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12/19/2007

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Fleep Tuque

I'm not spreading a politically correct meme, Prok, I'm responding to feedback from the students and faculty who used SL in classes for the first time this quarter. Difficulty finding non-white avatars was an issue for them and I am simply calling attention to that fact.

And as I pointed out in my post, telling busy students to go find one on their own is not always an option, particularly for those who can only get into SL for the time their class is in the computer lab because their home PCs won't run it.

Of course you can use the slider and of course that's what I showed them, but you know as well as I do that there's a vast difference between a linden skin and a non-linden skin. You can't seriously tell me that the fact that there are dozens of well made freebie transferable white skins but truly, I could find _NO_ non-white transferable skins after many hours of seriously looking, you can't tell me that that means nothing, says nothing, has no impact on the newbies that come into SL. You're smarter than that.

I don't mean to patronize skin designers, and I don't think asking for help is being patronizing. My only goal is to give the new users I bring into SL a number of choices (human and non-human avs) that they can feel comfortable in so they can get down to the business of using SL for education. I'm sure your experiences are what they are, but I'm also sure that the vast majority of tenants you're working with are in SL for pleasure or in their spare time, and often the populations I am working with don't have that luxury.

I can't speak to any of the other incidents you mentioned, but my purpose is not to be "more liberal than thou" but rather to solve a problem that these students brought to my attention.

Prokofy Neva

I'm afraid I persist in having my doubts that this was really an issue for any significant number of students and faculty, Fleep, and not more of a theoretical issue, or an issue for some small number of people, that you have extrapolated indeed into a politically-correct meme.

I'm sorry, but that's how it sounds to me and I have to call it as such, given that Second Life is bursting at the seams with freebie shops and inexpensive skin shops of every conceivable hue and style.

There isn't really the vast world of difference you imagine with the slider. It's actually perfectly fine, and most people start out this way. If the students are primarily in SL for a class, and not socializing and trying to get laid, maybe they don't need a photo-realistic skin?

I'm sorry, but again, I *do not buy that there are no freebie skins*. And I also think it's not a big deal to BUY the friggin' skin, Fleep. It truly is patronizing to assume otherwise. Why not support the businesses of people who in fact make the black skins you seek? My God, is that so horrible *gasp* to pay out some money? Could your students drink one less latte this week and spend the $3.75 US on a $1000 skin?

Or perhaps you're in an underprivileged environment or country I'm not aware of -- sorry if that is the case.

When I said you were being patronizing, I meant that you were being patronizing *to people of colour themselves*. You're portraying them as people who need a freebie handout and an all-points-alert call-out fashion emergency, instead of being able to shop -- at the stores run by, I might add, in many instances, black and Hispanic entrepreneurs. Hello?

I appreciate your snide swipe at my tenants and business as being "casual" and "socializers" and therefore less aesthetic and intellectual than your "Education in Second Life" wonderfulness, as you close yourself in edu grandeur, but you are dead wrong.

I have every kind of tenant in the metaverse. There are people only in business, or only at home or in jobs, and they are worse off than those privileged enough to go to college. Many work boring jobs by day and their SL is at night.

I think you are determined to be politically correct. It's very hard to shake. I'm not buying it.

Open up the search, Fleep. Type in "Black Skins" and get this:

DLicious Skins - L$400 & L$600 Top Quality Skins (paid ad)
... keywords: skins, female skins, black skins, african skins, caribbean skins, asian
skins, oriental skins, ethnic skins, sexy skins, shapes, black shapes

Is $400 too much? That's $1.50 US.

BTW, on the library, I have had a chance now to get inworld and review it. It has an Afro hair do, but it is on an avatar who looks like a cliche Alan Ginsburg New York Jew. Then there are some Asian sort of cyberpunk skins, and some tan skins, but probably nothing certifiably "black," in the library, but I don't have my race-o-meter with me, so perhaps you can rule on this.

Sounds like something to put on the JIRA!

