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Monday, August 28, 2017


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My experience is different, I guess because of various factors: maybe different places and years, for sure I take my avatar in a different way, I'm not autistic and it's likely that I interact with people differently (I have an autistic friend, so I know a bit of that).
Nobody left me and I didn't saw all those "microaggressions". There are exceptions of course, besides trolls, but in my experience people in SL seem open and accepting, regarding races, gender, LGTB etc.
For sure however the experiences in a virtual world can give an idea of RL dynamics, given that behind each avatar there is a real person with real thoughts and feelings (even if someone roleplays). I saw that many times, depending also on how I put myself and how I take things (yes, it depends on you too).

About the question
The question isn't offensive. On the contrary, I find it rather interesting to understand what's in people mind (indeed sometimes I ask those questions myself). Everyone is different, reasons vary.
But the question you quoted the other time? In those terms and within the context "I do think it's cultural appropriation" in that comment, honestly it made the question rhetorical (the commenter already thought to know the answer) and followed by what was sounding like a series of accuses rather than true questions. I'd be annoyed by someone mocking a group of people (or a category if you think like that), but that would be a case, not everyone's reason. Generalization is the mother of all the prejudices. So I don't think the problem is the "question", but it is attacking the audience. I'm not surprised if there were reactions.

About my experience and why I do it
I didn't answer in that second post, but I'd write about my reasons here, if you are truly interested and not just looking for confirmations of ideas you already have.
In my case, one day I have a Japanese look, wrapped in a yukata, I love felling myself immersed in the atmosphere of a traditional Japanese festival, I'm curious of everyone, fascinated by every culture, I'm quite empathic, I embrace all that. Similarly, other times I look African, my black friends like it that I like them, we share etc. I even encouraged someone to not be afraid of their skin color. Other times I look Caucasian or mixed, then I look Indian, wearing a traditional saree, I'm feeling more comfortable like that, indulging in the mystic atmosphere of a virtual temple. Sometimes wondering if I was like that in previous lives (I'm Buddhist), and after all it was called Second Life and the oldest continent Sansara. Sometimes I'm feeling better in visualizing myself as a sporty girl, other times I have a goth look, then an all-pink girly-girl and I look for cute thingies, then a tomboy, or a playful neko girl, or a funny avatar.
And you know what? Actually I'm not exactly roleplaying any those: I'm expressing myself, my mood, different sides of me. The virtual world offers me the opportunity to be anything I like to be or how I feel like to be.

Thus I am how I am there because I like it, because that makes me feel comfortable, because I'm expressing myself better in that way that moment. Now someone comes here and attacks you for how you are, points a finger, judging you with a prejudice, and says you "engage in black shaming", ready to lynch you. Honestly it isn't that different from pointing a finger at an Italian: "mafia!". At a German: "nazi!". At a muslim: "terrorist!". Or at LTGB people in SL: "dishonest, deceiving ones!" while on the contrary they are actually just themselves instead, doing what comes natural for them. Those who assume things wrongly, without checking better, deceive themselves.

Therese Langevin

I'm an adoptive mother of a son of mixed racial heritage. His skin is lighter than the skin I got from my french canadian & polish ancestors but I still worry for his safety in the community.

I know we are all descendents of Mama Africa, some of our great greats left for cloudier lands sooner than others. I question how imaginary lines drawn on a map can render some real live human beings as "illegal."

My avatar wears a black skin, I started looking for black skins within a month of entering Second Life in 2010, mainly because Second Life was so overwhelmingly white. I wondered if people would react differently to me based on skin color. Couldn't say yes or no, people seemed friendly enough, I've never been very social in-world, maybe some people ignored me but nobody has ever been explicitly mean.

Black skins are easier to find in SL now compared to when I started in 2010. I normally wear a gorgeous skin from Angel Rock - Botswana Dark Copper Ebony created by Anzhela Karsin. I have huge respect for skin designers in general, skin is hard to get right. Anzhela Karsin is an extraordinary artist.

It seems that there are a lot of ambiguous skin colors available, sun-tanned skins have always been popular. Body shapes with african facial features are probably a more significant indicator of racial identity.

I have a few Angel Rock shapes, my favorite is Zoe. Most female avatar shapes have exaggerated lip fullness. Larger breasts, butts and thighs are an increasingly popular alternative to the skinny barbie fashion model style. I always slim down my shape. My RL proportions are ample enough, I prefer to fit into S or XS clothing in Second Life

I wear a lot of face & body paints and eye makeups, no lipstick, and almost always short gelf ears (created by static melody for Trap) as my avatar has evolved into a sort of fae creature. I use a soft face light from Angel Rock and tend to wear bright colored rather than hipster black clothing. I love wearing wings designed by Pryda Parx - Faeline Fairy Wings, especially the Moriko and Sachiko styles.

Kallisti Burns has been designing braids, twists, and dreads at Discord Designs since forever. I also wear hair from Queue Marlowe's Analog Dog and from No.Match and EMO-tions. No.Match has a great group gift-an 60s afro worthy of Angela Davis. My skin is quite dark so I tend to wear red, blonde, light brown, bright or pastel hair for contrast

My avatar is my self-portrait. In another universe I am young and dark and urban and fae. I wear steampunk or outerspace or witchy clothing. Allegory Malaprop and Hiasynth Tiramisu are some of my favorite clothing designers. I love putting together outfits and photographing the result. My avatar pictures end up in collages in my art journal.

Am I misappropriating "blackness" from my middle class, middle aged, caucasian position of privilege? . I acknowledge the respoonsibility we face as a nation to redress the kidnapping and enslavement of african peoples. White americans from the north and the south profitted from the slave trade. The economic disparities have never been balanced. Institutional racism continues to oppress some american citizens more than others. I have blind spots in my awareness. I'm open to learn and willing to continue to grow and change and support my neighbors.

I have no intention to deceive. My profile picture is a mirror image of my avatar in dark and light skin and includes a RL photo. I love how my avi looks and enjoy supporting the artists and content creators that make it possible for her to shine in her unique way.

Cunnie Metaluna aka Sea.

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