Ninja Says It’s Not His Job To Teach Kids About Racism And White Privilege
Tyler "Ninja" Blevins may be one of the biggest streamers and content creators out there, but that doesn't mean the 29-year-old superstar is about to use his massive platform to teach children about racism and white privilege. In a bold statement, Ninja says it's up to the parents of today's kids to teach them about what's going on in the world, not the streamers they're glued to. Given the fact Ninja has had all-star streams with the likes of Drake and Travis Scott, some might think he's perfectly placed to teach the youth of today about the toxicity of the online world and beyond.
Back in the day, Ninja's climb to the top started when he started playing Halo 3 professionally and joined esports teams including Cloud9, Renegades, and Team Liquid. From there, Ninja's following started to grow as he burst onto the Fortnite scene as (arguably) its golden boy. Despite seeming to turn his back on Epic Games' battle royale brawler during the Chapter 2 controversy, Ninja is back in the bosom of where he belongs, and as of December 2020, has the most-followed Twitch channel.
What has Ninja said about racism and white privilege?
While discussing all things Ninja in a chat with The New York Times, Blevins was asked if more could be done to steer children away from the culture of online toxicity. Without knowing it, Ninja's response ruffled some feathers. Talking about racism and white privilege, Ninja explained, "But it all comes down to parenting. You want to know who your kid is? Listen to him when he's playing video games when he thinks you're not. Here's another thing: How does a white kid know he has white privilege if his parents never teach him or don’t talk about racism?"
When pressed on whether he could do more as an internet personality, Ninja added, "If they're gaming and their first interaction with racism is one of their friends saying the N-word and they have no idea what it is--what if it was on my stream?. Is it my job to have this conversation with this kid? No, because the first thing that's going on in my head is, This kid is doing this on purpose to troll me. If someone says a racial slur on someone else's stream, it can potentially get that streamer banned. It's awful, but that's the first thing I think of."
What does Ninja think about racism and white privilege?
Defending his words, Ninja also pointed out that contrary to belief, his main demographic is adults, with the average age range for Instagram, Twitter, and Twitch actually being 18-27. According to Blevins, education starts at home with the parents of the kids. Still, there's no escaping the continuing problems that Twitch has in trying to moderate online trolling, let alone racism and white privilege. Ninja said he believes the internet culture as a whole is what's birthed this toxic culture, however, stopped short of viable solution at the moment.
Suggesting parents tackle racism and white privilege at home, Ninja said Twitch and other platforms could introduce a better way of flagging problem kids: "It would be awesome if when someone said something threatening, you could be like, 'Let me look up this dude's gamer tag on this website'--if the law could do this, not a normal person--and then boom: 'It's Jimmy. He said this. Let's call his parents.'"
Of course, issues like this have to be handled with kid gloves, meaning there's been a lot of debate about Ninja's stance. While some have supported his viewpoint, others have slammed him and said he should be using his significant online presence to help change the tide against racism and white privilege. Others came to the conclusion that Blevins is damned if he does, damned if he doesn't, and should've stayed quiet on the whole thing. Ultimately, the fact it blew up and led to the streamer trending on Twitter presumably wasn't the soundbite Ninja was hoping for.
Images via Twitch