The Fragility of the White Boy Gamer

The damaging nature of the frail white boy ego to the video game community can not be understated. To take a recent and highly visible example, Toronto Esports player, Matt Vaughn, who  said nigger (with the hard er) for 26 seconds straight then, after being caught, shortly thereafter apologized citing tiredness and server lag as the reason for his tirade. That's all it took, feeling tired and server lag and by no means is Vaughn unique. Harassment is an everyday occurrence. Twitter user: @lecka posted a video where all he had to do was kill someone, in a First Person Shooter to be called a "fucking nigger" (with the hard er). *link here. Friends have mine have told me stories about how after a game angry players will continue to harass them until they block the account. This has also happened to me. And in my case the guy switched to his smurf to continue messaging me after I banned the first account.

And though I speak often about how online harassment is ultimately harmful, I think it's worth mentioning that, I haven't been bothered by this type of behavior, emotionally, in a long time. It'd be like getting mad every time you heard a siren sound in the city and about as useful. Usually, if I end up saying something it's because I care about trying to make the community less awful but, honestly, it's a great way to get the offender to escalate.

The worst and most frustrating bit about this harassment is it stems from a societal illness. One which causes people to die daily and has cast our world into turmoil. But, while we lack the tools to prevent people from being awful in real life, preventing online harassment is not out of reach.

You can already see companies trying to combat harassment by including ways to report abusers. Riot, Blizzard, Square Enix and pretty much any company you can think of, who functions online, has the function to report harassment. And yet, severe harassment continues. Why?

Partially because it requires the larger community to know something is wrong. In the gaming community many people are conditioned to believe it's okay to call someone a n-word or an f-word or what have you, but that has nothing to do with the morality of the action. Vaughn's apology also highlights this. He knew what he was saying was wrong. He even stated that it was the most offensive thing he could think to say. But the community standards are so low, had he not been caught on Twitch, it would have gone.

The gaming community must change our standards. It is not okay to harass someone when they fuck up. It is not okay to respond to constructive criticism with harassment. Harassment is not okay. I'm sure even for white boys, being on guard all the time must get old. But, in order for the community to change the actors of change need better support from the companies which are complicit in harassment. How many times does someone have to harass someone to get banned? Way too many. Companies need to be stricter. Banter is one thing and harassment is another with a thick line between the two. We can do better. We must demand better.