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Interview: This Is the Message Black Teenagers Are Getting From Video Games

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aina braxton ecccAt Emerald City Comicon, Aina Braxton cosplayed her own personal superhero—Inferna Bird of Paradise. She wore sparkly face makeup and a bright red costume, complete with a cape and knee-high boots. She looked awesome. She explained how she’s been developing the costume—and the Inferna’s backstory—for years.  (Her background as a performance artist might have helped with that.) One motivation for her to create her own superhero was frustration with the fact that there aren’t a lot of superhero characters who are like her.

In fact, people of color, women, and anyone who doesn’t fit the cultural norms often feel left out when it comes to representation in the media. Braxton believes media representation matters. All kinds of kids should be able to see themselves represented in media.

As part of her work around this issue at UW Bothell’s Digital Future Lab, Braxton examined some of the Black characters in video games—and what those characters mean to Black students. Recently she did a workshop on the topic with high school students from the Seattle area. We asked her to go into a little more detail on the workshop for Black Opportunity and Leadership Day and what she found out. Read More

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Moms and Dads: Are You a Protector?

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We’ve idolized heroes and warriors for centuries—people love imagining themselves in the role of protector.  In books, plays, and movies—and yes, in video games—we stretch social mores to allow for the protection of innocents. Many of us only become true protectors when we become parents, though. Read More