Archive for February 23, 2010

Glitch and Gaming Masculinity: Video games as a reflection on culture

A couple of really interesting pieces on the Glitch Project appeared yesterday, based on a conference paper that Betsy DiSalvo was lead author on.  Glitch, as you may recall, is about getting African-American teen men interested in computing, by teaching them to be and hiring them as game testers.  Betsy raises some challenging ideas in her paper, such that the geek image of masculinity is at odds with the African-American image of masculinity.

One of the blog posts is at Black Digerati, and the second (cited below) is at Racialicious.  The second one is intriguing for its comments. In particular, the claim that white geeks are actually the product of class privilege.  Those class distinctions relate to recent discussions here about Blacks, Latinos, and Women in Silicon Valley and the non-open culture of open source software development.

Unfortunately, computer geeks are generally really oblivious to their class privilege, mistaking their class privilege for how much geekier they are than other people. For example, there is a common sentiment among programmers who hire other programmers that it is bad to hire programmers who only started programming at the beginning of college. Their logic is that if you only started programming in college, instead of when you were a child, then it means that you are not really interested in programming, and you only went into CS to make money/get a job. There is zero recognition of class privilege and class differences.

via Gaming Masculinity: Video games as a reflection on masculinity in Computer Science and African American culture [Conference Notes] | Racialicious – the intersection of race and pop culture.

February 23, 2010 at 7:38 am 10 comments


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