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Wednesday, August 23, 2017


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Yes it is perfectly fine for a white person to play as a black person,m or as a rabbit, or as a green martian.
The person in the post above is hardly scientific in the conclusions. It would be strange for anyone that started with a furry avatar to suddenly change to a human avatar and not have their friends (who are used to the furry avatar) ask "when are you gonna change back".
It seems that the writer started with the assumption that a change of skin color would illicit racism and then drew a conclusion based on observations that are biased towards that assumption.
SL for all its faults is a pretty accepting place when you discount the trolls. A more likely explanation is when the player changed the skin color the player also changed the way they interacted with others.

Bohny Spad

As a black woman IRL and typically mid to dark skinned avatar as often as possible, I do think it's cultural appropriation. For years I couldn't even find a decent black skin in SL or many other games, so I had to pick the darkest tan I could. Once I found decent black skins that didn't cost 2 to 3 times as much as many white skins I found the level of racism ramped up by a ton. There is some kind of idea that we are cheap/easy sex, that we enjoy being talked down to, that we somehow can't be intellectual or do things that are deemed "white".

If you aren't black, the luxury of throwing on a black skin and playing black should make you think about why you want to do that? Do you know black peoples IRL? Do you think they would be ok with what you do in SL? D yo actively call out the racist thoughts and behavior people have towards a black person, or do you just LOL I'm white? Do you think it's cool to be black, but IRL you engage in black shaming, like saying things are ghetto or hood?

Mister Acacia

In the virtual world our avatars represent what we choose: Same or different skin color, same or different gender, same or different species, same or different sexual preference, same or different physical limitations. Our avatars may or may not represent what we appear to be in real life, but our choices should not be limited or judged by anyone else or their notion of "appropriation".

Leave the concept of "racial appropriation" alone, let it die. it has no place in our daily lives and does not promote any kind of cooperation or harmony.

Rekah Havok

As a white woman I find that I don't look at the color of the skin but the beauty of it. Just recently I shopped at Uber and Spirit skins came out with Moana and I immediately wanted it. Some thought went into that purchase and I questioned if I should get it because I don't know how I would be judged for being that white girl in black skin. I was raised to treat everyone with respect and so I do until someone shows me disrespect. Point is it's sl a place where we should be free from racism and express ourselves. Do I always agree or understand why some people do what they do in sl no, but I'm not judging them it's not my place. If people don't like the idea of anyone playing any other color skin then what they are in rl it's really simple mute,derender and block them. Problem solved!

Han Held

As a white person, there's obviously on so much I can say on this topic. But from my limited perspective I think that I'm a lot more interested in hearing what that person's friends arguments are or what their experiences have been more than anything else.


Debate about "race" and "gender" never end well. I generally sidestep them. But for the record, heres where I'll chime in: My genetic heritage made me white. By birth, I'm native american. I've worn white male avatars for most of my time in 3D worlds. I've dabbled with female avatars, but being male, I'm unaccustomed to being female. Recently, I've taken rather well to being furry. That opens up a wide range of races, I.E. canine, scalie, feline, etc. All of them are "me". I'm sad to say it boils down to a case of "us v. them". If there is a group that cannot accept "you", then it's time to move on from them. The world in all it's diversity is too big to become entrapped in stereotypes. If you allow it, then there are deeper inner issues to deal with, I would think.


I didn't read your blog, just the title. But honestly? Who cares, second life is there for you to create. So go ahead, create. I can careless what form your avatar is. Go wild.

Debby L Dowdy

Don't worry so much. SL is to have fun and be what you wish to be. Getting bored in sl I've been playing sims 4...just created a beautiful black woman there...I'm white...no disrespect meant to anyone else...no one sees my sims but me though...I would think using a black avatar should be seen as a compliment if anything because it is appreciating the beauty of darker skin.


You can be whatever you want in a virtual world. A robot, a dinosaur, a furry, a neko, a mermaid, any color of hair or skin. You aren't "appropriating" anything of the above. A different thing is if instead someone is trolling or mocking up or making fun of it or creates confusion; in this case I agree that's bad. Else I'd rather *encourage* to be something different to look at things from a different perspective. "Put yourself in my shoes". This would help you to understand better how does it feel for a different gender or culture and may help to make people more empathic. In my case in RL I'm... an human being. Then I have a female gender and a white skin. I have friends who have a black skin in RL, while in SL they were using pale skins. At first I wondered why and I was surprised when I realized they felt uncomfortable (I really make no difference). So I got a black skin (eventually they felt reassured and now they are comfortable with a black skin). At least 6-7 year ago in SL there were beautiful free black skins already (not the bad ones in free malls, but group gifts). Someone even asked me where I got it, because it was so pretty and I liked it myself as well.

