This year has seen it’s fair share of racism, hatred, bigotry, etc. We can literally insert just about any negative adjective here to find some related headline that will blow your mind and make you hate humanity just a bit more.
It’s unfortunate that in the past few months, we’ve seen a variety of streamers, like JonTron, get involved in some of those headlines by using hateful language on their streams. PewDiePie’s name has surfaced on more than one occasion through alt-right, neo-nazi and “N-word” fueled rants on streams.
In a most recent outburst, PewDiePie was streaming Player Unknown Battleground and casually dropped the “N-word” during a moment of frustration with players from this game. If you watched the stream or a replay of it, you can see that he doesn’t even notice his mistake until a few moments later and responds with an unenthusiastic “I don’t mean it in a bad way”.
SO WHAT WAY DID YOU MEAN IT?
There is no excuse for using a racial slur, in any capacity in 2017. Furthermore, if you do have a moment of weakness — Taking responsibility for your poor choice is key. Actions have consequences. Plain and simple.
Another common excuse for people called out for saying derogatory sentiments is that “Well, this specific race says that word all the time”. In specific instances of white individuals using the “N-word”, we have seen this justification far too often. Think about African American history in the US. Many individuals have been called this word and others, from a place of hatred from their fellow man. This is a dark part of US history that unfortunately isn’t over, despite some strides in the right direction. These racial slurs are degrading, demeaning, insulting and just plain rude and there is no reason for anyone to be using them. Period.
So onto the next excuse… “It’s just a word”, and “There are worse things going on in the world, move on”. Oh, I’m sorry. I completely forgot I wasn’t allowed to be upset about more than 1 thing at a time… Yes, words are just words. They don’t have power unless you give them power. And these horrible words have been given power due to centuries of hate, oppression, and subjugation attached to them.
The problem with streamers like PewDiePie and JonTron (and others) is that they have millions of subscribers watching them in the same way we turned on Nickelodeon after school over a decade ago. These young individuals have impressionable minds, and the normalization of hateful words like this send the wrong message to them. The idea that he shouldn’t suffer some sort of backlash in regard to this also sends the wrong message because the next person to do it will expect to walk away with a slap on the wrist.
In the recent instance of PewDiePie’s lapse in judgment, many came to his defense by saying “Well, he’s not from America so he shouldn’t be confined to the standards here”. The problem is that he is an individual with celebrity status around the world. He basically is a citizen of the world, who needs to be mindful of his audience. Many celebrities have been forced to apologize for comments they’ve made because it was offensive to a certain group of individuals.
This is not the message we want to send others.
We understand that we are all human. Everyone gets upset. Everyone makes mistakes.
But in most instances, you might spout off the f-word or some nasty comment about fellow gamers’ mom… Not resort to racism.
SO WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE A RESPONSIBLE STREAMER?
Being a responsible streamer extends farther than just not saying racist and hurtful things online and offline.
- Follow Wheaton’s Law… Don’t be a dick. It’s not as hard as it sounds…
- Think before you speak. This one is pretty hard. But taking a moment to roll an intellect check on what you’re about to say can help you gain new perspectives.
- Don’t be racist. Do we really need to explain this one?
- Know your audience. Knowing who is tuning in is key to creating better content. But it’s also key to building a good relationship with your fans and tailoring your content to be a bit more friendly, if necessary. If the PG crowd isn’t for you, make it clear in each and every broadcast that some content may not be suitable for younglings.
- Be conscious of your impact. This ties into knowing your audience. But it’s also a great stand-alone bullet point. Think about who may be viewing your content today, tomorrow and 10 years from now. Will this represent your best work? Will you be ashamed of the things you’ve said yesterday in the future?
- Speak out if your audience or fans are getting out of hand. It’s your stream. You need to set limitations on what behavior is acceptable in your chat. If someone is being rude to another viewer, or heckling/being racist — don’t be afraid to call them out, warn them, or dust off the old ban hammer.
For some final thoughts, one of our favorite streamers Boogie tackled the recent controversies surrounding streamers like JonTron, PewDiePie, Colin Moriarty and more. His thoughts resonated with us extremely well in this 13+ minute video, that we felt it was a great way to close out this long winded post.