fortnite makes a second attempt to celebrate MLK Day in its game, but there could be other tell-all games as well.
There hasn’t been a great assortment of video games that have been educational or accurate when it comes to teaching their players about black history, especially black American history. However, fortnite tried to change the narrative by hosting their March Through Time event (in partnership with TIME magazine) to highlight the importance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day and MLK’s “I Have a Dream” speech. Today, The March Through Time event is happening again, hopefully
While their intentions to teach children the history of MLK and black Americans may have been a step in the right direction, they also received a lot of backlash for their lack of respect for the memory of Martin Luther King Jr. .and what the day is supposed to do. to be celebrated for. the fortnite The event has an interactive exhibit open for players to visit “a reimagined Washington DC” where they can visit the in-game version of the Lincoln Memorial and the United States National Mall. This is where Dr. King read aloud his civil rights speech.
An associate professor of mass communication at Xavier University of Louisiana, Dr. Shearan Roberts, said in a Polygon article, “There is a fine line between being entertained by black history in this country, which is very painful, and being entertained by black culture…fortnite knew how to get away with the risk of co-opting and including black culture throughout its experience game.
While it’s hard to fathom that a battle royale game involving violence could be a platform to teach history, it recognizes that its main target audience is children, and it seems they’re trying to add educational value to the game. A potentially better game that does this better is Minecraft: Education Edition, which celebrates MLK Day and Black History Month with professionally taught classes.
Minecraft calls the specific educational world “Good Trouble,” which aims to teach students about the American civil rights movement, Black Lives Matter, and current work on racial injustice. There are also buildings reimagined in the 64-bit world that tie into black history, such as the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, where police attacked civil rights movement protesters in 1965. This project has was supported by the Southern Poverty Law Center and the social justice organization, Teaching Tolerance.
May be, fortnite could benefit from additional guidance from organizations such as Teaching Tolerance to properly incorporate a more educational approach. There have been no more recent updates on what fortnite will do in the future, but it may need to rethink its approach if it is to avoid further harming the story and its audience.