When I changed look nobody left me or anything. But I have friends who like me for something more than just my aesthetic in a virtual world (even if when I go around I receive compliments for my look and someone asks for advice). Plus I'm not looking for flirts and that kind of stuff.

Subtle changes in behavior may happen as not everyone is quick to adapt to your radical change. Moreover maybe (unconsciously) you are behaving subtly differently too, especially if you yourself think you are different. Plus you could assume someone is liking you less, because (common example) he/she isn't replying to your IM, while in truth that one is just AFK. So (I don't know the person quoted in the article, I'm saying in general) I would be cautious in assuming too much, although there could be well those changes.

As for guys thinking women are an easy lay, honestly a bunch of guys take Second Life as a flirt or porn game or a dating website, and some of them even take for granted that every woman in SL is there for their same reason. This was always among the most annoying things in SL for me. I don't say there aren't further prejudices if you have a black skin, but it happens in general, not just because of that. I know women who changed their avatar gender or into tinies or non-human for that reason.
So it's really not just a problem with black skins.

I didn't keep the black skin for only few days, but for a long while. And sometimes I still switch to a black skin, when I feel like to do so. In my experience I found that SL population is generally quite accepting. There may be exceptions, but that's rare.


Would you be racist if you didn't want to have a black avatar? So many ways to look at it.


Live and Let Live in SL!! We have so many hangups and restrictions in RL so please just let white be black, black be white, yellow be green, human be furry, brown be black and/or white, old be young, young be old, he be a she and she be a he or an it. Who cares as long as everyone can show respect to everyone and the sl racists pull their heads in and remember they could be griefing or trolling their same-coloured brother/sister or neighbour next door and not even know it.
Blah blah bleh lol

Kirsten Corleone

As a skin blogger, I have worn a variety of skin colors. Sometimes designers only release light skins or only release dark skins, etc. I really don't think it matters what ethnicity you are in RL as long as you are being respectful to yourself and others, you can and should be whatever you want to be in SL. That is one of the beautiful things about the game. I don't even think I need to tell you my RL skin color. It should not be relevant. Same goes for gender and whatever else someone wants to be or explore in SL. Be male, be female, be a mermaid, be furry- All I really care about is that you also BE KIND.

Clara Seller

I've come to really like darker skins in SL because I like the way they photograph and react with lighting. They make me feel good about my avatar. If there's something more that anyone requires of my skin choice, besides a landmark, then I feel they need to find their answers some where else.


I'm black and I don't think it's cultural appropriation, until that person genuinely thinks that having a dark-skinned avatar means they've experienced what it's like to be black irl. It's not the same and never will be.


It would be a much better world if more people remember to be kind with each other, try to empathize and doesn't label and categorize other people with divisive thoughts. Everyone is a person like you. Everyone has different details, history and experiences, that make them unique, but we are people, all of us.


I have a black skin and muscular shape and sorry, but I get laid 10 times more :D


what Cake said

my avatar is the same as my irl colouring. Dark skin, dark hair, dark eyes

sometimes to fit a particular outfit I change to a light skin, light hair, light eyes

when I do I never feel that this must be how it is for a white person irl, and from this I am then somehow empowered to write an internet essay on what it is to experience white privilege irl


Why is it when someone wants to change their gender they are considered courageous but when someone wants to change their race they are appropriating? There are many white people with Asian avatars roleplaying Japanese lifestyles. I'll bet I never read an article like this about them.

The Coffeehouse

The curse of slavery after the million Irish slaves brought to America were slowly replaced with African ones ..it cursed this nation forever.

Blame the African Kings who sold the the people they conquered
blame the Arab and Jewish slave traders who brought them here for the White owned slave auction houses who descendants would be blamed for slavery for all eternity with every black descendant of slaves feeling that all whites have been living in privileged lives while oppressing them .

the only person to blame for everyone is that nasty villain you hate so much on the other side of a mirror if you had the courage to look into it

We are cursed in this country to damnation, while when reading this article it reminds me of my regret as a youth of my attempted suicide for failing, how better things might have been for me instead of this living hell of everyone hating each other that I will see in this wretched world until my final breath.


SL is awesome..
You can be what you want, look How you like...and you can even fly and teleport 🤓
I dont judge anyone and no one should judge others choice of avatar ❤❤❤


A simulated jet plane in SL or in Flight Simulator won't make you a jet pilot in real life even remotely. But it makes you understand better something about flying.
If you are female, having a male avatar doesn't make you like a male in RL, but you can understand men better from their perspective and you can see differences, in how people behaves and talk to you and what they expect from you (prejudices too). You can also see how your IM window stays quieter, maybe you get only an IM asking for money and nobody cares for you. And how less people are happy if you hug them. Vice-versa if you are a male, having a female avatar doesn't make you like a female in real life, you real body still works differently, you haver different social conditioning or whatever, but you could understand females better.
If you change your avatar's race, it doesn't make you born, raised and lived a whole life as it, but it may help you to understand better something about prejudices when you feel them aimed at you (although SL is generally quite accepting).


