The Hashtag #TwitchDoBetter Shows Just How Much Black Streamers Have to Do in Order to Protect Themselves From Racism on Twitch
It really shouldn't take all this to live stream some damn video games
CW: Racial slurs
There are a lot of frustrating layers we have to deal with in regards to racism, one of them being the fact that we have to constantly prove that it even exists. It’s not enough that we are the victims of racism, we actually have to present undeniable proof like some college term paper where you get points docked from your grade if you don’t cite your sources correctly.
But even if you have so much evidence that it’s recorded live in front of an entire Twitch audience, it still feels like we’re trying to move heaven and earth just so we can, checks notes, play video games in peace.
What truly upsets me about what’s going on with #TwitchDoBetter is that this isn’t a case of microaggressions or something that can be chalked up as “they just didn’t know better.” This isn’t one of those crying Karen tantrums where white folks can tell you to see things from their perspective because “maybe she felt unsafe” or “maybe she was having a bad day” or “maybe she hates birds” or whatever.
Hate raids are about as textbook racist as you can get. Like. Going to your locker at school and seeing the N-word spray-painted on it kind of textbook.
Except, really, it’s worse, because it’s been happening to multiple streamers at the same time like some kind of scheduled attack.
According to Afrotech, hate raids are “where bots automatically spam a streamer’s chat with offensive language and slurs.”
It was bound to happen eventually. #TwitchDoBetter pic.twitter.com/mbiN4FtLIb
— ΩMEGA JONES (@CriticalBard) August 10, 2021
CW racial slur in image. If you are Black, used the hash tag #TwitchDoBetter & new Black tag when streaming; then you may get targeted by these folks.
They used a Cyrillic “e” to get around filters. Reads as the full word. So that was “fun” https://t.co/caTlFgpDSY pic.twitter.com/AAqZk58FGg
— Cypher | Watch Game Changer on #BETHerTV (@cypheroftyr) August 11, 2021
pathetic fucking scum. got follow botted, followed by this. what do y’all get out of this?? pic.twitter.com/szVeNxkBI4
— Solo | BLM ✊❤️ (@Soloaimbot) August 8, 2021
The hashtag #TwitchDoBetter was created by Twitch streamer RekItRaven to bring attention to the issue.
End hate raids.
Add protections for marginalized creators.#TwitchDoBetter
— ʀᴇᴋ ɪᴛ, ʀᴀᴠᴇɴ! ☠ (@RekItRaven) August 7, 2021
This was in response to a series of hate raids they, and other marginalized creators, have been dealing with.
Video for reference of my previous tweet.
I’m tired y’all. I’m tired of existing in a space that literally doesn’t want me in it.
It’s more than fucking exhausting. pic.twitter.com/yR7ObVoJJ0
— ʀᴇᴋ ɪᴛ, ʀᴀᴠᴇɴ! ☠ (@RekItRaven) July 31, 2021
Raven went on to tell The Washington Post, “I’m tired of feeling like I’m not allowed to exist based off of circumstances that are out of my control, and I know other people are too.”
The Washington Post spoke to a number of Twitch streamers affected by the harassment. “Every marginalized identity creator I know has at least one story, baseline, even if they don’t stream regularly,” said a Twitch streamer who goes by PleasantlyTwstd. “The thing that’s most terrifying is that the hate is aimed at all of us equally. Size, frequency, status — none of it matters. They look out for the marginalized identity and go to work.”
Here is Twitch’s response once the hashtag #TwitchDoBetter gained traction:
We’ve seen a lot of conversation about botting, hate raids, and other forms of harassment targeting marginalized creators. You’re asking us to do better, and we know we need to do more to address these issues. That includes an open and ongoing dialogue about creator safety.
— Twitch (@Twitch) August 11, 2021
Here’s the problem.
For one, the raids kept happening (and are still happening) even after Twitch’s statement.
CW: Racism, hateful conduct
Hey, Twitch you need to fix this ASAP.
