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African Americans and the Video Game Industry 646

Posted by kdawson
from the in-the-game-but-not-of-the-game dept.
An anonymous reader writes "African Americans spend more money and time playing video games than whites, yet only 2% of game developers are black. This past week, MTV's Multiplayer blog interviewed five black game industry professionals for their perspective on race in the industry. Intelligent Gamer summarizes and highlights portions of this lengthy series of interviews."
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African Americans and the Video Game Industry

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  • Who cares? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 13, 2008 @03:47PM (#23055750)
    Really?

    Who cares?

    I never knew there had to be any specific percentage of "African-Americans" participating in any activity.

    And yes, "African-American" is a downright stupid appellation. Can you call a black child born in Denmark "African-American"?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by spintriae (958955)

      Can you call a black child born in Denmark "African-American"?
      No. Can you point out where in the article any African-Dane was referred to as an African-American?
      • Re:Who cares? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Tony Hoyle (11698) <tmh@nodomain.org> on Sunday April 13, 2008 @05:05PM (#23056258) Homepage
        There's no such thing. They'd be called Danish.

        Only the US has a peculiar obsession with separating its population into ethnic groups.
        • Re:Who cares? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Moridineas (213502) on Sunday April 13, 2008 @06:22PM (#23056910) Journal

          Only the US has a peculiar obsession with separating its population into ethnic groups.
          Wow, that's utterly insane. Please, what country are you from? Would you care to describe how your country is different? Heck, anything to support your statement would be nice.

          Since Denmark was mentioned, maybe you should read some news--there have been some major riots and political happenings there over religion/race within the past month!

          I'm by no means claiming the US is perfect--it's not. But look at Australia--beach riots a year or two ago over Muslims. Look at France--ghettoization and discontent from Muslim/African populations that is hard to find an equivalent of in America in the last several decades. Balkans--banned from soccer matches for racist taunts. Chinese--discrimination against Uighur and Tibetan citizens. And where I've come across the most openly racist (against black Africans) people--Egypt. People don't even pretend.

          Hell, if there is one constant across the world it's racism..

          FWIW, I've heard Cuba actually has a remarkably egalitarian society--at least with regards to race--but it's so hard to hear reliable things about Cuba that I don't know..
    • by Dr. Cody (554864) on Sunday April 13, 2008 @04:18PM (#23055918)
      I don't know, but there was a Danish documentary on the subject. [wikipedia.org]
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      I believe the proper term is jorka-borka-ellthing-jafrikaner-schmorker. However, I always did do poorly in Danish class. Either way, I am a fan of affirmative action. It helped quell the riots in the seventies. Ask yourself, what could be worse for your MMO than a pissed off black panther guild?

      [Eldridge Cleaver Tone] We grind and we grind all day long only to have our gold stolen from us by these white pig 'developers'. They are afraid of an empowered, 31337 black guild. They are afraid of a dark Azerot
    • Re:Who cares? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 13, 2008 @04:26PM (#23055980)

      And yes, "African-American" is a downright stupid appellation. Can you call a black child born in Denmark "African-American"?
      Oblig [thebestpag...iverse.net] Maddox. Read and agree, or read and be wrong.
      • Re:Who cares? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by xigxag (167441) on Sunday April 13, 2008 @06:07PM (#23056784)
        Your link misses the entire point of the term "African American," which is not a fancy P.C. word for "black people," but a term used to identify people in a specific cultural group, with certain overall traditions, customs, and apparently gaming habits. It's come into commonplace usage because it's a unique phrase which sets that group off from other cultural, ethnic and racial groups in America. Exactly like Pennsylvania Dutch, who are called "Pennsylvania Dutch" even though they aren't really Dutch and don't all live in Pennsylvania. And, check it: someone might actually be from the Netherlands and move to Pennsylvania, oh no, what do we call them?

        Regarding black Americans and the notion of "well, let's just call them black Americans." True, you could do exactly that. But how is it more accurate? I'd venture to say that there are extremely few black people who are truly "black" skinned, and lots who are on the pale side of brown. They're just called "black" by convention, even if it's not 100% precise. Furthermore, America doesn't equal the USA, it's two continents. We call USA-ians "Americans" also by convention. There's no escaping it, we're stuck using a non-precise moniker one way or another. "African American" is just one more, and happens to be the one that people generally find less offensive when compared with Negro, Afro-American and nigger. It leads one to wonder, is the constant self-righteous outrage over the term "African American" based on logic (I've argued here, no) or based upon an anger that the blacks among us have the gall to object to being called whatever the hell we feel like calling them?

