Racism in Video Games

If you think technology is great at overcoming geographic barriers and such social constructs as racism, sexism and what-have-you, then better think again. It seems technology can sometimes bring racism and sexism to a higher level. Apparently, racist and sexist stereotypes are still very much prevalent in video games.

Some popular video games promote racist, negative stereotypes of Asians that would be unacceptable in other forms of media, says a Canadian researcher.

Robert Parungao studied four of the best-selling games designed and published in the United States during a 20-year span: Kung Fu, Warcraft 3, Shadow Warrior and Grand Theft Auto 3.

He told AFP the games feature evil gangsters, all of them non-white, who “function as narrative obstacles to be overcome, mastered or ultimately blown to smithereens by the white hero.”

Perhaps it’s not as noticeable as with other media, such as movies and television. However, the interactive nature of videogames might actually have a more pronounced effect on one’s subconscious.

… there’s no academic consensus that violence and sexism in media impacts on real-world attitudes, and said the impact of racist images will be hard to measure … because games are interactive they may have more effect on a player’s real-life behavior than television or film, “being that you’re much more engaged with it — or it could have the counter-effect.”

I’m wondering about this trend, especially since a good number of game titles are designed and produced by Japanese companies.

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