Is there racial descrimination in chess.com app visuals?

hungry4kicks

For those that care, I received reassuringly impressive response from Chess.com. 

They explained that: 'We chose top chess players from FIDE lists and some celebrities we know on our site. We then had to filter out the users who would not give us permission'.

So I am satisfied it was not attempt to project a player base based on race. I also think the way they dealt with the matter was very good and they shared the issue with the owner of the site.  It is a serious subject, irrespective of how some people feel about it.  

There's no point in addressing some of the comments raised here as I know some people fundamentally don't understand that seemingly small things like the way people of colour are presented in the media has an influence on the way they get perceived.  So I won't bother.  Those that have experienced it or learned about it know what I mean.  Most who reject it probably will never be convinced.  

For the record (in response to a comment above about assimilation) I don't expect people that come to the UK to change the way they dress or what they believe. As long as they behave within the laws of the land they are free to maintain their own cultural practices as far as I'm concerned. 

Ziggy_Zugzwang

White or black.Male or female. Old or young. Good player or bad. Straight or gay. Left or right. We should celebrate the one thing that unites us all: The fact that we have nothing better to do than post on these forums !

kkl10
hungry4kicks escreveu:

So I am satisfied it was not attempt to project a player base based on race.

There's no point in addressing some of the comments raised here as I know some people fundamentally don't understand that seemingly small things like the way people of colour are presented in the media has an influence on the way they get perceived.  So I won't bother.  Those that have experienced it or learned about it know what I mean.  Most who reject it probably will never be convinced.

 

The fact that you even thought of such a thing for some insignificant avatar roulette on a tiny menu... lol

I'm a black guy to whom your racial concerns read like yet another self-righteous caricature of a certain "liberal" demographic raising a racial issue where there isn't any. Not that my opinion should matter, but self-righteousness and paranoia hardly qualify anyone to understand and call out racial, gender or religious discrimination without a sound motive. What I usually observe is that people end up being childish in these pseudo-debates.

GodsPawn2016
kkl10 wrote:
hungry4kicks escreveu:

So I am satisfied it was not attempt to project a player base based on race.

There's no point in addressing some of the comments raised here as I know some people fundamentally don't understand that seemingly small things like the way people of colour are presented in the media has an influence on the way they get perceived.  So I won't bother.  Those that have experienced it or learned about it know what I mean.  Most who reject it probably will never be convinced.

 

The fact that you even thought of such a thing for some insignificant avatar roulette on a tiny menu... lol

I'm a black guy to whom your racial concerns read like yet another self-righteous caricature of a certain "liberal" demographic raising a racial issue where there isn't any. Not that my opinion should matter, but self-righteousness and paranoia hardly qualify anyone to understand and call out racial, gender or religious discrimination without a sound motive. What I usually observe is that people end up being childish in these pseudo-debates.

Liberals doing what they do best.  Creating more divide to champion!

hungry4kicks
So kkl10 it would not bother you if the site had chosen to put less black faces when they chose who to represent based on a motive to make the site more attractive to people?

It's interesting that you ascribe me to a stereotype so quickly. I had no motive other than to be honest and respond to what struck me as potential racial discrimination. I was satisfied that it wasn't and retracted my view.

If you would rather I never call out what strikes me as potential racism in the future then so be it. But then I'd be interested to know in which scenarios you condone it and what qualifies as right or wrong attempt to follow your instincts to try and encourage equality.
kkl10

The problem of following one's 'instincts' is that these are often irrational and far from being sound justifications for what one may judge to be a 'fair' course of action. In other words, these 'instincts', 'inner values' or temperaments don't necessarily lead to fairness.

People tend to forget that the relevant issue is not equality; it's fairness. Fairness need not presume equality, but equality must always presume fairness. Whoever fails to understand this, needs a lobotomy. I'm of the opinion that the best way to judge fairness is a reasoned approach rather than one based solely on feelings or emotions. Relying on one's feelings to judge what's "right" or "wrong" can be misguided and result in an unreasonable or aberrant 'moral compass' that have very little of 'fair'. This is engaging in the same modus operandi of racist, misogynistic and/or other irrationally discriminatory characters.

