Square Enix Responds to "Racist" Deus Ex Character

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soulfire130:
If every black person in Deus Ex was like her then, yes that is racist.

If you type in 'kkk 14/88' during the end credits after they've finished all the black NPC perform a musical number.

I'm almost certainly lying about that, though.

Akalabeth:
You never hear about people getting up in arms about stereotyped white people. Why is that?

You need to troll more right wing forums if you think no one does.

That's not a Black racial stereotype, that originated from the impoverished white people speaking this way and African American's adopted it. Somehow the thing got attached to blacks, oh well. I want bad guy's to not use a British accent, it is racist and stereotypes very pale folk!

RhombusHatesYou:

Akalabeth:
You never hear about people getting up in arms about stereotyped white people. Why is that?

You need to troll more right wing forums if you think no one does.

Well, it's just not publicized in my experience. Though most of my video game related news comes from here or Reviews on the Run and neither place has mentioned it from what I know.

I'd say if that was the only black character in the game then it's not very smart on the developer's part. I'm white although I know there are plenty of negative stereotypes that people can drawn on but that doesn't mean people are speaking about me specifically.

Although the character is pretty easy and low brow to write, it's hard to write a gritty drama if you're trying to have all these characters be "civil" and PC.

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

This was my first thought while reading the article.

I didn't see her and automaticly think "She's speaking like that because she's black"

I thought "She is homeless"

Why must people see racism everywhere?!?!

I am African american. I dont find this racist.

In fact, i LIVE in Detroit Michigan. I have for most of my life. I will tell you right now, i know half a dozen people who talk like that. Im related to several of them.

But it is great for a laugh.

RhombusHatesYou:

Irony's Acolyte:
So a black woman with a Southern accent who is not in the best position financially is racist?

With what she charges for information I'd hardly say she was in poor financial shape. Perhaps she's eccentric and likes rifling through bins.

I just figured that she was rifling through a bin and asking for money that she needed to scrounge for finances/food. It could just be she's an eccentric though.

I found the way she greeted him laugh-my-ass-off funny. Truth be told, I didn't find this scene offensive. It was just funny.

1. Im from Florida and people talk like this here. I actually find her performance
to be better than some of the other voice actors they hired. She sells me on the idea
that she is there in the future talking to him rather than in a recording studio talking
about where to find a group of prostitute kidnappers.

2. Ive been to Detroit present day and this is how people are! There are
people huddled around trashcan fires. they talk like this.They sleep on the
streets and hate the cops. This game comes off as genuine.

3. It would be more offensive to me if the streets were filled with all "proper white folk"
because you would be ignoring the population of people who are like this and, by not giving
representation to those people, it would be like saying that those people are not
important enough to be represented. which would come off as bad.

Another case of "People need to just chill the fuck out."

Pretty much have to be a completely ignorant tool to think this is racist.

The best solution to this problem and to anyone who gets 'offended' at something that doesn't hurt anyone is to ignore them! Unfortunately that is not going on here and it should be happening far more often. Give these sorts of cries attention and they'll find a racist under every rock.

I just started playing this game but as soon as I saw that character I KNEW someone would start a big deal about it.

Cousin_IT:
Sounds like Dave Chappelle.

Exactly... it sounds bad. The accent didn't bother me but it sounded more like a guy trying to sound like a chick. And she sounds older.

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

Well this is a valid point to make, if the way she currently sounds isn't acceptable under grounds of it being 'racist' then what is acceptable exactly?

They could have given her any other accent and odds are on that someone would still have found something to complain about, if not with her character then with something (or someone) else in the game.

There are some people out there who just need something to complain about and unless they can suggest a way to actually improve it then pointless, petty complaining is all it probably is.

um... THINK, if this voice is not used on a Afro-American character... would you have used a Chinese model? a White cowboy? it's just for plot sake, geez! calm down people, they want to show variety in there characters... no more, no less...

I would possibly see an argument of this, if she was the only black chick to be seen in Detroit or the entire game. Guess what? That's not the game. One of the odd things I noticed when I played the game was how MANY blacks there were.

I am only giving out a rough guess but take a look at the streets, the locals, the Seriff security guards. How many blacks were there in Detroit alone? I would say a good number of them, hell you even saw a few with green mohawks. And when you hit China, did you see blacks there? Yes. There were blacks in nearly every node you were at and not a single one of those blacks were used to shown to be racist, just this one.

You can't point a trash rat black girl that sounds pretty much spot on(Source: people from the south and my own damn family) and say it's racist. It's not. It would be racist if she was the only black chick in the entire game, but she is far from that.

