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Racism in Videogames
Racism in Videogames
Rated M, for Rascist language and Vulgarity
Published by SirManguydude
09-12-2011
Racism in Videogames

Disclaimer: May be offensive to some users. Use of various racist terms inside. For those who find racism intolerable and will be in a fit after reading this article please do not read.




First thing is first, I will not be talking about Custer's Revenge for the Atari 2600. We have all heard about that one before. And nothing in that game is right, and it should have never seen the light of day.


Many games in the market are filled with stereotypes. It makes NPC creation much easier as game writers don't have to work on a character profile for them. Anywhere from Vodka Drunkinski(Soda Popinski aka the Drunk Russian from Punchout!!) to Little Jacob(The Pothead Jamaican from GTAIV(who also requires subtitles to understand ya bumbaclot*)) They are out there, and with this article I would like to point out that what some see as racist is merely just a stereotype and the character themselves isn't racist.
*Literal Translation: Blood Cloth. I'll leave the rest of that up to you.

Let us start with Square Enix's newest hit, Deus Ex: Human Revolution. They are currently catching fire because a character in the game, Letitia, a homeless drunk, who lives in the innercity ghetto of Detroit. Sounds a lot like the countless crackheads that infest the 8 Mile ghetto today. I don't think it is racist that she speaks with that tongue based on the fact that it is real. This is just one of many cases of games being wrongly accused of being racist.

Letitia's speech is evident in this video.
Another game that is wrongly called racist is the Scribblenauts for the DS, a kids game. It uses the word Sambo which is a racist term for an African, which I had never heard of before. When entered, it spawns what many people believe is a watermelon, which according to racial slurs all africans like. What it actually spawns is a sambo or Cucurbita ficifolia, which is an Ecuadorian gourd.

Sambo

Another thing that is often called racist is actually historical accuracy and correct mannerisms for the character. Games such as Mafia II and Red Dead Redemption, and GTA use slurs such as "Mooks", "Chinks", and several other slang for minorities. Some were even used for the mere absurdity of is such as Herbert Moon in RDR, as anti-semetic views were commonplace in the era, but to avoid alienating fans, they made the one person to voice that opinion a hilarity with his crazy conspiracies. I know you all are thinking "but SMGD, Jewish isn't a race", but if you ask most religious Jews, they will tell you that race is just about the only way you can define it. I do understand why Rockstar didn't want to show full blown anti-antisemitism in the game and I respect them for that, but I would have respected them even if they had kept to the historical norm of blaming the jews for the brewing World War. Rockstar, being known for their ability to draw activists against them, properly use racist slurs in GTAIV. Crimelords are not known as being the nicest people, so them spouting out racist remarks to other criminals is something I find quite acceptable.


Herbert MOOOOOOON!


A series that uses racism as an amazing plot device is the Mass Effect series. The fleshed out back story of the games provide a reason why most Turians are hostile towards humans, and try everything to prevent Shepard from becoming a Spectre(the Dirty Harrys of Space, though they are allowed to be above the law). The fact that the Salarians created a genophage that caused the Krogans to become infertile, basically dooming their entire race. Or the fact that just about every council race finds that the Humans(the newcomers to the Citadel) are advancing way too fast, leaving races who have never been accepted as a full fledged council race in the dust. Extreme Mass Effect1 Spoiler.
Spoiler
And if you chose not to save the council in the first game, the humans take full control of the council, leaving the other races to believe that the humans had not saved the council on purpose for their own means.
It brings the entire ME Universe to life.



Finally, we must remember Resident Evil 5. A game set in a undisclosed African nation facing a plague that turns people into soulless cannibals(zombies) and obviously racist because everyone is black. The media outcry eventually led them to add white people into the game, and I think that is ****ING RIDICULOUS. Everyone hop on a plane right now for Africa, and I can bet you if you stayed there for a year(provided you didn't go to Egypt or South Africa) you would only see 10 white people if that. This just goes to prove that you can make 11 games where you only kill white zombies, but the moment you move on to kill black zombies it is racist. It is just like how calling someone a "******" is racist, but if they call you "Cracka/er", or one of the other racist terms for a white person, it is absolutely fine in society, because we didn't face 300 years of slavery. In all honesty though, that is a terrible excuse. Man has been conquering lands and taking slaves since the dawn of mankind. So I'm pretty sure we are on an even playing field.

If you like this trailer you are racist

There are actually very few games that are straight out racist. Such as Kung Fu Chaos, a game that plays on every asian stereotype. Or Spanish for Everyone, a spanish teaching game for the DS, that starts of with some mexican kids stealing your DS and taking it south of the border. Every cutscene takes a mexican stereotype for a whirl. And finally we have th.... actually I am going to give this next game it's own paragraph.

