Square Enix Responds to "Racist" Deus Ex Character

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Square Enix Responds to "Racist" Deus Ex Character

Some critics took umbrage with the portrayal of an African-American in Deus Ex: Human Revolution.

Letitia is fairly well dressed for a "Trash Lady." In playing through Deus Ex, Adam Jensen will meet her on the streets of 2027 Detroit and when pressed she will offer her insight on what's happening in the city. She does so by using a colloquial mode of speaking that is perhaps more identified with 20th century deep South, and her accent caused Evan Narcisse of Time's Techland blog to write a scathing attack on the developers for including such a "racist stereotype" in an otherwise excellent game. Today, the publisher of Deus Ex Square Enix said that they had no intention of offending anyone.

"Deus Ex: Human Revolution is a fictional story which reflects the diversity of the world's future population by featuring characters of various cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds," Square said. "While these characters are meant to portray people living in the year 2027, it has never been our intention to represent any particular ethnic group in a negative light."

I can't speak for Evan Narcisse who also objected to the black zombies in Resident Evil 5, and I have yet to play through all of Deus Ex, but I can see people arguing that there is nothing overtly racist with the clip in the video above. Letitia is certainly a strange character, but her exaggerated speech is not that different from many of the people that I encounter in North Carolina - both white and black. What do you think? Is Letitia a harmful racial stereotype?

Narcisse compares Letitia to the caricature of Amos and Andy and minstel shows of yore, but I don't think you can equate a single character in a videogame with hundreds of years of racism and discrimination, especially when there are other characters of a similar ethnic background in the same game who do not act this way.

"The horrible broken English Letitia speaks is so far removed from any actual slang that it renders the character practically extra-terrestrial," Narcisse said. "It's not from an alien planet, though. That slang harkens back to the worst blackface minstrelsy of the last century."

Letitia is certainly an easy way to write a character - and I agree that her dialogue and voice-acting are inferior - but to object so vehemently to her portrayal would mean you'd have to object to Mario's Italian characteristics and the Asian stereotypes in Cooking with Mama.

Source: Techland

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Hey.

The Deus Ex vocal racism is funny as hell to me. Breaks my immersion a bit. But makes me laugh.

I, personally, didn't feel that anyone should be offended, then again...I'm a white male.

Besides, remember the accents from DE1?

Yeah...

Okay, so an easily offended lack man was just offended. It's not like I can't understand where hes's coming from but I live in california and I encounter people who speak like Letitia almost everyday. I was unware that I had traveled to another planet or utilized a time-machine. As a mexican american I'd say the game has a remarkable tact for displaying people as they really are, Cabron.

Of course the real damage here is that his rampant hyperbole is going to misrepresent the game to thousands of people who'll have no idea just how wrong he really is. Oh well.

Honestly, she struck me as a pretty laughably racist stereotype when I ran into her. I was kind of surprised that they'd left her in. Am I offended? No, just surprised.

I don't remember anyone complaining about racism in the first game over the Chinese accents. I'm Chinese and I didn't see it as a big deal, people need to relax about these kinds of things.

Sounds like Dave Chappelle.

I'd be more offended by the people saying "This woman is an african-american stereotype" than by the actual character itself. You must be pretty darn racist to see something that over the top and say "Yup, that's what black people sound like."

I might also add, she's a trash lady, would it sell the character better if she spoke like an ivy-league graduate?

A quick google search on Evan Narcisse reveals that he went to high school and college in New York. Obviously he hasn't spent much time down south, like Alabama for instance, which just so happens to be where I live. There is nothing racist at all about the character's portrayal in that video. I encounter people who talk like that every single day here.

Unless she breaks out in song of "Mamma's little baby."

It's nothing like black face.

Sorry it's not racial stereotyping being black, on the streets in a future of massive poverty.

Sounds like another special interest group looking for a dollar. Ignore um.

Course you want racists and stereotype...

When is the last time a GERMAN was in a name and NOT a nazi? Hmmmm?

She was actually one of the more memorable characters in the game because she had a damn personality.

I love how that personality screams racist nowadays.

Seems there are no actual problems left if this is what people get offended over these days.

Ok, so she is a homeless person digging through the trash and is obviously poor and probably lacks a proper education, but we're going to complain about how she talks and that she might be a racial stereotype.

I mean good light, you find her right outside the fucking ghetto, where her English sounds god damn music compared to some of the gangsta' trash you hear while sneaking around up on the rooftops.

Would the guy have even blinked an eye if she was Chinese? Or European?

I'm more bothered with the protagonists voice. What's happened to his throat?

Where is the racism? Have any of these people ever been to a large city? Is it racist to talk that way? So to all the people who speak differently than you do, THEY are racist??

EDIT: Does this mean Bill Cosby is racist for making Fat Albert?

Onyx Oblivion:
Hey.

The Deus Ex vocal racism is funny as hell to me. Breaks my immersion a bit. But makes me laugh.

I, personally, didn't feel that anyone should be offended, then again...I'm a white male.

Besides, remember the accents from DE1?

Yeah...

That was actually hilarious.

OT: I don't think it's that racist. It's a character in a video game talking in a certain way...

Why is this being called racist?

I thought the game handled race pretty well.

AND they got the British accents right! Which was quite surprising, considering Rocksteady - a British studio - have hired bloody Nolan North to do a (crap) cockney accent for the Penguin.

Even most of the Chinese accents were pretty decent.

i laughed. and thought it a terrible stereotype. It was like something out of the 50's

but really, all i could muster is shame on the developers for ruining what is for the most part steller voice acting. You can buy information off her, i just walked away before i heard any more.

did i find it racist.. no. but my god it's awful. and yes i could see how some people could find it racist.

I was more offended by the bad voice acting.

