Racism in Dota 2 - Need for concern? Or blown out of proportion?

Shounak Sengupta

18th, Apr, 2018

Iceiceice’s recent controversy stirred up a hornet’s nest on the Dota subreddit recently and the topic has been widely discussed in the past week.

While many streamers and pro gamers have been caught using racial slurs and have been publicly tried, there has been no positive outcome of the incidents. There have been many arguments put forward by various members of the community and often outrage, whataboutism and circlejerking has clouded some of the more sensible sides of the discussion. The community is still as divided on the issue and there seems to be no consensus on what is right and what isn’t.

Let’s just start with the most absolute and basic part of the discussion. Racism in no form or shape should be a part of modern day society and this isn’t something restricted only to esports or gamers but in society in general. While no one advocates iceiceice’s usage of the ‘n’ word, in no context whatsoever, the important thing here is to learn and move on.


(To recap the incident, iceiceice used a racial slur in explaining why he is not fond of his IRL name, Daryl.)


This was followed by yet another outrage when his friends decided to troll him as he was playing in the Battlecup and they changed the team name to the word which got him into trouble in the first place.


Is iceiceice a racist?


No. There is most certainly no such evidence pointing to this. So why did he use such a word then?


Most likely because he grew up in a society where the word has little negative connotation. Young males throw the word around casually to refer to friends and peers, often picking it up from western films and music. The historical context is never taught in Asian schools and the widespread use of the word in American pop culture has led people to believe that there’s nothing wrong with it.


So are you guys saying it’s okay to use the word?


No, absolutely not. It’s a racial slur irrespective of the context. Lot’s of words have racist roots that are used in day to day English. However, that shouldn’t be an excuse to blatantly use words that marginalize and dehumanize a certain race of people. It’s important to understand the impact and origins of the words we use and the history associated it and while language is something we take casually, it’s important to remember that words represent ideas and are not just words as many people like to think.

If we take a look at some of DotA’s most popular memes and gags, many have racist undertones. Minglee, 3 Merlini’s can all be perceived as racist however none of them seems to stir up a similar level of controversy as the iceiceice incident There’s no doubt that he was wrong in using the word and being a part of a recognizable team such as Mineski and having such a huge fan following should definitely be reason for someone to be more aware and careful about what they say in public.

Iceiceice has been playing Dota for a long time now and he’s part of an older group of players who started off super young, when brands, image and professionalism was yet to be a part of the scene. While we do believe that he meant no harm, it’s time for him to realize that he has quite a bit of reach and must use it responsibly. While he may have used the word without any bad intention, using it casually makes it acceptable for his fans and viewers to take it further from there. Being such a huge star and representing a big name such as Mineski does come with big responsibilities and hopefully, this incident will drive a positive change in the scene.



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