Let’s Unpack This

Racist White Gamers Came For This Black Woman Writer. Here’s What Happened.

I spoke with Ash Parrish, a former Kotaku employee, about what it’s like to be a Black woman at one of the world’s most popular gaming sites.

Garfield Hylton
Published in
8 min readAug 21, 2021

--

A Black family of gamers sits on the couch and plays. Image: Getty.

Being a Black writer online can be a tough road to travel. It can be doubly true if you’re a Black woman writing in a space where people think you don’t belong. Enter Ash Parrish, a Black woman who covered gaming at one of the biggest gaming sites on the internet: Kotaku.

Ash wrote an article about a Black woman named Linda Guillory. Guillory recently won two Guinness Book of World Records for her uber impressive gaming collection. The report, to my mind, was an easy thing to celebrate since it shined a positive light on being a gamer while also championing an extreme minority within the culture. Only 41% of gamers identify as female, and I’d be shocked if Black women accounted for even half that number since White males have almost always dominated gaming circles.

But, the comments told another story.

When I happened upon the article, there were 375+ comments. Many were upset the title of the report specified the woman was Black. Some asked why it was so important to mention the woman’s race. Others pushed back against “woke” culture and believe Kotaku was forcing identity politics down their throat.

Ash, in a rare moment, jumped into the comments to defend her position. As someone who writes online and lives by the mantra of “don’t ever read the comment section,” I wondered what possessed her to subject herself to the idiocy of people who were committed to misunderstanding her position. So, I reached out to her and asked if she’d be willing to talk to me about it.

She was.

I spoke with Ash about the decision to write the article, how she felt about the comments, if her company supports her during times like this, and what she chose as her favorite game of the year.

*This interview has been edited for content, brevity, and clarity. Also, since conducting this interview, Ash resigned from her position*

--

--

Garfield Hylton
Momentum

Medium Creator Fellow. Award-winning TV news journalist. Freelance writer. Mad question asker.