Today we are shifting gears and highlighting something a little different, a fictional character. D’arci Stern was the first black female protagonist in a video game. She was a rookie cop cleaning up the streets of Union City in the game Urban Chaos released in 1999.
Why is this important? Because seeing minority and marginalized people in media helps people feel included in society. Media has the power to inform or reinforce ideas about gender, race, ethnicity, sexuality, politics, values, and societal ideals. Powerful diverse characters help reinforce positive views. This helps minority and marginalized people feel empowered. Balanced media that accurately represents the diversity of society, can also help people the majority groups learn about and celebrate differences.
What would the world be like if every little girl grew up seeing herself equally represented in history, in the media, in the books on every shelf, on the court and on the playing field, in academia, in the boardroom, in the science lab, on stage, in art galleries, the White House?
I love this post. It’s wild that not only was this huge for the time, but still important by 2021; how many black women protagonists are there even now?
Considering Eidos published this, and Square Enix now owns Eidos, it’d be cool to see this franchise revamped like they did for other Eidos properties like Tomb Raider and Hitman. I wish this game could be remastered just so that D’arci can get more exposure (and hopefully a more nuanced look at the problem of inner city living). But the real solution would just be the inclusion of more black women protagonists.