Never Have I Ever
A gamified interactive installation that focuses on the ramifications of white privilege and unintentional biases in America.
A gamified interactive Installation that focuses on the ramifications of white privilege and unintentional biases in America.
Racism in the United States is not a novel concept. Yet many are unaware of the multiple forms that it can take. Ranging from the harmless microaggressions to the ignorant to misrepresentation in the media, to institutionalized mechanisms withholding minority groups. For the most part, we’ve all been raised on the premise that racism is bad. So why does it still exist? Racism or prejudice can’t exist because most white people “don’t see color.” However, seventy-five percent of white Americans say they only have white friends; nearly the same, sixty-five percent of black Americans say the only have black friends. Many factors contribute towards this self-segregation to include economic, geographic, cultural, and educational factors, heightening racial tensions as misunderstandings are perpetuated and racial echo chambers are exacerbated.
How can we get white people to care about white privilege in “Post Racial America”?
I conducted stakeholder interviews to gain a better idea of cultural differences between people of color and white people and their sense of racial tension and its causes.
Process + Prototyping
The design challenge was to create an approachable environment in which, through the experience, people could recognize their own biases and privilege through self reflection. In order to achieve this, I decided to gamify an installation in which winning the game achieved this goal. And so, Never Have I Ever was conceptualized.
In Never Have I Ever, users are presented a grid of diverse faces, and assigned a game character. In front of them, is a game console which has coordinating LED lights and switches for each character and indicates their activation. Each character has a backstory which can be summed up by a series of Never Have I Ever statements. The statements used were all phrases that subtly indicate privilege and prejudices we unconsciously form. All profiles were real strangers and friends I’ve met across the country.
The goal is to determine which statements are both applicable to the user’s character, yet does not apply to the others. However, the only indication the user has of any details about other characters is their picture. Characters are eliminated if the player chooses a statement that does not apply to his/her character. If eliminated, character LED lights will blink, indicating the player must eliminate them by switching the LED off. Works the same way the tradition game is played. The user must eliminate all other characters besides his/her own in order to win. If he/she says a statement that doesn’t apply to his/her character, and he/she loses.
The game system comprises of a player controller and web app interface.The player controller is powered by two Raspberry Pi’s and one Arduino. The primary Raspberry Pi uses Google Speech API to perform the speech recognition component, communicates with the web application interface, and controls the secondary Raspberry Pi. Through their GPIO pins, they each control half of the LED/ toggle switch combinations. The web interface uses Serial Communication to control the Arduino which in turn powers the scoreboard on the controller.