The game can be played by 4 to 25 people, Source: City of Leuven

Leuven to fight discrimination with role-playing games

Leuven to fight discrimination with role-playing games

The city has developed its own way to teach young people how to react when they witness unjust treatments

Today, authorities in the city of Leuven, Belgium, announced the launch of a new educational game to fight discrimination. The unique initiative is aimed at young people aged 16 and older and is supposed to take participants through a role-play experience of experiencing racism, as well as the consequences of being an idle bystander.

The game is called ‘Got Your Back: Watch or react, remain silent or speak?’ and according to local authorities it would be best played with a facilitator who can create a safe space for the participants. Additionally, it aims to impart experience to its players through a controlled environment and breathe more empathy and understanding.

Why do we, as bystanders, look away?

Although this is not unique to situations of racism but rather more broadly to cases of injustice, many people tend to look away or avoid intervening when they witness discrimination. This is because often they do not know how to react, rather than pure indifference or malicious intent. 

Nevertheless, this still has a negative impact and allows bad behaviour to persist with impunity. Thus, city officials in Leuven want to create that capacity in young people by showing them when and how to best intervene.

According to a statement by the city, the game is best experienced by 16-year-olds and older, although it can also be played by 14-year-olds if they have a degree of emotional maturity. It can be played by four to 25 people simultaneously, although the game is best experienced with a guide, who can guarantee a safe environment for all attendants.

City officials will create two training sessions on 23 May and 15 June to spread know-how on best practices for using the game in schools, sports clubs and etc. Additionally, Leuven will supply libraries and youth clubs, as well as schools with free copies that can be borrowed.



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