MadCast: The Prince

Black Lives Matter Both Here and Everywhere Else

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I remember the first time I was called a nigger playing video games online. It was the summer of 1998. I was playing Quake 2 with friends on MPlayer.com and I think I made a joke about Martin (tv show) and someone was like, "only black people watch that show." I was like, "I am black". Several folks in the group were like WOAH COOL! But one was like, "I didn't know we played with niggers here." Of course I immediately asked for dude to be removed from the group, but what end up happening some hemming and hawing and it was me and the only girl in the group that ended up having to leave.

That was the first time I was called a nigger online, but that is far from the last. I don't censor the word on purpose. I want people to understand the harshness of it and to understand that in the summer of 1998 I was 13. It's 2020 and when people find out I'm black (outside of MadCast), that still happens. I used to stream a podcast with friends a few years back called GamingSOP. Both me and one of the other casters, Jay, are black men. Often times we'd get anywhere from 4-10 viewers on any given show that we did on Twitch. I cannot remember a single episode where someone didn't pop into the chat and say something racist. I don't stream anymore. I'm tired. I learned way back then in the early days of internet gaming that being Black in online gaming communities was bad. However, I knew I could get by and still play games with people not like me as long as I didn't say or do anything too black (see: code-switching). Since then, I've always tiptoed around the fact that I am a black dude that plays games online, even in MadCast.

I've stayed silent on most things that are really impactful to me because of this. Everything that is going on in the world right now from what happened to George Floyd to COVID-19 has had a profound effect on me and Black people everywhere. However it's been hard for me to talk about it because I don't want feel more hurt to find out my community is full of people that don't acknowledge this pain. I've very much felt in this community you could get away with doing or saying hateful things as long as you didn't say/argue them in the wrong way. Hell, a long while back I had to have a multiday argument with former members about how saying you got raped, saying stuff was gay, or calling people faggots should stop because it was hurtful to our community. For over a week there was an argument about this. Not very many people defending it, but enough to make you question things. But for me it was less about the people defending, and more about the people that don't say anything.

Part of the reason I'm typing this up is because yesterday I was sitting in the Destiny 2 chat with a bunch of other members and associates of our community waiting for Bungie to announce the new seasonal content and their plans for the game going forward. Everyone was excited and we were all watching them count off the minutes. Then Bungie put up a graphic and timer that read 8 minutes and 46 seconds and told the story of George Floyd's murder. One of our members said, "why do they have to make it political?" and "What does Black Lives Matter have to do with games?" A few of us responded and said that this isn't a political statement, it is about a Black person's ability to live. 

There wasn't really an argument after that and folks carried on, business as usual and all of that, but I realized that I had to sit there uncomfortable for the rest of the time. I saw that my Blackness was acknowledged in gaming and there was pushback as soon as it happened. Pushback because they acknowledge that a man was murdered by the same people that are supposed to protect out communities. Pushback because they acknowledged that people that look like me, George Floyd, Sandra Black, Tamir Rice, or Breonna Taylor are all dead because we were born Black. Mind you, none of this is new to me. I'm very much used to this discomfort. I'm used to hiding the Black parts of myself to not make folks uncomfortable, but at this point I'm over it. It's my time to say something.

There is a reason that in every state and in several other countries that people are rising up to say #BlackLivesMatter in unison with their Black American brothers and sisters. We are dealing with hundreds of years of systemic oppression that is now playing out on every TV around the world, and it is simply unacceptable to keep going about things the same as always. There is a whole slew of history many of you have never been taught. Did you know what Juneteenth is? Did you know why MLK was still fighting for freedom even AFTER the Civil Rights Act was passed in 1964 (or that he was assassinated for continuing to fight for freedom)? Did you know that someone my dad's age (68) is old enough to be in one of the first schools to integrate in Cleveland? Or that it wasn't until 1988 that most American schools were actually fully integrated? These are all facts. And there is more, but I'll let Ryan Davis and Dave Chappelle explain:

I know that many of you won't watch these videos. I know that many of you who have said or done lowkey racist shit will be too offended or uncomfortable to actually process what I'm saying here. I honestly do not give a shit about your discomfort. I don't give a shit about your fragile feelings. Definitely don't give a shit about your struggles to deal with your own racism. I'm not about making you feel better. I have to feel uncomfortable (at best) EVERY SINGLE DAY simply because I was born Black in America. I have to worry about seeing another person that looks like me beaten or killed because they were jogging, or the were wearing a hoodie, or because they were selling loose cigs, or because they were playing with a BB gun, or because they were pulled over for nothing and were upset about it. I have to worry will it be me ever time I leave the house.

There is no compromise here. You cannot be an "I don't see color" non-racist. That's an excuse to ignore racist shit. I don't have that privilege. I'm telling straight up that you can't be anti-racist and not do anything. You have to read about racism. Learn about the history of racism. You have to watch videos. You have to talk to Black people. And listen, I'm mad as hell right now, that is for sure, but I'm willing to share knowledge and resources. I'm willing to talk if you are willing to listen. And I mean actually listen. Not tell me stories about how you've experienced racism as a white person or about how your family came from a terrible background too. I already know. I believe you. It's just not the same. We can't fix the systemic problems caused by racism in America if we don't admit that.

