope of the internet, people are realising that all people are equal, and that there's nothing special about being American, Canadian, English, etc. This is a good thing.

Re:anonymity can be bad (1)

radish (98371) | more than 7 years ago | (#16156404)

More and more people are less and less willing to sacrifice for our country.
You say that like it's a bad thing. People shouldn't be willing to blindly sacrifice for their country (whichever country that happens to be) they should be willing to sacrifice for what they believe is _right_. Most people are citizens of a particular country entirely by accident - it's where they happened to be born. Why should I hold any specific allegience based on a geographical and biological coincidence?

Hypothetical example - people refusing to participate in a forced draft because they disagree with the conflict they're being drafted into _are_ sacrificing - usually their freedom - to do what they feel is right. I respect them much more than someone who goes along and signs up, because although in disagreement, they don't have the conviction to stand up for themselves.

Re:anonymity can be bad (1)

Alsee (515537) | more than 7 years ago | (#16157631)

We are increasingly becoming so diverse that we having nothing in common, nothing that binds us.

I thought the supremely American definining characteristic was diverity itself.

We are a nation of immigrants from across the globe.

And what binds us? Well the defining binding document of the United States is the Constitution... and the most revered part of the Constitution being the Bill of Rights. And the very first thing the Bill of Rights does, the highest thing it stands for, is for protecting and revering and reveling in Diversity itself. The highest protection and value for Religious diversity, the highest protection and value for diverity in speech and ideas. And in a broader sense, cultural diverity and cultural freedom.

The strength of diversity. The UNITY in embracing diversity.

In the sort run a monoculture is easier and "stronger" - a brittle static strength. Diversity and tolerance produces a vibrant dynamic strength and growth. I don't tell you how to live and you don't tell me how to live. And the long term strength of harnessing diversity and embracing the best of each, and the expectation that that which is good and valuable will be embraced and spread on its own merit.

Teh American Dream - the ideal that anyone of any color and any religion and any culture can be accepted and thrive here on the merits of their hard work and intellgence and their valuable ideas and contributions. That if you contibute to the strength of America as a whole, that your diversity will be accepted and valued and you will be rewarded for your contribution.

Of course America is not perfect, and we do not always perfectly live up to these ideals. But the greatness of America is in striving for these ideals. Embracing freedom and diversity, eliminating opression and prejudice and discrimination.

It seems there are many people in America today who think the definition of "Patriotism" means defending and supporting the nation/government, right or wrong.

I have a different definition of Patriotism. I say it means loving the ideals the country stands for, loving and supportign the nation and the government when it lives up to those ideals, and fighting your damndest to BETTER the nation and the government when it fails to be all it should be. A perfect example of that is the current arguments over torturing people in the War On Terrorism. Being the Good Guy is not easy. Many times being the Good Guy is a pain in the ass. Somethimes being the Good Guy just plain sucks. In teh sort run torturing someone for information might help win a battle. Might help thwart an attack. Might even save lives. It's oh so EASY to slip down to the Bay Guy's level when fighting the Bad Guys. But I believe America is better than that. That America SHOULD be better than that. That in the long run the best way to win is to BE the Good Guy. We might win a battle and thwart an attack by stooping to their level, by being brutish and inhuman, but we Win The War by being Idealists and Noble and Above Such Tactics.

We Win The War by being the Good Guys. We Win The War by getting a dirty hit from the Bad Guys and getting the support and respect of the world and our own population by richeously beating the Bad Guys without getting dirty ourselves. By being BETTER than they are.

It's easier to fight terrorists if you you are free to torture suspects - even if that suspect happens to be innocent. It's easier to fight crime if the police are free to search our homes and seize our property without warrants. It's easier to fight crime if the police are free to tap our phones without court orders. It's easier to prosecute and imprison the guilty if courts don't throw out illegally obtained evidence. We can have a more tranquil society if the government prohibited my neighbors (or your neighbors)from saying things that offend me (or offend you) under penalty of prison. Society would be so much simpler if the government forced all of my neighbors (or your neighbors) to follow the same religious beliefs as me (or you). It's easier to catch criminals if we criminalize anonymity itself.

