Values Levers and the Unintended Consequences of Design


Values Levers are defined as design “practices that open new conversations about social values and encourage consensus around those values as design criteria.” One values lever that is often unnoticed is that of white nationalist appropriation. White Nationalists are often “othered” as extremists which obfuscates rhetoric around racism. In return, levers about race are only pulled during the design process if it is overt in its racial sensitivity. We often refer to this as political correctness or more appropriately “racism without racists [1].” This research represents one case study of the unintended white nationalist appropriation of content within The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim. By building on a discussion originated by white nationalists, we hope to pull a values lever that approaches multi-cultural and multi-national content that doesn’t focus on racism as an extremist activity but an unintended consequence of well-intended design.

Extended Abstract Available here