Monday, April 2, 2012

It's Not Right, But It's Okay

It's not right but it's okay
I'm gonna make it anyway
Close the door behind you
Leave your key
I'd rather be alone than unhappy
- "It's Not Right, But It's Okay" - Whitney Houston
 Last night I took part in a series of fleets. It was a typical CFC roll through Tenal setting things on fire and burning Raiden.’s ho\use down. It was a pretty unremarkable night as we went from system to system putting this iHUB into reinforcement or shooting at those station services. Then the most unremarkable thing happened. A wild image link appeared in fleet.

A little while later this “article” was posted.

My reaction was to roll my eyes and close it for both. It doesn’t surprise to me to see a person touting racial slurs in a video game. The behavior has become accepted gamer culture regardless of TOSs or EULAs. If you’ve played any type of internet based game, you’ve seen or heard something similar. I’m sure there’s a statistic out there somewhere that says. “On XBox live every 5 seconds some over privileged child between the ages of 8-15 says the N-Word.” This is of course something I made up, but chances are it’s most likely every 2 seconds.

The word “nigger” has become a confusing and beguiling thing in the world today. In certain circles the word is mainstream and touted by entertainers, frat boys, 10 year olds (actual and mental-only) on internet, “street-folk” and hidden little gathering spaces where real racist people feel they can say it without any backlash. Even with its use, does anyone really know what it means anymore? More importantly what connotations does it carry from person to person?

Everyone comes from a different background and living experience. No two lives are the same and because of that our personal realms of reference are very different. Before I begin to talk about the word “nigger” and give my opinions; I feel I should give you some history. Let’s start with the definition of the word.

According to Wikipedia, the end all of all correct information on the internet [1], the short definition is this:
Nigger is a noun in the English language, most notable for its usage in a pejorative context to refer to black people (generally people of Sub-Saharan African descent), and also as an informal slang term, among other contexts.

My personal connotation of the word Nigger is this:
Less than a human being.

My personal opinion of the word comes from a plethora of experiences most of them surrounding my family. My mother’s side of the family descended from slave and Native American blood, however my father’s side of the family is Louisiana Mulatto (blacks considered to be free persons due to bi-racial backgrounds). My parents did quite a bit to teach me about racism, how to cope with it and how to overcome it. Both of my parents took part in equal rights demonstrations in the United States and have had some pretty extreme racial experiences.

When my mother was in high school, she attended a desegregated high school in Omaha, Nebraska. My mother is an incredibly intelligent woman who works hard at what she does and strives for the best. Her work ethic showed in her studies and especially in English where she aced her homework assignments and her tests. When she received her final grade; instead of the A she expected she received a low B. When she asked her white female instructor about this she was told that she was a nigger and will never be good enough for top honors. She was also told she should be grateful for the lesson.

That’s not where the story ends. My mother was furious, but what could she do? She was a young black woman in a climate of racial hate. The principle wasn’t going to do anything. The black community already held marches and protests on a frequent basis. She turned to the only person that seemed to be in her corner; her mother. My grandmother gave her this advice:
Prove Them Wrong.
She did. She went onto graduate at the top of her class. She went to college. She became a successful woman who raised a family of strong, independent, intelligent children while maintaining a career. A career that has an annual income much higher than that of a public school English teachers.

I'd also to point out that perceived anonymity on the internet causes people to go a little stupid.  This is a huge thing to consider when you look at  internet and gaming culture.  Many of our "honestys" leak out when we believe there will be no repercussions.  We'll say things that we'd never say at work or in public.  We'd do things we never do in real life.  We all do it to some degree.  After all, how many of us fly spaceships in real life.  An image CCP Sisyphus posted on twitter drove the point home for me when I was writing this article.

A Rose By Any Other Name
In “modem times” the word nigger, as I mentioned above, is tossed around a lot. The black community is split about its usage. Some want to “take the word back” and turn it’s ugly degrading connotations into something else. The other camp wants to abolish the use of the word period. Both groups want the same thing and that’s for the word to lose its power.

