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Games As the Great Unifier 104

OGX writes "In this racially divided world, who or what can step up and bridge the gap among people? Oddly enough, the answer comes from pop videogame technology. The anonymity of online gaming has made personal characteristics secondary to a game skill set. Michelle Dalrymple explores how online gaming vaults the issue of race in this editorial at OGX." From the article: "The computer/video console acts as a filter, extracting out any issues of race and placing emphasis on how quickly one can respond by selecting the correct button. Let's take a look at how this plays out in the online gaming world. As with any MMOG - character selection is core to the game play, and while one may have a skin color choice, usually appearance is tied to some imaginary 'race,' an arbitrary figure generator pulled from fantasy and folklore. It gives the idea of race a whole new meaning. What do fellow gamers care what race you the player really are, as long as your elf ranger or human mage can complete the task?"
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Games As the Great Unifier

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  • Still far to go (Score:3, Insightful)

    by the_demiurge ( 26115 ) on Thursday September 21, 2006 @02:42PM (#16155599) Homepage
    If this was really the case, why do I see so many racial slurs being thrown around in an average game of Counterstrike, not to mention the nearly ubiquitous use of "gay" as a pejorative.
  • Re:Still far to go (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Apocalypse111 ( 597674 ) on Thursday September 21, 2006 @02:48PM (#16155648) Journal
    This is the dark side of online anonymity - freedom from reprocussions if you want to act like an asshat. Fortunatly, many games also allow you to mute the input from obnoxious players, so you don't have to deal with them beyond that. Many other servers also let you kick those players with a majority vote. Worst case scenario, you can always jump to a different server - however, so can they.
  • by kalirion ( 728907 ) on Thursday September 21, 2006 @03:12PM (#16155872)
    As far as I'm concerned, the world would be a much better place with a little less nationalism.
  • Re:Racists in WoW (Score:3, Insightful)

    by RotJ ( 771744 ) on Thursday September 21, 2006 @03:49PM (#16156228) Journal
    If a dwarf and a night elf only had cosmetic differences and had the capacity to perform the same tasks equally well, then it would be racist to choose dwarves over night elves. But that's not the case, so this gets tricky.

    If in real life, practicioners of a certain profession who are of a certain race have two magical skills unique to their race that members of other races cannot learn, is it racist to make hiring decisions based on those magical skills?
  • by testadicazzo ( 567430 ) on Thursday September 21, 2006 @04:25PM (#16156549) Homepage
    If somebody harms your country or fellow citizen, sacrifice your time to capture and bring to justice the guilty party.
    Me, I think it would be better to sacrafice your time to try to heal the harm that was done.
  • Re:Still far to go (Score:3, Insightful)

    by xappax ( 876447 ) on Thursday September 21, 2006 @10:31PM (#16158571)
    You're right that when people call $thing "gay", they usually don't mean that $thing is attracted to things of it's own gender. But, they almost always mean that $thing is stupid, wimpy, obnoxious, or otherwise bad.

    Like, let's say we decided to use the term "Thansal" as an insult. If we got fragged due to lag, we'd say our internet connection was "acting like Thansal". Of course, if you got offended, we'd argue that we of course don't literally mean that our internet connection was acting like's just an expression with it's own meaning. But the fact that we chose your name to represent bad shit that we hate...well, that could be seen as pretty disrespectful.

    Maybe you personally wouldn't care, and I might not either, but I can understand why people might be pissed that a word describing a sensitive part of their identity is used in such a negative way.
  • by ZombieRoboNinja ( 905329 ) on Friday September 22, 2006 @02:31AM (#16159235)
    "There is one avenue of harmony that seems to pervade all people, regardless of race, color, creed and ethnicity. It is a unifying factor that calls to it men and women, young and old, from every stretch of the nation and the world beyond. It is the world of games - particularly video/online games."

    Except the vast majority of gamers are white males. I like how the article writer's counter to this is that IN ADVERTISEMENTS AND MOVIES, there are a lot of non-whites playing video games... interesting metric there.

    And except that most online gaming communities are fuller of racist swears than any real-world place I've seen - probably mostly from bored preteens trying to get a rise out of people by saying Something Naughty, but still.

    And except that as soon as any actual evidence of race or ethnicity comes into the mix - as soon as people find out someone is gay or female or black or whatever "IRL" - you're stuck with the same old racial stereotypes and assumptions again. Usually amplified because of the aforementioned intolerant attitude of gaming communities.

The only possible interpretation of any research whatever in the `social sciences' is: some do, some don't. -- Ernest Rutherford