Note: This is a mirror entry that is outside of Juicybomb jurisdiction. To see Harlow Heslop’s lulzy reaction to the original post, click here.

The man in this picture could be anything. He’s got fair skin and light eyes. His long hair are put into braids, and his cheekbones are prominent. Even if he didn’t match the race you think I said he was, he is that because I deem him to be.

He is me–as a male, in the grid. I created him to be more creole-looking than my female counterpart, which I still think doesn’t look that Caucasian to me. Before I donned a mesh head with either gender identity, my avatar resembled my grandmother–a creole woman who would probably cut her hair short and dye it bright red if she were the age I am now.

Even if I change bits of myself in the game, I carry my heritage with me. I know other black users who along with me, mix and match hair, eye colors, and skin tones. We don’t do it to escape–but some black users do. I don’t fault them for it because I understand the grid isn’t very tolerant of us.

Second Life has been used as a means of escape for so many people. In the end, though, we’re just that–people. It’s inevitable that things like civil rights would rear their head here after a while. Especially when you get incidents of users being silenced when talking about racism.

***

Even though irl I’m more fair-skinned than the average black person, I still see glaring examples of racism in Second Life. A search on Marketplace and in SL with various slurs will show that vulgar names to describe blacks will outnumber other slurs by three times as much. The result is the same whether it’s on Marketplace or in the grid itself.

Here’s the Second Life search results. And here are the results for Marketplace:

With this alone, I could talk about what this indicates about our grid and what we value. Understandably, a large proportion of SL’s userbase is white. But does that mean we have to make others feel unwelcome?

Can we talk about how blogger Kaelyn Alecto celebrates Sinterklaas every year and posts pictures of blackface on her Plurk timeline, and then defends it when users get outraged? Or how about the practice of sexualizing Native attire? What about slavery fetish sims based on race? What about the fact that event themes by and large seem to be slanted towards Western views?

If you think what I’m bringing up is personal, it’s because our userbase is small, and it’s getting smaller by the year. We can’t afford to ignore this subject anymore–not when there are less and less users in SL as time goes by. There’s less places to run from the issue of equality on the grid when you keep seeing the same people over and over.

***

Yesterday, Whiskey Monday posted a plurk thread describing getting in trouble for being racist on her job when she wasn’t. Several black users spoke up and assured her she did nothing wrong. But one user spoke over them, a white male, and after a while his tone was nothing short of aggravating.

I challenged others to turn their attention towards the grid if they really did care about minority voices. What followed were some pretty terrible conversations (see the first picture of a discussion), where in the end I lost my temper and ended up telling off the more daft users of the thread. Then, someone else posted pictures of cats in the thread to aggravate me even further. So the picture above stemmed from that.

Why do that when someone’s trying to address racism? Oh, right. Because you think they’re overreacting.

Then there was someone jumping in the thread when they thought myself and another user were misgendering a trans male. Even after an apology and explaining I just wasn’t aware, I was told my words were “linguistic violence”. Hey–remember we were talking about racism? No, I understand. You want to latch on to anything in order to avoid it.

So I was told to tone down my message. Make it easier to digest So, I gave it a shot.

Turns out, it doesn’t work. When people don’t want to listen, they won’t listen. But doesn’t mean the problem goes away.

I’m sorry if you’re reading this and think that white privilege is expected to be a cross for you to bear. It isn’t. ALL privilege is for people to defeat by stopping and considering where others are coming from. Not laughing at them when they’re upset and hurt. Not focus on yourself and continue to feel persecuted when they apologize and say they made a mistake in their pronouns, and ignore their complaints about unequal treatment. How could you? Especially if you’re a Jewish or queer user, you know know damn well by now what another minority is talking about.

I get it. It’s a hard subject to talk about. But I’m sure we can start with something simple:

Ban the search of slurs, any slurs, in SL, just like LL has stopped the search term for “casino”. They did it with skill gaming because it meant getting into legal trouble. But the ToS also prohibits hateful behavior. Can we start with this measure? It would begin the process of making our grid a more tolerant place.

Second Life, you aren’t as great as you make yourself out to be.

Please leave your comments in the thread. Remember to keep them respectful. Thanks.

PS: don’t leave comments being upset about me sharing how callous this community is. You put yourself in that hole by being a bully.

-Cake

If you’d like to keep up with me, you can reach me here and here.  You can also read about any future works and publications here, and continue to purchase artwork here.

All future artwork will be updated on my real blog, where I run a webcomic, publish books, and do all sorts of cool stuff.

If you’re interested in Blood Money as a source of roleplay material, you’re free to do that!  Please contact me if you have questions or want some outlines or something.

Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s time to go.

