Playing As A Black Character Makes You More Racist
Don’t worry, it’s scientifically proven or something like that.
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Researchers from four different universities conducted studies with white gamers wherein they were made to play one of two violent video games. One featured a black protagonist and the other a white one.
“White participants who played a violent video game as a Black avatar displayed stronger implicit and explicit negative attitudes toward Blacks than did participants who played a violent video game as a White avatar,” the report’s abstract reads.
Wait, why was this research even necessary? Are we trying to ensure that every game protagonist remains a Caucasian slab of meat? The research was evidently spurred on by calls for racial-diversity within games.
At the GDC 2014 industry event, the BioWare gameplay designer Manveer Heir was given a standing ovation at the end of his speech on the need for more representative diversity in games.
“Why should we reject stereotypes? Not only is it lazy, but it’s fairly boring. We play so many games that use the same stereotypes. I get fed up with the same old story and characters in every game,” he told attendees.
Heir didn’t specify racial diversity as being more essential than other marginalised groups such as women.
The study in question was carried out over a surprisingly small sample size of 126 people, exclusively white, which negates the effect that playing as a non-white character has on other ethnicities.
A second experiment, in which 141 test subjects played another violent video game as a Black protagonist, “displayed stronger implicit attitudes linking Blacks to weapons”, the research found.
Three US universities contributed to the project (University of Michigan, Central Michigan University, and Ohio State University) along with one academic institution in The Netherlands (4VU University).
What are your thoughts?