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Video Game Shows Stereotyping

Discussion in 'Issues Around the World' started by ethics, Dec 11, 2002.

  1. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    Asked to make split-second decisions about whether black or white male figures in a video game were holding guns, people were more likely to conclude mistakenly that the black men were armed and to shoot them, a series of new studies reports.

    Researchers have found that the rapid reaction rates needed to win at video games also <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2002/12/10/health/psychology/10RACE.html">outs ingrained stereotypes</a>, and are using these tests to show prejudicial behavior among police.

    In effect, most white people will shoot at a black man that may have a gun than at a white man in the same situation.

    Researchers argue about what conclusions may be drawn at this point in time, but an interesting point is put forward by Dr. Anthony Greenwald from the University of Washington:

    "We live in a sea of associations. Lots of people have the automatic race stereotypes, but far fewer people are what we would call prejudiced, if we understand prejudice as intentional discrimination against some group."

    What, then, is the relationship between 'automatic race stereotypes' and 'intentional discrimination'? Can one excuse shooting an unarmed black man by saying that one has an automatic racial stereotype, and would never intentionally act in a prejudicial way toward that person?
  2. Misu

    Misu Hey, I saw that.

    <i>Can one excuse shooting an unarmed black man by saying that one has an automatic racial stereotype, and would never intentionally act in a prejudicial way toward that person?</i>

    Bull ish. Prejudice is prejudice is prejudice, and we all have it ingrained in us, in one form or another, against at least one group or another. To chalk it up to 'automatic race stereotypes' and excusing a violent action because of it, is IMHO, wrong.
  3. claire

    claire Registered User

    Dito for me:)
  4. Coriolis

    Coriolis Bob's your uncle

    Excellent point for discussion, and a very tough question indeed.

    Automatic racial stereotypes, and clearly not only respect to blacks, are something I think we all fight on a daily basis. I know I do. And while I work hard to rid myself of the racial prejudices I grew up with I still find it rearing its ugly head from time to time.

    But even if those stereotypes are somehow ingrained into our culture they cannot be used to excuse behavior that might otherwise be punishable. If they are excusable, then we've crossed into intentional discrimination.
  5. Misu

    Misu Hey, I saw that.

    Coriolis, I think you nailed it on the head - you recognize these ingrained prejudices, and you make a conscious effort to not follow their protocol in your behavior.

    Perhaps law enforcement officers need special training, to teach them how to recognize this and how to make conscious efforts to not behave in a prejudice manner.
  6. BigDeputyDog

    BigDeputyDog Straight Shootin Admin Staff Member

    Misu, I can't vouch for the training received by police officers in Florida, but in this neck of the woods we already have it... It is called "Sensitivity Training"...

    BDD... :{)
  7. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    Very good point. I think this is what needs to be ingrained in to the training.
  8. jamming

    jamming Banned

    Number one, quit using those damn NYT Articles, I don't want to register there.

    Number two can you tell me if this is the same regardless to the race of the shooter? So do Black Shooters, shoot blacks more often? Or is this just another example of blaming whites for societal preconditioning? Which means that you are able to tell better about motives among your own racial groups.
  9. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    Blacks shot blacks more than whites. Although not sure if NYT mentioned that.

    And NYT has some pretty good articles. Not necessarily I agree with but great to discuss there.

    Create a silly log in and log in once and that's that. :)
  10. jamming

    jamming Banned

    Nope Sorry, use a better source of information :p
  11. Ravenink

    Ravenink Veteran Member

    If the object of this study was to show that we all have certain prejudiced views ingrained in ourselves...then I counter with Well Duh.

    If the object of this study was to show that shooting a black person is more acceptable than a white person due to ingrained natural response or whatever the PC term used above was, then I say horsecrap.

    If the object of this study was to show that the police need more/better sensitivity training, I would suggest that this study is about 30 years too late.

    Overall, I am not sure I see the point of that study at all...and is a video game really the best way to conduct this type of test to begin with? I think not.
  12. Domh

    Domh Full Member

    Im not trying to throw flames on a fire with this comment, just extending the level of this discourse:

    The last figures I saw show that young African-American males commit the vast majority of violent crimes. Our prison system is primarily occupied by young African-American men, doing time for violent crimes.

    1 - Is this information correct?

    2 - If so, are people reacting to the fact that a certain demographic is more likely to victimize them?

    3 - If the information above is NOT correct, is the common reaction a holdover from when, if ever, it was?

    4 - If the information is NOT correct, what is it about young African-American Males that elicits this reaction?

    If it is simply learned behavior - why are parents teaching their children to be afraid of a certain demographic, if they have never had issues with them?

    My problem with the 'racial stereotyping' explanation is that it is simplistic. It fails to explain WHY the stereotype exists, and simply runs with the assumption that 'we are all racists'.
  13. Frodo Lives

    Frodo Lives Luke, I am NOT your father!

    One of my cousins, in Georgia, was fired to refusing to work with a couple black men. She was called racist and hateful. They gave no regard to why she didn't want to work with black men. Plain and simple, she is afraid of them. Why? She was a victim of attempted rape, a carjacking, robbery, and witnessed her best friend being shot - all by black men. She has a damn good reason to act the way she does, but it doesn't seem to matter to some people.
  14. btdude

    btdude Veteran Member

    It is interesting that in video games, it is a cool thing to have a white guy or gal shooting at monsters, bad guys, and zombies, whereas in the real world, it is not uncommon to find that it is the black person who has the weaponry and is the one doing the shooting. It's like it is a glamor thing in the vid world, or something. Actually, now that I think about it, why is it ok for a white guy to shoot guns and carry other weapons when it is time to go hunting or when they are looking for a suspect, and it is not exactly a cool thing when a black man does the same? HMMM
  15. Frodo Lives

    Frodo Lives Luke, I am NOT your father!

    I am not sure what you mean, please explain.
  16. Steve

    Steve Is that it, then?

    This sort of study always begs further scrutiny. For instance, what steps were taken in the creation of the video game to ensure that skin color was the only variable? Were identical scenarios played out where the <u>only</u> difference was the race of the "suspect"?

    If not, then this study is open to interpretation. How can we be sure that unconcious decisions weren't made by the programmers that placed the "black suspects" in scenarios more likely to result in shootings? In other words, can we be absolutely certain that all preconceived stereotypes and racist tendencies on the part of the game programmers and designers were factored out of the game?

    Of course not. We can be no more sure of that than we can that such tendencies are completely eradicated from ourselves.

    The best that we can do is acknowledge that we all have prejudices to some degree or another and that the only way to overcome them is to treat each individual with whom we interact <u>as an individual</u>, not as some stereotypical caricature generated by our preconceived notions.

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