The White Avatar Phenomenon: How a Twitch Streamer Uncovered the Power of Privilege

A Black Twitch broadcaster shares how changing his avatar to a cartoon white male significantly boosted his viewership numbers

Twitch Streamer

A Black Twitch streamer experienced a surge in views by thousands after switching his avatar to a cartoon white man.

In a shocking turn of events, a Twitch streamer named Zach, aka Just_Relax_Kid, decided to take a bold experiment to test the influence of privilege on his viewership. As a Black creator with 77,000 followers, Zach had been streaming gaming content for nearly a decade. But on December 2, he decided to alter his avatar, replacing his video feed with a cartoon representation of a white man with a beard.

Little did Zach know that this simple change would send his view count skyrocketing to unprecedented heights. Previously averaging around 300-800 views per stream, he quickly noticed a jaw-dropping transformation. His new avatar attracted three times the number of viewers, with streams ranging from 1,600 views to over 22,000. Utterly gobsmacked, Zach exclaimed, “What the hell is happening? Is this what it feels like to have privilege on Twitch?”

The experiment shed light on a disheartening reality. The perception of his avatar as a white man seemed to trigger an unconscious bias among viewers, leading to increased engagement. Zach’s experience struck a chord with fellow Black creators who messaged him about similar results after changing their avatars.

Despite the unexpected success of his experiment, Zach expressed mixed emotions. He felt hurt by the realization that authenticity alone may not be enough to garner recognition and support in the Twitch community. The experiment sparked intense debate and criticism from both Black and white individuals. Some accused him of screaming racism, while others claimed he didn’t address the issue forcefully enough.

Feeling betrayed by Twitch, Zach couldn’t help but express his disappointment. Despite being a partnered streamer for nearly a decade, he believed the platform had failed to acknowledge his contributions adequately. Apart from Black History Month, he claimed he never received any significant recognition from Twitch. The frustration led him to make the difficult decision of no longer showing his camera during streams.

As news of Zach’s experiment spread, the conversation around privilege and race within the Twitch community gained momentum. While this incident has certainly sparked controversy, it serves as a wake-up call for both streamers and viewers alike. It invites us to reflect on how implicit biases can affect our perception and engagement in the virtual world.

Twitch has yet to respond to calls for comment on this matter.

What are your thoughts on Zach’s experiment? Have you experienced or witnessed similar situations in other areas? Share your insights and experiences below! Let’s have a lively discussion.