56: You Got Your Race In My Videogame

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Yadam Siegfried:
I'd be very careful about judging the state of race relations based on your personal experience.

I would agree. I believe we all carry an inherent bias which colors our perceptions of any situation. My point with television, however, is that the bias is intentionally manufactured by parties with their own agendas, which makes it much more dangerous. Why is the audience multi-cultural? Well, it's possible that someone picked a random sample of humanity, and that random sample just happened to be of mixed race. Having worked in television, however, I can assure you that it probably didn't go down that way.

Yadam Siegfried:

Pat M.:
fun fact: carlos mencia isn't really mexican.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mind_of_Mencia

Misleading. He is 1/2 Mexican.

Oops, that was my bad. Though I'm skeptical of his stage name change. If you've ever seen his material, it seems largely forced and...well...bad. But the talent of Mr. Holness is kind of a side topic.

By the way, I accidentally clicked "report" instead of "quote" on Yad's post. Heh.

Keep them comments coming!

"Yadam Siegfried
Bob- I was taking a sociological look at the in-game aspects of WoW, and you came back with a broad generalization about the income levels of people playing the game and how fast their internet connection was. That has nothing to do with what anyone was talking about in this thread. I said there could be a generalization made about their lesiure time, but that has nothing to do with income level."

Um. You said that in WoW there were class divisions yes? Richer peopple= more leisure time, can get to higher levels?

Is that right? I never studied sociology so may have the wrong end of the stick.

What I'm saying is that the class boundaries cannot be massive because there is a minimum level of income required to have a PC etc.

I may be misunderstanding.

Yadam Siegfried:

Okaaaaay, try: Where We Stand: Class Matters by bell hooks.

From the Amazon.com Editorial Reviews:

From Library Journal
This incisive examination of class is rooted in cultural critic hooks's (All About Love) personal experience, political commitment, and social theory, which links gender, race, and class. Starting with her working-class childhood, the author illustrates how everyday interactions reproduce class hierarchy while simultaneously denying its existence. Because she sustains an unflinching gaze on both her own personal motivations and on persistent social structures, hooks provides a valuable framework for discussing such difficult and unexplored areas as greed, the quest to live simply, the ruling-class co-optation of youth through popular culture, and real estate speculation as an instrument of racism. Although the reading level and the price are both steep, this title is highly recommended for most public libraries and academic social science collections.DPaula R. Dempsey, DePaul Univ. Lib., Chicago
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

I think it's funny that you bring bell hooks into a discussion where you're trying to establish that class is MORE IMPORTANT than race. No one here, I think, disagrees with the title of the work you're referring to - that is, that "Class Matters" - but I don't think that her thesis, from what I can tell from the book summaries and editorial reviews, as well as bell hooks' history as a highly race-related artist and academic, quite coincides with your point. Rather, it looks like hooks is bringing in the perspective of class to illuminate how it reinforces racism, rather than contend that it's somehow more important that race, which was your claim from the beginning.

To me, Mind of Mencia and the Chappele Show indicate one thing: people want to make fun of people's race, but they feel too guilty to let a white person do it. So, they hire a Mexican or black person to do it instead.

There's a huge (mostly white, middle class) market out there for racist humor, and Mencia and Chappele fill it. Dave Chappele cancelled his own show after seeing it as too racist, from what I gathered from the TIME article on him.

Racist humor is very indicative of how much race still matters in our society.
1) There's not a single popular white comedian who has a show as racist as the Chappele/Mencia shows. Why not?

2) These racist shows can't pick on any particular race, but must spread it out for some bizarre measure of "fairness". Imagine if Mencia's show was entirely about making fun of black people, and didn't make fun of any other group. Ever. Such a show would never be created, and yet we're supposed to believe that racial humor is OK. If it's so OK, why are there so many self-imposed limits on it?

Pat M.:

Yadam Siegfried:

Okaaaaay, try: Where We Stand: Class Matters by bell hooks.

From the Amazon.com Editorial Reviews:

From Library Journal
This incisive examination of class is rooted in cultural critic hooks's (All About Love) personal experience, political commitment, and social theory, which links gender, race, and class. Starting with her working-class childhood, the author illustrates how everyday interactions reproduce class hierarchy while simultaneously denying its existence. Because she sustains an unflinching gaze on both her own personal motivations and on persistent social structures, hooks provides a valuable framework for discussing such difficult and unexplored areas as greed, the quest to live simply, the ruling-class co-optation of youth through popular culture, and real estate speculation as an instrument of racism. Although the reading level and the price are both steep, this title is highly recommended for most public libraries and academic social science collections.DPaula R. Dempsey, DePaul Univ. Lib., Chicago
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

I think it's funny that you bring bell hooks into a discussion where you're trying to establish that class is MORE IMPORTANT than race. No one here, I think, disagrees with the title of the work you're referring to - that is, that "Class Matters" - but I don't think that her thesis, from what I can tell from the book summaries and editorial reviews, as well as bell hooks' history as a highly race-related artist and academic, quite coincides with your point. Rather, it looks like hooks is bringing in the perspective of class to illuminate how it reinforces racism, rather than contend that it's somehow more important that race, which was your claim from the beginning.

