Facebook forks over $75K to Georgia State for anti-racist virtual reality simulation

Facebook gave Georgia State University $75,000 to make an "immersive and interactive" film about racism.

The narrative film project will cover "snide comments, hostile attitudes, and other racist behavior."

Facebook gave Georgia State University $75,000 to create a narrative film experience about racism.

Georgia State University's School of Public Health received the grant from Facebook Reality Labs — the technology company’s virtual reality arm — to “create a narrative film that will be an immersive and interactive online platform for combating racial injustice.”

The initiative is meant to “increase viewers’ empathy and enhance their understanding of racism and structural inequality" through augmented and virtual reality technologies.

With the help of Georgia State’s Creative Media Industries Institute, the film will feature ten holographic recordings of “Black and Brown individuals describing their experiences related to racism and racial injustice.” The film will also include “interactive calls to action” such as “share,” “confront someone,” or “start a conversation.”

[RELATED: WVU paid LGBTQ+ students to make their own intersectionality training]

“Empathy is the key to dismantling racism,” said School of Public Health professor Laura Salazar in the press release. “Our goal is to use the power of personal narratives deployed in virtual or augmented reality to create an affecting and widely accessible advocacy platform that engenders empathy and moves us in the direction of racial equity.”

Georgia State University is not the first postsecondary institution to experiment with virtual reality programs designed to forward particular viewpoints about racism.

For instance, Campus Reform reported in February that researchers at the University of Arizona’s “Anti-Racism Extended Reality Studio” will create realistic digital scenarios that cause participants to experience discrimination.

[RELATED: UA researchers use virtual reality to advance 'systemic racism' narrative]

Participants may be exposed to snide comments, hostile attitudes, and other racist behavior. Another scenario may involve an interaction with a police officer.

Campus Reform reached out to Facebook and Georgia State University for comment; this article will be updated accordingly.

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