Alexandra Samuel asks the burning question of the day, Is Media Piracy a Form of White Privilege?
After several paragraphs of word salad, we get a surprisingly concrete answer:
The available data on race and “copy culture”—the preferred term among those who regard content sharing as legitimate, rather than criminal—further undermines the theory that torrenting is yet another form of white privilege. A 2012 analysis from Columbia’s American Assembly found that black and white Americans had broadly similar attitudes towards music piracy, while Hispanics were somewhat more tolerant. And while Al-Raffee and Cronan found that “older subjects have a lower (less favorable) attitude towards digital piracy than younger subjects”, the American Assembly study found that downloading is more common among blacks and Hispanics over 30 than it is among over-30 whites. (There were no significant differences in downloading behavior among whites, blacks and Hispanics aged 18 to 29.)
But it’s clear she would have been happier with a finding of structural racism:
But the more complicated truth is that even if our offline characteristics are (sometimes) invisible online, they still shape the way we experience the internet’s joys, risks, and conflicts. It’s less frightening to express yourself online when you aren’t worried that your tweet or photo or blog post might invite a racist or misogynistic backlash. It’s easier to snap up that eBay deal or Kickstarter offer when you’re already affluent. It’s less daunting to engage in online activities that carry some risk—whether that’s torrenting or online activism—if your offline identity allows you to assume that the justice system is basically on your side.
Asking how our offline identities enable or preclude different kinds of online experiences is an essential part of being a responsible online citizen. Sometimes those inquiries may reveal remarkable commonalities, as with the discovery that torrenting is equally common among young people of different ethnicities. But just as often, and more crucially, simply asking the question will open our eyes and our minds to the online impact of our offline privilege. The more carefully we consider and address the ways that our offline identities affect our online lives, the better the chance of creating an online world in which we transcend rather than replicate offline inequities.
Amusing, as I have pointed out on a few occasions, it is the Apple-buying, latte-sipping liberal yuppie crowd that has a moralistic, quasi-Hajnal aversion to software piracy and is ghey enough to subscribe to Netflix from Russia of all places. They consider piracy is stealing and therefore “sovok,” “Asiatic”, “they don’t do that over there”; while being a loyal paypig to giant foreign corporations is the “Western”, “European”, “civilized” thing to do. Whereas in reality all the actually cool kids in the West that they worship are torrenting the fuck out of the Internet.
Consequently, if piracy really was white privilege, then Russian liberals would be niggers.