Two Illinois professors are using “social justice video games” created by high school students to teach about “white privilege” and “police misconduct” in their classrooms.
The game, developed by Steven Ciampaglia, a Northern Illinois University professor, and Kerry Richardson, a professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, intends to assist teens in creating “social issue video games as a platform for community dialogue.”
Professors began working with 13 teens from Chicago’s South Side in the summer of 2015 to produce a succession of art video games surrounding modern social issues such as “white privilege, racial profiling, peer pressure, and others,” according to their website.
The games were revealed to the public at the Hyde Park Art Center in Chicago that summer, where individuals could play parts of the game such as “Can You Serve and Protect?”
One part of the game is called “Growing Up Black in Chicago.” The description reads, “I am African American and I see on the news how the police are killing my kind.”
“It kind of hurts me and I want to just change that to make a better world, for not only my community, but for everybody else,” the description continues.
“Video games are clearly attractive to teens in our experience running community art programs,” they said, adding that teenagers have said they want to learn how to make them. “We designed this project to capitalize on this allure by using the new media art conception of video games to—known as art games—as a medium for social justice.”
The professors received $20,000 in “unrestricted project support” from the nonprofit A Blade of Grass in addition to a one-year fellowship, according to their 2015 Fellows for Socially Engaged Art announcement.
Notably, the nonprofit released a video earlier this year which shows students condemning the concept of “white people programming the games” that are released to the public, urging more women and minorities to be involved in the video game industry.
“The game is engaging people and putting them into this place where they’re forced to consider [these social justice issues],” Professor Richardson argues in the video.
(H/T: Campus Reform)