However that is not America. Patriotism means expecting - DEMANDING - that America be above that. Expecting - DEMANDING - that Amercia live up to it's highest ideals even when it sucks to do so - even when it means fighting with one hand tied behind our back - even when it means letting a criminal go free to prevent the American government itself from becoming the criminal.

America means not just tolerating diversity, but embracing diversity. American Patriotism means not just tolerating diversity, but embracing diversity. It means you let me be who I am and live how I want, and I let you be who you are and live how you want. And we both hope that our children and grandchildren see and embrace the best in each of us. That our children and grandchildren become BETTER than us, and they live in an America that is BETTER than it is today.

Patriotism does not mean believing the country is perfect and infallible and defending it no matter what. Patriotism is loving what the country stands for, and wanting it to be BETTER tomorrow than it was yesterday.

-

In-game racism (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16155670)

I can't stand the smell of Orcs.

Re:In-game racism (1)

Das Modell (969371) | more than 7 years ago | (#16155797)

I think a lot of players in WoW take the Alliance vs. Horde thing too seriously, and seem to genuinely hate the other faction. I don't know which is worse, being racist towards real people or being racist towards imaginary people.

Yep, All Those FPS's Bring Us Together (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16155677)

Games As the Great Unifier
Yeah, nothing says "I Love You" as much as gunning someone down on Halo II. My friends often have the choice words for me.

At last, a level playing field! (3, Funny)

charlesbakerharris (623282) | more than 7 years ago | (#16155684)

Totally right. Games take people without jobs and/or friends and elevate them, by the simple mechanism of "spend all day playing" to the status of powerfully equipped demigods, near-unassailable by the common man, whereas the successful, busy real-life person is relegated to a lifetime of mere mediocrity, looking up through the windows of Naxxramas at something they will never attain. Yes, gaming is the great equalizer! The mighty are brought down, and the weak are exalted.

Disclaimers:

  • Yes, I play WoW.
  • No, I am not a hard core raider.
  • Yes, I have a real job.
  • Yes, I have a significant other.
  • No, she does not weight 250 lbs.
  • No, I don't care that I don't have any Tier 2 set pieces.
  • No, I do not live in my mother's basement. In fact, I own my own house.
  • Yes, I exercise.
  • No, I don't play a girl in-game despite being a guy in RL.
  • Yes, my alts are still levelling.
  • No, I do not subsist on pizza and chinese food.
  • Yes, I can spell.
  • No, I did not repeat any grades in middle school.
  • Yes, I know that "ur" really means "you are" and not "your".
  • No, I did not purchase any of my characters.
  • No, I did not eBay any gold.
  • Yes, I hate reputation grinding, but...
  • No, I don't hate them as much as you do - I never played Everquest.
  • No, I do not feel it my responsibility to tell people about (a) the trash greens I find while killing trolls in Arathi or (b) my life, over Ventrilo.
  • Yes, I bathe at least once a day. With soap. Real soap. Not like from Fight Club.

Re:At last, a level playing field! (1)

Dues (786223) | more than 7 years ago | (#16155742)

I call BS on number one, assuming the rest is true.

Re:At last, a level playing field! (1)

charlesbakerharris (623282) | more than 7 years ago | (#16155871)

I call BS on number one, assuming the rest is true.

Heh... but it's actually true. I just don't have very good gear. :)

Re:At last, a level playing field! (1)

kalirion (728907) | more than 7 years ago | (#16155762)

Yes, I bathe at least once a day. With soap. Real soap. Not like from Fight Club.

What, you don't like Soylent Soap?

