Observations of an Invisible Woman

Video Game Violence & the Effect on Black Children

When I was growing up, my friends and I would jump rope, play hopscotch and roller skate to entertain ourselves. We talked about boys we had crushes on, teachers we didn’t like and what we wanted to be when we grew up. We bonded through communication. We looked at each other, listened to the sound and tone of voices and communicated via facial expression.

TV was minimal. But that was then. This is now.

Perhaps Atari is to be blamed for the breakdown of conversation. Or maybe we just changed with the times and no longer need mental stimulation but the adrenaline rush of blowing someones head into pieces. I first began to notice that something was changing when the video games I knew as a small child began to change, ever so slowly, into increasingly violent and provocative fantasies for children.

Women were being beaten, cursed out and raped. Then the dialogue came into play and it was destructive, disrespectful and down right nasty. Then came the games for a certain popluation…we all know who…that depicted black males robbing people, stealing cars and killing each other with guns. Those flew off the shelves overnight. In fact, putting a “M” on the cover guaranteed multibillion dollar sales annually. But what did that do to our kids and the perception of Coloureds in the country? And moreover, what did that do to our ability to communicate when all we do now is push buttons on a hard piece of plastic?

My Supposition:

1. Since we live in a supremacist society that is rooted in perception, designing video games that depict violence with a black male lead only reinforces the stereotype of the Black Brute.

2. Mental stimulation in the form of discussion, like the one you and I are having now on this blog, teaches us to un-learn the brainwashing, rewire our thought processes and grow educationally and spiritually. Video games (not all are bad, some are quite educational but aren’t as popular) diminishes that. It lowers our verbal and reasoning skills thusly giving in, albeit unknowingly, to the traps that plagues this society.

3. Sitting all day, on the couch, puttering away on some piece of plastic increases our risk for obesity and all other obesity-related illnesses.

4. Money is taken out of your pockets and is pumped into an already wealthy company like: Nintendo, Sony and Sega…all Japanese based mega-corps.

Now…here’s my question:

Does the violence our black children learn by playing video games “prep” them for a life of crime? Can children be taught that killing, maiming and raping others is a socially acceptable behaviour? And who bears the brunt of the responsibility for this violent trend? The company or the parents?

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38 thoughts on “Video Game Violence & the Effect on Black Children

  1. Pingback: Video Game Violence & the Effect on Black Children | Innerstanding Isness

  2. SomeGuy on said:

    I used to be a big gamer. Now, I play only a few select games. There are two points I’d like to make.

    The first is a clarification and a point of frustration for me for many years. Video game companies almost never use Blacks as main characters in these games. The last time I’ve actually seen it is with one of the GTA iterations and many White boys complained about having to play a Black man.

    I want more Black lead characters in video games, but the problem is that White people in America have been conditioned so that they cannot emotionally identify with people of other ethnicities/races. As soon as Whites see a Black face on that cover box, they “press skip” and move on to the next game. It basically throwing years of work (and money) that it takes to produce these games, right in the shitter.

    The second point is that I don’t think video games prep anyone for crime or violence. Video games are just a fancy version of a kid’s imagination. When kids play Cowboys and Indians and run around pretending to shoot and kill each other, I hardly think that it’s affecting them in any lingering fashion. Video games are just a more technical version of this behavior.

    I think the main preparation for crime and violence is child neglect and abuse at the hands of the parents. That causes more damage to a child’s psyche than video games ever could. As a matter of fact, one could make the argument that with some of the more combat oriented video games, violent children play them to express their frustration rather than the actual game initiating the aggressive behavior.

    Remember, aggressive people engage in aggressive entertainment: sports, hunting, guns, shooter video games, etc. Such people rarely find enjoyment in knitting.

  3. @ Someguy

    Great response.


    When does “expressing frustration” end and shooting people at school begin? If aggressive people find entertainment in aggressive sports, isn’t the fantastical aspect of seeing someone getting murdered and raped just fueling the fire?

  4. SomeGuy on said:

    Can’t the same person just read a violent book? Look at violent art? Listen to violent music? Just use his own imagination to fantasize about violent acts?

    I don’t know how much influence a game would be (yes, probably some), but I’m fairly certain if someone is angry enough to shoot up a school, there is a deeper issue involved than video games.

  5. @ Someguy

    Ok. Fair enough and I agree. And yes, putting black lead characters in games doesn’t fly with the target audience. One more thing, funny how video game developers have no trouble with using black males for confrontation but cannot use them as lead representations.

