The Ivy League university at Yale was recently gifted $1 million by a nonprofit group to carry out a study for the purpose of drawing a connection between racism and the hair colors of video game characters.
As reported by the Daily Caller, the study will be lead by Professor Theodore Kim, and will seek to “develop new tools and algorithms to bring inclusivity to the digital screen,” as stated in a press release by Yale. The statement went on to add, with no evidence, that video game algorithms are “deeply biased” and favor “predominantly European features” whenever creating a player’s in-game avatar.
What the statement failed to mention is that such avatars are often created by the players themselves, not by the games or by algorithms, thus incorrectly attributing any favoritism of European features to the games rather than the players who actually choose their characters’ physical features.
The statement particularly focused on the alleged lack of inclusion of “Type 4 hair,” which it considers to be a “characteristic that most commonly occurs in black communities.”
“Kim will lead a group that will investigate the algorithmic representation of Type 4 hair as a uniquely anti-racist problem,” the statement continued.
Kim gave his own statement on the new study, declaring that “this research will serve as an example of how to identify the products of systemic racism in computer graphics and demonstrate how to take concrete steps to ameliorate their harm.”
The gift of $1 million was given to Yale by the nonprofit Bungie Foundation, which focuses on video game production and development.