Twitter, Racism and Feminism destroys freedom of speech

Put that pitchfork down, there is only so much space for a headline so read the article before picking that pitchfork up again.. good? Okay so let’s go, thanks to dualshockers for raising this issue originally.

My dislike for the humanoids who live on that fat island near New Zealand is well reported already but if there is one thing that I’ll give the Australians is that they aren’t afraid of much and have a very strong sense of freedom of speech.

Generally this ends up with some crude comment at an inappropriate time but they at least seem to allow each other to say whatever they like without serious ramifications. So you know a twitter mob has caused a lot of damage when it has forced the Australians to change what they’ve said.. or planned to say.

A panel was suggested for the upcoming PAX Australia event where the community was invited to join a select few to discuss racism, sexism and how the gaming industry is possibly taking itself too seriously.

The exact wording can be seen here

PAXAusPanel-668x425

So can you spot the highly irrational statement?

“Any titillation gets called out as sexist or misogynistic and involve any antagonist race other than Anglo-Saxons and you’re racist”

Controversial? Yes, but what’s the point of having panels of debating anything that doesn’t have two sides to it? Controversy is what drives panels and in a country that prides itself on freedom of speech I can’t see anything wrong with it.

However Twitter users disagreed.. and they did it strongly.

tweet1

And then

tweet2

Following this the panel’s description was changed to rather say:

PAXAusPanelRedacted

So no longer is the panel aimed at discussing claims of sexism and racism on a formal platform but rather just to mundanely discuss having fun in the industry.

What really gets me is that in the original description they purposefully called out people being personally attacked for having a differing opinion to the race-card pullers and feminists and yet they still instantly went on the personal attack front to get the discussion removed. It’s a sad world that we live in when open and honest commentary is silenced by the few who feel it may not aide their cause. When I think of bad guys in gaming and ladies in gaming I think of monsters and lead (or co-lead) characters respectively.

If you can only think of non-white bad guys and sexually depicted females then I hesitate to say that maybe the problem lies a little closer to home.

On this note I was disgusted to see our local twitter community personally insulting Zoe a little while back for not kowtowing to their personal opinion on feminism in the industry. You should all be ashamed of yourselves. I personally expect better from everyone and especially locals who apparently have a name to live up to locally. Discussing these issues publically is highly encouraged but if you sink down to personal insults and mocking then you really are not worth your opinion. Oh and if you want rAge to start having some panels again then voice that as well.

Apparently they weren’t well attended previously.

Do you disagree? Let me know in the comments down below or direct them at me on twitter and I will happily converse as much as possible on this issue.

thetimehascome

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Author:Gavin Mannion

I'm cranky, arrogant and ever so amazingly annoying but when you get to know me you will also realise I'm honest and incredibly good at describing myself... now pass me that beer
  • Argentil

    I don’t think this is going to be a very happy topic of discussion. We aren’t mature enough to discuss these things.

    • Captain Minion TallTwit

      I agree. You would think that we are all mature enough to discuss issues of this matter. However it goes to show that some people don’t have the mental maturity. Big pity.

    • Sir Rants-a-Lot Llew

      100% agreed

    • Trevor Davies

      Online I’d agree with you, but a serious panel discussion could be different.

    • http://www.lazygamer.net Gavin Mannion

      Agreed which is why an offline panel would be a good thing.. but the online mobs won’t allow it

    • Tauriq Moosa

      Not only mature, but the medium itself doesn’t serve any of us here. Face-to-face, when we realise we’re dealing with people who aren’t monsters, usually helps.

      • Daniel Keevy

        I’m reminded of the line from The Brothers Karazmov. “As a general rule, people, even the wicked, are much more naive and simple-hearted than we suppose. And we ourselves are, too.

        • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

          Dostoyevsky should be required reading for everyone. Perfect quote Daniel.

          • Daniel Keevy

            Most definitely. The Brothers Karazmov has taught me more about life than any High school class I’ve ever been in.

