Racism is a real problem in local eSports

8 min read

Smite the racists

Living in South Africa is a blessing in so many ways. We have an incredible quality of life and get to live n some of the most beautiful and vibrant cities on the planet. However there is a darker side to our country and it comes as a surprise to no one that one of our biggest problems is racism.

Hell the country was a pariah of the planet for many years due to the ridiculous apartheid structure but since 1994 that has all changed and I like to think the vast majority of people don’t subscribe to that point of view. However recently I’ve been hearing more and more about the rampant racism that is occurring in online gaming via IRC chats, in game text and, most predominantly, over voice chat.

Racism in gaming isn’t what has me worried though, idiots exist everywhere and there isn’t much chance we can avoid them. What has me really worried though is the attitude of many gamers about the subject. Very few people will agree with the racists but here are just some comments that I’ve taken from Facebook about it.

Let me re-iterate this part. These Facebook conversations are public and by no means have I magically hacked into a private chat here.

The conversation starts off well enough with Lloyd posting about blatant racism and how he thinks these people shouldn’t be part of the community.

Lloyd Hung: “NePhaLliM” and “GolFie”, never before have I seen such blatant racism in a dota game. I really don’t think they should be a part of this community. I’ll update with Game ID once its finished.
Edit: Game ID 352252852 – Conversation happens around the 10 to 20 min mark if i’m not mistaken.

He gives the Game ID for people to go check for themselves.

The very first comment though shows the trend that we have to fight against

Duan Hechter So report it in game. You don’t have to report it to a FB group that’s not affiliated with the game.

Definitely not condoning the issue but asking why even raise it in the DOTA 2 South African Facebook group? 9 people liked this comment, you can see who here.

Then someone else chimes in

Juandre Mulder Racism is everywhere in games ,stop crying on a page that has fuckall 2 do about politics or human race

Which thankfully no one liked and he got a valid response soon after

Duncan Frickel Yet Juandre is this not the Dota2 south africa community page? and are not those players a part of our community?#deepthoughts

Which was also quickly followed up by the DoGaming editor who communicates with the DoGamingLeague

Rob Clegg I was actually in the game. It was great. I’m going to work as hard as possible that those players are banned from the DGL as well. This is not the kind of community that people want.

I can say that with the chats I’ve had with Rob recently around this the DGL is very strict about racism and players and supporters alike have agreed that it simply doesn’t happen in their tournaments which is a great testament to the guys and girls over there.

Juandre does then come back and clarify by stating

Juandre Mulder Nope, Im just saying report it in game and let justice run its course ,cause complaining in here ,is not gonna help at all

Which is a point but the problem is a small in game ban won’t stop the players from thinking this is okay with their friends. This sort of behaviour shouldn’t be tolerated by the community and the best way to stop it happening is to ensure they don’t feel comfortable posting things like this in a public space.

The conversation then goes the way of most online conversations with idle threats and rubbish comments for a while before coming back to the problem at hand.

Daniel Grobbelaar The previous comments are tl;dr.
I have played with GolFie before. He is good and works well with his team. He does his job and he doesn’t complain.
That’s all that matters to me. I’d rather play with a good racist than a noob who isn’t.

Followed quickly by

Roland Bartelink Essentially is boils down to if you mind playing with people who have a fundamentally different lifestyle and outlook on life…People are all different, what you perceive as right and wrong is specific to you as it is with everyone else. They are just cultural and social norms and lack intrinsic value…Subjectively your arguments against racism are valid as are the arguments for racism…So yeah, potato

At this point everyone bailed from the conversation and I don’t blame them.

So are we just meant to accept racism because the idiotic racist is good at a game? Is this how little the community thinks about racism and how little they care about possibly the most disturbing part of our countries history? 

I asked for some more examples from the community and only received a single piece of solid proof which depresses me. Many people were happy to talk to me about it anonymously because they are worried about how the community would react to them naming and shaming people for racism.

The evidence to follow was from a recent incident where a player called RapingNinja (apparently it wasn’t him but a friend using his account) was playing against another player by the name of Strider. Strider is apparently in a cross racial relationship and has a photo on his Facebook page of him kissing his black girlfriend.

*Side note, the DJVega listed in the image is not the well known DJVEGA that plays for JnBn and was just an alias this person used

This was included with an email that also sad the following, names have been censored as I cannot validate it personally.

Backround to the story is that Strider had a black girlfriend and had a picture of himself kissing her as his facebook profile picture. Strider and RapingNinja were involved in banter about who played better and that was RapingNinja’s response.

A lot of people agreed that this is wrong and something must be done while others said it must be ignored and even called for Strider to be kicked from the group for “naming and shaming”. Myself, Strider, S***** and many more expressed that we feel something needs to be done, however, the post was removed by an admin.

After the post was removed we protested it and called out the admin who did it saying he was shutting down a very important issue. The admin then kicked me and Strider from the group. Scant protested the admins behaviour by making a long thread about how his actions are harming the community and the admin replied “tl;dr” and removed that post as well shortly after. The admin is J***** ******.

It is important to note that there are only two page admins being him and N*****, N***** was supportive of our voice and invited us back to the group but some are boycotting the group now due to what J***** ****** did. I think it really shows that people who have power are doing nothing and shutting down the issue, and that nothing is being done by people in power or the community to make change. We often bring it up but the topic disappears for a few months.

The moral of this little rant is that you as a community need to stop this being accepted. By ignoring it or accepting it you are being tarred with the same brush and if you think sponsors are gong to sit around supporting a community that acts like this in public you are sadly mistaken. 

I think it’s telling that this problem was first brought to us by one of the sponsors of local eSports.

The only way it can be beaten is by ensuring that the racists are too scared to publicly be racist just in case they end up being listed on the next community piece alongside the choice things they said. Pretty much every real employer will do a base Google search for your name when you apply for a real job and do you really want your name to be shown alongside something like this?

Now I’m not saying you mustn’t report them using the in game tools but to also take it a step further.. screenshot the violation and send it to us or post it on Facebook with the gamer’s details. Community action is the only way this can be solved.

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Last Updated: January 27, 2014

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