New book claims video games 'perpetuate injustice'

Toni Airaksinen
New York Campus Correspondent

  • A forthcoming book, written in part by a professor who started an "#EquityinGaming Lab," encourages readers to practice "woke gaming" while warning about video games that "perpetuate injustice."
  • The book, however, takes hope in the "diverse perspectives hidden within gaming culture," which can "reveal the power and potential for marginalized communities to resist."
  • Two professors are warning in a forthcoming anthology that video games and gaming culture “perpetuate injustice” and hurt “marginalized bodies.” 

    Woke Gaming: Digital Challenges to Oppression and Social Justice” is edited by Kishonna Gray, a professor at Arizona State University, and David J. Leonard, who teaches classes on social justice and black studies at Washington State University. 

    “Video games perpetuate injustice and [mirror] those inequities and violence that permeate society."   

    [RELATED: Prof blasts ‘toxic meritocracy’ of ‘competitive’ video games] 

    “From #GamerGate to the 2016 election, to the daily experiences of marginalized perspectives, the ways gaming is entangled with mainstream cultures of systematic exploitation and oppression is clear,” Gray and Leonard write in the book description. 

    “Video games perpetuate injustice and [mirror] those inequities and violence that permeate society,” they continue, explaining that “video games encode the injustices that pervade society as a whole.” 

    However, while the book is premised on the contention that video games reinforce racism and sexism, it ultimately seeks to shed light on gamers’ strategies for breaking this paradigm. 

    “The growing diversity in contemporary video games, diverseness of gamers, and diverse perspectives hidden within gaming culture, reveal the power and potential for marginalized communities to resist,” the description adds. 

    The forthcoming book, which will be published by the University of Washington Press, is an official project of Gray’s #EquityinGaming Lab, which dedicates itself to “marginalized perspectives” in gaming. 

    [RELATED: Profs use video games to teach about ‘white privilege’] 

    Her lab’s manifesto asks the academic community to take gamers more seriously, urges developers to reduce their use of stereotypes when creating characters, and wants “all forms of gaming taken seriously.” 

    Campus Reform reached out to  Gray, Leonard, and Arizona State University for comment, but did not receive a response in time for publication.

    Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @Toni_Airaksinen

    Toni Airaksinen

    Toni Airaksinen

    New York Campus Correspondent
    Toni Airaksinen is a New York Campus Correspondent, where she reports on free speech issues and social justice research. She is a senior at Barnard College, majoring in Urban Studies and Environmental Science. She is also a columnist for PJ Media, and formerly held a post with USA TODAY College, The Columbia Spectator, and Quillette.
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