Ferguson: Blaming Video Games for Oslo Massacre is 'Racist'

July 28, 2011 -

While supposed experts are quick to blame video games for the recent massacre in Oslo, Norway that left 76 dead, clinical psychologist Christopher Ferguson flatly rejects those conclusions.

Ferguson, a leading expert and fastidious researcher of video game violence at Texas A&M International University, said video games aren’t to blame for this tragedy caused by Anders Behring Breivik. Instead he blames the man responsible for this recent crime, but he also cautions that blaming video games every time a white male kills people is inherently racist.

"I know it’s a little controversial to say but there’s a certain type of racism in place with these killings,” Ferguson tells Forbes' John Gaudiosi. "When shootings happen in an inner city in minority-populated schools, video games are never brought up. But when these things happen in white majority schools and in the suburbs, people start to freak out and video games are inevitably blamed. I think that there’s a certain element of racism or ignorance here."

Ferguson goes on to say that these types of crimes are going to continue to happen and that, thankfully, they are the exception rather than the rule.

“People really want to know what kind of boogeyman can we hang this on and video games are still the top choice when it comes to any type of tragedy,” Ferguson continued.

Ferguson also notes that the fervor usually associated with violent crimes and video games isn't quite as strong with this particular case. This could be because it happened in Europe and no Americans were involved, or that video games are slowly becoming ingrained in American culture.

“There are groups out there who are going to blame video games on everything,” said Ferguson. “They’re like ambulance chasers, really. I think it’s irresponsible and thoughtless to try to make political gain off of someone else’s tragedy, but they’re going to do it. That’s what they do. But even those groups have been much quieter with the Oslo tragedy.”

The Forbes article closes with some common sense from Ferguson about blaming video games for violence:

“Linking the playing of violent video games to a mass homicide when the perpetrator is a young male is like blaming the killing on the fact that he was wearing sneakers,” said Ferguson. “The base rate of that behavior is so common that it has no predictive value whatsoever.”

You should read the rest of this article here.

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Comments

Re: Ferguson: Blaming Video Games for Oslo Massacre is 'Racist'

I'm sorry. I can't accept that. We've seen a variety of incidents where people of all different races have committed crimes and it's all been blamed on games. Now, mostly in America, yes, it's been mostly whites, but around the world, games have taken the blame for all nationalities of crimes.

 

Re: Ferguson: Blaming Video Games for Oslo Massacre is 'Racist'

huh. you know I never thought of that. There is an inherent Racism in this. When somebody goes all jihadi terrorist on people, we dont really sit and say "why", we focus on the terrorist group itself. When inner city killings occur, the why is almost completely ignored.
But when one or two White people get together and cause some kind of crazyness, its like "OMG! VIDEOGAMES" or whatever else is going on that people dont understand. the only real exception to this is Virginia Tech.

I actually had an arguement with my aunt over this, because she asked me point blank, "How can you play those violent videogames when they are making so many people kill people" and I told her "There have been violent killings since Kain and Abel. We just know about them more because Newsmedia wants ratings, so they will analyze, disect, and fear monger everything and bring it to your tv screen. The truth of the matter is that the media will overhype things, when even the FBI says Crime is decreasing exponentially. Also the kids who played videogames in the 80s and 70s have grown up to be adults who play videogames, and we have rules to keep the violent stuff out of the younger kids, and so long as those are followed, there is no problem" and she actually changed her opinion and started parroting my words to her other friends.

Re: Ferguson: Blaming Video Games for Oslo Massacre is 'Racist'

"The base rate of that behavior is so common that it has no predictive value whatsoever.”

Holy crap! Someone who actually understands how to use statistics!

-Austin from Oregon

Feel free to check out my blog.

