Report on Second Life

Well, I’ve been in Second Life now for a little over a month now (incept date 10/25/08).   I’ve updated my avatar with new hair, eyes, skin, and wardrobe.  Here’s how she looks now:

avatar-nov-2008

I was walking around a “mall” in SL and there was a height measurer — so I pressed the button.  My avatar is 7’1″ !!   hahahaha — that’s two feet taller than I really am!

Anyway, so far in SL I have participated in many different kinds of activities.  I attended a conference, sat in on a class lecture titled “The One Drop Rule” with the  Study of Racialism Group, checked out student presentations from a Women’s Studies course, and this morning participated in a coffee talk with the Social Justice group.  I also am a member of several dance clubs:  Derailed, Hell’s Gate, Club Industry, and Voodoo lounge.  I go clubbing several times a week, usually for about 45 minutes as a decompression method.  I try to have fun in many different settings.

I am also experimenting with ethnographic observation with a look towards a study on race and racism in SL.  I was hanging out in a public space the other night.  The area is frequented by newbies and it is fun to watch them modify their avatars, test their flying skills, and just try to figure stuff out.  I was very amused by one guy that joined SL in search of sex . . . he was running from avatar to avatar asking for sex!  As if that would work in  Real Life (RL)!!  Finally, someone explained the situation to him and he was soon off searching for a sex sim.

Back to my story.  I was in this public space when I overheard people engaging in very racist talk.  I walked over to investigate and found three white avatars harassing a black avatar!  They were extremely abusive — even tossing around the “N” word.  I was shocked at their behavior!  One of the white avatars was a young woman (based on her voice).  I spoke out since I advocate the interruption of racism in daily life (it’s what I teach, preach, and try to practice).  Of course this little gang turned on me — and the female avatar was the worst.  She questioned my gender (?), and called me “Last of the Mohicans.”  I started a private conversation with the black avatar which was interesting.  We discussed the situation and how in SL there’s no penalty to acting in a racist manner — such as getting your ass kicked or being ostracized.  So, I’m going to be keeping notes for a future study.  I’ll keep you all posted on haps in SL.

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