It’s a tale that’s as old as time, white people practicing Black face and not thinking twice about it!
This time, it’s a tech company that provides human resource training to large corporations. They’re using white actors to portray people of color within sessions about diversity, equity, and inclusion — the audacity, right?
According to BuzzFeed News, Mursion, a corporate education company, has created virtual reality simulations for various clients where hypothetical scenarios are conducted between the participant and an animated human avatar played by live human actors. Those human actors follow concise plans while also improvising where they use voice modulators and remote controllers to switch between characters.
This feature means that the actors, known as “simulation specialists,” often play characters of races and genders that are not their own.
Per the findings, simulations include Black avatars who call out other acts of discrimination, rally the companies to support Black Lives Matter and practice “supporting a traumatized employee through incidents of racial injustice.”
One scenario even took things as far as having Child Protective Services remove a child from a Black family. It’s also important to note that every simulation involved white actors who portrayed Black characters.
Following the claims, Mursion did respond and shared that “open casting” for the roles is necessary for scaling its business and protecting the employees of color from having to endlessly experience “the same cultural biases, microaggressions, and outright discrimination in our society that too many Americans suffer today.”
The company further defended the practice by coming to the conclusion that the avatars are simply “hypothetical characters” and are not meant to stand in completely for any culture, gender identity, race or sexual orientation.