Beauty and Self-Hatred: A Reading of Sherman Alexie’s Flight

In Flight, Alexie seems to be asking whether or not self-hatred can be neutralized through assimilation – that is, can Zits’s hatred of his own Indian-ness be dissolved into a claiming of his whiteness? Indeed whiteness itself is a product of assimilation, with Irish, Italian, German, and other European ethnicities blending within the “melting pot” ... Read More

Literary Alchemy and the Power of the Five Senses

Within the context of the novel, these details, which might be applied to say, a cooking accident in another book, convey so much more than just how the characters physically experience the world. They express all the tension and urgency of high stakes conflict and even combat, all without mentioning any of those things explicitly.

Video Games Can Never Be Art: The Myopia of Roger Ebert

I have argued in the past that video games are the ultimate form of expression, and what is art if not expression? Indeed video games are a convergence of art from just about every medium – audio, visual, literary – and their social impact is ever-increasing. Ebert makes his statement by observing video footage of ... Read More

Once You See it: Uncharted and the Burden of Awareness

Once upon a time, I was able to just play video games and enjoy them. I didn’t see race, I didn’t see cultural issues, or gender issues, or anything. Games, after all, were my escape from such heady things. But now I can’t help but notice them. There is hardly a movie or a game ... Read More

Black, White, and Jade: Race in Video Games

As technology improves, and as the content of games expands in terms of breadth and depth, opportunities only increase for representing diversity. In the future, it will not be enough for a character to have darker skin, thicker lips, or a different eye shape. We will have to see different cultures and experiences represented as ... Read More

Pearl-Clutching, Stereotypes, and Ethnic Representation in Video Games

Those of us who are not white, but hope to identify with the characters we play in games the same as anyone, find the industry to be deficient. At best we have had to settle for ethnically ambiguous characters, often in non-Earth settings, which while fulfilling an aesthetic need still leave players wanting for a ... Read More

Jihad, Violence, and Misrepresentation of Islam in Global Conflict

Even in accepting the apologists’ arguments, that Islam was essentially a peaceful religion, and it was only through a myopic and agenda-driven misinterpretation of the holy texts that the “Islamist” perspective emerged, there was still a problem. It seemed to me that all around the world, where there were “insurgencies” or other forms of violent ... Read More

Women, Islam, and the Paternalism of White Feminists

Gender inequality, even where it takes on a distinctly “Islamic” character, is not specific to Islam as a religion, or Muslim society. Rather, it is a consequence of patriarchy – a phenomenon that knows no religious or cultural boundaries. How patriarchy manifests in any given society, the ways that people – particularly women – respond ... Read More