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Black Twitch Streamers Unite To Take A Stand Against Online Harassment

Source: SOPA Images / Getty

Black Twitch streamers are fed up and are taking a stand against the online harassment they endure on the popular streaming platform.

There are literally no safe spaces for Black and brown people to enjoy doing the things they love, even playing and streaming video games. Black Twitch streamers have been subject to countless forms of online harassment, including hate raids, doxxing, swatting, and other forms of abuse after they called for more significant equity and protections for Black users with the #TwitchDoBetter campaign. 

Despite many complaints and the recent #ADayOffTwitch campaign where Black streamers protested the platform to shed light on the online harassment, Twitch has yet to take action. As seen on Blavity, the website announced it was partnering with Black streamers and content creators to “amplify their demands for greater autonomy over the platform. With this move, the website hopes Twitch will ensure proper protections and implement racial equity audits to put an end to racial harassment on the platform.”

Per Blavity:

Content creators are demanding their right to greater protections on the streaming platform, and it’s past time Twitch took immediate action. As racist users are actively targeting Black streamers, their privacy, and their families, cannot afford a delay in effective regulations against harassment. Tech companies must dedicate themselves to eliminating ingrained racism by enforcing anti-discrimination policies, developing products that protect Black creators, and advancing protocols through an independent racial equity audit. Digital and online spaces are capable of being platforms of greater opportunity for Black creatives and rooted in racial equity — and we have the collective power to make sure they are.

The website also highlighted two Black streamers, RekItRaven and RealMamaEagle/Keiana, who both issued statements through Blavity.

“Being hated for existing is no longer limited to the side eyes in a grocery store, or the “I love Barack Obama” microaggressions,” RekItRaven writes. “In the years that have passed, we have seen racism thrive under the guise of freedom of speech and that has plagued our online spaces more openly and gratuitously with never-ending fervor. Twitch is not an exception.”

In the last few months, the behaviors of racists have thrived on the platform, and enough is enough. Although I have seen and noticed subtle changes, I have also seen death threats, bomb threats, and more harassment. I know that many BIPOC creators have experienced the same things. We need to be able to stand firm, but at what cost?

Twitch’s oversight has failed BIPOC and other marginalized creators. We need to feel safe, and we don’t. However, I am hopeful. I believe that we can make a change to have more proactive tools to protect ourselves, and I believe that Twitch has the capability of providing marginalized people with the power that we’ve lost. That would mean we don’t feel anxious pressing “Go Live,” and we are offered more opportunities outside of months that call for it. (Black History Month)

We are promoted, celebrated, and protected like we should be. This should have never gotten as bad as it has. We should have never felt the fears we’ve had to face on this platform, but we will overcome it, thrive, and make change so that others don’t have to.”

RealMamaEagle shared that she was the victim of hate raids over ten times during her streaming sessions.

“I’m RealMamaEagle. I’m a partnered variety streamer on Twitch with a focus on mental health, sports, stream coaching, and Nintendo content. As a woman and streamer of color, I’ve dealt with my share of hate and sexism on the platform.

Recently I was a victim of hate raids over 10 times. It was demoralizing to myself and my community to see hateful and offensive language typed in my chat, and my safe and happy space being invaded. Every week I host a “Twitch Talk Thursday,” a day where my community and I discuss trending topics on the platform. I’ve used that day for calls to action, and I urge my community to be vocal and hold Twitch accountable. I’ve encouraged my community to be vocal on social media and provided a space for them to be vocal about their negative and harmful experiences on the platform.

Getting full autonomy over my content would open doors for more discoverability, Twitch ambassador, and continuing to make sure my community and others are safe. I would also be able to speak my mind without fear of being hated for it, and fear of being targeted for it. I just want my space where I can be myself and be safe.

“A day off Twitch” showed me that love on the platform will always trump hate and that we do have the power to make change. That was clear to me when we witnessed Twitch with a drop of 1 million in viewership. That day was not only a bonding experience but an affirmation that our work isn’t done but just beginning.”

This is a cause we at Hip-Hop Wired definitely can get behind, and you should too as well.

Photo: SOPA Images / Getty