Ann Otoole

I haven't applied myself to making skins yet because my best friend, a creole, is in the skin business. She makes a pretty damn good creole skin when She wants to look more like her rl self.

seems to me all these ignorant academics are losing ground at every turn as the information age reveals the lies they try to propagandize for the express purpose of finding someone to file a lawsuit against. those days are over. Time to grow up and get a life and work towards dealing with the real inequities in rl. SL is not going to provide any lawsuit tort so take a hike. or come on in and grab a good color skin of the race of your choice and become a productive intelligent member of sl and build a sim that will serve as an honest, not bald faced lies propaganda platform, educational experience.

if anyone has a good skin for whatever race they want to provide for a free avatar then by all means send it along and i'll put together a free avi pack to go with it.

but by all means take your litigious worthless drivel somewhere else. your not going to find any shoulders to whine on here. there are far too many people of intellect in sl to buy the stink your selling on behalf of your law firm.

Khamon

You humans argue over the oddest ideas I must say.

Laetizia Coronet

Well... I am not back yet but I "gots" to react to this one. Yes, there are loads of black people in SL and yes, you can find some good skin, too.
But, as I have written before I found my black skin, LL does not offer a black skin to newbs in the default settings.
Racist? I don't think so, I don't like to call everyhing racism anyway. But it is a major oversight. You can just hear the likes of Al Shapton wail about how they offer you either white or animal skin in SL - and that potentially damaging statement holds some truth.

I don't see reason to act all indignant and PC about this. But I do fear that those who do, have the louder voice, and that it would be wise for LL to add a default black avi, just to prevent a big stink.

I may be behind in my observations as I haven't seen default avi offerings for three months. But I trust nothing has changed...

Signed, Tish - white boy posing as black girl.

GoSpeed Racer

To me SL is about doing what your heart desires and presenting yourself in any way you want. So you don't see a lot of black skins, so what. What makes the people behind the avatars any less interesting or important. "Oh, you're white in RL, how common". Puh-lease, just get over it. The real stereo-typing and discrimination comes from these weak-kneed, politically correct milksops who judge everyone by a color bar or some stupid ethnic standard which doesn't really matter here. I chose a black skin to be different than what I am in RL and to stand out amongst my peers in SL. I don't pretend to be black at all. I am who I and I intereact with others based on a set of characterizations I have created for my avatar. GoSpeed is my artisitc canvas and my proxy to express myself in this world.

And don't tell me dark skinned avatars are hard to find in world. Click the link associated with my name below. I have a Flickr group called SL-Ebony dedicated to dark skinned avatars. We currently have 73 members and more than 1,100 screenshots to date.
GoSpeed

Melissa Yeuxdoux

I refer Mr. Tuque to the November 16th and October 19th entries (2007) of Fabulously Free in SL; both show African skins available for free. (Time taken to find those: maybe ten minutes.) Admittedly, a bunch of the freebies I've found are no-transfer, but surely it wouldn't be that hard to take the class on a field trip to <3 Cupcakes, or hand them a landmark?

I agree with you on this one, Prokofy. (And yes, non-Russians do talk about the noosphere; probably most notably Teilhard de Chardin, the guy who coined the term.)

Prokofy Neva

Melissa,

Yes, I suspect the whole "no black skins" thing is more about class than race. Class is terribly demarcated in America, more than Britain I'll bet! If you drive an SUV, for example, you are in a lower, despised, wretched class from which you can never aspire to leave, the taint will remain with you your entire life, even if you graduate from Harvard with honours.

See, a class like this, involved in serious edu-business, is not going to go to an establishment called, erm. 3> Cupcake.

Go back to your Wikipedia on noosphere:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noosphere

Vernadsky originated the theory; de Chardin added to it.

Sheeznit Naheed

Fleep said "I'm not spreading a politically correct meme, Prok, I'm responding to feedback from the students and faculty who used SL in classes for the first time this quarter."

well... yeah... I bet they had a hard time finding nice clothes to wear and a place to build that wasn't surrounded by ugly stuff and a car that worked, etc..... they were noobs who were there because someone else wanted them to be there. Finding things, including skins that match your desired appearance, or learning how to create those things takes time + patience.

The racism I encounter in SL is of the nasty trolling variety and is over the top cruel either with the intent to grief or as a propaganda tool for truly hateful RL groups. It seems there are never a shortage of SL regulars who are willing to show up and combat *that* type of racism.

Prokofy Neva

Sheeznit, what are the hateful RL groups? You mean like LePen?

