The Internet And Online PC Gaming: A Double-Edged Sword

I love the internet in so many ways. The internet allows me to connect with people across the world through my blog, Facebook, Twitter etc. It allows me to join communities that I wouldn’t ever be able to access without it.

I’ve recently taken a dive back into online gaming. I’ve played games online since I was about 15 and always been very aware that there are some arse wipes in the online community. So when I hit 17 or so, I stopped playing competitive games online. I played single player games and co-operative games where there was a lot less random abuse being thrown around.

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There are also a lot of Harambe jokes about Winston! Pahahaha

At 25 I finally dove back into the competitive online gaming scene through Overwatch. It’s a brilliantly addictive game and I’m beginning to think that I’ve become obsessed with it. It features a diverse cast of characters from around the world and most of the voice actors are native speakers of the languages that the characters speak. When I’m not playing the game, I watch streams online of other people playing, I watch videos on YouTube of people playing the game and then try to emulate what they’re doing whenever I play (I’m notoriously bad at video games so I need all the help I can get).

One thing I was completely not prepared for was how horrible and disgusting people can be and how seriously people take something that’s supposed to be for fun. I’m not talking about the pros, of course. If that’s their job, by all means take it seriously.

If you’re just playing for fun, you get a whole heap of abuse and anger thrown your way. Even when you’re not playing in the games hyper serious “Competitive” mode. Some of the insults are pretty nasty. Some are a little less intense, the “you suck” and “you’re really bad at this game” are not constructive but also not particularly offensive. The others though, fuck me…

I was playing a game recently on a map called Lijiang Tower which is based in China and within seconds, people start making racist comments about the Chinese, the culture, their “slitty eyes”, the classic “HERRO” and lots more. Of course, I called them out and mentioned that I’m Chinese and they’re being pretty shitty. Their response was “do you eat dogs though?”. My response was obviously a “no” to which they responded “well then you’re not a real chink are you?”. In 2017…

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It’s not all bad, there’s the occasional fake proposal too. 

This is the tip of the iceberg too. God forbid you’re a woman and you play the game. The number of rape comments, “why aren’t you making me a sandwich” comments, and “fake female gamer” comments is unreal but ultimately extremely common. First of all, and most simply, how can someone be a fake gamer? If they’re playing the game they’re a fucking gamer. Why do so many men think that playing video games is/should be a solely male past time. Secondly every time I stand up for someone mid game, you can be sure that I get abuse too but mine is nothing compared to the women I speak up for. Even when they’re insulting me, it’s still directed very much at the women. Thirdly, you know the insults will fly thick and fast if the women are just better at the game. Holy crap, some of the men who play this game have such fragile egos that losing to a woman at a video game results in them hurling abuse at them. Finally, NOTHING, anyone does warrants threats of rape or murder. Stop it you disgusting pieces of human shaped shit.

Sadly, this isn’t something exclusive to the realms of online gaming. It’s the whole internet. Reddit is a pretty horrendous place sometimes. Again, I use it to read creepy stories, discuss PC parts, learn how to play the Pokémon card game and learn about science, technology and the world. But some of the most offensive, horrific memes are posted there too.

The internet is a powerful tool for good if used in the right way. It’s also a place where cowards, racists, sexists and straight up stains on society can hide behind a veil of anonymity and speak their horrific, twisted views. The internet makes people brave which isn’t always a good thing.

But the main thing is, I’m sorry to all POC and women who have to put up with this kind of shit. I’ll always do my best to speak up and help. I hope that other people who read this will do the same. And to all you racist, sexist, xenophobic pieces of shit who abuse people in video games and online, just shut your mouth. You’re ruining a great thing for everyone and you’re making yourself look like an absolute fool.

A

Note: All this aside, I also often come across really lovely people. I started chatting to someone on the opposite team who was playing the same character as me and me and the opposite team just hit it off and were having a little fun while playing the game by skating around on walls etc with Lucio. One person on my team got very very angry though and started hurling abuse at me at which point, the other team pointed out I was the only one doing anything of use on my team and to calm down as it’s only a game. I still game with them today.

“Not Really Such Thing As Racism, Just Opinion”

I can’t believe I’m saying this but “Not really such a thing as racism, just opinion” is a thing that an actual human being said on my Facebook. Racism doesn’t exist apparently. We’re all being super sensitive, we’re weak minded and we’re pathetic people for bitching and moaning about being treated differently.

