As racial projects, video games legitimize white masculinity and hegemonic ideology through the ‘othering’ process. This is performed via pixelated minstrelsy by depicting Black and Brown bodies as objects to be destroyed and women as bodies to be dominated. The mediated story of Black characters is limited and situated within buffoonery (comedy) or crime and gaming is not exempt. Media outlets have created essentialist notions about Blackness and what it means to have an ‘authentic’ Black experience. And because there are limited counter-narratives, this singular story only confirms hegemonic notions of what it means to be Black.
Dr. Kishonna Gray is visiting MIT as a MLK Scholar and Assistant Professor for the 2016-17 academic year. Additionally, she is a fellow at the Berkman-Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, and a Faculty Visitor at the Social Media Collective at Microsoft Research (Cambridge). Her work broadly intersects identity and digital media with a particular focus on video games and gaming culture. By examining game context and culture, her most recent book, Race, Gender, & Deviance in Xbox Live, examines the reality of women and people of color in one of the largest gaming communities.