 

charactersays

NOTICE: I will still take orders at my store and on the SLU forums.  Anyone waiting on art is still good on that.

When I first joined SL, I had fallen on hard times from a few bad business decisions. I lost a lot of money irl to either bad clients who wanted large paintings and then bailed on payment, or booking festivals that turned out to be duds.

One day, I thought, “You know, I really want to go see something different”, so that’s why I came here.

Probably the most profound effect SL has had on my work and career, was to make me realize that I was capable of doing anything.

After playing this game, I:

  • Stuck large, ridiculous masks on my head and got people to notice me, rather than dressing like a hipster to impress people instead,
  • Got enough of a following to advertise my art
  • Founded a company
  • Obtained a business grant
  • Published a graphic novel
  • Published a novel a few months later.

Has it been easy? No. I’ve had a lot of hard times where I thought I was going to fail again. Sometimes, I actually did fail, but it was okay because I knew to recover.

Now? I get interviews, I have a publishing company, and I even have my own studio. Is it the best studio? No, but it’s pretty cool. I talk about my situation honestly to people and they still think I’ve got it made.

I want to thank Second Life for showing me that I can be absurd and professional at the same time, and to think outside the box in terms of presentation and selling my work. I’ll take that lesson wherever I go.

I’m still doing commissions and portraits for players, but my store is shutting down.

Why, you ask? Because I can’t be here anymore.

I’ve been trying to do this for a while.  I can never seem to leave, because someone either needed me, or I thought the money was good.  While other people think I’m insane for thinking so, I don’t think this grid is headed anywhere desirable  It’s on a steady decline, and with that decline, more and more IP issues are going to come to the fore.  Eventually people will stop caring about it altogether.

Some people think my predictions are half-baked or that I’m on something for making them.  Or that I’m bitter.  Or just plain pessimistic.  That’s fine, because it’s partially true.

When I try to talk to people about the effect of art theft and the economy here, I realize I’m way too passionate about it.  But I’m an artist.  I live and breathe art.  You can’t talk to me about something like that and not expect for me to get upset.  And honestly, if I’m going to be passionate, I should go be passionate about my company, which quite honestly needs me at this point.  I work on it day and night now and even though I don’t get much time off, I’m happy because it’s mine.

If you would like to follow me, you can do so on Twitter and Tumblr.  My current goal is to make it as a comic and book publisher (y’know, in the sea of other comic book and novel publishers), and carve out a little place for myself there.

What’s my dream?  I want to be like Hiyao Miyazaki.  It’s going to take a long time before I can get there, though.

This feels like I’m ripping off a band-aid that I’ve been stalling for a long time, but okay.  I’m doing this.

My av will be in SL, but my parcel is shutting down after my last two weeks of rent run out.  Until then, most items in my store are 10L.

Thank you everyone for making this journey with me.  Please take care of yourselves.  I’ll come visit sometimes, but I don’t want to create here anymore.

 

DJ

This is the first commission for Pancake, a well-loved user of the SLU forums.  I’m getting through more jobs tonight so I can take a trip out of town tomorrow.

I’m really hoping I have some good news to share on the sequential front soon; someone’s hired me to illustrate their comic (at least the first issue of it), so that’s something cool I can add to my artists resume.  It’s an indie title but I’m going to give it lots of love!

Anyway, that’s all for now!  If you’d like a portrait, visit my store to purchase the package you’d like!  Don’t forget to contact Aemeth Lysette in-world once you’ve bought the bundle you want.  You can also pay in Ls, but contact me first before you do that.

Roman

Hi all!

I have a new store for commissions and products, that puts everything together–books and publications included.

You can check it out here.  I’ll also be adding in some cheap prints I’ve been selling at conventions, for those who are interested.

“Blood Money” almost sold out in less than six months, so I’m probably going to see about doing a second printing.  ‘Til then, you can get a digital copy and what few physical copies are left at our online store.

If you prefer to pay in Ls, contact Aemeth Lysette in-world about it first.

Thank you for your interest and support!

AvrilWoot!  It’s a new commission!  I’ve got one more to go and then I’m expanding commissions to rl friends too.  Girl’s gotta have a steady stream of pizza money, you know.

I’m also participating in Futurewave next week and also Adore and Abhor’s birthday celebration, so.. those projects are coming up!  I’ll announce those soon.

I will announce when my store’s back open and its new location when I’m ready to open again.  Thanks!

Sugar Girls

Sweet Fashion from Sweet Girls

Lazy Designers

Not actually lazy, just busy.

Cute, Sexy, Fun.

Whiskey Shots

photos and words by Whiskey Monday

Bluebird's Song

an excuse for me to shop & indulge in vanity photos

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