          • Tauriq Moosa

            It’s my favourite book of all time. The Grand Inquisitor is so metal, you can make anyone weak at the knees when you show it to them and tell them so old dead Russian wrote this.

          • Daniel Keevy

            Oh yeah. He’s like the antithesis of Father Zossima. I’ve always been partial to team Ivan myself.

          • Tauriq Moosa

            Me too.

        • Tauriq Moosa

          Well said.

          Also: Hanlon’s Razor: “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.”

          However, I’d go with something and call it Sagan’s Razor, where you replace “stupidity” with “ignorance”. Ignorance must constantly be shed and we all have it in varying degrees, on various subjects.

          • Daniel Keevy

            That’s the balance to free speech, in my mind. Use your platform to try engage and educate. Most times it fails, but once in a while you get a nice discussion.

  • Captain Minion TallTwit

    SO much hate, so much anger…. DAMN THIS RAP MUSIC! (trolololl)

    P.S. To the people who picked on Zoe, stop doing this…

  • Sir Rants-a-Lot Llew

    I don’t think the original question was so bad. It just pointed out that which everyone is trying to happily ignore. The question itself was perhaps an over exaggeration, but let’s be honest, it’s something that needs to be discussed.

    As for people insulting Zoe personally that is uncool and just proves that the general gaming community at large is not mature enough to approach things like adults.

  • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

    It’s essentially the same argument you sometimes hear in South Africa, that white South Africans are always racist. and black South Africans get a free pass. The problem is that racism is defined very strictly. It’s not merely a case of disliking another race, or being prejudiced, but the issue boils down to power. You certainly can’t be racist if you were in the subjugated group, but you can certainly be bigoted. It’s all essentially semantics, but you have to understand that words do carry specific meanings.

    Some Pakeha (white or New Zealanders of european descent) are struggling with the very same issues that we see in South Africa, particularly given affirmative action and the renewed push for Maori culture to have some sort of recognition and prominence. If I’m not mistaken Maori language is now taught in school etc.

    It’s not surprising that you have a push by some Pakeha to cling onto their Anglo-Saxon roots, and even for the narrative to be altered among them – i.e. “Big black world against poor white folk”. There are certainly parallels with what’s actually happening in South Africa as well. But I think as Argentil has mentioned… I also wonder if we’re mature enough to discuss these things, but i have faith in Lagz….

    • Sir Rants-a-Lot Llew

      It would seem that people demand freedom of speech but then are unwilling to be tolerant to anyone else’s freedom of speech.

      You see it everywhere. Race, religion, gender, choice of gaming platform etc.

      It’s sad actually.

      • Trevor Davies

        You shut up! Bloody agent!

        • Sir Rants-a-Lot Llew

          lol

      • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

        Freedom of speech is one of those pinnacles of society that gets misused more often than it should. From neo-nazis spewing their hate and hiding under the guise of freedom of speech, to religious extremists and even moderates spewing violence against homosexuals, or misogynists targeting women, or even that specific brand of feminism that fuels itself on misandry etc.

        I would never call for the dismantling of freedom of speech, instead I take the bull by the horns, and de-construct and annihilate arguments :P

        • Argentil

          It’s a lack of consequence that creates these vitriolic speakers. In the case of the Westborough Church, I would say it’s ignorance, in conjunction with a cult-like environment. This also applies to neo-nazi’s and other extremists.

          • Umar Kiiroi Senk?

            Ignorance coupled with fear … Humans need something tangible to hate … with something to hate, freedom of speech thus becomes their weapon to spread their views and unite others to share it … we seek companions, even if it is so that we may hate together

          • Trevor Davies

            I agree with the lack of consequences. Freedom comes with responsibility, that part seems to be ignored far too often.

      • John Ambitious

        Sir, sadly that is the world we live in. Everyone wants to be special and be heard, just like everyone else.

