Monday, 29 September 2014

Video Games Could and Should do More to Tackle Racism

I live in Britain, more specifically I live in England and on a daily basis I am ashamed by the sheer amount of racism in our country. Groups like the English Defence League or Britain First, 'newspapers' like The Sun and TV shows like Benefit Street take it upon themselves to exploit the more naive ones among us into holding racist views. So many people, be they working class, upper class or otherwise, are racist. They pin their problems and the problems of their country on immigrants, blaming other nationalities and other religions for their's and their governments' apathy. 

Don't worry; i'm not going to turn this into a hugely political post, I'll keep it gaming related. What I've been wondering is what games can do about this, if anything. People always talk about how games can help better portray women or homosexuals but what about, in the case of religion, Muslims or, in the case of race, Romanians? Think of the last video game you played, picture it's main character, white, American and not really given a religious focus right? Why can't Watch Dogs sport an Islamic person as it's main character, or at least as an integral side character? Why can't the hero in Far Cry be Polish? Why isn't your character in Call of Duty Chinese or African?

Media outlets and entertainment mediums have massive power in terms of influencing the way we think, how we perceive things and what we do on a daily basis. While I'm aware that it's unlikely The Daily Mail or Express will ever print a well reasoned, level headed story on how Muslims are actually largely decent people practicing a peaceful religion or how the reason the unemployed pot smoking white man can't get a job is because he's lazy and not because a hard working Bulgarian man is infinitely more qualified, surely I can hope for a game to feature an Islamic protagonist or a black main character? Surely, in the same way video games need to step up their representation of women they need to be more inclusive of other races and religions? 

A multicultural world filled with different languages, religions and ideology is something we are so close to attaining and Britain is at the forefront of that. Walk down a crowded street in England and you'll see people from all over the world. It's fantastic, forward thinking and inclusive. Ours is a country that strives to acknowledge that mankind is more important than nationality and that all major religions have a violent minority but are actually about peace, love and morality. That ambition is hampered on a daily basis from all angles, from politicians to journalists to the average Joe. If a video game, a multi-million dollar, multi-million selling video game could capture that then I feel like the industry would be better off and maybe a few more people might be inclined to think about how they view others and who is really to blame for our problems. 

1 comment:

  1. Applaud your last paragraph.