I made a couple of posts recently about how certain races are represented in mainstream media on my Facebook and one on my blog here. I am by no means an expert on race. All I know is that it’s pretty obvious when people are being belittled, ridiculed and made to look like lesser human beings. Sometimes it’s outright disrespect. Other times it’s veiled as a political piece. The shitstorm on my personal Facebook started when I posted about how angry I was about this particular piece of news racist bullshit. The same person who denied that racism exists said that just after having said “I was hoping you were Asian and Black so that we would have two reasons to discriminate against you”.

If you really want to watch it, I’ll oblige. I warn you though. It’s garbage. It’s not news.

All you have to do is look at the comments on the video to see that it’s offended people but there are somehow also a shit ton of people who for some reason feel the need to defend this shit. If the people this is about are offended, take a fucking hint. It’s fucking disgusting.

Of course, somehow racists found their way to my Facebook post (even though I don’t know any of them) and started mouthing off that I was being overly sensitive and a whiny, weak-minded bitch. Apparently, we’d all be better off if we’d (people of colour [POC]) stop being such pathetic excuses for human beings. POC have spent hundreds of years being raped, murdered and having their land, resources and cultures stolen and are STILL having to prove themselves to not be inferior. This isn’t just about Chinese people either, Black people across the world, Latinx people, Hispanic people, people from the Middle East, East Asians, the native people of countries like America and Australia. This kind of shit happens to all of us and it’s not okay. We won’t be the quiet subservient POC that you expect us to be.

My original post was this:

Karate is Japanese, they went to a martial arts centre with a south Korean flag (amongst others, but not Chinese), Mr Miyagi isn’t Chinese, this American dude is a piece of shit. Respect to the last guy. He knew what was going on. Fox news and Watters/Oreilly are saying it was all in good fun. How about I take the piss out of American stereotypes. They’re fat, white, racist scumbags who murder and incarcerate thousands of black people every year and think they’re better than everyone else. Not nice is it? Fuck it, it’s all in good fun.

There are tons of other things I could list about that video that are very obviously racist. I won’t bother though. We’d be here for days. After all the comments on Facebook from random ALL WHITE Americans, my friends and I tried to inform them with logic, facts, statistics and literal dictionary definitions and some times even tried to appeal to their sense of empathy. Well played, Alex. Empathy? These people? No chance. They also told me words don’t matter. Walk up to a Black person and call them the N word. See if it matters then. People get brave on the internet, in person, I highly doubt they’d be so willing to say the kind of shit they said to us last night.

However, I do want to say thank you to all of my friends, of all races and ethnicities, who argued back with these random racists, who have shown support on my statuses following the incident, and have sent me messages, texts, calls etc. to make sure that I’m not too upset and have sent me real message of support. POC can speak for themselves but my friends and allies from white communities help so much by helping to tackle ignorance and hatred in their communities. I appreciate you all and I’m proud to know you all.

One friend asked me if I’m on some sort of racist watchlist. I have no idea if I am, but if my speaking up about race is getting me on racist watchlists, I must be doing something right eh?

Racism is real and is a serious problem that is literally killing POC. Don’t forget it, don’t let it happen, don’t stay quiet.

A

P.S. I fully expect some racists to come on here and comment and bitch and moan too. You will be blocked, your comments deleted and your existence forgotten.

Culture, Identities and Representation.

So while I’ve been off sick I’ve had lots of time to think. Lots of time to try to understand the world, discover things in books, in pop culture and in everything else, I’ve been thinking a lot about my own culture, identities and representation. This will be a different kind of post (and significantly longer too) so let me know if you want to see more of this kind of post.

I, along with many others, have grown a little tired of being so woefully under-represented in mainstream media. I’m not just talking about Chinese people, I’m talking about people of colour in general. Obviously, being Chinese, I’m going to focus mainly on representation of Chinese and Oriental people in comic books and also mainstream movies, anime etc.

