Video games play a key role in the prevalence of racial stereotypes and formation of race- related perceptions. A study on “playing with prejudice: The prevalence and consequences of racial stereotypes in video games” by Melinda C. R. Burgess ,Karen E. Dill, S. Paul Stermer, Stephen R. Burgess and Brian P. Brown which was published in 2011 in the Media Psychology clearly states that video games play a crucial role in the formation and prevalence of racial stereotypes. While Melinda C. R. Burgess and others focus majorly on the influence of video games in the prevalence of stereotypes, they overlook the originality of racial prejudices and the influence of society, families and other forms of media in forming of racial prejudices but only address how video games strengthen already formed stereotypes.
In their article, the authors conducted 3 studies which all strengthened the fact that video games contribute a lot in the prevalence of racial stereotypes. African American males are majorly portrayed in video games as being aggressive, violent and as athletes who are likely to engage in crime and unwarranted aggression and use of abusive language. Majority of Asian and Hispanics are also portrayed as likely to engage in extreme violence. Video games tend to favor white males as they are only depicted to engage in technological affairs and in socially warranted violence such as wars. The authors continue to discuss how different races and genders are depicted in video games but the prevailing ethos common in the article is that different races and genders are stereotyped and prejudiced.
Throughout the article, the authors use many strong statements and sources that support and strengthen their argument on the influence of video games in prevalence of racial stereotypes. Some of the sources used include “D. M. Amodio and P.G. Devine” study conducted in 2008 on “stereotyping and evaluation in implicit race bias: Evidence for independent constructs and unique effects on behavior” and “P. Barrett” study in 2006 on “White thumbs, black bodies: Race, violence, and neoliberal fantasies in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.” Citing the above sources and use of other expert researches strengthen the authors’ arguments. The authors’ goes on to indicate that “this research suggests that exposure to stereotypical imagery in the media can alter social judgments, such as deciding that a case of sexual harassment is less serious or requires less action against the perpetrator.” further supporting their argument and further driving the point home CITATION Bur11 p 291 l 1033 (Burgess, Dill and Stermer 291). Adding to their argument, the writers further illustrate that “after seeing negative racial stereotypes in video game magazines, players may experience failures in reality monitoring and may believe that they have had actual stereotype-confirming experiences.” thus confirming that video games strengthen racial stereotypes (Burgess, et al 297).
However the authors bring on a rather interesting discussion further in the paper that tends to divert from their argument. This is represented when the author illustrates that “the exposure to disliked Blacks and admirable White exemplars does not yield any differences in implicit attitudes when compared to a group of students who have been exposed to racially neutral primes” (308). This statement tend to illustrate that video games rarely change people views towards certain races or mode of thinking and only seek to strengthen or weaken their view or mode of processing information. This means that racial prejudices are formed at an early stage and are only strengthened through exposure to society. Majority of video games players are aged 7 to 19 years. This group of people has already been exposed to already existing prejudices and when they are being introduced to video games they have already formed stereotypes towards certain races. These stereotypes are only confirmed or disapproved by video games. The article highlights that exposure to racial stereotypes in real life situations tends to have more effect on the person compared to other forms of media. Media and video games only serve to build or discredit already formed stereotypes. This view is represented when the authors illustrate that “the stories told about minorities through games and gaming media are largely told by underrepresentation and overreliance on stereotypes.” (308).
Video game like any other form of media depicts how a society is shaped. They pass messages to their audiences. The messages being passed on by video games is stereotypical and negatively affects how the consumers interact in the real world. Though the authors of the article clearly argue the influence of video games in the formation and prevalence of racial stereotypes, they cannot downplay the role played by society and families. The article builds a very strong argument on the influence of video games on racial stereotypes but they also appreciate that the process of formation of stereotypes is complex and cannot be tied singlehandedly to the influence of video games since society and how they are structured plays a role which cannot be ignored.
BIBLIOGRAPHY Burgess, Melinda C. R., et al. “Playing With Prejudice: The Prevalence and Consequences of Racial Stereotypes in Video Games.” Media Psychology 14.3 (2011): 289-311.