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I was very intrigued by the first group to present on Runescape, the online crowdsourcing game. A part of the presentation that interested me was about the idea of choosing one’s skin tone from avatar. One presenter referenced a user who identified as Black and therefore decided to create an avatar whose skin tone they felt represented this Blackness. However, after being treated terribly, the player decided to change their avatar’s skin to a lighter tone in order to evade these attacks. In the digital space, the choice to claim a particular race enunciates the separation between the body and the prejudices assigned to that body. The user highlights the arbitrary nature of race by claiming a representation that elicits a different set of prejudices or reactions. The Black avatar is in a digital space but represents the presence of a Black body in real space such that the prejudices and descriptors people assign to this avatar directly map to their prejudices in real life. This takes on a new understanding of Browne’s argument on branding: the surveillance of bodies within the digital sphere cannot be divorced from the prejudices of reality, rather they are explicitly separated from the body and the perception of that body. I thought this presentation did a great job in tying values and prejudices to representation in a digital space.

One Comment

  1. thanks for the presentation compliment!! completely made my day 🙂

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