“YouTube’s best-paid star Felix Kjellberg, better known as PewDiePie, has yet again used a racial slur on the video-sharing site.” — The Guardian, 8/11/17
Hey, YouTubers. I am the top video game streamer on YouTube and I am once again in hot water for making racist comments in the midst of a live stream. In many ways, I have a dream job. I get paid lots of money to stream myself playing video games to an audience of children. I get to accumulate great wealth and influence simply by firing up the latest Final Fantasy game and making noises with my mouth. The best part is, I can do all of this from the comfort of my own smelly bedroom. So, why do I risk losing everything by repeatedly saying racially-charged comments and slurs in my videos? I do it because I believe racial slurs are essential to video gaming and because we must preserve the artistic integrity of video game streaming by allowing gamers to be super racist.
Gamers such as myself often come across heated, high-stress gaming moments. Sometimes, I’ll be leaning back in my padded gaming chair playing Call of Duty and a player on the opposing side will shoot me. This is a perfect time to state something racist with impunity. I am angry at being shot by the other player. I of course don’t mean the racist comment in a hateful way. I’m simply using racist language to publicly express my frustration at being killed in a fictional game that doesn’t matter at all. In these moments, gamers should not be held to the standards of a civil society. It’s not like I say racist stuff outside of gaming. Just because I constantly make racist comments on video does not mean I make racist comments off-camera. I am able to stop being racist once the live stream is over.
It is extremely important to consider the context of a slur when you hear it instead of immediately jumping to conclusions and criticizing the gamer who said it. I see far too many people taking racial slurs at face value and that’s not fair to those of us who feel that saying racist stuff is vital to our occupation.
Given the high levels of stress with which gamers are burdened, racial slurs may slip out of our mouths from time to time. These things happen in the heat of fictional warfare and do not reflect the actual views of the gamers themselves. For example, just because there is an extensive mosaic of anti-Semitic comments and other racial slurs in my videos, that does not mean I am a racist. It just means I am a gamer who has said racist things. Do you see the very clear distinction between the two?
People say that I should be a better role model for the millions of young people who watch my videos. I think I am a fantastic role model. I teach the children who watch my videos that it is important to stand up for artistic integrity. By continuing to spew tasteless jokes in my videos, I am staying true to myself as an artist. Every time I say something incredibly racist for millions of young people to see, I am standing up for context, integrity, and artistic expression.
If video games are art, then recording YouTube videos of yourself playing video games while screaming incoherently is high art. True artists should never be afraid of their work not appealing to every single person on Earth. To that end, I should not be afraid of offending someone with my blatantly racist remarks and clearly I am not since I keep doing it.
I am taking this brave stance because I believe racial epithets are the backbone of video gaming. Whether I am caught in the heat of a gaming moment or simply making a casual racist remark while streaming a playthrough of LittleBigPlanet 3, my hurtful language is part of who I am as a gamer. If I succumb to public pressure and put that sort of unfair creative restriction on my videos, then I’ll no longer be myself. I’ll just be some guy who manages to go about his daily life without saying racist stuff and that’s just not who I am.