Experience the world as a minority software engineer
Minority Brogrammer Simulator is an immersive video game that removes employees from his or her identity and has them take on the role of a minority software engineer at a major tech company that . The game simulates the typical work of a software engineer. The player has a role, has a list of projects or tasks, they have meetings to go to, and, yes, they will do actual coding.
The game would have the player walk in the footsteps of a minority But as they embody another identity, the player carries the concerns and thoughts of the character--his or her family situation, financial responsibilities, medical concerns, etc. Both the position and the character's real background will be foundations for the microaggressions the character encounters. In other words, microaggressions come from a context: the information about the character and the information about macro-level aspects of racial, gender, and sexual orientation.
In this way, the employees of Silicon Valley feel what minorities feel when in the presence of a homogeneous workplace and experience the same offensive -isms their minority counterparts encounter everyday. The goal here is to promote empathy by de-centering employess from their position of privilege.
This game is partly crowd-sourced, pulling actual narratives from people of color software engineers in the industry and embedding those narrative into the game itself. I don’t envision this game as a static or a finished product but something that can be updated with new stories over time, shoring up narratives, literally making the invisible visible.
Using anecdotes from minority software engineers (referencing statistics) demonstrates that there is a desire for change, that using software in this way makes the project viable. But most important, gathering stories from minority software engineers periodically and constantly serving the need for inclusive workplace makes the game itself a feasible project.
The game relies on open source software so that other programmers can slip in and add their own narratives to that game. There would have to be some kind of vetting process that core designers of the game would need to be responsible for. In other words, the initial designers of the game would become editors or co-editors sifting through new narratives and new lines of code to add to the game. Brogrammer Simulator mixes open source software with scholarly journal publication. This technical aspect also mixes literature, creative writing, intimate bureaucracies, and digital rhetoric.
The target audience of Minority Brogrammer Simulator isyoung white cis men. However, the game should also appeal to computer science majors and programming freelancers both of whom are potential job candidates. In this way, the game serves as education for students of color who may work in brogrammmer cultures. Minority Brogrammer Simulator can supplement instruction in computer science courses that spend some time preparing students for the job market. This last piece is important considering how software engineers are trained may influence perceptions of a racism and sexism.