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Have you ever experienced a microaggression? These are everyday slights, often unintentional, that communicate hostile or negative slights and insults. They can add up, leading to acculturative stress and emotional exhaustion. Librarian Fobazi M. Ettarh has created a web-based text game called Killing Me Softly that uses the Choose Your Own Adventure format to allow players to experience what it’s like to suffer microaggressions day after day.
Players can choose one of two characters: Alex, a white, able-bodied, gay man with a large social circle, or Leslie, a Black, straight, disabled woman who has a partner. As you move through Alex’s or Leslie’s days — including interactions with friends, coworkers, and strangers — you make choices that affect subsequent experiences and choices, choices that narrow as the microaggressions mount.
Unlike typical games, Killing Me Softly doesn't offer a happy ending. Its goal is to raise awareness of how microaggressions affect people of color, LGBT+ folks, and disabled folks. It's a fantastic teaching tool, with a single playthrough taking about 15 minutes. Playing through both characters multiple times effectively demonstrates that, while making choices about each character’s response leads to different outcomes initially, microaggressions are persistent.
We highly recommend giving Killing Me Softly a try. It's a powerful tool that can help individuals understand and empathize with the experiences of those who face microaggressions on a daily basis.
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