In a recent blog post on the Black Voice News website, Richard O. Jones expressed concern about the trend in video game design to make characters who of racial minority (most notably black and Latino characters) either criminals or helpless victims who die easily. Mr. Jones’ arguement is that prolonged exposure to these stimuli lead minority youths to get the impression that their life should mirror that of what the media sells them, leading to more violence and crime.
Mr. Jones defended his claim with studies by psychologists.
From the blog:
“‘If Blacks and Latinos are always portrayed as the villains, or as the
victims who get killed often and easily, that is code for
powerlessness,’ said Kansas State University psychologist John Murray,
who’s studied violence and stereotypes in the media for the past 30
years. ‘These image persist because too few minorities are in the
industry. Roughly 80% of video game programmers are white, about four
percent of designers are Latino, and less than three percent are Black
according to preliminary results of an International Game Developers
Association survey. Some in the industry believe race in games is a
serious issue that has been ignored for too long. The video industry
claims that educated, young white males create games for other
educated, young white males and not minorities. Regardless, games are
an expressive medium. They are an art form, just like movies, theater
and literature. We’re seeing, to a large extent, that the games that
are being designed unconsciously include the biases, opinions and
reflections of their creators.'”
Mr. Jones is careful to note that while the medium is a form of art, it is also a consumer commodity that is driven by money.