      • Sir Twakkus

        Precisely, and also being able to consider your point of view might not be right. And even if you are certain your standpoint is correct, to be able to take others perceptions and opinions into consideration.
        A successful debate is one where you can walk away from one another as friends, regardless of the outcome.

        • Sir Rants-a-Lot Llew

          Agreed. It’s a two way street

    • John Ambitious

      You said it, semantics

  • Umar Kiiroi Senk?

    Resident Evil 5, Maijini … CAPCOM is RACIST ahh!!!!!!!

    This is not an issue in the gaming industry alone … I don’t know how many times I have been called racist because I disagreed with a person of a different race and color. It’s easy … race, sex … it’s so damn easy.

    In terms of gaming, I don’t see sex or race … I just see a game … So what if we are killing people of color … I’ve killed so many different races in a game….I’ve killed many Turians, does that make me bigot? yes they are fictional Races but they are races non the less but I don’t care about their race, be it fictional or non-fictional …. I do however have a problems with Stereotypes …. I hated James Heller, A lead character depicted as a stereotypical African-American …. but even then, he’s just another character … people need to get off their high horses for a change

    • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

      It’s not really that simple, because what always gets my blood boiling is weak characterisations and developers relying on stereotypes. Starhawk had a black protagonist but he wasn’t the stereotypical loud, African-american athlete/gangster/rapper. It’s sad that I can single out this specific game (because the number of decent non-white protagonists can be counted on my hand).

      The uproar about Resident Evil 5 was unnecessary though, but even that you have to see in context. There are vast aspects of the African condition that has never been explored by the west, or for that matter acknowledged. Now we’re fortunate enough to know that Africa is multilayered; it’s not just this desert filled with starving black folk, covered in flies.

      But that’s the impression the rest of the world carries, and it gets carried in the media.

      • Umar Kiiroi Senk?

        Stereotypes , imo seem llike an easy route for developers … I don’t know why they have to rely on such cliches. Look at the walking dead, what a perfect lead character and you could relate to him and his race put him apart from the other characters … I mean Race can also be used to differentiate characters from each other in a good way.

        As for RE5, well I could see why there was an uproar, unnecessary as it was. The world views Africa that way indeed and RE 5 did not help the issue.

        We see the same tropes and the same type of people in games all the time … Muslims are terrorists , Russians are killers … but the thing is, there is a fine line between real racism and using race creatively ..

        • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

          It’s an unnecessary trope, but it also boils down to ignorance. Particularly ignorance of the other. One of the best examples of this is Homefront. There you have the classic stereotype* of the “vicious Japanese”, a stereotype that was fostered during the second world war, and regardless of a sizeable Asian population in the US persists even to this day.

          Obviously the makers for the game will counter by saying that it’s a fictional account of what “could” happen if North Korea attacked, but in that case the North Koreans became narratively “vicious Japanese”. They committed all sorts of atrocities against the “heroic Americans”. Similarly, the same stereotype was used in that godawful remake of Red Dawn…

          * Of course you’re familiar with the other Asian stereotype: “They’re all good in Math”

          • Umar Kiiroi Senk?

            I’m not against arguing with developers, I can’t go as far to say it’s racism but I would like for change to happen where the same racial tropes are not used all the time. Part of it is ignorant and part of it is for the money. Why make Muslims terrorist or Americans heroes? well that is the current views on the world and that sells…..

          • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

            There’s a difference between “all muslims are terrorists” and “Some terrorists are muslim”. One of the best TV shows I’ve seen in a long time, Homeland tackles these issues so superbly that it’s a pleasure to watch it. I’m not sure if you’re familiar with it.

            If a developer creates a game based on a battle in Iraq, then it wouldn’t be stereotypical to depict the enemy combatants as muslim or even Arab, but it certainly would cross a line if every single muslim character is a terrorist – from children to women to old men etc.

