Fighting Games and Integration


Street Fighter and Integration

Now this could sound crazy or mundane to you; however, if you were an average, sheltered white-boy like me, you didn't come in contact with a lot of African-Americans (at least not in the best manners). And, to be honest, I wasn't even that sheltered. At lunch in school, the white kids sat together, and the black kids did the same. I had an occasional black friend (who basically acted white), but the only previous encounters with the opposite race had been fairly negative. I wasn't racist or anything, it just seemed like colored people and whites segregated themselves. It also didn't help that, at the age of six, I was kicked in the crotch by another kid (giving me a hernia that put me into surgery a month later), and when the teacher came to ask what happened, a black kid said ?the white boy did it? (referring to me). 

Then something changed when I got into fighters when I was thirteen. I was at ?Pocket Change? arcade playing Marvel vs Capcom 2. It was an alright little arcade up in the Dayton Mall. While I'm playing gimped teams that would never hold up in a tournament, these two big, black, ghetto-seeming dudes come up and said, in that thick voice, ?You plain' Marvel?? And I practically froze. My first thought was, ?I'm going to get mugged.?

?Y-Yes,? I studdered out, waiting for a threat.

?Aw man! I love Marvel! You mind if I play with you!?? one of the guys boomed out and sat down.

We played and had a great time together. After losing, I stood up, the other guy sat down to play, and, afraid to put down my quarter, I left, still confused and nervous, spending the rest of the day walking blindly through the mall trying to make sense of it.

Shortly thereafter, I met a black SNK fan at a gamestop. After talking, he asked me to bring in my controller and play some CvS2. We threw down and had a great time. Again.

Now jump to the growing Street Fighter scene from 2009. When Street Fighter IV came out, I went to my first tournament. I played with many great black players, shook their hands, chatted strategy. It was awesome. 

In present, I go to tournaments and don't even notice the skin color of a person. And, better than that, I see other people having the same fun, whether they're Hispanic, Black, or White. And then I watch Mike Ross and Gootecks be inseparable best friends biasedly announcing for each other during Final Round and other tournaments (hilariously, so, I should note!). And it made me think back to all those videos I watched back in school about integration, and how useless it was. And why? Because it was just text in a textbook. At recess, we were still separated half the time. At lunch, the same. It was just some passive jargon that didn't take away from my rigid nerves from their accents, and sometimes, harsh words. 

Yet, fighting games made me more African-American friends than any attempt by the government or schools has ever achieved. I laugh at those fears I had back in grade school. And you know why? Because when we're throwing down haudokens, popping out shoryukens, chanting out to hype in our community, we're not white or black. 

We're Street Fighters. 
  • Tryken

Any thoughts on your experiences of how the fighting game scene has brought your community together in unique ways?


How can someone be occasionally black?


They would paint their faces black and their lips red…

Obviously I mean throughout moving. I just posted this to see other people’s experiences, and give a positive shout-out to the fighting game community.


Great story and I agree. I think Scott Popular said it best in I Got Next:

“We don’t care about your race, religion, creed, social background, education. All we care about is if you got skills, and we can work from there.”

I’m paraphrasing of course. But going to tournaments and meeting people in the FGC changes your perceptions. I grew up going to a school with only two black students, adopted by white people from Haiti. And even with them being white washed, the white populace made it hard on them.

My first real jaunt with making black friends came through CCGs. One of the coolest guys to hang out with in my pool of players was black, and any time he was around, it was a great time. I remember long car trips with him and our team to various tournaments in the Indianapolis region. Great times.

But then, I enter the FGC, and go to my first tournament. I was still a little put off at first by the ethnic mix in the venue, but they treated you like one of the boys. And now, honestly, it went from being OMGBLACKPEOPLE to just hanging and talking with everyone and talking shop.

I honestly agree the fighters do a lot to bridge cultural and racial gaps. I have as much fun there as I do most anywhere.

Same thing overseas though. I walked into an arcade in Korea, and there were people willing to talk shop. So not only are we bridging racial barriers, but language barriers. So yes, I have noticed the same thing. And its great.



Cool little thread.

This is definitely one of the coolest things about SF to me (although it’s not something thats necessarily uniquely SF). Not speaking necessarily about race, but just being able to meet people and instantly have something huge in common is really fun. Thanks to SF I’ve made friends from all over the states, coast to coast, as well as from France, Japan, Australia, Italy, Canada, etc. Pretty much all of my closest friends today are people I’ve met through playing SF.


I still think people are xenophobic by nature, but you do hear a lot about how this barrier can be broken down by just enjoying something together. Like sports.


Mike Ross duh


Oh yeah. I don’t think fighting games is the only thing that does it (sports is another great thing), but it’s what I have personally seen. Haha. I do like the “OMGBLACKPEOPLE”. Yeah, that’s how I felt, too, the first time playing with other races more often. Now I don’t even think about it. Now I define a person moreso over what character they play as. “OMGDAN!”

Anyway, awesome to see everyone comment on this. And, yeah, it’s true. We don’t care about your race, gender, creed, etc. We just want to see you throw down where it counts.


This is cool. I admit, being that I’m new to SRK and fighting games in general, I was kinda surprised at seeing how integrated the fighting game community is from all the tournaments (and hilarious commentary) on Youtube.

@pherai - I find your PSN hilarious. That is all.


I was hoping this thread was going to be about fighting games and calculus when I clicked it.