Online games are avenues for hate group recruitment, according to former white supremacist leader

    
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Yes, it was this bad. It was always this bad.

Playing a game of linking awful online activities to white supremacist movements is like the worst possible variant of the old Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon game, but it’s important to note. You know that guy in your Overwatch match who’s spouting out a whole bunch of offensive slurs? He may very well be there to actively recruit for white supremacist movements according to former white supremacist leader Christian Piccolini.

In a recent AMA Piccolini explained that operators are there using various techniques to draw in vulnerable people, with various “recruiters” in basically any popular online game. Piccolini specifies Fortnite, Minecraft, and Call of Duty while also noting that it’s really any popular online title with enough people playing. This probably doesn’t come as any major surprise to people who have long followed the path of watching “trolling” racism and misogyny used as a front for actual racism and misogyny, but it’s certainly another smoking gun.

Source: Reddit via GamerRevolution; thanks to Nordavind for the tip!
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Hamblepants
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Hamblepants

I’ll just leave this here:

Hate groups aren’t just an anomaly.

They’re a manifestation of the worst parts of a culture’s shared psyche (not some magical mega-consciousness, just the parts of the human psyche that each of us have in common).

They exist because there’s already racism in our culture(s) – they’re less afraid to talk about the racism that’s in them than most of the rest of us. And they’re more willing to put racism into action to unfairly take the main things people value from them (safety, respect, economic security).

I just wish people wouldn’t pretend like hate groups are some wild aberration. They’re here because most of the rest of us are, conscious of it or not, okay at some level with having a hierarchy based on race. A hierarchy that* decides how much and how easily we get the things** we value the most.

It’s not pretty, and it’s way less comfortable than saying “the big bad racists are over there and the good people are over here,” but it’s reality.

*generally – there’s always exceptions, but they remain exceptions because there’s way less of them.

**not “things” as in “physical items” – i mean things like respect, safety, justice, fairness, money, power, decency.

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Zen Dadaist

Breaking news: place where lots of people pass through/gather is seen as a good recruiting ground to find those who share a belief.

For what it’s worth, I do my part in reporting hateful shit.

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Robert Mann

They will do it anywhere where: there is a large population, and consequences are low.

The solution, long term, is to continue as a society to express the wrongness of believing any group is inherently better than another… on all levels and for all groups. It is to teach the children that human is human. Sadly, most attempts at ‘solving’ this seem to go off on some other things that merely perpetuate cycles of hate and victimization.

There is a lot of naivety that we can stop people from being nasty. We cannot. We can merely deal with those who are, as it happens and/or we see signs of intent.

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Bryan Correll

Oy vey. The press is gonna have a field day with this.

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Jack Kerras

I really feel like a good rule is just to consider what other people have used a word.

Like… I’m not going to call someone a thing that one of their ancestors may have been called while someone was dousing them in kerosene and getting ready with the matches. That shit seems -intensely- wrong to me.

Folks reclaim their words and that’s fine, but even the nasty word that is reasonably accurate -for me-, I tend not to use, and I am one immensely sweary motherfucker. I don’t use it because someone has been burned alive to it, or hanged by it, or what-have-you. I don’t want to invoke that shit, and anyone who does should probably sit the fuck down with a professional and talk out some of their hangups.

I have never considered ‘it’s a game’ to be an excuse. Games are you, writ small. Acting a way in a game is just acting in that way. If ‘fewer controls’ means ‘more racist bullshit’, fuckin’… look inwards. That ain’t right.

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Does not check email

Volumes could be written on this.

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Bruno Brito

Most of the racism i’ve been witness to in games are mostly “casual” racism. The ones where people are fucking idiots and like to perpetuate fucking idiocies because they are fucking idiots. I didn’t really see much “organized hatred”.

Here’s the thing. The casual racism paves the way for the organized hate-groups to thrive, since casual racism underwhelms the plight of the people in need of understanding. Now, not only they have the stacks against them, they also have their voices silenced under the screams of the imbeciles that can’t realize there are bigger problems than the three red rings on a Xbox.

Also, i’m sure that organized groups can now disguise as casual racists since casual hatespeech is so prevalent on gaming.

I really don’t have a solution for this. Human beings are wired on tribalism, and they’re also cowards, when in masse. Given the anonymous nature of the internet, you become the new John Cena and proceeds to yell casual racism and hatespeech every 2 sentences, while in real life, you can’t even make eye contact with the cute girl you’re interested in.

There’s also a collective dissonance of what that makes people. People honestly believe that being assholes while anonymous is valid because in “real life, they’re nice people”. That’s cowardice.

Sigh.

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Castagere Shaikura

Old news if your a person of color or a woman. I’ve seen this stuff in all online games over the years. And because of Trump its worse now.

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Cosmic Cleric

And because of Trump its worse now.

A leader sets the tone, for his/her tribe.

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Robert Mann

Old news… regardless. It is readily apparent that every group targets every other group if you look around. Excluding maybe a few special exemptions. There is a lot of history around what you said, and some of the government and business impact exists there, but I deny the idea that there is a larger concentration of hate on that front.

