Michael Gradin, Customer Advocate –
On Thu, Mar 17, 2016 at 8:44:34 PDT, Grgc61 email@example.com wrote:
I have a subscription (firstname.lastname@example.org), and I also pay for my son to play(Crunch??). He really enjoys the game, and I am very happy about that. However, I recommended the game to a friend of mine and kids asked me a question, “Why don’t they look like us?”
Its a damn good question. The first clearly black character is locked and remains locked for who knows how many levels. Almost half the kids in America are black. Why do they have to earn the right to have a character that looks like them when every kid, boy or girl, who identifies as white gets to start with a character that looks like them?
I suspect that this only sounds like a silly question until it is your kids who want to know. Well, my kids want to know, and they deserve an answer.
We don’t consider the question a silly one at all!
We agree that this is an issue and we’re working to find a way to fix it that would not unbalance the early game (the later characters all have extra abilities that would make them too powerful for the early levels).
We’ve started creating additional art for use on our website and made sure to include a more diverse set of characters in those requests so at least there should be more equally spread representation on our web page.
I understand your technical dilemma, at least in broad strokes. I know the solution is going to take some effort and some planning and cost some money. I am sure that nobody at CodeCombat is overtly bigoted. I am sure that nobody at CodeCombat would stand by a watch a black child be abused especially for their race. I applaud that sentiment, but it ain’t good enough.
This kind of color-blindness is what people mean when they talk about White Privilege. How many hundreds of thousands of man hours have gone into programming CodeCombat? How many hundreds of thousands of dollars have been spent to create and support CodeCombat.com? How many schools has CodeCombat tried to enter? How many classrooms has CodeCombat impacted? How many dozens or hundreds of people are involved in this project? With all of these resources, why are black children an after thought?
Why, when the original artwork was approved, did nobody say, “Hey, where’s the black kids?” Why, if somebody did notice they were missing, were they not immediately represented? Why do they have to stand in line and wait to be served last? Why, if the first characters couldn’t be diverse, could the first characters not be black? If you could only represent one race, why did it have to be the white race?
Our society is not race-neutral; our society is not color-blind. Race neutrality, the idea that we can ignore color and just “treat everybody the same” is the new racism. Life is not the same for everybody in America. Black children in America are an after thought. Nobody cares enough to think about them in the beginning. They are eternally standing in line. White kids show up and BOOM! the party is on. Welcome to the world of privilege and opportunity where everybody looks like you. Black kids show up and its “Hi little fella, grab a white face, and we’ll be with you as soon as we can.”
Most Americans don’t mean to be racist, but we sure as hell are. Black kids should not have to wait in line every time. If you can’t post a set of racially diverse characters today, then change the color of the starting characters to black and let everybody be black until you can find a way to fix this issue. While you’re at it, don’t keep this a secret. Tell the world what you’re doing, and challenge — demand — that every business with which you are in contact do the same.
It is time to change this today.