In part four of this series, I am going to explore what kind of impact society has on video games themselves. The most obvious and recent thing we’ve seen in entertainment diversity, is the movie, Black Panther. While this might seem like an obvious choice, I think it needs to be discussed. For many, many years, we have seen this lack of diversity in comic books. Until, of course, Black Panther came along. Sure, there were characters here and there, but again, most characters were white. Why did Black Panther come to fruition? Some might argue that it happened because of the 2016 Oscar campaign of #OscarsSoWhite. And why did that happen? Because people started talking. People realized that the nominees for Oscars in 2016 were racially diverse.
Does it take this kind of campaign to change society? Maybe. Ideally, things would change at a faster rate, and not be so blatant. (And when I say blatant, I mean, it seems obvious that more people of color should have been nominated.) Maybe there needs to be a hashtag #VideoGamesSoWhite in order to change the development of video games? That’s not to say that #OscarsSoWhite is solely responsible for Black Panther, but I think it started the dialogue. And on the other side, I think people finally started to listen.
In my previous post, I mentioned the movement #MeToo. While you might wonder what that has to do with diversity in video games, I think it gives people a voice as well. The fact that so many people came forward to say that they were a victim of sexual harassment provided a space of unity. Regardless of what the movement is, society is finally starting to listen. Like I said – it might be about race, culture, sexual harassment or gender. It might also be about saving a specific endangered species. I think, as a society, we’re finally starting to settle down and realize that there are problems and we need to fix them.
Some argue that Donald Trump has turned the United States on its head, from a political perspective. Those people might even argue that it’s a good thing. And, if I squint hard enough I can agree with that. But only in the sense that I think what he’s doing is getting people talking. I’m not saying that I agree with his methods or his opinions/actions/words for that matter, but there is change afoot. Becuase of that, people are talking and listening to what others have to say about race. People are talking about gender and what that really means in the 21st century. But does that mean that we will see an impact when it comes to video games?
I hope so. I really do. While it’s hard to know what’s going to happen in the next few years, I do know that we can’t sit idly by and think it’s ok to exclude certain races from video games. Maybe someone needs to make an all Black video game? Which, I think might be coming by way of Black Panther, but I’m thinking something else. Anything that doesn’t stereotype Black people as rappers, athletes or gangsters.
I guess I’m just tired of not seeing a diverse cultural representation when it comes to entertainment. Whether that’s movies, TV shows or video games. I think we live in a time of #VideoGamesSoWhite, and its time to change that. I’ve given you all the facts and figures in terms of why it’s happening – and why it shouldn’t be happening – but I am not a video game developer. I am merely voicing my concern around the fact that people of color are marginalized when it comes to entertainment. All colors – not just Black or Hispanic. The more we talk about these things, the more diverse we will start to see entertainment become. Or at least that is my hope. And I still live in a world where hope exists.