I think it is funny that you are discussing a book you have never read. I actually own the book, and I have read it. The book actually talks about how both class and race are important. I wouldn't rely too heavily on an Amazon book review to help prove your point.

bob_arctor:
"Yadam Siegfried
Bob- I was taking a sociological look at the in-game aspects of WoW, and you came back with a broad generalization about the income levels of people playing the game and how fast their internet connection was. That has nothing to do with what anyone was talking about in this thread. I said there could be a generalization made about their lesiure time, but that has nothing to do with income level."

Um. You said that in WoW there were class divisions yes? Richer peopple= more leisure time, can get to higher levels?

Is that right? I never studied sociology so may have the wrong end of the stick.

What I'm saying is that the class boundaries cannot be massive because there is a minimum level of income required to have a PC etc.

I may be misunderstanding.

Re-read my original post. I said: "I am not saying that everyone who plays WoW is a rich, high class person in their real life, but what I am saying is that it does show a lot of leisure time."

I like this article.

As you may deduce from my account name I am indeed latin. Sadly I am not a participant in border patrol and are not looking forward to picking up the game.

By sheer coincidence I am a WoW player. And Yadam, you can archieve level 60 in 3 days worth of played time if you know how to do it.

I am a pretty hardcore WoW player, have been playing it since phase 2 of closed beta testing. I am part of a guild, I raid, my character is fully epiced out and has a cherry on top. My character like most of the characters in any game I play have hispanic names. And I have seen the racist hints on quests and NPC names. Personally I don't mind, "let them dance in their sceptic pool of ignorance" if you may.

Reguardless, these racist remarks are part of pop colture. Therefore, they are deemed fair game by the participants of this culture (so pretty much anyone who has ever heard of mainstream anything). Hispanic people love to make fun of Americans. Americans think every hispanic woman knows how to house keep. It's a tradeoff, even though it is not the right thing to do we continue to do it because pop culture tells us it is alright to continue to do so.

Such trends are self fueling and pretty hard to shake off. Specially when there are monetary interests fueling them further.

My point is, even though ignoring these hints is not right. Hitting the panic button is a waste of energy. The best thing to do is do your best to be well informed about stereotypes, about what are exagerations, or sad popular truths and use that knowledge to stay as unbiased as possible.

back to Lara Crigger:

True Crime: Streets of LA piqued my interest when it came out a few years ago; mostly, I'll admit, because it appeared to be a Grand Theft Auto clone with Snoop Dogg as a playable character. So I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered that our protagonist is one Nicholas Kang, a (possible spoiler alert?) Chinese American of half-Asian, half-Caucasian descent, voiced by Russell Wong of Romeo Must Die fame, and his partner in the "Elite Operations Division" of the LAPD is Rosie Velasquez, who self-identifies as Latina, and is voiced by Michelle Rodriguez, of S.W.A.T., Resident Evil, and Lost.

(Fun fact: I haven't finished the game myself; I was supposed to review it for Applelinks.com, but it ran so poorly on my computer that I ended up passing on it. This was mostly gathered from a script text-dump)

The story itself is a mix between cop-drama and kung-fu movie: drugs and counterfeit money lead Nick and his teammates into a series of shootouts with the Chinese Triads, the Russian Mafia, and the Korean People's Army, which in turn reveal the truth about a sordid tale of police betrayal in Nick's past. Unfortunately, I never played far enough to figure out where Snoop came in.

To be sure, it's rare that we see mixed-race individuals, especially protagonists, in any video game, so props to Nick Kang for holding it down. I could most certainly do without him and his brother knowing kung fu, but it appears that the game was designed as a very intentional cross between cop drama and martial arts flick; according to the Wikipedia entry, the operating title in development was "Nick Kang: Kung Fu Detective". In this light, I'm guessing that our protagonist is intentionally mixed-race as a kind of symbol of this East-meets-West genre mixing and less as a willful statement on race, and somehow they seem to have accidentally stumbled on an acceptable portrayal of an Asian American man. Likewise, it would be nice to have a Latina that wasn't involved in gang activity, but this is a story about the "streets" of Los Angeles and so I suppose as far as cop dramas go it's about par for the course.

Anyone out there played it and care to comment? How about Romeo Must Die? (It's one of my favorite movies ever.)

fsd

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