Part of the Volume on the Ecology of Games: Connecting Youth, Games, and Learning
The chapter addresses the following question: in what ways do young people's interactions with video games influence how and what they learn about race? We begin by examining one of the most heavily marketed genres in the video games marketplace, what we call "urban/street" games. Specifically, we consider how these games, and the richly detailed and textured urban landscapes they present, establish powerful learning environments that help situate how young gamers understand, perform, and reproduce race and ethnicity. Next, we focus on the aesthetic and narrative properties of one of the most controversial yet successful video games franchises in America, Grand Theft Auto. More precisely, we consider how Grand Theft Auto teaches dominant attitudes and assumptions about race and racial Otherness through racialized pedagogical zones (RPZs). In the final section of the paper we expand the discussion of race and games to include concerns about access to and participation in digital media culture.