My Second Life as a Cyber Border Crosser

Carleen D. Sanchez


This article explores Chicana (Mexican-American woman) experiences of being a cyber border crosser – someone of both and neither real life and Second Life.  The presumption and privilege of whiteness as the foundation of Second Life is seen to limit participation of people of color.   Further, I write against the notion that cyber worlds provide transcendence from the limitations of the non-normative body.  Second Life and official Linden discourse are devoid of references to race, ethnicity, disability, or any other type of salient identity that might interfere with Linden Lab’s vision of a perfect world.  Indeed, there is a pervasive blindness to color which has negative rather than positive effects for people of color. As long as SL persists mostly as an entertainment platform, the larger SL population may not consider the lack of interest by people of color anything to be concerned about.  However, the SL grid will continue to grow and engage with educational and commercial operations that will desire the participation and economic resources of people of color.  The issue that needs to be addressed now is will the borders that limit users of color be build up or knocked down?


Second Life; race; ethnicity; gender

Full Text:



The full website for the Journal of Virtual Worlds Research can be found at