        To answer the parent post's question directly, obviously black people in Denmark aren't African-Americans, just like Russians aren't Poles, even if they wind up in the same country. But if by chance a black person from Denmark moves to the US and gets called African-American, it's not going to cause the universe to self-destruct. Real world categories are heuristic, not absolute.

        As for the pic of Chiwetel Ejiofor, who cares? Oops, maybe some ijit misidentified him as African American. What does that prove? I accidentally called my Scottish friend Irish one day, According to Genius Maddox, I guess my dumb mistake means that Scotland and Ireland don't make any sense.

        Now, on to people of color. No argument from me: that's nauseatingly P.C.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by SL Baur (19540)
      This is a dumb article. The vast majority of *top* game designers/programmers are Japanese. With few exceptions the best games are all Made In Japan. Do I care if there may not be a single gaijin of any color employed in a Japanese game company? Nope. So why should it matter in the US (where the games are nearly all crap anyway)?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Blakey Rat (99501)
        With few exceptions the best games are all Made In Japan.

        Wow, that's stirring up a hornet's nest. I'm calling BS, or at best "matter of taste", on that one buddy.
    • by cybereal (621599)

      Really?

      Who cares?

      I never knew there had to be any specific percentage of "African-Americans" participating in any activity.

      And yes, "African-American" is a downright stupid appellation. Can you call a black child born in Denmark "African-American"?
      I demand they stop calling us "whites" and refer to us directly by lineage, I insist that to avoid racist tension, the article refer to me and my "kind" as Danish-German-French-Dutch-American!
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Miseph (979059)
      A certain percentage of the US population is black, therefore it is expected that an equivalent percentage of American game developers are too. If they are not, it indicates some sort confounding variable that might (and in this case almost certainly does) indicate some sort of social inequity that needs to be addressed. The importance is not, in this case, the statistical anomaly itself, but rather in the reason for it.
      • Re:Who cares? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Culture20 (968837) on Sunday April 13, 2008 @05:33PM (#23056508)

        A certain percentage of the US population is X: white, therefore it is expected that an equivalent percentage of American Y: Chinese Restaurant owners are too. If they are not, it indicates some sort confounding variable that might (and in this case almost certainly does) indicate some sort of social inequity that needs to be addressed.
        Maybe it's not not social "inequity", but personal choices made by all parties involved. Sure, with different values of X and Y, your mileage may vary.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        A famous biologist recently got in trouble for saying this, as it was blown out as a racist statement, while he was merely making a scientific observation. I shall repeat it here, not necessarily with the belief that it is true (I don't know whether it is or not), but because it may account for the statistical discrepancy in a completely valid form:

        There is a common expectation that all races of humans of people have equivalent intelligence. There is no scientific basis for this assumption.

        If you feel unconvinced by it, replace the word "intelligence" with "athletic ability" and see how you feel. I do hope that this does not bring the racists ou

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Miseph (979059)
          He must be famous for being a shitty biologist: there's no biological foundation for the social institution of race. Over a century of famous post-Darwin biologists conducting research trying to prove that race is real and scientifically significant has proven only that the entire concept is completely meaningless.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by urbanriot (924981)
      I agree completely. The US has so many problems with race, because they seem pay so much specific attention to racial differences and continually bring up 'problems' or 'insight' into these differences. It's especially amusing when groups that don't belong to these minorities are the ones discussing these 'issues'.

