Why are few African Americans working into the video game industry?
N’Gai Croal says that this is due to lack of wealth and assets among African Americans:
If you happened to have a trust fund or your parents were going to give you a credit card or things like that, then you could make it into those professions. Otherwise you would have to look into other fields.
Trust funds? Huh? Most game programmers don’t come from the wealthy, privileged elite. They tend to be introverted, rebellious, self-taught programmers who received extremely little formal education or support and started their career as a hobby of passion while working a traditional day job. Game testers, which is the traditional easy way into the industry, don’t come from the wealthy elite either.
a lot of black students go to college with a different mission in mind. It’s not to find yourself or figure out what you want to do or whatever. It’s very pre-professional. It’s pre-law, it’s pre-med, engineering, business, things like that.
If I was involved in public policy and was trying to improve the well being of a particular group, I’d value careers in medicine, law, engineering, and business well above video game careers.
I think N’Gai Croal is completely wrong on this one. It’s easy to accuse people of elite wealth and trust-funds, and suggest more big government, paternal academia, and public policies. But that’s simply not the answer here.
I would suggest that there are not merely fewer professional game developers from this particular ethnic group, but also fewer hobbyist developers as well which is what feeds the employment pool. And that is caused by culture, personality, and personal preference rather than financial barriers.