For those of you who know me, you know I’m a bit of a nerd. When I say a bit of a nerd I mean I’m a complete nerd. at least 50% of the content on my bookshelf is in comic form (with many, many, more digital comics) and a few years ago I picked up a Bruce Lee comic book. It was a 6 issue mini series about one of the most influential Hong Kong Chinese figures of modern times. A man known for, not only, his martial arts prowess and movies but his philosophies and incredibly deep insights into humanity, love, life, perseverance and many other topics. This comic was published between 1995-1996 and guess who wrote it? Some white dude. Okay, Mike Baron. Respected in his field, award winning and I’m sure very talented but have a look at some of the stuff Bruce was saying. “I’ve got to check my homeboys”, “Shelley, baby, sweetheart”.

You would think that such a well respected man would be represented better, even in the 90’s. It’s tough to effectively represent Chinese people, even public figureheads like Bruce Lee, without any f***ing Asian people in it. Literally everyone behind the comic. Not a single Chinese person. How often do you find the N word in comic books? Even in the 90’s. But Chink? Apparently no problem there.

Thankfully, we’ve come a long way. That’s not to say that there’s not lots more work to be done. We’ve got Shang-Chi now who, despite being the stereotypical master of kung fu, is a total BAMF. (He was also created by a pair of white dudes, Steve Englehart and Jim Starlin). We also have Amadeus Cho. A young Korean super genius who’s currently serving as the Totally Awesome Hulk. He was created by Greg Pak and Takeshi Miyazawa, a Canadian Japanese dude who does some beautiful art work. The Cassandra Cain Batgirl is a total badass too.

On the flip side we have characters like Wong. He’s the “sidekick and manservant/valet” to Dr Strange created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko in 1963. We have amazing Japanese anime films like Ghost in the Shell, which influenced the Matrix films, who are getting Hollywood adaptations where the main character is being played by Scarlett Johannson. We have Emma Stone playing a Hawaiian/Asian character in Aloha. Tilda Swinton playing the Ancient One, a Tibetan master of magic. The list goes on. So my request to white writers, if you’re going to create Asian characters, or use Asian characters, plots, adapt films, at the very least, let us represent ourselves. This is a great watch:

One of the things that the guy with the dyed grey hair says is that he’s never been described as sexy, or suave, just cute, funny and friendly. Now those words aren’t bad. They’re positive things. But put together like that, it sounds like you’re describing a child. Or a puppy.

Asian men are very very rarely allowed to be sexy or cool. Think Raj from BBT (which is a terrible show anyway) or Mosuka from Dexter, or Han Bryce Lee, the horrifically asexual Asian boss from the awful 2 Broke Girls. Almost anything that Ken Jeong is cast in (he slept with Shirley in Community but that was “disgusting” and used purely to make jokes). Danny Pudi’s Abed is only sexual when he’s playing famous white characters like Don Draper or Han Solo. Masi Oka in Heroes was pretty much asexual apart from that thing with Charlie which was short lived as she was sent to the past and he ended up single for the rest of it while several other white characters somehow had multiple relationships. How many Jackie Chan or Jet Li films end with them “getting the girl”? Don’t even get me started on the older, more outrageous films with Asian characters.

Asian women have it even worse. Lots of Asian women are depicted as being submissive, timid people who dote entirely on their man and are super sexualised and sexually compliant. This is often referred to as the “China Doll” stereotype. On the other hand you have the complete opposite as well the “Dragon Lady” the abrasive, aggressive, opportunistically sexual, gold digger type characters.

Like I said, we’re making progress. Glenn from the Walking Dead is a great character. Anything that Aziz Ansari is in is generally gold. Master of None has some great scenes about being typecast and stereotypes. The New Superman comic (which I’m buying every month) stars Kenan Kong a regular Chinese guy who, so far (I’ve only read #1. #2 is on the way) is a bit of a tool. No kung fu. No super smarts. No stereotypes. Best of all, it’s written by Gene Luen Yang a Chinese-American writer.

One day I’m hoping that campaigns like #StarringJohnCho and #StarringConstanceWu is no longer necessary. There is some incredible work though so check out the hashtags to get a good idea.

So, how can my children or my little cousins to grow up and not adhere to those stereotypes if they don’t get to see people like them in popular culture? Let’s help Asian people get more exposure in the media as regular people rather than the terrible old stereotypes of times gone by.

As mentioned before this is a slightly different kind of post. I don’t write about this stuff often but this is the tip of the ice berg. I’m keen to write more like this. Would you like to see more? Pop in a vote on that poll for me. Agree? Disagree? Pop a comment below.