Local Dota Without Racism Is Like Bread Without Butter
That said, I actually do eat bread without butter. Hmm, perhaps a better comparison should be thought up. Eh. Who has the time for that…
Yesterday I was randomly browsing my Twitter feed when I stumbled upon a link shared by someone I follow, who expressed disgust at the local gaming scene and their racist tendencies. Curious, I followed the link over to LazyGamer and would you believe it, it wasn’t a scantily clad female (had to) but rather a very relevant article regarding an issue that I’ve been dealing with for years now. Thus, something pertinent in my life. It was about racism in local eSports, with some examples that I’m not going to get into here. If you’d like to see them for yourself then feel free to click through to the article and read the entire story there.
- You’ll Be Able To Play (Expensive) PS2 Games On Your PS4 Now | 2 months ago
- Jessica Jones Disempowers Its Male Characters And The Effect Is Refreshing | 2 months ago
- Hell Is 30 000 Deathclaws Tearing Through Boston And It’s Glorious | 2 months ago
- Sony Santa Monica Is Teasing Something Truly Strange | 2 months ago
What I will do is embed the screenshot image of the dickbag who decided to be a racist. Keep in mind, this is in a Steam game on a South African Dota 2 server. Not necessarily eSports-related.
Now since the Dota 2 Community Facebook group has conflicting admin, and besides a fair amount of the people on there probably don’t care in any case, I thought it only fair to follow suit with LazyGamer and pen my own article about this. I have at least two reasons for this decision, over and above it just being a really big issue that we all really ought to be talking about — because after all, what do South Africans do better than debate about race?
One of these reasons is that I know Strider (the victim of this attack, kinda, technically it was his ex-girlfriend but I digress) personally; as I’m sure a lot of you reading this do. If you don’t, he’s one of the more well-known members of the old Twilight forums and the local DotA community from way back when. Sure, he’s a troll of note and the stunt he pulled with Betty_Oops still has some guys gunning for him, but he is otherwise a really nice guy and someone who was willing to give me a chance in the local In-House League, back when that was a thing.
The other reason is a lot more personal, and therefore far more compelling for me, and that’s the fact that I have been a victim of racial abuse online.
It’s this reason why I felt a need to create an opinion piece about this rather than just reporting on it as news. Why not use the opportunity to give some personal insight, et al. I joined the Twilight server around April 2008, when I had first discovered DotA, the custom map for my favourite game that would soon obliterate my life, including causing the failures of multiple university subjects, my social life as a whole and even my gaming, where at one point I quite literally played DotA for twelve hours a day, pausing only to eat, use a toilet and sleep.
In any case, I’ve clocked up over three thousand hours on the local Twilight server, playing DotA. On September 28th 2011, I played my last game on the local server. At that point in time, a lot of people had already known me to be Caveshen Rajman, at-the-time newbie writer for eGamer, with a penchant for lulz and a fairly decent Invoker. Not even kidding, they called me Cavoker. I love Invoker… but I’m digressing from the point. Before that, however, I was simply Cavie — which most folks would pronounce cay-vee rather than cah-vie the way I meant it — thus a lot of people assumed I was a white afrikaaner.
For the first few years of my online experience with Twilight — oddly the only online experience I could actually put up with, perhaps because it was almost entirely text-based at first so it was a nice slow push into full-on online experiences with voice chat and so on — was that of simply referring to myself as CaViE or Cavie and making no further mention of who I was, or anything else. I made a lot of friends online in the first few years, a few who went as far as asking me to add them on Facebook. I also lost a fair few ‘friends’ who decided that the revelation that I was Indian, upon seeing my Facebook friend request, was too much for them. Or maybe they thought I was ugly.
Over the years it became somewhat common knowledge that I was Indian and I would actually get a few people telling me such things as, “Your playstyle makes sense now,” and, “No wonder you’re good at Invoker.” This was of course, in between the various quips about curry, Golf GTIs and being hairy. (Fuck you guys, I love curry.) I’m summarising a lot of it, but you can rest assured that ‘coolie’ was involved at some point, as well as a whole bunch of ‘go back to India and ride elephants’ retorts that typically involved bad losers and guys who were actively trying to ruin games. I’ve probably got the screenshots somewhere to share with everyone… but why would I do that when we have the one above.
By the time I managed to secure a Dota 2 beta key (thank you CreeD) it was well-established who I was and a lot of the people who didn’t care about the fact that I’m Indian, welcomed me with open arms to their Dota 2 games, adding me as friends on Steam and inviting me to their games. Including Strider.
So you see, as much as there are racists online, and I’ve had to deal with my fair share of them for years, there are also some really great people who simply do not care who or what you are. As long as you can play Dota 2. (Perhaps this in itself is a problem?) I have friends who are white, coloured, black, and they don’t give a fuck about my skin colour. If there are jokes to be made, they usually are kept light and actually humorous rather than being straight up offensive.
Sadly, it’s those few racists who will run around screaming ‘kaffir’ and ‘coolie’ and so on, who really ruin the fun for everyone. And it’s those people who need to be cornered and shot, or is that too extreme in a racism conversation?
Unrelated to Dota, I actually had a conversation with some friends recently where I pointed out that I know a lot of indian, asian, coloured and white gamers but very few black gamers online. It’s not necessarily a privilege thing or anything to do with BEE but rather, I can’t help but feel as if some black gamers are simply hiding behind their usernames, the way I initially did on the Twilight servers. If they are, then that is a crying shame and I for one am ashamed of myself as a South African gamer.
Then again, online anonymity being what it is, racists will be racists the same way homophobes will be homophobes, sexists will be sexists and Halo players will be Halo players. Would that I could eradicate them all…
Still, we owe it to ourselves to at least try. It doesn’t matter that you’re white and it doesn’t affect you (unless the ‘boer’ jokes are currently happening), or that you’re Indian and so ‘those kaffirs can go and fuck themselves’. Racists online form a representation of the community culture, and if you’re a part of that community then you are part of that culture, and so you will be painted with the same brush. Do you really want to be pained with the same brush? So let’s start creating awareness about this and maybe naming and shaming those who are guilty of it.
How about hitting up the comments and sharing your own personal experiences of racism online. And for the love of all things brown, can we maybe keep the politics to a minimum while doing so? This has nothing to do with the ANC.