      Who cares?
    • Re:Who cares? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Dogtanian (588974) on Sunday April 13, 2008 @05:50PM (#23056634) Homepage

      And yes, "African-American" is a downright stupid appellation. Can you call a black child born in Denmark "African-American"?
      Silly example of this in an interview with black British athlete, Kriss Ababusi [everything2.com].
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Why must everything be devolved down to race? I do not care if developers are black, white, green, purple, etc.. as long as they make a good quality product. The question should be, are the developers putting out a quality product? In my honest opinion, game developers fail in this task 60% of the time. It may sound like I do not want Diversity, on the contrary, I want diversity. Diversity is what helps keep things fresh and new. I just think we spend too much time worrying about race and not enough on
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Criliric (879949) *
      whoa whoa whoa, lets not get to hasty here.... I don't think those weird purple people have EVER made anything decent
  • by pokerdad (1124121) on Sunday April 13, 2008 @03:54PM (#23055792)

    Isn't this the natural result of the socio-econic situation of said racial group in the US, the high cost of college in the US, and the fact that most employers in said industry want a college degree?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 13, 2008 @03:58PM (#23055812)
      Exactly. More african-americans are poor, and video games are a very cheap form of entertainment. Also, poor people have less educational opportunities.

      This is not about color, this is about money.

      If you want to talk about race, talk about why more african-americans are poor. The games thing is just a symptom.
      • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

        Exactly. More african-americans are poor, and video games are a very cheap form of entertainment. Also, poor people have less educational opportunities. This is not about color, this is about money.

        That certainly is a major factor, but I'm not convinced it is the only one. There is a lot of self-segregation in many industries. This is not to say that people are consciously being racist, just that race is also a social/cultural differentiator. I've worked places where one project team or division was almost entirely immigrants from Malaysia. Another place I worked had greater than 50% of the team graduated from the same University... one 600 miles away. Programming is one of those industries where pe

    • by Blkdeath (530393) on Sunday April 13, 2008 @04:27PM (#23055990) Homepage

      Isn't this the natural result of the socio-econic situation of said racial group in the US, the high cost of college in the US, and the fact that most employers in said industry want a college degree?

      Nonsense. I'm in Canada and the High School I went to was full of lower class people living in bad apartments and rooming houses. The people who moved on and did something with their lives were the ones who showed motivation and determination; nothing to do with skin colour.

      Man do I ever get tired of hearing these stories about how the poor blacks can't afford college because society is holding them down. I went to school with Blacks (African and West Indies alike), Whites, Asians, Indians (both from India and the Native Canadian variety), Sri Lankens, Pakistanis, Europeans and a whole host of every other "ini" and "ean" you can imagine. Some had their parents paying their way but most were there through part time work, savings, grants, scholarships, loans and student lines of credit. I don't care where you're from or what your background - if you want something you work for it. If you don't, sit around and complain about how unfair life is.

      But hey, let's make sure to placate "visible minorities" by giving them specialized scholarships [google.ca]! Or, if you're not dark enough but you have the right set of genitalia you could always apply for a scholarship for women [google.ca]! When did scholarship money become about what a person looks like rather than their drive, ambition and abilities anyways??!

      • by ZombieRoboNinja (905329) on Sunday April 13, 2008 @05:07PM (#23056278)
        Believe it or not, race DOES play a different factor in a society with a huge black minority that's been systematically oppressed for most of the past 3 centuries.

        I'm guessing the black people you grew up with, poor and otherwise, didn't grow up in an entirely-black-and-Latino ghetto, weren't marked by heavy urban accents, and probably didn't even have to grow up in an area with utterly failed justice and education systems.

        If you honestly think that your initial economic situation doesn't have any impact on educational level and success in life, you're a moron.
        • by Blkdeath (530393) on Sunday April 13, 2008 @05:22PM (#23056412) Homepage

          Believe it or not, race DOES play a different factor in a society with a huge black minority that's been systematically oppressed for most of the past 3 centuries.

          So you believe placing further stigma on a person's race relative to their career is going to help, or hurt this cause?

          I'm guessing the black people you grew up with, poor and otherwise, didn't grow up in an entirely-black-and-Latino ghetto, weren't marked by heavy urban accents, and probably didn't even have to grow up in an area with utterly failed justice and education systems.

          I'm not going to get into a pissing match over who has the worst schools because that could go on all day. Justice systems? Ditto. As for urban accents? Yes, I've seen people cling to ghetto slang to the point where they steadfastly refuse to speak anything approaching proper English. I've seen these people fail miserably. I've also seen many people from "urban ghettos" emerge with a fair to excellent command of the English language succeed in life.

          So how is it exactly that oppression is holding these people back? Are there really droves of white men going around forcing these people to call every one of their peers "bro" or "niggah" or "homie" and thereby preventing them from entering the workforce in a meaningful way?