At the end of the day, I hope some of this resonates with you. I hope you click the links. I hope you watch those videos. I hope you take the time to learn about the racist history of the police and justice system in America (watch 13th free on YouTube and/or read The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander) and understand why we are where we are today. Finally, I hope that you realize that All lives can't really matter until Black lives do.

Edited by MadCast: The Prince

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Thank you for being willing to educate those of us who grew up naive to the gross injustices that you've had to deal with your entire life. I will watch the 13th film after work tonight and hope to feel a bit wiser to things I've been willfully ignorant of up until now. I have always believed all people deserve to be treated equally, but because I didn't grow up in a place with any sort of "black neighborhood" or population, it was easy to not focus as much on the worldwide problems they face. I'm done being a passive sympathizer in this fight.

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Thanks for posting.

This is a list of cards with resources:
https://app.getguru.com/card/Tqa6bXec/AntiRacism-Resources-Overview

I am starting with White Fragility.

https://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/a-sociologist-examines-the-white-fragility-that-prevents-white-americans-from-confronting-racism

 

For what its worth being here in America now is not something that my media fed understanding of racism in America nor my degree (historical development of racism and culture) prepared me for. 

 

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I have been to a lot of different countries around the world, and racism is fucking revolting, and I have seen it in too many places. That being said, I have never been to a place in the developed world that has bigger problem with institutionalized racism than the United States. It is fucking horrible and it needs to be put in the grave that should have been dug for it centuries ago.

 

I will say that back when I was young and stupid in Iraq, we did more than a few questionable things and just rolled over them, but I would hope that if I were back there now I would never do that shit, disgusted as I am with my past self in those moments.

 

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This conversation changed for me when my childhood friend had a gun pulled on him during a traffic stop. That's what it took for me to stop sitting on my ass doing nothing. I just thought that a minority of bad cops were the problem. I didn't think I was being I was being passive and ignorant. I am a teacher. I need to be part of this solution. Thank you for pointing me in the right direction.

 

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Thank you for sharing your story and those videos/links, Prince. I watched the 13th this week and it was captivating to say the least. I’ve then started seeking out additional learning and it has further widened my perspective when consuming media/news. This from someone who considered himself ‘woke’ (I dislike that word) to the injustices of American systems/laws. It all has just left me incredulous at the timeline of systemic racism hiding in plain sight, changing faces every few generations and never seeming to fade or heal or be acknowledged even. Black lives matter or else all lives can’t; you have my voice, anger, and support. Hopefully this reads as genuine as my intentions. I would welcome any further resources and knowledge. 

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I've spent most of my life being part of the problem. I was brought up in "the south will rise again country". I've said racist shit not knowing it from there time I was in elementary school. I've avoided black people on the street without thinking about it. I've ignored racism around me. I have said "I don't see color" and probably did that to explain to someone why as a kid I had black friends. I always thought that racism was an individual crime, an internal feeling and hatred, one that I never carried. I called myself innocent because of this. I have been ignorant, and downright inconsiderate for much of my life. I've judged people because they are different, both knowing it and unconsciously. I've been one of those people that hide from the past, not willing to see the system. I've been the poster child for White Fragility. 

I used to think "not seeing color" and being secure in my own thoughts that everyone is equal was enough. I was wrong. 

Prince, you and I are the same age. As long as you've lived with racism, I've ignored it at best, and been part of it at worst. It's taken me far too long to see the world for what it is. If I was in that chat room with you at 13, I probably would have said "not cool dude" to whoever said shit...and felt like I was doing my part.

I don't know why i wrote this, I guess I just thought your honesty deserved mine. 

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Thank you for taking your time and educating me (and everyone who reads your post) on this matter in more depth. I know I've lived in ignorant blindness for the majority of my life. Though my parents raised me to respect every single person I come across, which I try my best to do, I have not been as aware of what goes on outside. So I cannot express how much your post and links and videos opened my mind even more and how I am extremely grateful for that. 

Thank you. I don't think I can say that enough. 

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I saw a Tik Tok recently about a white guy coming up to a cop and harrassing/yelling/pushing him, all while having a weapon in the other hand. The cop tried to remain calm and get the guy calm down. Then the dude who posted the video asked us, "Now what if it was a black or hispanic guy? What do you think that cop would have done?" and my first thought was "A black guy would be dead. The cop wouldn't have wasted any time aiming and shooting him in the face. The hispanic guy? Maybe not killed, but definitely taken to jail." And knowing that. KNOWING that's what would have happened, angers and saddens me. What the heck do we need to do to change this? Another freaking revolution?? America should be smarter than this. BETTER than this. So why aren't we??

P.S.- if someone wants me to send the tik tok, I have it saved and can share it.

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