More cultural war bullshit. Perhaps someone of one colour (any colour) can choose to play an avi of another colour specifically to find out what their experience is like?

sirhc deSantis

Your US 'alt reich' are guilty of cultural appropriation of my proud mongrel Euro heritage - coo this is fun :)


I haven't played SL in a long time, but those who know me, know that I played a dark skinned avatar. I was one of the very first dark skinned avatars. I started playing SL nearly 15 years ago, and I have grown a lot since that time. This question is something I struggle with. I do not believe my avatar is 'me'. I have no connection to it as a personal representation. I have autism and the idea of an avatar being a representation of me is actually quite confusing. I kept a RL picture of me and my white skin on my profile.

I also noticed a lot of racism and microaggression directed towards my avatar. Skin stores never had anything I could wear. In the early days, clothing layers would have skin tone painted into it to make it blend in with your avatar better, but those skin tones were always light. There was not always hair styles I could wear. I had to pass on so many cute things, because I literally couldn't use them. Those little things also made me more determined at the time to STAY in a dark skinned avatar. These daily frustrations were also exhausting.

But what did I learn from that experience? As small as those annoyances in gameplay were, I made a connection and thought about what it might possibly feel like to have white privilege actually ripped away. And I think nothing else could have opened my eyes in such a way, because it's a concept that is difficult (perhaps impossible?) to conceptualize for us white people. All I can do now is call out when I see systemic racism in real life, in so many areas that I would have never noticed before.

Chic Aeon

Dragging up this "debate" again I see. Tiring. But you got comments so I guess that was the point.

I had a very dark skinned avatar for awhile long ago when this topic FIRST came up (not on this blog but as an experiment via a college class). I wasn't in the experiment; I had already had mine. Several people came up to tell me how gorgeous I was. I had NO disparaging remarks made and no one knew "who I was" back then; I was very early out of the pod, so fame points didn't figure into the equation.

Personally I think that some of the best looking avatars on the grid are the very dark skinned avatars. Does that make me racist? I guess you could say that; people will say most anything when they want to believe that their way of looking at things is the ONLY way of looking at things.

David Cartier

Years back, when Chip Midnight was the only person in SL making darker complected skins I bought one of his black female skins. It was really a rather good skin, when all of the skins were comically awful to our current eyes. I don't think I ever found good hair. I remember Washu's Wig Shop, and we had some great fun sporting afro wigs that were essentially round black prims. (As bad as that hair was, our early efforts at strap-ons were far worse!) Anyway I wore it for a couple of weeks; learned a lot about friends and strangers. People tend to either work out or exorcise their inner demons in SL. Anyway I saw a lot of ugly words directed towards my AV, split pretty evenly between the misogynistic and the bigoted. I also had some really great experiences. I was kind of surprised though, to find so much racism in what was such an overtly "liberal" community.

Bixyl Shuftan

Quite a bit has been stated here. My normal appearance is that of an anthro red fox, though some years ago I went as a black human for close to a month as part of a RFL fundraiser, and more recently for a week and a half. I figured since I don't look the same in Second Life as reality, why start now, and being noted for my sense of humor saw it as a kind of "Blazing Saddles" joke. - http://slnewserpeople.blogspot.com/2017/07/back-to-normal-look-back-at-bid-me.html

The first time, some suggested I keep the appearance. The only complaint was not the skin color, but that it was human at all.


About 7-8 years ago in SL with my human avatar I had sex with a huge green lizard woman (3x my size, she had a huge tail) while standing on the runway of one the most popular airports in SL. (true story) I've been wondering ever since if I aided her in racial appropriation of lizards. I mean…what is she got preggers and had half avatar and half lizard babies?

colleen Criss


As a skin blogger, I have worn a variety of skin colors. Sometimes designers only release light skins or only release dark skins, etc. I really don't think it matters what ethnicity you are in RL as long as you are being respectful to yourself and others, you can and should be whatever you want to be in SL. That is one of the beautiful things about the game. I don't even think I need to tell you my RL skin color. It should not be relevant. Same goes for gender and whatever else someone wants to be or explore in SL. Be male, be female, be a mermaid, be furry- All I really care about is that you also BE KIND.

Posted by: Kirsten Corleone | Wednesday, August 23, 2017 at 06:41 PM

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