  6. Because art imitates life. Black men are the national boogeymen of the country. Occassionally a Black man is represented positively, but the negatives far outweigh the positives.

  7. moorbey on said:

    Mu -Afrikanz and violence are want YT have indoctrinated us and their own to believe and truth be told if we we were used as good examplez in gamez those same games will not make money

  8. @ Mickey

    Why is the white man not seen as the boogeyman? I mean, isn’t he the antagonist who kills and rapes? Isn’t the White man the maker of these fantasies?

  9. @ Moorbey

    I think you just answered my question friend.

  10. Pingback: Video Game Violence & the Effect on Black Children – diaryofanegress | All About Game

  11. As our friend says in network, the tube is the parent. Furthermore, since people exists within structural contexts it would be difficult to implicate parental patterns without reference to the broader landscape. As for violence, what about the violence involved in appropriating funds from common people from the sanctity of detached yet reputable institutions. Who teaches these people that type of violence . What about the psychological lynchings which teachers execute in school rooms. Who teaches them that? etc etc . My point; I wouldnt be quick to connect our children with pathology

  12. Kushite Prince on said:

    My sisters and I played video games when we were kids. It was mostly games like Duck Hunt,Pac-Man and Donkey Kong. We had Atari then my father bought us Nintendo and we were in heaven!lol But the games were nowhere near as sick and violent! The games today have gotten much worse over the years. I think parents have to really monitor what their kids watch on television but also read the labels on these video games.Most of the bad effects of video games are blamed on the violence they contain. Children who play more violent video games are more likely to have increased aggressive thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, and decreased prosocial helping, according to many scientific studies. The effect of video game violence in kids is worsened by the games’ interactive nature. In many games, kids are rewarded for being more violent. The act of violence is done repeatedly. The child is in control of the violence and experiences the violence in his own eyes (killings, kicking, stabbing and shooting). This active participation, repetition and reward are effective tools for learning behavior. Indeed, many studies seem to indicate that violent video games may be related to aggressive behavior. However, the evidence is not consistent and this issue is far from settled. I remember reading somewhere that there is a decreased rate of juvenile crime which coincides with the popularity of games such as Death Race, Mortal Kombat, Doom and Grand Theft auto. This would mean that teenage players are able to leave the emotional effects of the game behind when the game is over. Indeed there are cases of teenagers who commit violent crimes who also spend great amount of time playing video games such as those involved in the Columbine and Newport cases. It appears that there will always be violent people, and it just so happen that many of them also enjoy playing violent video games. But I think it’s not only video games. It’s sick gory films,comic books,vulgar music and television shows. American culture has pretty much embraced all that is sick and ungodly. That’s why many of today’s children are acting out in such strange anti-social nature. You reap what you sow.

  13. @ Omalone

    I’m not connecting our kids with pathology, I’m just wondering how that affects our psyche to see “us” killing our own.

  14. @ Prince

    That was the best explanation of this topic I’ve ever read.

  15. SomeGuy on said:

    I have a much different approach towards the topic. Humans are naturally violent. They don’t need video games, books, movies, songs or any type of media to express or enhance their violent tendencies. I think many people see such media as things that stimulate a violent response. On the contrary, I see it as religion, laws, social mores, etc as things that suppress the natural urge of violence. If anything is true, violent video games may allow this natural aggression to resurface and without a proper channel, the effects can be devastating to the individual and his victims.

  16. @ Someguy

    Interesting perspective…let me stew on this for a minute before I answer.

  17. @ Someguy

    Ok….so you think that we’re naturally violent but religion and laws are used to suppress our hostile urges? And games give us a healthy outlet?

    Ok…..Then how would you explain how we functioned as a society before laws and God? And as for healthy expressions of violence via video games? Ok…I can certainly understand that as well.

  18. I think there have always been some sort of rules and religion, in one form or another, to keep people from being excessively violent. There is also the natural suppression in the form of a conscience. I don’t really think healthy people are naturally excessively violent; I just believe that without some natural and “artificial” safeguards, we would be living in a slightly different world.

  19. mary burrell on said:

    Well these are my thoughts. When the next nutjob shoots up a movie theater, shoots up the classroom and classmates. And we ask “What happened”?

  20. mary burrell on said:

    This is off topic. But will you consider doing a post on young black males dying for $200-300.00 Nikes. It is my belief that Nike is targeting a certain demographic. Many young men have died being robbed and killed by another kid, for these over priced shoes. I think Michael Jordan and Lebron James need to be accountable.