Nothing THAT new really (1)

moore.dustin (942289) | more than 7 years ago | (#16155694)

This is the way it is for the major sports in America right now. While it has not always been that way, we are at a point where your skill is the only factor people are looking it. That will transpire to anything as long as the overall goal is to be the best of the best.

I just fail to see the significance of this in regards to games online. I would venture to say it is a non issue because:
1) You know the person as they present themselves to you online and
2) It does not matter since you are judging by skill, not race or anything trival like that

Online games unite? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16155700)

Honestly, how can anyone say that online games unite people?

Play any game online and you are bound to be called a queer, faggot, nigger, spick, chineese farmer, etc. by someone called HitlerNazi69.

Are you sure? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16155705)

Are you sure? I can't tell you how many Half-Life 2 VS Doom 3 arguements I've heard.

Removing race? (1)

whyrat (936411) | more than 7 years ago | (#16155711)

That's odd... from my experience there's MORE racial slurs and degredation in online games than elsewhere in society.

There also seem to be a disproportionate amount of schoolgirls...

Re:Removing race? (2, Funny)

charlesbakerharris (623282) | more than 7 years ago | (#16155740)

There also seem to be a disproportionate amount of schoolgirls...

Yeah... about those schoolgirls... I met one of them in RL. Jimmy "The Iron Brick" Hoskins is now one of my closest friends - nice gal and all, but she didn't look anything like I expected.

Huh? (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 7 years ago | (#16155733)

In this racially divided world,

Which world is the submitter in, exactly? The one I'm in seems fine.

It's really hard to read and process an article like this when you disagree with the very first phrase in the very first sentence...

Re:Huh? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16156049)

maybe you should get a newspaper

Re:Huh? (1)

PepeGSay (847429) | more than 7 years ago | (#16156394)

Racially divide world. It is a hackneyed phrase that people either: 1. Have their careers invested in (Politicians, etc.) 2. Are too ignorant themselves to let go of. They just continue to see everyone around them as bigots and prejudiced. Irony, certainly. The fact is that racial divisions, in terms of active, purposeful interracial problems, have been largely stomped out in the realm of actual human interaction. Is there still lingering effects of racial division that existed many years ago? Education? Income? Yes. It does us all a disservice when someone uses their poor inductive logic to say "Racism still exists somewhere so the world is racially divided." When people focus on the real problems, like increasing education for *everyone* instead of hackneyed terms like "In this racially divided world.." maybe we can make the last few steps of progress.

Well Said (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 7 years ago | (#16156512)

Well said, and I agree with you 100%. The only real racism I see is people declaring other people racists.

Re:Well Said (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 7 years ago | (#16157712)

Well said, and I agree with you 100%. The only real racism I see is people declaring other people racists.

Then your life is sheltered from real racism.

Sorry, I'm not trying to insult you or anything, but if you don't see racism it's because you're just not around it then. I regret to have to inform you that racism is still alive and well.

Re:Well Said (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 7 years ago | (#16160636)

Ok; and how does wanking like this actually help resolve any of those issues? Or, instead, does it just *point them out* to make them seem more prominent than they actually are?

I think racism is dead (in the US at least), and the only reason you see constant news stories about racism is because it makes for good news. Tyra Banks can put up makeup and walk around and say "oh wow people treat me so differently!" when she's out of ideas.

Why do gamers feel this (2, Interesting)

Tweekster (949766) | more than 7 years ago | (#16155775)

need to be bigger than they are...they want to be this movement that somehow changes the world. Hint, it just isnt gonna happen. Gaming is not some noble endeavor that is unlike anything else that has ever happened. it is pure enjoyment, leave it at that

Horde versus Alliance (1)

iblum (894775) | more than 7 years ago | (#16155780)

Personally I think that online games seem to foster racial discrimination in all types. In fact, they even encourage people to go out there and hurt others simply because of their race. This, "PVP" mode where humans are pitted against Orc's and Gnomes against Taurans is to be abhorred. I say that all races should be free to coexist in peace and tranquility while we fight the real enemies: Ragneros.

