Friday, February 29, 2008
I Can End Discrimination
Browsing through GamePolitics, I read an article about a unique PC game called ICED, or "I Can End Deportation." Created by the human rights organization Breakthrough, the game is meant to "spark dialogue and create awareness of unfair U.S. immigration laws on detention and deportation." In the game, players follow the life of one of five teenage immigrants as they are pursued by U.S. immigration officers. The object of the game is to avoid being deported and become a full citizen of the United States.
I read through Dennis's post excited to see that such a game had been created; even better, it's available for free download on the Breathrough website. Aimed at high school and college students, ICED is providing a valuable source of information for those who may not be aware of the problems immigrants face in America. ICED has already faced scathing attacks in the media, such as on the website InfoWars:
"An Indian woman, Mallika Dutt, has released a video game that essentially trains illegal aliens how to sneak across the border and avoid border patrol agents and cops…
As the average Mexican or Latin American does not have access to a video game console, let alone a television, the game is more practically geared toward an effort to inculcate middle class Americans into the belief that illegal immigration is a human rights issue, never mind open borders and the influx of third world people is a globalist plot to turn the United States, soon to become part of a North American Union, into a feudal slave labor gulag based on the China model. It has absolutely nothing to do with human rights."The paranoia, the stereotyping, the viciousness of the post is staggering. Even more alarming, several comments on GamePolitics's post about ICED are not much better:
"I’ll consider this once the immigration officers are playable. Immigrant youth need savage beatings."
"That sounds like a very stupid game If you’re not a citizen of the US, come here legally and wait 7 years and then you can become a citizen, it’s not that hard. If you come here illegally, then you should be beaten or deported immediately."“Whats next a game where u play as an al-qaeda member in america and u can kill americans? "
It's obvious what all of these people have in common: they simply can't read. ICED is not about illegal immigrants, and the game has nothing to do with sneaking across the border. The focus of the game is how fucked-up immigration laws can kick an immigrant out of the country for practically no reason, illegally here or not. Playing the game or even reading the post completely would tell you that.
Comments like the ones above prove how important a game like this is in our judgmental society--the very word "immigrant" can send the masses foaming at the mouth in hatred, and the vitriol practically spills out of the computer screen. Access to information is vital if we can make any kind of change, and I think this game is a very important step in that direction. Immigrants (especially illegal ones) have nearly no voice, and they deserve to be heard.
Read GamePolitics' follow up article for Dutt's amazing response to InfoWars.
Labels: Getting it Right, In the News, PlasmaRit, Race Issues, Stereotypes