          If you honestly think that your initial economic situation doesn't have any impact on educational level and success in life, you're a moron.

          The implied ad hominem aside; didn't you read the part where I said I completed high school in a lower class area? Socio-economic progress to these people was installing a CD player in their $200 car, if they could afford a $200 car in some cases.

          Yes, I watched groups of people who preferred to smoke drugs, skip classes or become sports obsessed jocks and also groups of people who worked hard and avoided all that nonsense. Guess which group broke free from their poor socio-economic upbringing and guess which ones now serve hamburgers (or reside in jail)? Hint: Many of the aforementioned have served me various foods and beverages since commencement. I'm sure that means I'm oppressing them, right?

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by phantomfive (622387)

            So how is it exactly that oppression is holding these people back? Are there really droves of white men going around forcing these people to call every one of their peers "bro" or "niggah" or "homie" and thereby preventing them from entering the workforce in a meaningful way?

            You are right, there is nothing holding anyone back in America but themselves. The problem is a lot of them have the perception that they can't succeed, because of who they are. Everyone around them has the same perception, and no one is there to help them break out of it.

            For an example, go down to Union Square in San Francisco sometime. You will see a bunch of rich white people, a bunch of rich Asian people, and a bunch of poor black people. Imagine if you were a black kid growing up in that neighbor

    • by FooAtWFU (699187)
      I suspect that the most limiting factor is not so much "economic" in nature, but rather that there are strong cultural influences in many "African-American" communities which place very little value on the sort of things which are necessary to successfully pursue a college degree and subsequent employment in the video game industry.

      In short, Studying and computer-programming are generally not cool. Basketball, and sports, on the other hand, are.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by timeOday (582209)
        That's what being poor means.

        Me, my dad was an engineer, and coincidentally(?) I did pretty much the same thing, went through college, and now make a middle-class living. It never really occurred to me to be a politician, or an entrepreneur, or a pro athlete. Even now I don't have a clue how one becomes those things. Could I become something different if I plunged in and figured it out? Probably (except pro athlete), but - and here's the point - I didn't. I traveled the road that was before me (which

    • Largely, yes. But you have to bear in mind that, partly BECAUSE of that socio-economic situation, things may well suck for those 2% of would-be game designers who ARE black.

      The only real way to "fix" this is to (a) make sure that discrimination is illegal, which we've already done, and (b) somehow eliminate the statistical correlation between race and poverty/education, which is a lot harder and will take at least a generation (and probably a lot longer, given how much we as a society suck at addressing the
    • by pembo13 (770295)
      African-Americans have more grants and scholarships available to them than whites of equal economic status.
    • by Otter (3800)
      ...and the fact that most employers in said industry want a college degree?

      For some reason, there's this prevalent myth that you become a game developer by being a particularly hardcore gamer. ("We just finished level 3 and need to tighten the graphics a little bit.")

      No one thinks that using spreadsheets qualifies you to write Excel, but people don't understand that you become qualified to code on Madden by taking lots of math, not by playing lots of Madden.

  • Here we go. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by UseCase (939095) on Sunday April 13, 2008 @04:07PM (#23055858)
    As I read some of the post here "N#$%^ are stupid" etc.... I can't help but to think that the real reason is that the development industry in general is skeptical of a person of color's capability to design and develop software. I currently work as a senior software engineer on a few key development project in the telecom industry and to tell you the truth it has been a battle to get where I am. No matter what I want to believe about merit and talent, there is an underlying "how did you get in, here?!" sentiment floating around the development industry when it comes to blacks doing design and engineering work. It is a real shame that we as an industry can't just be above all of this a hire people based on there capability. Sad world......
    • No matter what I want to believe about merit and talent, there is an underlying "how did you get in, here?!" sentiment floating around the development industry when it comes to blacks doing design and engineering work.

      Yeah, unfortunately I've seen that, too, in a couple of technical fields now. Sometimes I think people showing that sentiment may not even be consciously aware of it, which makes it hard to do much about it (and it certainly wouldn't make me feel better if I were receiving the negative consequences of someone's unconscious bias).

      It is a real shame that we as an industry can't just be above all of this a hire people based on there capability.