As an ambassador for your platform, I would not want to recommend creators to stream on your platform to put them AT RISK for just existing…
This is unacceptable. pic.twitter.com/rmDabl60la
— ash (@MsAshRocks) August 13, 2021
Hello… Tonight I was hate raided and follow botted 3 (THREE) times. Thankfully, I was able to use the tips that @stephneee_plz shared to shut all 3 attacks down in only a few seconds. For anyone else nervous about getting attacked, pls check out Stephnee’s tips! pic.twitter.com/bAU8zzwre4
— Kleo (@KleopatrahJones) August 14, 2021
Just another day at the office I guess. You ask why do we keep posting this? Because apparently people are unaware of this still happening, also it needs to be seen so that action can be taken. pic.twitter.com/fihBR2ZX5i
— Frank Ellerbe | Techniq (@TechniqTV) August 15, 2021
This is part of my live reaction to the hate raid. Normally I’d never show myself as this vulnerable but it’s important for people to hear what I said! If you want to watch the entire thing it starts at 1 hr 22 mins in the below link. #TwitchDoBetter https://t.co/OZBEz0xRtD https://t.co/BWEMQYGzWN pic.twitter.com/ePxWBB6xuU
— Ky | She/Her (@DefinedByKy) August 15, 2021
In many cases, to the same streamer, multiple times, in the span of a couple of days.
First stream back and guess who just got hate raided AGAIN
CANNOT MAKE THIS SHIT UP#TwitchDoBetter pic.twitter.com/8LJxF766EE
— Ky | She/Her (@DefinedByKy) August 18, 2021
Now if you’re thinking about responding to all of that with “these things take time to fix” I would like to point to this tweet here:
I see #TwitchDoBetter trending – marginalized creators raising their voices because the platform isn’t taking enough action to keep them safe from hate raids.
Feb 8, 2018: “Watch us closely and hold us accountable.”
Hey @Twitch, It’s 2021. pic.twitter.com/VVAjt7UrAM
— askesienne • libby (@libbyk) August 9, 2021
This is not a new occurrence on Twitch—or any platform, really. If anything, streamers feel like these raids have gotten worse over the years. The Washington Post commented on the spike of racism streamers have been dealing with lately.
Streamers believe that hate raids have gotten worse in recent times. One possible reason is Twitch’s implementation of a plethora of new tags — some focused on specific identities like “Black,” “transgender,” and “disabled”— in May of this year. When streamers apply these tags to their own streams, it means that prospective new viewers (and fellow marginalized streamers) can more easily pick them out from of a crowd of millions. But tags also provide racist, homophobic and ableist trolls with a veritable buffet of targets on which to feast. Streamers who requested these tags for years still feel the pros outweigh the cons, but they wish Twitch would have done more to head off harassers. “We need tags,” said Raven. “But as soon as we got those tags, hate raids started to increase, and there’s nothing additional in our toolbox that we can use to combat that because Twitch hasn’t given us anything.”
As The Washington Post says, adding tags for specific identities is good, but with that came a massive increase of hate raids since all you had to do was click on a tag to find a marginalized streamer to target.
This is something that many marginalized people have been commenting on since, well, ever. A lot of spaces will promote inclusivity, but they fail to realize that part of inclusion is the willingness to protect those who are most vulnerable to things such as hate raids. If you’re taking the time to preach about wanting more diversity on your platform, there needs to be an understanding that you have to do more than open the door, you have to make us feel safe enough to come in.
Hate raids have been such an issue lately that streamers have begun doing the work themselves in order to combat the racism they face. As if trying to build your audience as a content creator isn’t enough, now you have to figure out how to even reach your audience through an onslaught of racial slurs.
