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Real-Time Racism

by Staff

Tags: Xbox Live, online racism, racist gamers, Youth Today, Dr. Phil,

Xbox Live: bringing youth together with hours of gaming and racist rants. That’s according to Youth Today, the Washington-based “newspaper on youth work,” which reports in its March 2008 issue (subscription required) that racist flare-ups are plaguing the online, multiplayer gaming system. Joseph Moreno, a 28-year-old law student who plays under the screen name Joeblackisback, says he’s been buffeted by comments such as “That nigger must still be in here, it smells like shit,” and “I love it when niggers play. I love killing them.” Similar complaints—though not systematically documented—abound in the online gaming community. 

Some players and gaming bloggers argue that Xbox creator Microsoft needs to take a firmer hand in addressing users’ complaints of racist harassment. After 10 complaints, the company can ban an offending player or silence the player’s ability to speak online. If that’s too slow a reaction time, there is another option: Go on “Dr. Phil.” That’s what Terry, an African American father of three, did in January after his complaints were rebuffed with the “need 10 examples” threshold. The nation’s telepsychologist couldn’t get anyone from Microsoft to come on his show, but the company agreed to assign a “security team member” to Terry’s case “so,” Dr. Phil explained,” they can sit down and start this ball rolling.” 

Hannah Lobel