I play this really nifty game called League of Legends. Its time-killing entertainment that requires a bit of cleverness and quick-witted playing style– where teams of five are pitted against one another in a battle to claim and destroy the enemy base. Fun fun. One of my favorite champions is Ashe, a bow wielding archer in all her animated glory. The graphics are quite lovely and its free to play, though you may opt to use real cash to purchase an assortment of champions.
I have only one major gripe about this game: the lack of diversity in the champion designs. Most of these champions are as white as snow, not a single champion of darker hue. Except Evelynn, who is blue and from planet Kolob for all I know. There are a few Asian champs but they’re few and far in between. I wonder why that is? Sure, it shouldn’t be a big deal but when I consider my own childhood and the barrage of white dolls received that made me feel diminished and irrelevant, it is.
Young black kids play this game. Young people of all ethnicity. I play this game. I have seen firsthand how ugly it becomes during battles, where racist taunts are hurled to and fro like candy, for even the slightest of infractions that have little to do with one’s melanin content. I’ve heard players (Summoners, as they’re referenced in LoL) state that black people don’t and don’t know how to play the game. I suppose we don’t like golf, or swimming or bungee jumping and all other things ‘true’ Americans enjoy. The exclusion of ethnic champions from the roster only attributes to the false perception that black people, and other people of color, are predictable and disinterested sheep, a sideshow and not to be included or taken seriously. An ‘other’.
Ignorance runs rampant through the gamer world. Only through broad inclusion can we change or erase such close-minded views and yes, even something as silly as a game can promote prejudice. If a game or program can foster prejudice, it can certainly do just the opposite. We have to expose people to ‘other’ people, so much that our differences began to mean very little at all. Diversity is one of the keys to accessing equality.
So back to whiny-mode. Can we have just one black champion? Someone cool, with a sword and a cape and a bad ass daemon that follows them around snacking on enemies? Black guys can be heroes too, I’m just saying. 😦 The hero isn’t always the white guy, even if most movies and games support and enforce that way of thinking.
If I were a conspiracy theorist, I’d say it were by design. Oh wait…
I am weary of stereotypes that root blacks in a special category. So persists the idea that other groups or whites in general, cannot relate to us. Well– they can. We’re quirky and nerdy and we like skydiving, technology and putting carrots up our friend’s noses while they’re asleep. We cry at movies, play RPGs, watch Braveheart several times a year and are patriotic Americans, not mindless drones in search of a leader. We giggle and say ‘like’ a LOT. We like golf and hockey and NASCAR. If anyone thinks otherwise, they’re not looking hard enough. As for minorities that shy away from certain things, it does happen and is often a result of their limited options in life. Environment. Culture. Fear and insecurity. For hundreds of years, blacks weren’t even allowed to participate in many things. The mind can become a prison when fear of reprisal and rejection supersedes curiosity and a sense of adventure. That same fear has oft reduced me to a quivering jellyfish when I attempt to do new things, things no one expects a BLACK girl would be into– and this girl is into a lot of neat things. Like really, a black girl that is a hardcore gamer, loves sci-fi and lists The Lord of the Rings as her favorite movie series of all time? Unheard of. 😛