  21. tehnoun on said:

    It’s like you knew I was about to do a post like this so you went and did it better than I could. =P

    Anyway, I’d say the sickness of this industry came about when it started trying to imitate film (especially action films) more closely. Since a lot of action films are basically violence for the sake of violence, games started being less about “Stop the evil bad guy” and became more about “KILL EVERYONE YOU SEE IN THE FLASHIEST WAY POSSIBLE!” While there are some companies who are clearly making an effort to avoid that (Like Nintendo, Mojang, and Valve among others), there are way too many companies making the next Grand Theft Auto or Modern Warfare clone BUT WITH MORE CHAINSAW!

    And I’d say the possible problems this could cause to children are equally the faults of both parents and companies. The former for not monitoring what their kids are playing more closely, the latter for often actively attempting to market these things to kids.

  22. Kushite Prince on said:

    Thanks,I appreciate that. It’s just how I see it. Others may disagree.

  23. mary burrell on said:

    Well my last comment and it has something to do with the toopic at hand. I noticed a lot of coworkers were really into that one video game Grand Theft Auto. I saw that and it was very violent. Some of the coworkers were buying that for themselves and their children. I’m ignorant about gaming. But why would you want your kids internalizing that kind of violence and misogyny? It was very telling of who they were as people.

  24. Morning folks…

    Sorry to be late responding but I’m in a bad mood today. I woke up feeling as low as can be so pardon my lack of enthusiasm.

    The more I study the way violence is lionized in our culture, particularly the way that it targets and indoctrinates kids, the more I realize that we as blacks need to keep a tighter reign on what our kids hear, read and see.

    Since we’re prey to the system we need to be more watchful for the pitfalls so we don’t become their next victims.

    @ tehnoun

    Great comments…child monitoring is key.

    @ Miss Mary

    The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

  25. Behold a new game from a new company called PaPo & Yo. The game takes place in Brazil and the lead is a–now get this–little Black boy and his not ignorant I’ll leave the link. http://www.weareminority.com/papo-yo/

  26. Confusing but also interesting.

  27. SomeGuy on said:

  28. SomeGuy on said:

    This one is even worse!

  29. as Joe Adams would say, it nurtures the view that “whites” are not the problem, and instead, means that the victimised again become the focus of attention, rather than seeing the string pullers.

  30. @ Omalone

    Hmmmm…..good explanation.

  31. In my opinion, violent video games are divided in two categories.

    1. Combat = Inspire, prepare and lure young people to enlist in the military
    2. Non-Combat (including theft, burglary, rape… etc.) = Prepare a lot of young people for prison

    Game over, Government wins!

  32. @ Ynotme

    You are not the first person to say that these games preps kids for the military…Did you know that they actually go to the ghettoes to recruit black kids by lying to them? “Join us and you and your entire family will never go hungry again.”


  33. Oh yeah…The poverty stricken/disenfranchise are more targeted and will often succumb due to desperation.

  34. Pingback: More Youtube video editorials on video game violence by Me… « Debunking Utter Nonsense…

  35. I just watched a Western from 1954. This culture is entirely violent and has been for the longest. Videogames are violent, but so is just about every thing else about this culture.

    There’s a trailer for a movie called “Seven Psychopaths” where one man tells another “Put your hands up” and the man refuses. The man with the gun says “But I have a gun, it doesn’t make any sense” which the other man brushes off. It’s seen as comical.

    There’s a subtle commentary there. You or I would recognize a gun pointed at us and we already simulated how we would respond to it–but who put the knowledge of guns and the simulated responses in our minds? Technically, were we in another culture, a gun pointing at us wouldn’t mean anything and we wouldn’t suppose how we would respond, we’d just be curious.

    Violence is very deeply ingrained in this culture. Growing up, when we thought of Malcolm X compared against Martin Luther King Jr. we thought of a violent person. Malcolm X was never violent. But even when we suppose our benevolent leaders, we think in terms of violence. Some rally behind him for that myth alone.

    Videogames are violent, but it would be so incredibly awkward to be unaware of violence even without them. Black people live in fear of the Police and the Police are sure to keep their guns brandished–to instill that fear. I suppose that part of the reason why our culture is so violent is that if it were behind the scenes we would not be intimidated as much. So we watch on Television a gun ripping a man a part, and when the officer tells us to spread our legs, we understood from the Television why we must obey.

    There’s a purpose.

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