New #GamesSoWhite Hashtag Discusses Diversity In Gaming
Elves and blue aliens are fine but POC? THE HORROR
In the magnificent tradition of the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag, the hashtag #GamesSoWhite has emerged on Twitter to bring the discussion about diversity in video games to the forefront. Here are a couple of gems:
— ⚡Fetty Block⚡ (@RocknLox) June 4, 2015
#GamesSoWhite people speaking modern English in a medieval-Nordic-inspired world is not a break of realism, but having PoC appear is.
— Adriano (@adrianovaroli) June 4, 2015
The hashtag gained a lot of its momentum when Tauriq Moosa published a piece on Polygon titled “Colorbind: On Witcher 3, Rust, and Gaming’s Race Problem” which discussed how Rust recently decided to assign avatars, forcing white players to play as people of other races, an act one player called “forced politics.” In response, Moosa points out that people of color are often forced to play as straight white men and notes that Witcher 3, which has received tons of praise, doesn’t feature a single character of color. It’s a thoughtful piece that draws attention to a huge blindspot in video games and calls for thoughtful analysis and dialogue.
Or, well, tries to.
Reactions to the hashtag and article include the classic “I’m not racist, you’re racist,” “But look at these three exceptions,” “That’s how it was in that non-specific time period,” (Moosa discusses why “historically accurate” is a ridiculous defence for lack of diversity in his piece) “Why do I have to identify with someone who doesn’t look like me” and other variations of the same excuses that all just look like one big misinformed blur to me now. In response, Moosa tweeted this:
The hostile reactions to Moosa’s piece ultimately prove his point that video games have a frustrating tendency to erase and further marginalize people of color. The article ends with these final words.
Games have progressed dramatically — not in terms of graphics, but demographics. With more people from more areas of life being represented, we perhaps are going in the right direction. But when we still have major games made that feature no people of colour, when gamers still refuse games because of characters’ race or gender, it means we aren’t there yet.
We can be. It’s not about changing bigots’ minds — it’s about all of us wanting to improve. And we can start by listening, and ignoring those who claim that simply existing as someone who is non-male and non-white is somehow political.
—Please make note of The Mary Sue’s general comment policy.—