I know its not much but every little bit helps. To quickly defend against the Hate Raids. Make sure these quick actions are enabled so you are one click away to defend when the Mods are not available. #TwitchDoBetter pic.twitter.com/OpbbMYNhXX
— ⚫ Currently Offline on Twitch Terriblegaming123 (@TerribleGaming4) August 10, 2021
Hey @Twitch , How come when the black woman I mod for gets raided I have to turn to tools provided by @CommanderRoot to clean up a mess that never should of happened in the first place. All of these accounts should have been stopped by obvious suspicious activity beforehand 1/
— Billy Girdler (@ThePenguinicorn) August 15, 2021
I’m not fucking around with these bot raids. I will ban these people in every channel I can. Here’s where you can find my 53k follow bot/bigot list. I’ll also post individual lists when I snag them from people’s raids. https://t.co/ibfbebFYkd
— Bolt 「 HackBolt 」 (@hackbolt_) August 13, 2021
While it is nice to see the community come together to protect each other, marginalized folks shouldn’t have to set up all of these precautions before they go on Twitch. Twitch should be doing this themselves, and that goes for all platforms—especially ones that say they have our best interest in mind so, you know, all platforms (and not just in the designated “change your Twitter handle to a hashtag” months).
the lack of action twitch has taken to protect marginalized content creators is unacceptable:
– hate raids
– username harassment
– overall harassment
Ppl shouldn’t have to fear going live bc YOU don’t wana put in effort to help.
It starts with you, twitch#TwitchDoBetter
— SirKatelyn (@SirKatelyn) August 9, 2021
If you get banned in a Twitch chat, that entire channel should no longer exist to you. Banned should equal blocked. Blocked from viewing, from searching, from stalking, everything.
Not “I just can’t chat there.”#TwitchDoBetter
— Serenity (@rsnleserenity) August 11, 2021
I know it’s asking a lot to expect racists to chill out for an hour so a Black streamer can vibe with whatever game they’re playing. That’s why we need spaces to make good on their promises to protect us.
Just to go live, and be ready for the possibility of a hate raid:
-Turned off alerts
-Left it on 30 minute follower mode
-Had to bump it to 1 hr follower mode
I still am using the LGBTQIA+ and Black tags, and I refuse to drop them. I shouldn’t have to do that to be “safe”.
— Cypher | Watch Game Changer on #BETHerTV (@cypheroftyr) August 17, 2021
It’s ridiculous that it takes this much work just to be able to attempt to have a stream that’s free of racism. It’s appalling that we’re at the point where Black streamers aren’t even SURPRISED that they’ve been raided, they simply say, “Add me to the list, I just got hit too.”
CW: racism, hateful conduct#TwitchDoBetter
my first hate raid it only lasted like 3s thanks to @nikkimatsus @borgopixel @crispyspidey @astropiercer @43shawnn & @twitch_medelish so grateful they shut that shit down like it never happened. i had to laugh. try again bozos. pic.twitter.com/hO1So0kQW1
— .•｡*♡ (@jalonaz) August 14, 2021
And really, that’s the most distressing part of this. Black streamers who decide to go live expect this sort of attack to happen. Black streamers— and Black folks in general—are so accustomed to racism that it’s just another Tuesday when you see a chat screen flood with hate. So many of these streamers shared their stories with words like “it was bound to happen” and that alone should be enough to show the severity of the situation.
Not only is racism expected, Black streamers expect to have to figure out ways to navigate through it themselves. Being hit by racial slurs has become part of the Twitch experience, and arguably, that’s just one space out of many where Black folks are expecting this level of hostility.
There’s nothing left to say except #TwitchDoBetter.
Thank you to @lumorrow
For putting this together and including me!
Please sign, share and keep raising your voices. #TwitchDoBetter
Amazon: Twitch Do Better: Stop Hate Raids Against People of Color and Marginalized creators – Sign the Petition! https://t.co/hjoxDODRuX
— ʀᴇᴋ ɪᴛ, ʀᴀᴠᴇɴ! ☠🔪 (@RekItRaven) August 15, 2021
(Image: MARTIN BUREAU/AFP via Getty Images)
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