A Northwestern University study found out that virtual avatars created by MMO players are subjected to the same level of racial discrimination as their real world lookalikes.
"White avatars in the DITF experiment received about a 20 percent increase in compliance with the moderate request", reads the study. "However, the increase for the dark-toned avatars was 8 percent... The finding is consistent with previous DITF studies - in real and virtual worlds - that demonstrate that physical characteristics, such as race, gender and physical attractiveness, affect judgment of others."
"This study suggests that interactions among strangers within the virtual world are very similar to interactions between strangers in the real world", Researcher Paul Eastwick commented. "You would think when you're wandering around this fantasyland ... that you might behave differently. But people exhibited the same type of behaviour - and the same type of racial bias - that they show in the real world all the time."