Has attending a diversity and inclusion lecture ever made you wish you could press F to check your privilege? Well, today is your lucky day. Companies are, quite literally, trying to game the system by using points, badges, discounts, and status indicators to encourage diversity, equality, and inclusion. Because you know, common decency isn’t enough on its own.
An examination of gamification as a whole, however, shows how it lends itself to addressing serious issues, and even encourages people to tackle topics they may have been reluctant to discuss. Rather than trivializing the seriousness of DEI, gamification drives the point home and changes how people view their own biases and the experiences of others.
As lofty as this may sound, I can think of at least one instance where game developers used a feature that could foster frank discussion of race. Like when South Park made being black activate hard mode for the game The Fractured But Whole. At least in theory (it didn’t actually change the difficulty). Maybe playing as a black character would have been what it took to get Gary from antitrust to stop asking his sun-kissed co-workers if they actually worked there during smoke breaks.
As diversity incentives gamify, one can only imagine the dire consequences that will be faced when some bright-eyed first-year associate slips out her first slur. Will the crisis that arises from discovering that half of the race-players are Team Xbox and other half are Team PC be a budgeting problem or an HR one? Will being forced to play games centered on race and inclusion lead to cries of “reverse discrimination” and be the next fatal step toward “be work or be unemployed” culture? ‘Cause I hope so. I never want to work with bigots again.
In all honesty, I pray to Daigo that this goofy idea becomes a goofy reality. When some C-suite executive in a grey suit inevitably stands up to talk about how poggers having more minorities in the office is, please send the audio to email@example.com.
Chris Williams became a social media manager and assistant editor for Above the Law in June 2021. Prior to joining the staff, he moonlighted as a minor Memelord™ in the Facebook group Law School Memes for Edgy T14s. Before that, he wrote columns for an online magazine named The Muse Collaborative under the pen name Knehmo. He endured the great state of Missouri long enough to graduate from Washington University in St. Louis School of Law. He is a former boatbuilder who cannot swim, a published author on critical race theory, philosophy, and humor, and has a love for cycling that occasionally annoys his peers. You can reach him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.