Christopher Ferguson, psychologist at Texas A&M, has defined added a new layer to the media-violence debate. Speaking to Forbes in the wake of the attack in Oslo, Norway, Ferguson postulates that blaming video games for acts of violence is not only faulty logic, but could be racist. He does take time to note that such rhetoric has declined since its more pervasive days (post-Columbine, 1999), but maintains that people would rather place blame on outside sources (when those involved are white), rather than unpredictable psychology.
“I know it’s a little controversial to say but there’s a certain type of racism in place with these killings,” Ferguson asserted. “When shootings happen in an inner city in minority-populated schools, videogames are never brought up. But when these things happen in white majority schools and in the suburbs, people start to freak out and videogames are inevitably blamed. I think that there’s a certain element of racism or ignorance here.”
“One thing we’ve learned from research is that approximately 95 percent of young boys have played a violent videogame. That becomes a tricky thing when these mass homicides occur and the shooter is a young male. The odds are he’s played violent videogames,” Ferguson said. “Linking the playing of violent videogames to a mass homicide when the perpetrator is a young male is like blaming the killing on the fact that he was wearing sneakers,” he continued, noting the “statistical anomaly” of Virginia Tech killer Seung-Hui Cho, who did not play videogames. “The base rate of that behavior is so common that it has no predictive value whatsoever.”
(via The Escapist)
Is the media’s blaming video games for violence a result of racism, EGs? Or is Ferguson reaching here? Post your reaction in the comments section!