Ethnic Cleansing, for the PC, just sounds like a game for the whole family doesn't it? This game was developed by Resistance Records, a recording label part of the National Alliance, specializing in Aryan and white-supremacist indie bands. "In the game, the protagonist (the player can choose either a skinhead or a Klansman) runs through a ghetto killing black people and Latinos, before descending into a subway system to kill Jews. Finally he reaches the "Jewish Control Center", where Ariel Sharon, former Prime Minister of Israel, is directing plans for world domination. The player must kill Sharon to win the game." Straight from the wiki page about it. Sounds like a good ol' time. I could play this game sprawled out in front of the burning cross all night long. /sarcasm. I can't believe this game got published.


Racism is present in today's video games to add realism. As Avenue Q says, everyone's a little bit racist. Of course, there are games out there that are going to be racist for the sake of being racist and you must decide for yourself whether or not you believe it is.

~Sir Manguydude





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  #1  
By Tanis on 09-17-2011, 11:18 PM
Good read.

I think I've heard of that last game you mentioned before. Makes me wonder who approves some of these things.
  #2  
By xXDaKidXx on 09-18-2011, 12:13 AM
Great article Sir.
I have noticed this a lot in M rated games, ESRB really needs to step up with what's acceptable with content in games, and kids are playing this junk, due to bad parenting and saying and doing these things. Such a pity
  #3  
By Konata on 09-18-2011, 06:31 AM
Gotta love killing black zombies.
  #4  
By SirManguydude on 09-18-2011, 03:14 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by xXDaKidXx View Post
Great article Sir.
I have noticed this a lot in M rated games, ESRB really needs to step up with what's acceptable with content in games, and kids are playing this junk, due to bad parenting and saying and doing these things. Such a pity
I don't agree, as the rating says, it is built for mature audiences, and thus should only be played by mature people who can deal with racism. If it were blatantly trying to broadcast that some minority is bad, I don't think it should be allowed, but if it is used to help develop a character, or make it accurate to the setting of the game then they should definitely be able to use racism.
  #5  
By xXDaKidXx on 09-18-2011, 08:16 PM
I cannot agree with that. How is racism acceptable for character development? Would that work in real life? Or be considered acceptable? No. That's like me saying "My cousin is racist, but that's just his personality, don't trip." You think someone would be fine with that? Now, I get it, if they game is set during the 60s or WWII, but this is in games that take place in modern times. And as far as gang related games, that should not be acceptable, its really just promote drugs, violence, and gang banging. I.e, what a lot of Americas police are fighting to stop.
  #6  
By Brandyn on 09-18-2011, 09:26 PM
The design for Crazy Taxi's B.D. Joe is somewhat offensive (super dark, huge red lips).

Also, in F-Zero GX, the only two black men are a ghetto stereotype and homosexual, and Kate Allen is a diva. Heh.
  #7  
By SirManguydude on 09-19-2011, 02:43 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by xXDaKidXx View Post
I cannot agree with that. How is racism acceptable for character development? Would that work in real life? Or be considered acceptable? No. That's like me saying "My cousin is racist, but that's just his personality, don't trip." You think someone would be fine with that? Now, I get it, if they game is set during the 60s or WWII, but this is in games that take place in modern times. And as far as gang related games, that should not be acceptable, its really just promote drugs, violence, and gang banging. I.e, what a lot of Americas police are fighting to stop.
Games without racism.

Mass Effect: Flat out wouldn't exist, as Saren would have no reason to want to exterminate the humans and call upon the Reapers.

GTAIV: A game about a Russian Immigrant who does odd jobs to support his sex crazed cousin set in a fantasy world.

Mafia II: A family friendly imagining of the lower working class struggling to survive in Empire Bay.

Red Dead Redemption: In a western world where everyone gets along....

Resident Evil 5: Set in African Country. Not a single "black" person.

Need I go on.
  #8  
By NommyNommy on 09-19-2011, 04:53 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by xXDaKidXx View Post
I cannot agree with that. How is racism acceptable for character development? Would that work in real life? Or be considered acceptable? No. That's like me saying "My cousin is racist, but that's just his personality, don't trip." You think someone would be fine with that? Now, I get it, if they game is set during the 60s or WWII, but this is in games that take place in modern times. And as far as gang related games, that should not be acceptable, its really just promote drugs, violence, and gang banging. I.e, what a lot of Americas police are fighting to stop.
Ok, well. Your wrong.

1) Video games are not real life.
2) There is still plenty of racism today, so understanding about racism in a game set during the 60s, but not modern times is strange.
3) Racism does not promote drugs, violence or gang banging. It just promotes racism, if even that.

Anyway, pretty much all games that have real racism are rated M. I'm sure most 17 year olds know that racism is bad. If not, blame the parents.

Oh, and racism can make a game better, along with movies and books. Fact.
Get over it.





inb4 someone is confused and thinks im saying racism is good





Edit:
Quote:
I.e, what a lot of Americas police are fighting to stop.
lol.
Last edited by NommyNommy; 09-19-2011 at 05:28 AM..
  #9  
By Konata on 09-19-2011, 12:05 PM
Since when has adding stereotypes to a character been racist? Most of the time stereotypes are spot on for the majority of the race. Examples; Chinese people driving badly, British people having dodgy teeth, Jamaicans always smoking pot, and of course, all African people are zombies..
None of that is racist.
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