Esports and the Color Line: Labor, Skill and the Exclusion of Black Players

Fletcher, Akil
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This article focuses on the exclusion of black players from PC esports through constructed forms of skill and labor. While esports is one of the fastest-growing industries in America, it remains an overwhelmingly white and Asian field. Thus, this piece explores the absence of black players by examining profit, labor, and blackness to analyze the devaluing of the black body and why it has been rendered valueless in the space of PC esports. In doing so, I provide an analysis of skill and the ways in which merit helps to silence discussions on diversity, in order to provide a piece which serves as a questioning of the esports status quo. Additionally, this piece grapples with the many ways in which players come to envision themselves as both product and laborer in relation to the dearth of black PC esports players. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program.
Games and Gaming, blackness, exclusion, labor, meritocracy, skill
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