My preference is to educate and ignore. It’s the reason I’m writing this blog post. For years the word nigger has been used to hurt and demoralize a group of people. It reminds me of the Three-Fifths Compromise where slaves were counted as ⅗s of a person to decide how many United States House of Representatives each state would get. It’s also the basis of my personal connotation.

I’ve had someone call me a nigger before out of hate. It came from the last person on earth I would have expected it to since I was engaged to the person saying it. Words are a powerful thing and with those words I became single and technically homeless since I crashed on a friend’s couch until I was able to get a place of my own. It was a jarring experience. I would not wish an experience like that on my worst enemy. In those days I did realize something.
That’s not who I am nor is it something I will ever be.

If It Doesn’t Fit...
It’s because of that, I don’t get too bothered and worked up when people say it. Use of the word nigger is a reflection of the person who says it, not of the person it’s being said to. It’s not a label that fits me, not because it inherently doesn’t, but because I don’t allow it to. I have the personal power to take that word’s strength away and I chose to wield it. I use my power like a shield. Those foolish enough to believe they can hurt me with such things are in for a rude awakening.

That said, I try my best not to judge. Everyone makes mistakes and I know I’ve made my fair share. I’m a firm believer that all people deserve some basic respect. Yes, there are people that do bad things, but we’re all someone’s child and we’re all human. I wish more people felt that way about all sorts of groups, but it’s a Catch 22 in its own way. To be truly tolerant, you must tolerate all and that’s a tall order. The positive thing is if I don’t agree with you or your actions; I can always choose not to interact with you. That, my friends, is a huge loss for those who find themselves on the cold side of my shoulder.

Well, I’ve said all I’ve wanted to say about this. Just think about it. Digest it. While you’re doing that, watch this video. I may not be able the change the world, but I can change me and adjust my views. By pulling myself above; I can set an example for others to follow. If no one gets it, I’ve still made myself better. If someone does get it; I’ve brought a little more understanding to human race. It’s a win-win.


  1. Great post. The bit about your ex-fiancé is mind-blowing, but love makes us crazy so I guess it shouldn't be too surprising.

    I don't know how you square these progressive/enlightened beliefs with your membership in your current alliance, or your defending Alex's behavior (which is quite reminiscent of how that bitch (to put it kindly) in Nebraska treated your mother) and letting him use you as a meatshield (without even disclosing that you're a member of his alliance) but perhaps you buy his argument that all you have to do to avoid accountability in this world is to say 'I didn't do that, my space toon did that.'

    1. Okay. Let's clear up a few things here.

      1) It's not The Mitanni's responsibility to report MY affiliations. They are my affiliations there for it is MY responsibility. If you are a regular reader of my blog and listener of my podcast, you know what my affiliations are. My affiliations are also publicly available via Eve Gate.

      2) The Mitanni (I don't use real names on my blog) did state accountability. In fact, he stated his accountability and his apology on five different mediums including:
      1) Twitter
      2) Eve-O Forums
      3) My podcast; Voices from the Void
      4) Eve-Radio
      5) His own blog; Confessions of a Solar Spymaster

      Now, had you not drug in a different situation with lies. I would have been able to take your post most seriously. However, since you've "red herringed" my post and lied about actions of another player; you've forced me you view you as nothing but a tool.

      Please do not post out right lies on my blog. It's disgusting. I can understand if you're upset about a situation, but lying and spreading false information will not correct the situation and it diminishes your own credibility.

    2. Also, if you want to vent about The Mitanni, do it on the post about The Mitanni and not on the one about something different.


  2. An insightful article :) I like that you looked at the incident calmly from many angles, and without rage. I like that you provided room for personal change and growth without burning anyone at the stake. While it's true that people are sometimes thoughtless or insensitive, it's possible to become more empathetic and improve, and therefore there should be room for reconciliation and forgiveness. It just makes sense.


    Pixxie T