            Similarly, if every single African American is a loud under-educated rapper/gangster/athlete…

          • Umar Kiiroi Senk?

            Nope, I think I will have a look!

            When I think of it that way … it is true, well they are in a Muslim state, the combatants will be Muslim and it goes for other countries…I get that , but I can’t help but think that most people can’t differentiate between the ‘some’ and ‘all’ part with such games….But I think Spec-Ops did A MAGNIFICENT job of moving past race and showing the horrors of war ….

        • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

          It’s certainly a fine line, but I think it’s difficult not to cross it, because a large body of work already exists that depends on stereotypes. It’s become insidious, and thus the general public merely accepts it.

          • Umar Kiiroi Senk?

            I have a very black and white view on race. If you hate someone because of their race, you’re racist, if not you just plain hate their guts for who they are…games themselves are not racist per say, but they do nothing to break the cycle with the same stereotypes over and over.
            But I agree, it’s hard not to cross it

  • Trevor Davies

    I wish they’d stuck to their original panel discussion. Get the stuff out in the open & talk honestly. It doesn’t benefit anyone to hide it, that’s what allows it to fester. Sure it was a non-PC way to put it, but that doesn’t make it a terrible idea to discuss because everyone is different & sees things differently. Knee-jerk reactions all around.

    • Sir Rants-a-Lot Llew

      yep yep yep

    • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

      Wording is important, and they definitely botched it. Also, their panel group isn’t inclusive, so how can you discuss issues of race or the depiction of race or even racism, if the panel itself doesn’t allow for adequate representation.

      • Trevor Davies

        Fair point, I didn’t look at the panel – you do need some diversity to discuss things properly. It reminds me of the panel US Republicans put together to discuss women’s reproductive rights – all old white men lol.

        • Rinceyouropinion

          *Religious Old white men

        • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

          And they certainly can’t tell me that there aren’t a bunch of Maori or even Samoan, Lebanese, African video game bloggers/editors or gaming journalists out there.

  • Mathias

    You know what? Sadly, there is a part of that sentence that is true. Game devs have to be EXTREMELY careful if they don’t want lots of people complaining about these subjects, and even so once in a while some game gets the spotlight.

    I’m not talking about the distasteful rotten corpse bust Dead Island Riptide offered, but I am talking of every time a character is introduced, there’s always a part of the gaming community that will point a finger at it.

    Those of you who have played The Last of Us would recognize Bill. Bill’s a fun dude, and the biggest comic relief the game has for a long while. Also, it is implied (because, apparently, even after the apocalipse, saying it is awkward) that Bill is gay. The many comments I read about people saying it was unnecesary to include (and trying to make him anti-stereotypical) him were… Too many. Too damn many.

    In the RPS site, whenever you get to disagree with those idiotic, anti-feminist videos Anita Sarkeesian posts (I’m all pro-women, I swear, but these videos, and her campaign of making money waving the feminism flag and making them be about everything but what really matters), you get called mysoginist, sexist, woman hater, etc.

    So, yeah, a part of the community apparently forgot that gaming can also be fun, and they’re always waiting on some game to screw up with some stereotype to bash it.

    Other than that, that Panel had a ridiculous description, and it is a subject that should be addressed along many other subjects, but in this case it was very poorly approached.

    • Argentil

      I agree that Bill’s inclusion felt ‘right’ but that is a bit of a spoiler! The character had depth, and a lot of it was implied and realistically executed. At first I was like “Naaw, can’t be.” then I was like “What? Really?” then I was like “Well, actually, why the hell not?”

      • Mathias

        Added some lil’ old spoiler warning. Forgot about it. Thanks

  • Yolanda Green

    I’d absolutely love to have such a panel at rAge and be a part of the discussion. I’m never ashamed of my views on these subjects and not afraid of being attacked for it. The fact that people retract their statements or opinions because of some twitter mob is disappointing to say the least. When did we start getting so soft? If we allow people to bully us, as the press or any part of the industry then it’s our own fault.