Ira

Re:Horde versus Alliance (1)

edremy (36408) | more than 7 years ago | (#16155824)

This, "PVP" mode where humans are pitted against Orc's and Gnomes against Taurans is to be abhorred. I couldn't agree more: the endless fighting is awful. Luckily, once the humans, dwarves and elves are annhilated we will have no more conflict. The gnomes we'll save for use as footballs and bar stools.

Re:Horde versus Alliance (1)

iblum (894775) | more than 7 years ago | (#16155891)

as a gnome warrior (with very spikey armor) I'd like to see you try that.

(very testy about gnome football jokes)

Ira

Re:Horde versus Alliance (1)

edremy (36408) | more than 7 years ago | (#16156702)

Ohh, spikey armor. My succy loves the spikes- they're so much fun to play with while you stare at her instead of the incoming shadowbolt.

<introspection>WoW e-peen contests? Geez, I'm a grown guy with a wife and kids. What have I sunk to...</introspection>

The filter works both ways (1)

Hahnsoo (976162) | more than 7 years ago | (#16155786)

While the "filter" of anonymity allows people to associate and congregate who might otherwise not (due to race, culture, religion, political inclination, gender, sexual orientation, whatever), it also serves to dissociate you from your online avatar. You play someone else online, but you are still pretty much the same person when you leave the computer. Just because your characters and avatars online can fight side by side or even competitively in a friendly manner does not mean that you are a more tolerant and compassionate person when you stop playing and go back to "real life". You'll still be relatively the same person, with the same prejudices, same cultural upbringing, and same outlook on life. I'm not claiming that personal change can't happen due to gaming, and I think it can bridge the gap to understanding one another in a few extraordinary cases, but so can any other means of communications with a level of anonymity and neutrality.

I don't think so. (2, Interesting)

steveo777 (183629) | more than 7 years ago | (#16155790)

I've got a long ignore list in WoW of players who have accoused me of being many different things (dirty Jew, gay, and much much worse) because I would not give them money or politely requested that they keep their conversations in a party environment. I'm sure eventually these players will or have already been booted.

I've played a few MMORPGs in my time but, generally, my experience is that there are three player types. The offensive, who's lack of identifiability makes them think they can do what they want.
The passive, who keep to themselves or their guild. They tend to accept people who accept them. The vast majority of people lie in this group.
The aggresive. They are active. Tend to help people whenever they can. And they really do find ways to be involved.

The real reason people seem to 'get along' so well? There isn't even a fraction of lifes 'drama' running around in the virtual world. The worst thing that can happen to you within the confines of an MMORPG is that you miss out on some kind of loot, or you're late for/miss an event. If you can get worked up over that then you really must learn to chill out.

Re:I don't think so. (1)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 7 years ago | (#16156403)

(dirty Jew, gay, and much much worse)

Ok, I have to ask: According to MMO* trolls, what's worse than being a dirty, gay, jew?

Re:I don't think so. (1)

grammar fascist (239789) | more than 7 years ago | (#16156482)

Ok, I have to ask: According to MMO* trolls, what's worse than being a dirty, gay, jew?

Clean, straight, and Catholic.

MMORG race human race (1)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | more than 7 years ago | (#16155801)

#1) MMORG designers work carefully to balance each of their races. It's not like a MMORG would design a "KALB" race where the characters automatically get aggro'ed by the town guards, earn a half share from all kills and are randomly barred from the forums for bullshit reasons.

#2) Show me a 1/2 elf, 1/4 dwarf, 1/8 orc and 1/16 sprite and 1/16 centaur character and then we'll be a little closer to an apples to apples race discussion. (Is the character stronger because he's part orc or is it just chance?)