I’ve seen too much, against every possible type of person. Basic respect for other human beings is so sadly rare. I believe Trump and those who are outright hateful under him are a symptom of not recognizing that hate is wrong no matter what groupings a person may belong to.

I say that because for too long it has been excused from people because of groupings… and that creates a new cycle of hate and victimization.

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ichi sakari

probably one of the biggest issues within the gaming community that needs more light to be shined on it

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Robert Mann

Society. Gaming is merely a symptom of what is true in society at large here, I believe.

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Hope

Given that bloody Star Trek Online – you know, set in the universe where the heroes come from an all-people-are-equal Communist utopia? – has a very heavy presence of active racists, homophobes, and noisy Nazi trolls… this surprises me not at all.

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Cosmic Cleric

Given that bloody Star Trek Online – you know, set in the universe where the heroes come from an all-people-are-equal Communist utopia? – has a very heavy presence of active racists, homophobes, and noisy Nazi trolls… this surprises me not at all.

I am a hard core Star Trek fan, strongly enjoys and believes in the ideals it’s stories speaks to, and I don’t play STO. At all.

Our society is not going to make it, if we keep thinking only superficially. The center will not hold.

Bree Royce
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Bree Royce

It’s not really even Star Trek. It’s all sci-fi. There are extremely enlightened pockets in sci-fi just as there are dark, disgusting crevasses we should fill with cement and never look back.

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Robert Mann

That’s because writers try to emulate life. Sadly, that means a lot of disgusting stuff.

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Cosmic Cleric

That’s because writers try to emulate life. Sadly, that means a lot of disgusting stuff.

Nothing wrong with stories that have racism in them, as something to be overcome by the good guys, written by non-racists. That’s just story telling.

Maybe I’m making a distinction that others are not, that there’s two types of stories with racism in them, one written by a non-racist, to show the evils of racism, and one written by a real-life racist, to promote/glorify racism.

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John Kiser

I think a part of the stuff is that racism in sci-fi usually stems from trying to show things in a more realistic light or fiction for that matter. One race might be racist toward another etc. The messages of sci-fi a lot of the time though or fantasy is that sometimes you need to overcome that stuff for the greater good of everyone.

We can use gaming as an example where racism is put in at times. The witcher is a good example of this as people dislike witchers and a lot of other people and put their prejudices out there. The first game you saw racism toward your dwarf friend and people picking at diff races, witches, etc all of that exists and isn’t meant to f lat out be “hey racism is good”. A lot of the dark stuff where racism exists shows it in a negative light ultimately.

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Cosmic Cleric

I think a part of the stuff is that racism in sci-fi usually stems from trying to show things in a more realistic light or fiction for that matter. One race might be racist toward another etc. The messages of sci-fi a lot of the time though or fantasy is that sometimes you need to overcome that stuff for the greater good of everyone.

/agree

Nothing wrong with racism in a story, if its shown to be bad/negative, written by non-racists. You need conflict for a good story. Just don’t promote things in stories that society would not want promoted (for the most part), like “racism is good”, etc.

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Cosmic Cleric

It’s not really even Star Trek. It’s all sci-fi. There are extremely enlightened pockets in sci-fi just as there are dark, disgusting crevasses we should fill with cement and never look back.

I’m a voracious reader of sci-fi, and I’m literally drawing a blank on where I’ve seen bad racism in a sci-fi story. And by ‘bad’ I do NOT mean a story where the bad guys are racist, and are meant to be defeated/changed (plenty of those), but where in the story the good guys are racist, via a story/show written/made by a real-life racist.

Hell, I literally learned what racism is via a Star Trek episode, as a kid (the one with the half black, half white, faces), when it was on first-run tv.

I normally would say you would not see that kind of ‘bad’ racism in sci-fi at all, if not for the comments I see here now. Remind me of some examples (we can pave over the crevasses with cement together afterwards)? Maybe I’m just not trolling the seedier parts of the Internet sufficiently. /shrugs

Bree Royce
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Bree Royce

Oh sorry, CC – above I was talking about the fandoms specifically. I just meant it’s not just a Star Trek fandom problem; it’s a sci-fi fandom problem. Maybe Star Trek’s is just extra ironic.

But yeah, there’s plenty of gross authors in sci-fi, and it’s even easier to find blatant sexism than casual racism. Even my beloved Star Wars screwed up, multiple times, on both fronts. Google “racist sci-fi” and “sexist sci-fi” and “sad puppies” some day when you’ve steeled your stomach.

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Jack Kerras

Remember: the 21st Century was a pretty scary fucking place in the Star Trek universe. We’re still on target for luxury egalitarian spacefuture so far.

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mysecretid

Rule One in Star Trek Online: For the sake of your continuing sanity, turn off Zone chat., and leave it off.

The fact that it’s a “free-to-play” game means that pretty much anyone can sign up and play, whether they care about the game itself, or not.

A lot of the “Zone Chat” crowd, the free fun that they’re actually looking for is the opportunity to act like asshats and to bait people inside a game they care little about, and have no investment in playing. All these folks want is an audience

I’ve met plenty of really great while people playing Star Trek Online — none of them listen to, or participate in, Zone chat.

Cheers,