    Other forms of entertainment have survived this milestone, we can as well. People just love the attention they get for always complaining about everything, they love it even more that people give in to them, even if they’re just complaining to fill their day because they’ve got nothing better to do.

    • Argentil

      Conducting one offline is completely different because there are consequences to expressing your opinions in person. Even mentioning the topic online brings out a wave of entitled, white boys with hateful opinions who would never say such things in person. There are two sets of people who destroy these topics, the internet majority mentioned above, and the kneejerk reactionist who will crucify commentary in order to make themselves feel superior or hyper-relevant. They enjoy elevating themselves above others.

      • Yolanda Green

        That’s very true, but I do think this kind of behavior continues because people allow it to. The problem whether it’s online or offline is that many people don’t know how to deal with these people. They don’t know how to call them out on their bs and there are no consequences to any online attacks. If terms and conditions to using social media included that there would be consequences to, for example slandering, maybe people would think twice about what they say online.

        Yes, I believe in freedom of speech but I also believe that we have the right to defend ourselves and to control what we want to associate our brands/names with.

        We also have the choice of who we want to respond to or not. “Do not feed the trolls” didn’t just come out of no where.

        • Argentil

          It’s up to these channels, such as Lazygamer, to upkeep order, and so far things have been fine here. Anyone who acts neutral in the face of bigotry expressed on their forum is just as responsible as the fart-breath preaching hate.

    • Rinceyouropinion

      As @argentil:disqus says, if it is offline, I am totally with you, and I think it would benefit the industry to have a real world panel like this. I am also disgusted that Zoe was attacked, especially if it was by a regular, which I find hard to accept (though there are regular trolls, those I can accept).

  • Rinceyouropinion

    Who the fuck attacked Zoe. You will get a personal visit from ex-army OVG and me to teach you some lessons in manners, you cretin.

    • Tauriq Moosa

      Agree we should be worried that Zoe was attacked personally, but threats of physical assault only add to the vicious cycle. We are better than them precisely because we don’t need to threaten with physical actions!

      • Rinceyouropinion

        That was obviously not a serious threat man. It’s called hyperbole or a show of frustration. I don’t know where they live, nor know who the person is. So pretty sure one can see I was being silly.

    • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

      I just don’t understand people, you’re free to disagree with someone, take them to task on issues, but attacking them PERSONALLY is not kosher.

      • Rinceyouropinion

        Agreed. And FYI I think it’s pretty obvious I would not go and beat someone up for attacking Zoe. I would tell them they are a dick etc, but the above was supposed to be a vent. Thought that was pretty obvious…

        • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

          Well, OVG can use his combat training to take them out :P It’s ok, because OVG is a figment of our imagination.

          • Rinceyouropinion

            Who?

          • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

            Good man!

  • Tauriq Moosa

    Regarding the last part: I’d like to see that discussion at rAge, considering my disagreement with I think you, Zoe and Yolanda on the issues of women’s treatment and games (I don’t think we disagree as much as you think, but we’ve never had an opportunity, so we’re probably missing nuances that the bloody internetz doesnt allow for).

    It’s sad that Zoe was personally attacked on Twitter: that shouldn’t happen. Disagreeing on political or moral matters is not a reason to personally insult: (there’s a reason that that results in a fail on university papers). I’m not a fan of Zoe’s writing or views from what I’ve read here, but I’d hope she or I could still talk to each other on friendly terms — because, you know, we’re both fallible people trying to make sense of things.

    • Yolanda Green

      I recall us disagreeing on some things :) but really that’s not enough for me to hold a personal grudge. We are all entitled to our opinions. And yes, you are right, I don’t we disagree as much as it looks online either.

      • Tauriq Moosa

        Agreed. Grudges are not worth holding for good people, who you merely disagree with. I think the principle of charity – that most people are good but most people suck at communicating (me included, especially on the internet) – is essential for discussions.

