Pixels and Policy Article on Racism in Second Life Invades the BBC

Imagine our surprise when we found out Pixels and Policy's article on racism in Second Life was set to be featured on the BBC's website! As you can imagine, we thought it was a joke at first.

However, the news is true. Pixels and Policy received a great write-up on the BBC's Magazine Monitor, alongside the likes of Michael Caine and a former Bosnian leader on the run from authorities. This goes a long way in proving what Pixels and Policy has said – virtual worlds are an area of growing importance in the world, and coverage of how players live in the Metaverse will draw an audience.

As the BBC said:

In virtual reality you create what you look like – your avatar – so are
given the opportunity to separate yourself from your age, race or
gender. Despite thisresearch from North Western University which suggests people are less likely to help someone if they have a black avatar.

We're not going to sit back and enjoy the appreciation, though. Pixels and Policy is currently conducting research on the role of gender in the virtual world, with a focus on how female avatars are perceived by others, and how the players of female avatars perceive themselves.

In the meantime, keep reading!

3 thoughts on “Pixels and Policy Article on Racism in Second Life Invades the BBC”

  1. Now that should make interesting reading since a large percentage of female avatars are purported to belong to men.

  2. Oh, this is *ridiculous*, and how misleading to spread this fake meme further by peddling it to BBC. Shame on you.
    Here’s the real story about race in SL, based on far more field data than Hamlet Au ever has — he’s merely peddling the PC meme himself:
    http://secondthoughts.typepad.com/second_thoughts/2007/12/black-not-like.html
    You’re really deciding to ring all the politically-correct chimes in search of Google juice, eh?!
    This research is truly incomplete from NorthWestern, and very much plays into expectations of the researchers. There really needs to be done A LOT more on this, not with fake RL simulations that don’t port well into virtuality, with both investigative journalism and bona fide academic research with a wider base of informants than are usually selected.
    Pro-tip: many of the females in SL are in fact males.
    I happen to be playing a dark-skinned avatar now in SL, actually, a Tajik in Afghanistan. I’ve only had one incident, that I think was more having to do with my Russian name than my skin. And this is with literally thousands of encounters in my business and my travels.
    There.com has a very different dynamic than SL, but there’s another operative factor here that none of the politically correct want to admit in this study: many white male youths dress up as black ghetto gang members in virtual games to play tough and act big in a stereotypical way, and they behave badly. And people in these spaces begin to perceive that gang-look in the same way they do in RL — they associate it with aggression and act so as to avoid it.
    You really need to stop virally-spreading other people’s memes and do your own real research if you want credibility.

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