Re:MMORG race human race (1)

RsG (809189) | more than 7 years ago | (#16157995)

#2) Show me a 1/2 elf, 1/4 dwarf, 1/8 orc and 1/16 sprite and 1/16 centaur character and then we'll be a little closer to an apples to apples race discussion.
Presumably that would have to have been a female centaur and a male sprite... :-)

Side note: "race" in the context of fantasy games really boils down to what we would call "species" in reality. I suspect the main reason for using the term "race" is because it sounds more old-fashioned and less scientific.

So really, the whole RPG race = RL race (ethnicity/nationality/ancestry) is somewhat silly. As you say, it's apples and oranges.

Re:MMORG race human race (1)

kalirion (728907) | more than 7 years ago | (#16160526)

Side note: "race" in the context of fantasy games really boils down to what we would call "species" in reality.

The common definition of "species" merely requires that different species can't interbreed to have kids which themselves can have kids. So the case of a "1/2 elf, 1/4 dwarf, 1/8 orc and 1/16 sprite and 1/16 centaur character", would at least imply that dwarves, orcs, sprites, and centaurs are the same species. If the character in question can have kids, elves join said species.

Larry Laffer, the great uniter (2)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 7 years ago | (#16155861)

He has struck out with black chicks, asian chicks, white chicks, latina chicks, almost scored with a person pretending to be a chick. He is the model gaming citizen!

"anonymity of online gaming" (1)

CaseM (746707) | more than 7 years ago | (#16156021)

XBL has really unified the world...For just $49.95/yr people of all races, creeds, and colors can now come together and treat each other like total shit.

ummm......no (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16156052)

This kind of stuff is getting really old. Why bother infusing so much philosophical bullcrap on something thats really so obvious? This article says that computers dont let you physically see the person you're interacting with. Gee, thanks.

To top it off, its just plain wrong. Has this person ever actually played a game online? Anonymity does not lead to people acting rationally and fairly, its leads most to acting like 12 year old racist fucktards, end of story.

Example: I joined a game on battle.net with 2 other players (blizzard can censor these if they choose) named "niggrplease" and "urmomatemyfeces." You can bet they were both mature, accepting adults.

Example: I remember in WoW beta some guy asked for 8 silver and when someone else wouldnt give it to him he called the guy a "jewbag bastard" in general chat to a couple dozen people.

Great... (1)

Thad Boyd (880932) | more than 7 years ago | (#16156181)

...now if there were no correlation between race and the likelihood of being in a high enough economic class to afford an online gaming habit, the world's problems would be SOLVED!

City Of Heroes is a better example (1)

Keith Russell (4440) | more than 7 years ago | (#16156438)

In WoW, you start by choosing a race. It's race that defines what faction you're aligned with (Alliance or Horde) and what classes you have access to. Even though they're fantasy races with no (direct) relation to real-world ethnicities, you're still forced by "genetics and culture" into certain roles in the overall story.

In CoX, you start with a simpler choice: Hero or Villain. A far more fundamental conflict than anything that arises from ethnicity. From there, you choose your archtype, origin, and powersets. These provide diversity strictly within the confines of game mechanics. It's only after you've chosen the CoX equivalents of faction, class, weapons, and skills that you get to that amazing character creation sandbox.

Now, anything goes. (Within the bounds of good taste and Marvel's copyright lawyers, of course.) Here, you can adopt any image you like. Project your fantasies, tell a story, show your sense of style, or just hit Random All and take whatever obnoxiously silly costume you get. You can even contradict the game-related choices you made before. There's nothing to stop you from speccing a Magic Stalker (think Night Elf Rogue), then creating an 8' tall industrial-looking robot for a toon. Or you can just stay in character and make a ninja.

In any case, you don't get any preconceived notions of race or racial stereotypes. (see also: Rastafarian Trolls.) In CoX, you're as likely to see green, blue, or metallic gold skin as you are white or brown. In CoX, you are what you do, not how you look, moreso than any other prominent MMORPG out there.