        Internet discussions are like driving: it’s an opportunity to say rude and be mean and have an attitude you usually wouldn’t. And yet reflection and reasonableness is precisely what’s needed more than ever.

        • Yolanda Green

          Yeah :/ I miss the days of just sitting around the braai with some drinks having decent discussions. Online makes everything seem serious and negative when you don’t add smileys!

          • Tauriq Moosa

            SHUDDUP! YOU KNOW NOTHING! GO HOME MICROSOFT FANBOY! GURLS ARE GROSS AND DONT BELON N GAYMES!

            oops. I left my #Consoletongue on :P

            Yes. If any panel discussions happen, would be great to meet my opponent in this debate face-to-face.

          • Zoe

            Would definitely enjoy taking part in a panel discussion on the topic. Preferably properly moderated. These are the types of issues that often get heated quickly. Would be nice to have all ranges of opinions represented, even if it causes outrage and uproar. Oh wait… :) or else I’ll be taken too seriously ala @yolanda_green:disqus

          • Tauriq Moosa

            Heh. Good. I imagine it would be fruitful. In the unlikely event that it’s not, then at least we can all see that none of us are evil supervillains planning on ruining the lives of puppies. That would be wrong. Dolphins though…

  • Hammersteyn

    People like Bill O Reilly is a sublime example off ignorance and self importance. People like him are out there in the gaming community but numbers always wins. If you plan a discussion and get enough people behind you then you can overrule any mob. Most of the mob won’t even attend because like trolls they are cowards. It’s easy to type insults and click a submit button, but it’s very different when you have to speak to the person face to face.

  • John Ambitious

    I can’t help but think what a mess of a debate this would’ve been if it was on news 24. At least us gamers know we’re on the same team.

    • Tauriq Moosa

      Well, if you want to feel at home… Ahem…

      WHY DONTS YOU JUS DIE PLAYSTATION FANBOI! YOU LOVE ZUMA! THIS JUST PROVES THIS COUNTRYS GOING TO THE DOGS! etc.

      • John Ambitious

        Wow, just a bit too real for me…
        You have quite a talent there

        • Tauriq Moosa

          know your enemy ;)

      • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

        That was pretty on the mark for a News24 comment.

      • Sir Rants-a-Lot Llew

        woah. It’s like I’m actually on the n24 site!

        • Andre116

          That is uncanny, huh?

  • Daniel Keevy

    The basis of free speech is that all speech is free, unless it’s incitement to violence, hate speech or propaganda. The downside to that is racists, sexists and other hateful people have a platform for their hate. Yet, I’d prefer this over a situation where a state tells me what to say.

    Also, I find it a little contrived to raise this, and then open with a marginally racist swipe at Australians, Gavin.

    • Argentil

      Haha, I’d like to think it was tongue-in-cheek.

      • Daniel Keevy

        I’m sure it was. I just know from personal experience that even tongue-in-cheek discrimination can lead to broader discrimination. I use to do the same with the French, until a friend called me out on it.

    • Trevor Davies

      It’s not racist, it’s speciest ;)

  • http://www.codescrawls.co.za/ Edwin le Roux

    What is sad for me, about this and others is that the extremes always gets their voices heard, and the rest gets associated with it.

    There are extremes on both sides, and they are only the few. And they usually just rune it for the rest of us.

    Everything needs to be PG these days, just because of a few individuals who doesn’t where to draw the line.

  • Slade Boender

    Well Im going to go for the ignorance card here, but I vote name and shame those who harassed Zoe. Im pretty certain we could find some chinks in their Armour. What asses.

  • Pingback: Where are the women in gaming? | Lazygamer .:: The Worlds Best Video Game News ::.

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    A Practical Guide To Women Click Here It’s almost always the woman’s fault. Get rid of her ovaries and put her on HRT and then she won’t be crazy and she will have a libido..

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