      Based on what I see on Slashdot and The Daily WTF (I certainly choose high quality, un-skewed data sources, don't I?), it seems that some people making the hiring decisions can't

    • Re:Here we go. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Swift Kick (240510) on Sunday April 13, 2008 @05:26PM (#23056444)
      The reason you find skepticism in any industry for the capabilities of a colored person is because of the bang-up job the so-called 'civil rights leaders' have done yelling and screaming about how minorities cannot achieve anything without assistance.
      It is exactly what affirmative action has turned into; rather than give those a real opportunity to those who work hard for it, it became just another way to 'milk the system', so instead of having those most capable, you end up favoring those who are the loudest (regardless of color).

      You may refer to this as the 'soft bigotry of lowered expectations'. You might think that it's yet another racist thing, but can it be really racist when those directly responsible for it are your from your own race?

      As long as you have 'reverse discrimination' (which is what affirmative action effectively is), you cannot and should not complain that you're not evaluated on your own merits. Don't blame the industry; blame the Jesse Jacksons and Al Sharptons.
  • here we go again (Score:5, Insightful)

    by EllynGeek (824747) on Sunday April 13, 2008 @04:12PM (#23055884)
    Racism, just like sexism, is so deeply ingrained in most people they're totally blind to it, and even worse, are just like the first commenters to this article- self-centered clueless twits who would rather die than listen to a different point of view, especially from someone pointing out a problem or trying to correct a wrong. (I have to wonder why y'all take it so personally, and always twitch like a gaffed fish when these subjects come up? Guilty conscience?) Nobody is asking for racial quotas, though there is always at least one guaranteed slashtwit to bring it up. Most of us would settle for you fine members of the "there is no problem, just quit whining" club to shut up and keep out of our way, instead of filling the heavens with your complaining over the audacity of anyone who has been mistreated to actually stand up for him or herself, and try to make some changes.
    • 100% correct. If anything the story is a bit absurd. If you look at the statistics for high school graduation rates, and college attendance, it shouldn't be any surprise that blacks are underrepresented in the video game development niche. As a country the United States still has a long way to go to create a level playing field, that many of the posters ignorantly believe we have.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by syousef (465911)
      Most of us would settle for you fine members of the "there is no problem, just quit whining" club to shut up and keep out of our way, instead of filling the heavens with your complaining

      Have you listened to yourself lately? We need a -1:Hypocrisy modifier.

      You could make the same point with less words....
      A: Shut up!
      B: How dare you tell me to shut up. You shut up!
      A: No you shut up!
      B: No you!!!
      A and B: SHUT UP!!!!

      How about we let EVERYONE have their say. Depending on the intent, the point of view that this is
  • stupid (Score:5, Interesting)

    by pak9rabid (1011935) on Sunday April 13, 2008 @04:14PM (#23055890)
    And? If we truly want to live in a society of racial equality, we need to stop calling attention to stuff like this. Who gives a shit what whites, blacks, hispanics, asians, etc do. As long as we're not fucking each other over, who gives a shit..
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Shados (741919)
      Well, TECHNICALLY, all the racial issues will go away once we ARE fucking each other over... as in, literally so :)
  • by DigitAl56K (805623) on Sunday April 13, 2008 @04:23PM (#23055966)
    I don't want to read one more article about how african american people are under represented in this, that, or the other. It makes me angry even to see such headlines because yes racism exists but we only fuel racism by carving out sectors of society by race and speaking to how disadvantaged they are. Why are we not discussing how there are too few Indian characters in modern-day computer games, or Phillipino's, or any other race? Because blacks are a racial crux that we like to fall back on and discuss whenever matters of race and equality come into play.

    I personally work with people of all races from all over the world, and though I can't say I have absolutely no prejudices whatsoever I certainly do not consciously discriminate against anyone because of their ethnicity. And I think a very large percentage of the current/next generation are the same - we're growing up in multi-cultural environments with mixed ethnicity and we're learning to value our differences rather than look on them negatively. It is the older generation who still wants to talk about the past, who still wants to talk about stereotyping and martyrdom. TFA does nothing to break from the conventional mold, and it's infuriating to me.

