Since playing this game as long as I have, I have noticed that there has been an increasing number of players that take part in a not-so positive subject; racism. If you followed my last blog post, (which I was harassed over by people who felt offended by it,) you’ll see that I mentioned being in a group of people that were racist, and how I overlooked them for the sake of having friends.
Being an African American, I have experienced my fair share of racism throughout my life. FFXIV was my escape, of sorts, solely because you don’t know who is behind the screen. But, unfortunately, that isn’t enough for me to be able to get away from the racist remarks.
A good majority of the people that I played with on this game are of European descent, so I already came in feeling like an outcast simply because of the color of my in game characters skin. And as soon as I met these people, immediately the racism reared its ugly head. (N*gga flying out of their mouths every other word. Stereotypical references to black people (saying Gaia from the Eden Raid storyline has n*gga lips.) again, I overlooked these things because I felt like the racist comments would be directed towards me if I were to ever speak out against them. And, of course, when some of the people in here were really drunk, the N-word with the ER at the end would come out as well and that’s when I would start leaving calls. I felt like it was absolutely disgusting that these words can come out of peoples mouths when they know the history behind the word and how it affects me as a person of color. I have actually been told that my in game character looked like a statistic, which was very hurtful because black men are statistically incarcerated at a higher rate than non-black men. And people would laugh at the comment while understanding how it hurt me, including my black friends which leads me into the discussion about colorism.
Colorism is something that is definitely there in this community. A few people that I also played with, have characters that don’t portray themselves in real life. Now, I understand this is a video game and you are free to make whatever character you want, including skin tone. But I feel like it is deeper than just not wanting to make your character your real life skin tone. Obviously you look around in all of the open world hubs in the game and you see characters that are of lighter complexion. Very rarely will you see a character that is black, or darker skinned. And, it’s not as though every person that plays Final Fantasy as a white person. A good chunk of those white characters that you see running around Limsa Lominsa? Those are black individuals behind the computer screen.
Me and some of the people that I felt would say racist comments, along with one of my friends who is black, had a conversation about a streamer named Pokimane, and how a long time ago she would say racist things. One of the people, named D, kind of got upset because he felt like I was saying that people could not change. Now I’m all for growth and understanding, but these things were sad and the things we said without understanding how it affects Black people. And my black friend kind of cosigned his statement. And he also added on his own stating that he doesn’t understand how Black people cannot be racist but other races can be racist to Black people. I’ve felt someway about that because I don’t think Black people can be racist, because the root of racism derives from believing that your race is superior than others and using your race as a instrument of power to assert your dominance over others. I don’t think Black people do that, and obviously as history has shown, white people have definitely done that.
Back to my topic of colorism, my black friend plays a lighter skin character. And when I mean lighter skin, I mean white. He is a black man behind the screen, and I know that’s because I’ve seen photos of him. I commented on one of his characters that he made once and said oh your character is very pretty. And he responded to me by saying , “but she’s white.” And I was confused because I didn’t understand why that mattered. But then it dawned on me. He assumed that I was only interested in black anything because I made the comments prior to me making that comment about his character.
Snooping around and from my own experience, I realized that people play lighter or white characters because of the attention that they receive from others in game. If you compare and mirror that statement to real life situations, Black people historically have to work harder to receive the same amount of attention as others. This is very prevalent in the gay community. People normally don’t like to see people of color. And, if you play a darker skin character in this game, you’re not going to get the same level of attention as you would get if you were playing a lighter skinned person in this game and that’s just the truth.
No, I’m not living my in game life for the sake of others. At this point, I’ve learned to just not allow myself to feed into that dialogue of I have to do these things for other people, and I refuse let’s play a character of a different complexion because it’s what’s popular. I’m a black man in real life, and I will be a black miqot’e (at the moment,) endgame. Racism and colorism definitely run rampant throughout this community, as they do throughout all other types of communities. And unless we do something to take a stand to fix this, it will continue. Unfortunately, colorism is a psychological thing that I think stems from self-hate. Black people play white characters in situations of customization because they don’t like their skin tone themselves.
Sorry you went through all of that. I hope that you aren't with those people anymore. BTW, your bun boy is very cute.
bro I feel you. Im black also and have had a similar experience not just in this game but almost every MMO. Its crazy how we cant even play a game without having to deal with this bs. I am a Roleplayer and I find it often that im expected to explain why my character exist in whatever world im in.. shit is wild. Hit me if you ever just need to talk or if you want new people to play with.. real black people... not that corny "im black" shit they do around here.. hit me bro