It’s already been five months into 2020 and a lot has happened. Our world has been transformed by COVID-19. Our work lives have been turned upside-down. We’ve been learning to live our daily lives apart from each other, for the health of our loved ones. Many people have even been streaming on Twitch more often. Now, cities across the United States are taking to the streets to protest the murder of George Floyd. The police officer involved has been arrested and charged with murder. Now, the world watches to see if justice will be served, or another killer is allowed to hide behind their badge.
So what is the responsibility of a Twitch streamer? Sure, we are all just here to have fun, play games, and make a few friends. However, what some streamers don’t realize, is that they have a lot of people that look up to them. Some of these streamers are caught making racial slurs live on Twitch and other platforms and those that have, have faced very little consequences. Racist streamers are met with temporary bans, and then they’re thrown back into the money-making machine. And let’s be very clear, being racist is not an accident. Being racist is not a slip-up. Media platforms allow these people to continue to use their tools to make a living, which is completely disrespectful to the diverse community that makes Twitch what it is today. It’s the responsibility of streamers to call these bad actors out and show both other streamers and their viewers that we should not stand for this type of behavior—behavior that would cause any regular individual to lose their job.
It’s not just bad streamers either, Twitch, YouTube and other media platforms have a huge responsibility. When you see a streamer like calebhart42 and amouranth using language we’ve all grown up knowing is derogatory, and only get temporary bans, that sends a message. We are seeing these companies literally making corporate policies that allow these people to continue streaming on their platforms. It’s time for these companies to take a hard stance on racial issues, and show that there is a zero-tolerance policy. There are plenty of non-racist content creators that can fill the space these people leave.
Good content creators need to stand together and communicate that we want to live in both a physical and online world that demands accountability.