Ninja says it's on parents to teach kids about racism, not him

Tyler "Ninja" Blevins spoke to the rampant use of derogatory slurs in his live chats in a recent interview.

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Over the last few years, Tyler “Ninja” Blevins has risen to superstardom in the gaming world. Thanks to his Fortnite content, Ninja quickly became one of the most popular streamers on Twitch. That newfound success was not without controversy, as Ninja’s previous actions and statements have led to some harsh, but fair criticism of his character. In a recent interview, Ninja spoke about the hate speech that’s commonly found in his live chat. Here, he states that it’s on parents to parent their kids, not him.

Tyler “Ninja” Blevins sat down with the New York Times for an interview where he talked about the issue surrounding the bigoted behavior in his chat. When the NYT asked him about ways to resolve the issue, Ninja had this to say: "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?"

As is popular on the platform, Ninja’s Twitch chat is often riddled with comments that spam racial slurs and other hurtful language. Many believe it’s the streamer’s job, as a role model to youth, to call out the negative behavior and educate their audience on why it's unacceptable. Ninja doesn’t agree. "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."

Ninja has found himself in hot water before. Whether it be the use of a racial slur on stream, or comments made about not playing with women a few years back, Tyler “Ninja” Blevins has had no shortage of controversy in his rise to becoming a gaming celebrity.

Contributing Editor

Donovan is a young journalist from Maryland, who likes to game. His oldest gaming memory is playing Pajama Sam on his mom's desktop during weekends. Pokémon Emerald, Halo 2, and the original Star Wars Battlefront 2 were some of the most influential titles in awakening his love for video games. After interning for Shacknews throughout college, Donovan graduated from Bowie State University in 2020 with a major in broadcast journalism and joined the team full-time. He is a huge Star Wars nerd and film fanatic that will talk with you about movies and games all day. You can follow him on twitter @Donimals_

From The Chatty
  • reply
    January 25, 2021 1:45 PM

    Donovan Erskine posted a new article, Ninja says it's on parents to teach kids about racism, not him

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      January 25, 2021 2:02 PM

      [deleted]

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      January 25, 2021 2:08 PM

      Just needs to setup a filter list. It isn't hard and would be a positive force in the world. Guess it isn't worth risking those tween dollars.

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      January 25, 2021 2:15 PM

      At some point, kids are influenced by their peers, not mom & dad. It’s all of society’s responsibility, as the problem is much larger than what individual parents can fully control.

      Typical cop out weasel words.

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        January 25, 2021 2:30 PM

        Mostly agreed. But the point I'm taking away here, is that a parent can easily interact with and judge their IRL peers, but online peers are more difficult to gauge without actually interacting (or in this case listening in to their chats); And parents can directly dictate if the child continues to have interactions with those children the parent has decided are lacking in the proper social & moral outlook.

        but also yes, Ninja is a weasel.

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        January 25, 2021 2:44 PM

        Counter point:
        Ninja is NOT going to raise my kid, NOR DO I WANT HIM TOO!

        Seriously think about that - "it's all of society's responsibility" - do you want to hand over your kid to "society?"

        If you define "society" in a much more narrow scope - parents, close friends, family, school - then maybe?...but it's still up to parents to put their child in the right hands.
        My dad, bless his heart, is NOT the influence I want for my child. The society where I live is ALSO not who/what I want raising my kid!

        My kid WILL be influenced by my dad, the people in his school, and internet "celebrities" but it's MY job to make sure he knows what is "right and wrong" about each of those influences.

        Honestly, "society" is a dumpster fire that I want my kid to take interest in and do his part to put it out...not start creating more fires!

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          January 25, 2021 3:09 PM

          [deleted]

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          January 25, 2021 3:20 PM

          Isn't it weird to let all the assholes get away with being assholes because you promise you will make sure to call them all assholes by name? What if we just had higher expectations of one another instead?

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            January 25, 2021 3:39 PM

            Very true.
            However, there are also grey areas - for example, my dad is an asshole.
            But he's a family asshole, so we have to tone down our arguments and learn to get along.
            We can't yell at him until he sees the light or realizes he's an idiot. He's not going to change.
            We can't totally walk away because he's family.

            So yes, he does get away with it - but recognizing it and calling it what it is, is not giving in to it. (wtf?)

            Religion, schools, even police officers fall in that same grey area.

            We may not agree with them 100% and we can't always argue with them and/or change their views. Listening to them and making our own decisions on what they say is sometimes all we can do...

            Ninja, DanTDM, FlimFlam, and all of those "celebrities" either see themselves as- or are made into- idols by their fans.
            Recognizing them for their abilities - comedy, game skills, athleticism, etc. - is one thing, but expecting them to uphold all of MY values and ideals is something very different.

            Emulating Ninja's gaming skills IS admirable, emulating Ninja's personality or moral fiber is not?

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              January 25, 2021 3:50 PM

              emulating Ninja's personality or moral fiber is not?

              only because you're giving him a pass for maintaining a moral fiber worth emulating? We're not exactly talking about some complicated ideals here. Racism is bad. Denounce racism. Call out racists and bigots on your stream and say why that's not ok to your audience of children who look up to you. Not exactly fancy or controversial values.

              Like don't you want the people in your kid's life to be worth emulating? And not merely in some hyper-compartmentalized way where you have to tell them to only emulate this athlete's on field behavior but not how they talk in the post-game interview, and only emulate how well this person plays videogames but not how they treat other players while they play, only emulate this comedian's jokes but not all the sexual misbehavior that the jokes are based on, and only emulate how your teacher asks questions but not the conspiracy theories they believe in, and so on.

              I just don't get why you want to give the whole world a pass for being shitty. You're not going to give your kid that kind of pass. But you're telling them they can absolutely grow up into the type of person who does get a pass as long as they're good enough at one particular thing?

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        January 25, 2021 3:45 PM

        I used to think that media and companies could be impartial with all this stuff.

        But now, I agree with you.

        We are all responsible for making a just and equitable society.

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        January 25, 2021 4:02 PM

        This is the thing, right? Tweens and teens will listen 100 times more to someone like Ninja rather than their parents. It's nearly impossible for you to stop your kid at that age, from seeing the shit they want to see on the internet somehow.
        He is absolutely right that parents need to teach their kids about racism but he's wrong that he has no responsibility in it at all. If you are going to be a celebrity, you are going to be a role model. Whether you want to or not. That's part of the deal. If you don't want to stop racism that's fine (it's not but you know what I mean) but your ass is not going to last long with a super toxic chat that more and more parents are going to become aware of. A lot of them will not allow their kids to spend money in his channel anymore and then he won't be a cash cow for Twitch anymore.

        As a side note, is it possible for him to be banned because of his lack of moderation in his chat channel?

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      January 25, 2021 2:33 PM

      To a kid looking up to me life aint nothing but bitches and money

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      January 25, 2021 3:18 PM

      I believe it's my personal responsibility to make it your personal responsibility to do this so I can ignore it

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