Prokofy Neva

BTW, I don't know if this book is still taught in schools, it's where I took the title:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Like_Me

Prokofy Neva

Laetizia, thanks for your input -- but again, I want to hear from REAL BLACK PEOPLE ABOUT THIS. I am tired of hearing from politically-correct white people, pre-set neuralgic PC flayers of the non-PC.

Your default is your appearance mode. The appearance mode goes from 0 white to 100 black -- and also purple, red, green, etc. So there is no racism in the sliders.

As for these default skins in the library. For a long time, there were no skins in the library, only "looks," i.e. shapes and hair, of really dorky MMORPG things like "Prince Charming".

At some point when the Lindens got all bothered about trying to make orientation better, they had Pinkey Nylon and some other FIC types make some skins for the library. The skins they made approximate what these 20 or 30-something folks, likely in middle America even if they are coastal, think of as "typical newbs".

They put in Goth, and Cyberpunk (which they associated with "Asian"), they put in the Allen Ginsburg guy with a "fro" even named "a fro" although his skin is only tan, not black. They put in various other looks that are white or tan, but not black.

So no, these residents terribly feted by the Lindens (imagine getting your work put in the LIBRARY!) didn't put in black skins to represent the 11 percent of the US population and the X percent of the European population -- you tell me.

No, it is not racism. The Asian boy Torley, and the Polish girl Jeska, or whoever supervised this feting of skin-makers, didn't consciously say "Oh, let's keep out the black skins."

"But it is a major oversight. You can just hear the likes of Al Shapton wail about how they offer you either white or animal skin in SL - and that potentially damaging statement holds some truth."

I don't *care* what the idiotic Wrong Rev. Sharpton, utterly discredited in many ways (Tawana Brawley, anyone?) has to say about this. I refuse to be bullied into some PC prostration.

The slider has black, obviously. There are freebie black skins available, we've just heard about them -- at IAL, Evian, etc. There are better-crafted skins for as low as $US 1.50.

So I don't see this as some kind of egregious oversight; I don't see it as racist in the slightest; and I see it merely as a reflection of reality: *there hasn't been a demand*. Markets respond to demands, not PC central control.

Surely at some point more skins will be added to the library so we don't all have to suffer from the cartoony vision of Nylon forever.

Sheeznit Naheed

Unfortunately, Prok, there are worse than LePen. Search Combat 18 Action Group and 14 worms for starters.

>=[

Sheeznit Naheed

Uh, to amend my hastily pasted comment - Combat 18 Action group is a RL group and 14 Worms is a lame attempt by Thor Forte who was Banned from using "14 Words". The 14 words are googleable as well and are a rallying cry for many US based RL hate groups.

none

"I can't speak to any of the other incidents you mentioned, but my purpose is not to be "more liberal than thou" but rather to solve a problem that these students brought to my attention. " - Fleep Tuque

I think you merely have hyper-sensitive students, raised in an atmosphere of 'if it is not my way, it's racism'. Several folks have mentioned how EASY it was to search and find a free skin...why don't YOU make a package and hand out to your class? Or make a skin / get someone in class that knows graphics to make a skin, and pass that out? Or quietly IM lindens/email support about the inclusing of black skins. By mentioning it in public (otherwise, how did Prok find out), you are MAKING it 'More liberal than thou'...and that says more about YOU and your students' than about LL's supposed racism.

Persephone Kirkorian

My best friend and partner in SL is a black woman who presents as a white woman in SL. For the first nine months I knew her, I didn't know what her RL race was. She said she didn't tell me and didn't use a black skin because for once, she just wanted to be accepted for who she is, without any prejudice or people walking on eggshells around her. She has RL family in SL, all presenting as white. While I understand her reasoning, I found that, and still find it, a sad commentary on the way people are. And yes, it surprised me when I found out. I had just assumed that she was in RL more or less like she showed herself in SL, which is ridiculous in itself, as my avatar and I are pretty different. Interesting stuff.

Vonn Neumann

Totally off topic...but how long has the Herald been moderated?

Smoke Wijaya

"Unfortunately, Prok, there are worse than LePen. Search Combat 18 Action Group and 14 worms for starters. - Sheeznit Naheed"

*Nods*...Mainly groups started by european neo-fascists.
Front National SL might be showing off as moderate nationalist party, but it isnt. Jeunesses Identitaires (& bloc identitaire) are also still active.