 

I'm all for calling out unfair discrimination where it is evident, but I can't sympathize with many suspicions or claims of racism lacking factual or logical grounds. To suspect that there may be some purposeful racist bias behind that selection of avatars implies a very low tolerance threshold for whatever arbitrary metric by which you judged the possibility of unfair discrimination. Such a low threshold can ironically result in an attitude that is more intolerant than the ideals for which one is presumably fighting for. I see this pattern among many self-proclaimed 'liberals' and your thread is also symptomatic of this. But maybe you weren't aware of the racial distribution of most top chess players' (assuming that constitutes the pool majority of the avatar roulette), in which case your suspicion, while bizarre, wasn't entirely ridiculous.

 

The profile of top players is predominantly white, maybe Asian too, so if chess.com was trying to cater the populace with 'celebrity appeal' (non-trivial assumption) there wouldn't even be any reason to include black faces.

Would the low quantity or absence of black faces bother me even if the top players' pool was more racially diversified? No, because that seems an extremely pitiful thing to be bothered with or to be suspicious about + I find it unlikely that many give that interface component much second thought (better things to do).

Would it bother me if I knew that chess.com was purposefully trying to attract the populace by filtering the racial profile of the avatars and leaving black people out? Not necessarily because such an action wouldn't necessarily mean that chess.com was trying to assert a genuinely racist message. One would need to scrutinize deeper motives before reaching a conclusion. If I knew that there was the intent to convey an actual racist (unfair) message, then I couldn't remain indifferent. It wouldn't bother me that black faces were excluded; what would bother me would be the unfair racial treatment itself. Skin color of the excluded shouldn't matter even if I share it. Unfair 'racial propaganda' is equally harmful to any skin color be it white, blue, black, grey, yellow, magenta, whatever.

 

Another scenario: in the unlikely case that a racially biased marketing strategy was employed--under the assumption that people have natural biases that make them instinctively prefer one skin color over another (or consider one more trustworthy than another or whatever)--I don't really have a problem with that as long as it doesn't result in truly unfair situations (getting butthurt doesn't count) out of neglect or carelessness (I suppose this is what they call "white privilege" in America?).

 

If there are natural biases, then it's just the way things are. This isn't something worth getting all butthurt over any more than being rejected by a potential romantic partner, which doesn't constitute in any way a valid motive to accuse anyone of racism. People with half a brain should understand that such innate biases (just as superficial as those related to hair color, height, the way one speaks, fat-to-muscle ration, etc,) don't have to dictate to anyone what they can or cannot do nor how to live, and are no valid justification for genuine racism. The fact that some monkeys let their racist mindsets and behavior be powered by these biases doesn't mean that the biases are inherently "bad". Attacking these hypothetical biases isn't nearly as productive as attacking the dim-witted logic by which monkeys judge their 'instincts' to hold truth-value and consequently deem them valid justification for their racism... or whatever they judge 'fairness' to be.

Lagomorph

Hungry4kicks

 

I have never heard such a load of boll**ks as your posts in this thread.

You are the one with a racial discrimination problem you blockhead.

GodsPawn2016
kaynight wrote:

I haven't heard so much nonsense, since the last time I heard so much nonsense!

Ha!

TRextastic

Of all the users in this thread with people in their photos, they're white. Stop oppressing me.

 

Also, I'm pretty sure all of those photos are of grandmasters. I often see Carlsen and Naka. The rest go by too fast for me to tell. And in response to someone else, it's not racial bias that would lead people to believe whites are generally more wealthy. The median wealth of white families in the US is $110,000. For black families it's $6,000 and for Latinos it's $8,000. The median white homeowner's house is worth $85,800 compared to $50,000 for blacks and $48,000 for Latinos. It's foolish to think that people are just making up what is clearly reality. The top 10 most wealthy nations in the world are predominantly white Europeans or Arabs (who are considered white for US Census purposes). 

nimzomalaysian
TRextastic wrote:

Of all the users in this thread with people in their photos, they're white. Stop oppressing me.