    In college [Computer Science] courses, I was typically one of maybe four black students, and I was certainly the only black female. In the industry, the makeup is pretty much the same. It's intimidating at times. I'm one of a handful, but I don't let these things hold me back.
    It's intimidating at times? Is it really? Were you singled out at college, or because you were too aware psychologically of your ethnicity did you single yourself out and limit your interactions between the other black students? Today, do your coworkers look at you funny when you walk down the hallway? Does the conversation stop at the water cooler when you arrive? Do you have to use a specially designated bathroom? No. Why is it intimidating? It's intimidating because you are all too aware of your race and concern yourself with the possibility of prejudice, not because it necessarily exists.

    On counting the number of black women at GDC: "The grand total was six, including myself, and I hear that [the Game Developers Conference] had an attendance of over 18,000 this year."
    And how many white women were there? I hazard a guess at not too many, based on the industries history of mainly male developers. Yes, women are still under-represented in certain industries, too. But if they work as hard as men and are equally qualified over time the situation finds a more natural balance.

    I think a lot of folks are just now starting to see it as a career choice. Young people are starting to realize that game development is something you can make a real living at. It's not like running off to join the circus. There are curriculums that are centered specifically around it, and the industry is looking for talent above all else.
    A-ha! Some intelligence. There may not be a lot of african american developers because we're only now promoting it to those teens as a viable career choice!

    I could go on. If we want to end racial bias and under representation, I support the free market model: Provide people equal opportunities not by artificially advantaging one group above another or by continually highlighting racial under-representation, but through a good education across all people, and simply let things work themselves out over time. The problem will obviously not go away tomorrow, but does that really mean we have to keep highlighting it today, over and over, repeating the same old talking points?
    • by Emru (1272414) on Sunday April 13, 2008 @06:08PM (#23056794)

      I don't want to read one more article about how african american people are under represented in this, that, or the other. It makes me angry even to see such headlines because yes racism exists but we only fuel racism by carving out sectors of society by race and speaking to how disadvantaged they are.
      If you don't talk about it, how will people know? Talking about the problem isn't the problem; it's how people react to it. (You even seem to agree with that, in principle. As you say, "repeating the same old talking points.")

      And like everything else, discussions about under-representation aren't always economic. Right now I'm directly affected by a form of ethnic under-representation: I'm in need of a bone marrow stem cell transplant [healemru.com], and as a black person I have a much lower chance [aachac.org] of finding a matching donor than a white person -- the odds of two people's human leukocyte antigens (HLAs) matching are much greater if they're of the same ethnic background, and blacks are severely under-represented in the Canadian, American and UK bone marrow donor registries.

      So should I not bring that up because it's somehow racist? It's a fact, and people can't fix it if they don't know about it. This has a direct bearing on my life, and the lives of other black people (and Asian, and Indian, and...) waiting for transplants, so I want to see more headlines about this kind of under-representation, not fewer.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Roxton (73137)
      Your proposed solution does not demonstrate a complete understanding of the problem.

      I'm white, and was raised in a good middle-class home. My use of language, my body language, my preferred attire, my attitudes, my ethics, and my social expectations are all in line with what professional white employers are looking for, because I was raised in a similar environment to them. There's a generational difference, but it's one that any competent employer is expecting.

      People underestimate how much implicit learn
    • by Stellian (673475) on Monday April 14, 2008 @09:44AM (#23062556)

      racism exists but we only fuel racism by carving out sectors of society by race and speaking to how disadvantaged they are.
      No amount of wishful thinking and pretends will make race inequality go away by itself. If there is a strong correlation between race and academic success - when common sense dictates that there should be no such correlation - we need to know why the hell it's that way: talking about it is a first step into fixing it.
      You position is basically like saying, disabled people in our town choose not to use the subway - the fact that there's no wheelchair access in the station has nothing to do with it.
      If there's no disabled person to be seen in the subway, and no black in a cube farm, we need to ask ourselves some questions - and simply asking the questions is not fueling discrimination, but helping us understand the problem, if there is one.
  • by someme2 (670523) on Sunday April 13, 2008 @04:23PM (#23055970)

    How much longer are we going to rely on the bald space marine? Or how much longer are we going to rely on the Elven female warrior whose armor barely covers her breasts? Is that all we can do with this medium or is there more that can be done?" I think some people just don't push themselves hard enough.