Worse even are the newer groups, all straight from RL networks and even recruiting on forums like Stormfront and Whiterevolution etc. Like from the European National Front-network we now also have Renouveau Francais, Asociatia Noua Dreapta, Junge National Demokraten and others.
Owners of these groups also created groups like anti-antifa, Primera Linea, Legion 88.

The people in these groups are openly racist, anti-semit, fascist, even nazist.
The 14 words phrase, swastika's, references with 18 and 88 are shown in the profiles more then once.

Luckily, they mostly seem to have the political organisational skills of the backend of a chicken...

...but for instance the owner of Renouveau Francais is also the contact person in international relations within the ENF-network in RL.

For those that would want to speak up and act against these fascist racists...be warned...even just debating in combination with their AR-frenzy and LL's corrupted AR-system can get you suspended/banned easy...for "intolerance"!

Smoke Wijaya

above said...I did not react to your article, but I do not have much to say about that other then that I know loads of black avatars in SL...did not even know this was an issue

Wayne Porter

I am just jumping right into the ruckus. I have been all over Second Life and have seen perhaps a dozen African-American avatars.

Is this because

a) I have not been around enough (unlikely since I will go anywhere- almost.)

b) There are not enough "skins" of this nature?

c) There is no real demand for these skins on the market?

d) People who are in Second Life prefer not to wear a minority skin?

No idea.


I know being in a minority can lead to unpleasant discrimination race or gender. I experienced, for the first time, discrimination as a white male in an 98% populated female nursing school. I got a good taste of what it was like to be discriminated against- not pleasant.

I am continually disgusted by some of the behaviors I see from male avatars towards female avatars- behavior that is borderline harrasement. Often they are new to the Grid, but it does not matter.

As an aside I know I cannot find enough silicon hillbilly "trailer trash" material to decorate my work area with beyond one or two hotspots...we do have a hidden area for this and most folks like it fine. Of course since I am from Appalachian descent and grew up impoverished I can "get away" with the trailer trash stereotype.

-wayne

Prokofy Neva

Wayne doesn't get out much. There are loads of non-whites all over SL, including African Americans. I dunno, fly around.

Hobo stuff is not at all in short supply. It's the most popular meme people chose when they want to be "original". Boatloads of people being 'original' by having hobo stuff. Gosh, I have about 4 tenants with this right now just week, it's popular.

The free hobo stuff is all at the hobo camp in Calleta of course, by the railroad, at the infohub. And other places. Like Sleazywood (unless that went out of business). It is not a problem to find this stuff.

Cory Edo

My assumption from a design standpoint as to why black freebee skins are rarer than white/tan is just that they're harder to do without some practice. Really dark skin tones are very easy to overshade, and you can lose detail and highlights unless you take a few practice runs. Additionally, unlike very pale to tan skins, you can't just change the base hue layer in Photoshop to make a new skin - that's the reason the freebee skins on IAL are split into two versions, a white/tintable (semi-transparent so you can use the sliders to change the base hue) and a black.

The additional level of difficulty plus the inability to reuse other skin shading/highlight templates when making a dark skin are probably the two biggest reasons you don't see more freebee black skins, but as SL has gained more people and more skin designers, I think you see far more of them now than you did even a year ago.

Prokofy Neva

So, Cory, I guess you're saying Peter Marx missed something in how you create skins.

Cory Edo

From reading what you said he stated (about it not even being possible to create a good non-white skin in SL), I'd have to disagree with him, I've seen fantastic and realistic black skins in SL and have for a while now, you just need to know where to look. Its not impossible, few things really are, its just takes more practice than making a white/tan skin.

I've met a RL 3D designer in the Wastelands who plays around in SL for fun - he's African-American in RL and made a fantastic black skin within weeks of joining. Its absolutely possible once you learn your way around SL lighting and the avatar mesh.

Cory Edo

I'd also have to agree with you Prok on the theory that its mostly market demand driving the lack of availability of black skins, but it might also have a factor in the ethnicity of the designer - people tend to start with what they know, and if you look in the mirror every day and see a white face you're going to have a better innate knowledge of how light and shadow looks on that skin tone.

You could probably also apply both those theories to the lack of men's skin/clothing in SL compared to women's, regardless of ethnicity.

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