Just two weeks ago, I recorded an interview with actor Adam Baldwin and Dana on The Blaze regular Brandon Morse regarding the #GamerGate controversy and, more specifically, its potential impact on non-gamers such as myself. In the time since, the beginnings of that impact have become all too terrifyingly real.
Anita Sarkeesian, in conjunction with the Anti-Defamation League, has begun to produce packaged curriculum which will be marketed to Common Core compliant schools. That curriculum includes “critical thinking” exercises based on readings that are rife with the ideology of the Social Justice Warrior – and that include no indication that alternative perspectives even exist.
Two things that are immediately concerning:
First, truly critical thought requires exposure to more than one perspective. To introduce students to the idea of a controversy without both allowing them the ability and demanding that they take responsibility to weigh both sides equally does them a grave disservice.
And second, Anita Sarkeesian is hardly an unbiased source. Since the beginning of the #GamerGate controversy, she has been criticized (and even threatened on several occasions) due to her stance on the place of social justice in gaming. Her contributions to any curriculum on the subject would at best be slanted. At worst – especially in the absence of an opposing voice – they could be seen as an effort to effectively punish those she feels wronged her.
And what of that curriculum? Students who complete the assigned reading are asked to affirm statements such as:
“I have witnessed sexism in video games.”
“People have said or done sexist things to me through video game interaction.”
“I believe video games can have a negative effect on attitudes and perspectives in general.”
“I believe video games can perpetuate sexism.”
The unfortunate result of this type of curriculum is twofold. First, it utterly fails to inspire any type of critical thought. It teaches students to do little more than regurgitate the highlighted talking points and parrot the politically correct buzzwords du jour.
And second, it marginalizes gamers.
Even if this is unintentional, it essentially labels gamers who accept video games based on their playability and merit rather than their social value as inherently sexist. This is not likely to help kids – who may already be classified by their peers as geeks or nerds – to feel more accepted. [email protected]
The irony here is that Sarkeesian, the Anti-Defamation League, and most of the anti-#GamerGate crowd claim to be working to prevent sexism, sexist violence, and cyber-bullying in relation to video games – and the means they employ toward those ends could very well contribute to the *actual* bullying of *actual* people in real life.
Beyond all of that, the introduction of that particular curriculum at this particular point in time just looks petty. Sarkeesian and the rest of the anti-#GamerGate crowd attempted to infiltrate the gaming community with an artificial infusion of political correctness, and gamers caught on quickly and beat them back. They responded by doing what all poor debaters and Alinsky students do when cornered: if you can’t beat them with your message, attack/ridicule/marginalize the messenger.