 

Also, I'm pretty sure all of those photos are of grandmasters. I often see Carlsen and Naka. The rest go by too fast for me to tell. And in response to someone else, it's not racial bias that would lead people to believe whites are generally more wealthy. The median wealth of white families in the US is $110,000. For black families it's $6,000 and for Latinos it's $8,000. The median white homeowner's house is worth $85,800 compared to $50,000 for blacks and $48,000 for Latinos. It's foolish to think that people are just making up what is clearly reality. The top 10 most wealthy nations in the world are predominantly white Europeans or Arabs (who are considered white for US Census purposes). 

Racist confirmed. You should be hung in public.

macer75
[COMMENT DELETED]
Boyangzhao
TRextastic wrote:

Of all the users in this thread with people in their photos, they're white. Stop oppressing me.

 

Also, I'm pretty sure all of those photos are of grandmasters. I often see Carlsen and Naka. The rest go by too fast for me to tell. And in response to someone else, it's not racial bias that would lead people to believe whites are generally more wealthy. The median wealth of white families in the US is $110,000. For black families it's $6,000 and for Latinos it's $8,000. The median white homeowner's house is worth $85,800 compared to $50,000 for blacks and $48,000 for Latinos. It's foolish to think that people are just making up what is clearly reality. The top 10 most wealthy nations in the world are predominantly white Europeans or Arabs (who are considered white for US Census purposes). 

kinda true, but still kinda racist

Caedrel

I'm pretyy sure I see Danny Rensch and Magnus Carlsen's pics fairly frequently.

hungry4kicks

Please refer to my earlier post.  Chess.com respectfully explained that the people featured were high ranked individuals.  They have since addressed the imbalance too and included more non-white high ranked people.  They were very concerned to represent players as they feature on the site and to make the site feel appropriately multi-cultural - which it is.   Hats off to them.   

 

I'm not going to try and preach to someone of colour about why I found it wrong in the first place.  It's not appropriate even if I disagree. 

 

Those of you who understand the significance of how people are represented in public and who also want to address racial discrimination will understand where I was coming from. 

 

Those of you who don't understand or don't care won't.  I won't waste energy trying to convince you. But I hope you keep an open mind and perhaps speak to friends and explore the issue so your position is fully informed and not a knee jerk over-defensive response.  

 

Yes - I do have an issue about racism. It's everywhere and we need to err on the side of political correctness to try and create a more equal society.  

 

Just because a stat is 'true' doesn't mean it isn't racist to mention it.  Either you care or don't / are aware or ignorant.  I hope more people care more in the future...

Goth123

[Racist comment removed - please don't say those sort of things in the forums here on Chess.com, as it is against our Terms of Service. David, moderator]

Enderman1323
Coach_Leo wrote:

It should be a federal law that every time this site shows an image of a person (real or fictional; photograph or cartoon), the person's complexion should always first be automatically photo-shopped to show the complexion as medium-gray.  This way no particular race/ethnicity/group need feel discriminated against.  Where's my Nobel Peace Prize?

Why don't we just ban all pictures? They enforce an unrealistic beauty standard anyways.

AdmiralBighead

They are pictures of grandmasters, not random people

Bad_Dobby_Fischer
hungry4kicks wrote:

Sorry not to have been clear, I mean when I am waiting for a player to be assigned in a live game, I get a series of avatar-like images that quickly appear on the screen (it's the same images of people each time, so it's clearly pre-determined). 

A decision was made about which images to include and it's that decision that I'm asking about.  

I'm suggesting it's unconciously racially descriminatory.  If someone consciously said 'let's have less asians or black people on there than we actually have in reality, because that's the type of user base we want to attract and look like' - then I would say it is actively racist....

I'm not trying to kick off for the sake of it.  I love chess.com and just thought it better to share my reaction to see what others thought rather than keep quiet....

pretty sure they are images of titled players

Luitpoldt

Ever since the U.S. Supreme Court suggested that affirmative action might have a time limit once racism had sufficiently declined, all I've heard about is how everything, everywhere, all time is yet more evidence of racism.  Given the vast transfer of wealth and privilege effected through affirmative action, I wonder if there is a link between what the court said and the sudden claims, after Obama's election, of racism everywhere?

dfgh123

null