"Great Unifier." Feh. (1)

idontgno (624372) | more than 7 years ago | (#16156561)

You wanna see great unification? Visit a PvP WoW server. The only great unity is that the hundreds of skeletons laying on the ground after a huge world PvP event look alike (mostly).

Characters die messily and unfairly dozens of times a day because they're the wrong race in the wrong neighborhood. It's no more unified than real-life race relations, except that there's less social inhibition on race murder and hate crime, because "it's just a game".

Guys play chicks all the time (1)

garylian (870843) | more than 7 years ago | (#16157276)

Most players, especially those in the MMO markets, have long ago stopped caring what "skin" the player is wearing and worried about their skill level.

Heck, many of the female toons you see in games are played by guys who are either A) titilated at playing a female toon and dressing it, or B) tired of looking at a guy's ass in third person view.

So it isn't like this story is anything close to a new viewpoint on the subject.

Technological Divide (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16158496)

It's pretty easy to ignore those too poor to afford the technology to play these games. You never see them online, so why should they matter. There is always that divide between the have's and the havenot's.

Oh really? (1)

Zepalesque (468881) | more than 7 years ago | (#16158793)

In all my travels as an adult, I have never been to a place more laden with racial slurs than in online gaming. We all wear different skins and are anonymous, but such anonymity causes some people to feel they can spit out whatever racial bullshit they feel like saying.

It is really sad and reduces the quality of gaming.

What a load of malarky. (2, Insightful)

ZombieRoboNinja (905329) | more than 7 years ago | (#16159235)

"There is one avenue of harmony that seems to pervade all people, regardless of race, color, creed and ethnicity. It is a unifying factor that calls to it men and women, young and old, from every stretch of the nation and the world beyond. It is the world of games - particularly video/online games."

Except the vast majority of gamers are white males. I like how the article writer's counter to this is that IN ADVERTISEMENTS AND MOVIES, there are a lot of non-whites playing video games... interesting metric there.

And except that most online gaming communities are fuller of racist swears than any real-world place I've seen - probably mostly from bored preteens trying to get a rise out of people by saying Something Naughty, but still.

And except that as soon as any actual evidence of race or ethnicity comes into the mix - as soon as people find out someone is gay or female or black or whatever "IRL" - you're stuck with the same old racial stereotypes and assumptions again. Usually amplified because of the aforementioned intolerant attitude of gaming communities.

No (1)

cubicledrone (681598) | more than 7 years ago | (#16159894)

What do fellow gamers care what race you the player really are, as long as your elf ranger or human mage can complete the task?

They don't care because the elf rangers and human mages apparently pay $15 a month to be stunlocked for hours at a time.

I honestly cannot understand the fascination with a game where the player is beset with a chronic lack of basic control over their own character.

Faulty Premise (1)

Avatar8 (748465) | more than 7 years ago | (#16160783)

WITHIN the gaming community, sure there is a sense of unity and people getting to know each other without ever knowing race, religion, political bias, sexual orientation or (possibly) gender.

However, the fact that only a small percentage of the country and world are playing video games makes this a very inaccurate sampling of data.

The real dividing line is money. Only those with enough money to afford a gaming system or a PC (plus internet connection, software, subscriptions, etc.) are able to enter this idyllic utopia of faceless, raceless, borderless virtual worlds. Granted that nearly all races are represented in the gaming world, but many of them may be exceptions of typical members of their race. This points to where the real racism occurs -- in the workplace.

Growing up in Texas shortly after integration, my small town had its own share of strife and tension. Now in Dallas, a black person is warmly welcomed compared to someone of Hispanic decent. Indian and Asian peoples are ostracised in the technical community because of offshoring, though the people here have nothing to do with that. This is most apparent in workplaces (who gets what jobs), and less apparent in personal settings (shopping, restaurants, sporting events, fairs, etc.). People don't seem to care about race; businesses do.

When the people doing all the cooking, cleaning and landscaping can afford to have a computer and get into World of Warcraft, then maybe we can start talking about the great melting pot of MMO's.

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