Video games are a fun pastime that almost anyone can take part in. However, there are elements to video games that reinforce negative stereotypes about women of all races and minorities. There have been Internet critics like Anita Sarkeesian who spoke volumes about the dangers of video games and how people are perceived in the stories. With that being said, there are positive Black characters out there. But stereotypes, for the most part, drive the narratives of many games such as Grand Theft Auto.
In a lot of video games, Black characters have the meanest faces and tend to be viewed as the most aggressive and violent, even if they are doing the exact same thing as whites. According to Brad Bushman, professor of communication and psychology at The Ohio State University, “Playing a violent video game as a black character reinforces harmful stereotypes that blacks are violent.” In his study, he learned that white players saw Black people to be more violent.
In the first of two experiments, 126 white university students, 60 percent of them men, played the action game Saints Row 2. Some were given a white avatar, the others a Black avatar. Some players had a violent goal, and others a nonviolent one.
Researchers found that the volunteers who played with the violent goal as a Black character “showed stronger explicit negative attitudes toward blacks” compared to volunteers who pursued the violent goal with the white character.