According to a recent study by Professor Dmitri Williams, there’s an alarming lack of racial diversity when it comes to video game characters.
The study, which took place at the University of Southern California, compared ethnic diversities across 150 games and 9 platforms and found that less than 3% of characters were Hispanic, while African Americans accounted for just under 11% of the grand total at 10.74%.
The study also found that Native Americans and bi-racial characters weren’t featured whatsoever. Unsurprisingly, the majority of African American characters that were notable conformed to stereotypes, such as athletes or gangsters.
However, Williams notes that there’s probably nothing ‘insidious’ about his findings. “It’s more direct than that.” He commented on the study. “People make media about their own experience, so the games are a reflection of the game makers, who are not a representative sample of the population.”
Meanwhile, further information indicates that African Americans and Hispanic people are more likely to play video games than Caucasians, yet aren’t as involved in the games development industry itself. In an industry predominantly manned and run by white men, many argue that perhaps this is a side effect of the situation, while others point to an institutional bias and inequality of opportunity in the tech industries.