I’m a black. Nothing will change that and nothing needs to change that. While I am fortunate enough not to have experienced racism first-hand, I see it all around me. There is not much I can do but be safe and live my life to the fullest. But as someone who has made the world of video games, and writing about video games, a part of his life, I have a responsibility to speak up on what being black in this world feels like.
Being black feels like not being able to see yourself in the heroes you play as. It means often seeing caricatures representing people of color, and having to rely on games that let you create your own. It also means eagerly awaiting the few moments when characters of color are the protagonist and represented well. It means there is not enough representation for black men, women, and women of color.
Diversity is important. I grow tired of seeing the cliché white male protagonist. Not just because I want more black or female protagonist, but because when I look around me that is all I see. I see the same character type over and over again and it grows boring. I yearn to play as someone different.
Representation is important. I know it’s important by the look in my 10-year-old brother’s eyes when he saw Marvel’s Falcon and Black Panther on screen for the first time. The look that showed him that he could be a hero too.
Moving beyond the controller, representation means seeing black and female game developers making waves and moving through the video game industry. Showing younger generations that yes, they too can be game designers. That they can influence the industry, make games that are fun, and tell stories that only people of color, women, and others can tell.
Yes, representation and diversity are growing. Games like The Walking Dead, Mass Effect, Tomb Raider, and even Grand Theft Auto make me proud. But they come once in a blue moon, and it’s important that we push for more. So much more that one day it isn’t noticeable that we are a minority anymore. So, if you see me on Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr complaining that there aren’t enough black people or women in my video games, you now know why.