Why was BruceDropEmOff banned from Twitch yesterday?

Bruno Cooke December 22, 2021
Why was BruceDropEmOff banned from Twitch yesterday?

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BruceDropEmOff was banned from streaming via Twitch on December 21. It’s his first ban to date, and has caused quite a stir. But why was BruceDropEmOff (Bruce Ray, or @raycondones on Twitter) banned from Twitch in the first place?

Why was BruceDropEmOff banned from Twitch?

By his own admission, Twitch streamer Bruce Ray, aka BruceDropEmOff, was banned from the platform for using a particular racial epithet – specifically, the word “cracker”. 

His tweet, in which he addresses the ban, has so far been liked almost 12K times. 

Bruce Ray has been active on Twitter over the last 19 hours, since the ban started. His tweets have prompted lively debate about whether or not the word qualifies as a racial slur, and therefore whether or not it justifies a Twitch ban. For more on what you can and cannot say on Twitch, read Stream Scheme’s guide here.

He addressed the ban in a YouTube video earlier today. The video contains screenshots of the chats in which the word appeared. The hashtag #FreeDEO, as in, Free Drop Em Off, is trending.

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What has Hasan Piker said about BruceDropEmOff’s Twitch ban?

Fellow streamer Hasan Piker has weighed in, too. 

Twitch banned Hasan, who goes by HasanAbi on the platform, for using the word “cracker” – the same word that prompted BruceDropEmOff’s ban – on December 13. At the time, he wrote on Twitter that it was because the word qualified as “anti white racism”.

In response to BruceDropEmOff’s Twitch ban, Hasan wrote that the platform needed to “stop capitulating to […] those doing white identity politics”.

His response alone has prompted almost 100 quote tweets. Numerous users have voiced their support for, or criticisms off, his position.

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Is ‘cracker’ a racial slur?

Some call it a racial slur; others defend its usage in a neutral context, although even the origins of terms like “Florida Cracker” and “Georgia Cracker” are in dispute.

In Shakespeare’s The Life And Death Of King John (full text here), one character refers to another as a craker, which NPR describes as a “common insult for an obnoxious bloviator”. Which suggests that, as far back as the 1590s, it was part of the vernacular.

A bloviator is a pompous person who gives their opinions at length – a windbag, per MacMillan Dictionary.

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“The meaning of the word has changed a lot over the last four centuries”, NPR quotes Florida anthropologist Dana Claire as saying.

She goes on to say that the word “cracker” was originally “used to describe a group of Celtic immigrants” who were “running from political circumstances in the old world” – i.e., Europe. 200 years later people were using it as a “badge of honour”, NPR continues. In the 1940s, it was an epithet for “bigoted white folks”. 

In the 1990s, some Florida officials opted to name a new school the Cracker Trail Elementary school. African Americans reportedly protested “because they thought it was racist” – as did white Americans, for the same reason.

Read more at NPR here.

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Bruno is a novelist, amateur screenwriter and journalist with interests in digital media, storytelling, film and politics. He’s lived in France, China, Sri Lanka and the Philippines, but returned to the UK for a degree (and because of the pandemic) in 2020. His articles have appeared in Groundviews, Forge Press and The Friday Poem, and most are readable on Medium or onurbicycle.com.