Re: Ferguson: Blaming Video Games for Oslo Massacre is 'Racist'

He wouldn't be the first person to make such a suggestion: http://gamepolitics.com/2007/02/28/violent-games-dont-cause-youth-violence-says-usc-sociologist

/b

 
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MaskedPixelantehttp://m.tickld.com/x/something-you-never-realized-about-guardians-of-the-galaxy Right in the feels.08/29/2014 - 6:56pm
AvalongodAgain I think we're conflating the issue of whether Sarkeesian's claims are beyond critique (no they're not) and whether its ever appropriate to use sexist language, let alone physical threats on a woman to intimidate her (no it isn't)08/29/2014 - 5:04pm
prh99Trolling her or trying to assail her integrity just draws more attention (Streisand effect?). Which is really not what the trolls want, so the only way to win (if there is a win to be had) is not to play/troll.08/29/2014 - 5:02pm
prh99Who cares, just don't watch the damn videos if you don't like her. Personally, I don't care as far as she is concerned as long there are interesting games to be played.08/29/2014 - 4:34pm
Andrew EisenZip - And yet, you can't cite a single, solitary example. (And no one said you hated anyone. Along those lines, no one claimed Sarkeesian was perfect either.)08/29/2014 - 3:51pm
Andrew EisenSaint's Row: Gat Out of Hell was just announced for PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One making it the 150th game For Everything But Wii U! Congratulations Deep Silver!08/29/2014 - 3:49pm
ZippyDSMleeI do not hate them jsut think its mostly hyperlobe.08/29/2014 - 3:40pm
Andrew EisenSleaker - I'd say that's likely. From my experience, most who have a problem with Sarkeesian's videos either want to hate them in the first place (for whatever reason) or honestly misunderstand what they're about and what they're saying.08/29/2014 - 3:16pm
james_fudgeWe appreciate your support :)08/29/2014 - 2:55pm
TechnogeekIt gives me hope that maybe, just maybe, the gaming community is not statistically indistinguishable from consisting entirely of people that your average Xbox Live caricature would look at and go "maybe you should tone it down a little bit".08/29/2014 - 2:49pm
TechnogeekI just want to say that while I've disagreed with the staff of this site on several occasions, it's still good to see that they're not automatically dismissing Anita's videos as a "misandrist scam" or whatever the preferred dismissive term is these days.08/29/2014 - 2:49pm
E. Zachary KnightZippy, So you can't find even one?08/29/2014 - 1:04pm
ZippyDSMleeAndrew Eisen:Right because shes prefect and never exaggerates... *rolls eyes*08/29/2014 - 12:53pm
SleakerAnd honestly, nearly all of the games she references, or images she depicts I've always cringed at and wondered why they were included in games to begin with, from pinups through explicit sexual depictions or direct abuse. I think it's cheap storytelling.08/29/2014 - 12:35pm
Sleaker@AE - aren't most people fundamentally misunderstanding her at this point? haha.. On a related note I think a lot of the backlash is coming from males that think she is telling them their 'Generic Male Fantasy' is bad and wrong.08/29/2014 - 12:33pm
Andrew EisenAnd no, I don't think the female community would be upset over the performance of a case study in and of itself. Possibly the mostivations behind such a study, the methodology or conclusions but not the mere idea of a case study.08/29/2014 - 12:29pm
Andrew EisenAmusingly, these videos aren't saying you can't/shouldn't use tropes or that sexual representations are inherently problematic so those are very silly things to have a problem with and indicate a fundamental misunderstanding of the series.08/29/2014 - 12:29pm
SleakerDo you think the female community would get extremely angry over a male doing a case study on the negative impact of sex-novels and their unrealistic depiction of males and how widespread they are in american culture?08/29/2014 - 12:25pm
SleakerThe other thing that people might find problematic is that they see no problem with sexual representations of females (or males) in games. And realistically, why is there anything wrong with sexual representations in fiction?08/29/2014 - 12:24pm
SleakerTo even discuss or bring up these issues at a cultural level to begin with. Going straight for games to many probably feels like a huge overstepping given that it's interactive story in many cases, and when you're telling a story why can't you use tropes.08/29/2014 - 12:21pm
 

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