    I think it's pretty obvious that the problem is not people pushing themselves to softly... 95% of all characters in any popular media are heavily clicheed. Even though every single game designer, author, movie director, musician and whatnot would really like to do better. But you don't get project funding for better, you get funding for dependable and predictable sales. As "they" say: It's a hit driven business (with "it" being just about everything).

    Characters must always meet expectations so that no one changes the channel because they don't understand the plot anymore after fetching beer from the fridge. Consequently any clearly identifiable group is badly misrepresented in popular media.


    Also, Slashdot readers, you just have to love this quote from the article:

    I mean, there's hip-hop in Cuba, there's hip-hop in Poland, there's hip-hop in the Soviet Union;

    Knock yourselves out...

  • Obviously (Score:4, Funny)

    by fishyfool (854019) on Sunday April 13, 2008 @04:42PM (#23056094) Homepage Journal
    They'd rather play than develop. Can't say I blame them.
  • by prefec2 (875483)
    In the US black people are over represented in the lower class. This means, the percentage of black people belonging to the lower class in relation to all black people in the US is high than compared to the whole US society. In the lower class it is more common that young especially young male humans have an interest in gaming. This does not mean that in other classes young male do not game. It just says that the possibility that you like gaming and additionally do it quite often, increases when you are in
  • The take on GTA (Score:5, Insightful)

    by IorDMUX (870522) <mark.zimmerman3NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Sunday April 13, 2008 @04:45PM (#23056112) Homepage

    So "GTA III," -- a Mafioso stereotype with a huge amount of cinema fiction to support that. It's sort of a cultural joke. We all know that Italians aren't like that but we know Mafioso gangsters are. Do we remove race from it? No, they're just gangsters. "Vice City" is just '80s "Miami Vice." So even with the Cubanos and Latinos we know all Cubanos aren't like that. "San Andreas" gets scary because it's basically what people think black people are.

    So... he's saying that blatant stereotypes are okay, as long as they are not of black people? Am I missing something?

    I've seen all three games. I'm Italian. My wife is Latina. And I'm not offended by any of it. But this interviewer seems to be saying that my lack of offense is because there is some fundamental difference in the race portrayals... I thought it was that I can choose to be offended or to be entertained by any of these blatant, joking, stereotypes.

    I don't get it.
  • Well... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by khristian (1009227)
    When I entered the CS course (Brasil), along with me came a guy from Africa. He spent a year on it, and then changed to Law school. I guess they don't want to work "underground" as programmers (it's pretty dark where I work) or something like that, they want to be recognized. Even if you come with the "they are poor", it's a public university we're talking about here. And a lot of the funding goes for students who can prove they are poor.

    Apart from that, I don't think anyone should be offended by being call
  • Copied this insightful comment from the article link. I took the liberty to post it here for some additional views (I apologize in advance for any copies I posted by accident as "Anonymous Coward").

    Author: Areala

    Any time you bring race or gender bias into any particular medium, there's going to be problems. And while I can certainly see that there is a disparity, the first thing one has to look at is that numbers don't tell you everything.

    Being female, when I was growing up, I heard all the time about how w
  • by sahonen (680948) on Sunday April 13, 2008 @05:00PM (#23056222) Homepage Journal
    Quick, do a study about how many blonde-haired people play games vs. develop them. The video game industry is blondeist! Seriously, why do we still use race as a primary factor in surveys when what they're looking for is economic and social factors? That's where the racism is happening, not in the hiring practices of developers.
  • by Maestro485 (1166937) on Sunday April 13, 2008 @05:02PM (#23056236)
    Made up statistic:

    Despite the fact that a large percentage of rap music fans are white, only about 2% actually produce rap music!
    Seriously, who the hell cares? Some people like products of different cultures, whether music or games or anything else. This is a good thing.
  • what? (Score:3, Funny)

    by Punto (100573) <puntob@NospAM.gmail.com> on Sunday April 13, 2008 @05:58PM (#23056702) Homepage
    now I'm supposed to know if the person who programmed some game is black or white? I honestly don't care, and I prefer to keep not caring.

    I wouldn't mind having more women around the office tho :p
  • so?? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mattkime (8466) on Sunday April 13, 2008 @06:01PM (#23056740)
    the vast majority of rappers are black, but the majority of rap fans are white.

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