Television therapist Dr. Phil once again journeyed into the magical realm of gaming this past Tuesday, this time to tackle the problem of Xbox Live racism. He spoke to Terry, a black father of three who claims his civil rights are being violated by fellow gamers tossing about ethnic slurs over Microsoft's gaming service. The name-calling is apparently so rampant that Terry refuses to let his children play online anymore. Before contacted Dr. Phil, Terry contacted Xbox Live.
"I called Xbox Live. I gave them all the information they needed to know, and they told me before they can do anything, take any kind of action, there has to be 10 complaints filed against [the other player] ," he continues, incensed. "That's like you coming to my house, robbing me, and I call the police. Are they going to tell me, 'Well, if that guy comes back to your house 10 times, we'll come out and do something about it'? I think that's disgusting. I think Mr. [Bill]Gates needs to change that rule, and I think it needs to be changed immediately."
While I personally believe that harshly singling out someone with slurs based on their race or country of origin is wrong (except for those damn Belgians), I don't think it ranks up their with getting your house robbed. You can't just turn off your headset to keep someone from breaking in to your home, for instance. Still, I can certainly understand Terry's frustration.
Dr. Phil then spoke to Terry's wife Nydia, who shares his frustration and anger over the situation.
"I just feel like on the Internet, in this situation, anything is possible," she replies. "I don't know who these people are. They claim to be the KKK, and I have a really big problem with that. They're calling my children monkeys, that they're going to hang them, they're going to kill them, they're going to kill me. It's crazy, and it's out of control. Nobody is trying to do anything about this. My husband has contacted Microsoft for many years, and I don't understand why the FBI is not all over this."
I would have to say that the FBI isn't all over this because if the FBI was called in every time somebody on the internet made a threat, we'd all have to be FBI agents in order to handle the workload. Certainly some threats need to be addressed, and I am sure if the folks making the comments over Xbox Live indicated that they had any idea where Terry lived they would be all over the situation, but we all know that internet anonymity breeds stupidity. Hell, even Dr. Phil knows it.
"People have a sense of anonymity. They're what I call keyboard bullies," Dr. Phil explains. "They don't have to face anybody. They don't have to deal with it. You see it in road rage. People are in the anonymity of their car, and they go crazy. They would never do it face to face, but on the Internet, they do it."
In the end, Dr. Phil had his show gophers contact Xbox Live, who agreed to set Terry up with one of their security team members to discuss the situation and see if they can't come to some resolution. In essence, the whole entire segment of the show resulted in Terry ending up right back on the phone with Xbox Live. Good work, Dr. Phil. That was possibly the most extravagant telephone runaround ever perpetrated. I salute you.