They do realise that by pointing at this "stereotype" character, if she even is one, will no doubt continue to make racism exist if we allow ourselves to be so sensitive and make controversy out of nothing? Then again, many people would be out of a job if we killed off racism.

Waaghpowa:
I don't remember anyone complaining about racism in the first game over the Chinese accents. I'm Chinese and I didn't see it as a big deal, people need to relax about these kinds of things.

Ha... yeah. That's not going to happen.

OT: If that's racist, then I should to argue every portrayal of Irish people in American Media is racist.

But I, frankly, am too drunk to.

Onyx Oblivion:
Hey.

The Deus Ex vocal racism is funny as hell to me. Breaks my immersion a bit. But makes me laugh.

I, personally, didn't feel that anyone should be offended, then again...I'm a white male.

Besides, remember the accents from DE1?

Yeah...

Woercome to tha rucky mony!

What is this world becoming? People find offensive things everywhere! And being offended doesn't even mean anything. It doesn't do anything. When you're offended nothing happens. Nothing at all. Get over it pussies. Grow the fuck up and get over it.

plus2exp:
A quick google search on Evan Narcisse reveals that he went to high school and college in New York. Obviously he hasn't spent much time down south, like Alabama for instance, which just so happens to be where I live. There is nothing racist at all about the character's portrayal in that video. I encounter people who talk like that every single day here.

Louisiana native here, and you've pretty much hit the nail on the head. Having probably never met anyone who talks like that in New York (where I live now), he might have assumed that nobody actually talks like that. It's hardly race related either. I've met throngs of white, Latin, and Asian people that talk like that.

Remember: Stereotypes are colorful exaggerations of certain aspects of a particular culture, but they have to come from somewhere.

Well I would think it was racist, but I happen to have actually heard Ebonics and people who genuinely talk like her. This very much falls into that mildly uncomfortable category of 'is it bigotry if it's true?'

Also take note: Having dark skin and being educated DOES NOT make you omniscient and infallible in all matters concerning people with the same skin colour as you.

Well considering I live in Detroit and I've encountered homeless people who sound exactly like that, I wouldn't call it a racist character. All stereotypes have an ounce of truth, after all... this is just one we wish didn't exist but still does. Whoever is complaining about this is just making a mountain out of a mole-hill.

Wut ?
Next we iss gonna be forcin all them pee cee vidya games to be speakin that there fancified Eenglish becoz all them folks be hatin' .

People are all too eager to toss out the racist card to get attention, they especially love to jump on popular bandwagons and try hitch a ride out of obscurity.
Game should be protected as a form of art and communication, and unless the game specifically encourages players to be racists ( like say a KKK propoganda disguised as a game ), then in game dialouge should be treated as acting a role.

I get offended at some games attempt to portray a proper enlish accent in games, dont hear me ranting about racists yanks messing up my lingo :P

This isn't quite as dumb as the RE5 complaints("How dare they perpetuate the stereotype that black people live in Africa!"), but it's pretty close. As many other people have pointed out, there really are people who speak like this and I've met some of them.

Carlston:

When is the last time a GERMAN was in a name and NOT a nazi? Hmmmm?

Hmmn... 2000?

image

She calls him "Capt" because he was the leader of a SWAT team and a cop before.
She says nothing racist the entire time, not about black or white people.
She is poor, so she digs in the trash. I come from a family who took me with them for bottle collecting when I was young back before we had a home.

Evan Narcisse, you have offended me more than any stereotype from the 50s ever could. How DARE you tell me my background and my past friends (who spoke much like this NPC does) are "racial stereotypes"? Who do you think you are saying people who act like this NPC are living stereotypes?
By saying this character is a sign of racism, that's EXACTLY what you're doing. You're saying those who act like her are stereotypes. THAT is racism. I am NOT a stereotype, and neither are the guys I used to hang out with!

You've grossly offended me to the point where I am going to email this to you. Or to Time's Techland blog. Likely both if possible.

You confused bad voice acting with racism, and made remarks that imply anyone who is stricken with poverty to have to dig through trash or ask for hand-outs, as well as anyone who speaks with a certain slang, is a walking stereotype. I demand an apology.

Sincerely, Ian Caronia.

...And I will email that to this person ASAP. Looking for an address to do so now.

EDIT: Oh, I get it now. You can't contact the blog unless you subscribe. That's very shrewd of them. Post rediculous content that gets people mad enough to subscribe just to confront you. It's actually a diabolical business practice. Too bad there are other communication outlets I can work through to show this guy how much he offended me.

Onyx Oblivion:

Besides, remember the accents from DE1?

Yeah...

image

How did I not notice that!?

This guy lost all credibility to me when it was revealed that he thought RE5 was racist. Holy shit, there are black people in Africa! Anything else would be racist...

I fail to see what is so racist about that. I encounter plenty of people that talk like that and sometimes with an even heavier.. shall we say... accent.

So where this dude is coming from I have no idea. It might be that he is the one that is out of touch with reality.

Oh it's just some easily offended person. This is just as ridiculous as the RE5 racism claim. Maybe I would agree here if every black person in the game talked like that but since that's not the case, I don't see the point in saying that this is racist. I'm damn sure that Eidos never had any racist intentions when they made the game.
Narcisse's claim is just the product of too much political correctness.

Yet no one was angry about Gunther or Anna Navarre's voice acting in DE1 being obvious allusions to racial backgrounds (Namely, German/Austrian for the former and Russian/Serbian (I think?) for the latter). Or the various OTHER accents that Deus Ex 1 did?

I bet these are the same people who said RE5 was racist because there were black zombies in the game, yet they didn't bat an eyelash towards RE4's endless cavalcade of Spanish zombies. Shows what they know, I guess.

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