On The Spot: a game about tokenism

On The Spot: a game about tokenism

I wanted to show you a game I made about a year ago at a hackathon. I was one out of two people there who weren't men, and that gave me the idea to make something that illustrates the concept of tokenism - that is, what happens if you have a group where a very small percentage belongs to an oppressed group. You've probably heard expressions like "the token black person", "the token woman" or things like that. That's tokenism. I ended up making a prototype of a game in Processing, and I kept the game abstract on purpose, because whether you're talking about sexism, racism, ableism or any other form of oppression, the tokenism mechanisms are pretty much the same. You're never really able to blend in. You stand out, whether you want to or not. Because there are so very few of your group, everyone else sees you as a representative of all $kind-of-people - and if you mess up, that'll reflect badly on your whole group, not only on you. You're constantly on the spot.

So, I made this game. This week I was at another hackathon and ended up fixing a few bugs in the prototype, throwing processing.js at it and putting it up on the web because what is even the point of having a game like this if people can't play it? It's here - feel free to play it, although it's still got a good few bugs in it. Anyway, as I was working on this and talking to people, I got at least one person to actually look up tokenism, so it's serving its purpose already. My work here is done ;)

Written by Nadja Deininger ().