Deus Ex has possibly more blacks then I can recall and that's a first. If Letitia is the only black woman this person is going to bitch on, out of the sea of black people in the game, then this has got to be the worst attempt on political correctness I have ever seen.

Well it got this Evan's name in the news again.

RollForInitiative:
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.

This.

I'm a black woman, and I don't get offended over racism - I just laugh at it. And this made me laugh and it did make me surprised. Do I think it is racist? Yes, I do. It's over the top and it's ridiculous.

But they can put it in their game if they want. It doesn't make me hate them for being racist, it makes me dislike them because they have awful design choices. The scene broke immersion.

kuth:

You can't point a trash rat black girl that sounds pretty much spot on(Source: people from the south and my own damn family) and say it's racist. It's not. It would be racist if she was the only black chick in the entire game, but she is far from that.

Your logic makes no sense. It doesn't matter how many black people are in the game, there could be a thousand. None of that changes the fact that this character is ridiculous. You also admit the fact that if she was the only black character then it would be racist. Well, that means it's racist. That means you acknowledge the fact that this character is awful and is laughably racist. Racism surely must be judged on the qualities of the character and the way they are executed by the development team. It isn't judged by the number of people normal black people vs the number of ridiculous black people.

And you aren't the one who gets to define what is "racist". No one is. Obviously it isn't racist to you, because you're white. I know some black people who think that this isn't racist. I do think it is racist. Perception of racism is entirely subjective.

Bottom line, the character is ridiculous and is poorly acted. And yes, in my opinion, the rationale and execution of the character is slightly racist. I'm not offended, I'm amused that they somehow thought it was a good idea to leave such a poorly acted character in the game.

*sigh* Let's get one thing clear, folks. Including a stereotype, bringing it up, all of that, that's not racist. Saying that women tend to like dresses, that's not sexist. What is racist is when you claim all people of a race conform to that stereotype and refuse to accept that any could deviate from the stereotype, or that it in some way makes the race inferior to some other race. Some people need to get that idea. Yes, oriental people often get mixed up in translation and use "engrish." This isn't racist, this is a factual statement. There is a language barrier because the structure of oriental languages is fundamentally different from english, as are the pronunciations. Yes, many people of darker tones of skins tend to be poor, due to the fact that less than a century ago they were discriminated against. The existence of stereotypes does not constitute bigotry, and until we, as a society, can accept this, we're just going to have more attention whores like this crying racist whenever a stereotype pops up.

As an African American i dont necessarily find it racists, but without playing the game and knowing the full purpose behind her character i do find it in bad taste. But for the most part im not all that concerned.

Not classy... but not worth getting angry over

Heh?

When I listened to this I expected it to be a major throwback, like something I'd hear in a shirley temple movie (saying something like "oh lordie", like those movies always have african americans act).

What I got was modern ebonics.

I'm sorry, this type of speech is so prevalent (to greater or lesser degree depending on the individual) that people go out of their way to eradicate it.

ex: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X_KKLkmIrDk

Granted, it varies somewhat from area to area, but it's prominent in urban centers and I hear it all the time in NYC.

It's obviously not homogeneous and it's not everywhere, but it's definitely there.

Cousin_IT:
Sounds like Dave Chappelle.

With a slight woman's touch.

Lancer873:
*sigh* Let's get one thing clear, folks.

If there is anything I would love to get clear, it would be the fact that your definition of racism is not law, and means next to nothing. You can't come in here and act like you wrote the text book on racism. It's an incredibly complex thing and everyone's definition is different. Just because someone has a different definition to you doesn't give you the right to bring in the old *siiiigh*s.

Lancer873:
Saying that women tend to like dresses, that's not sexist.

So it's not racist if I say black people tend to be illiterate and borderline retarded?

I think it is.

on on one hand it's not that racist but then again square enix have been pushing racism boundary for a while when it comes to their black characters and can't seem to get out of the 70's when it comes to them and has them constantly in sort of a semi comic relief setting. Can you see where were coming from. I wonder if they can allow a black character to be portrayed as normal person and still contribute significantly to the plot one day....

Game takes place in Detroit, and there's only like six black people.
lol okay

This is "Resident Evil 5" all over again, and it's the same basic problem: What you are looking at in the video IS an ethnic caricature, and a fairly specific one - a 'minstrel' archetype of the late-19th/early-20th Century. They almost-certainly didn't "intend" the association, but put THAT voice in a black character - with bonus points for making her a 'street person' - and that's what you get. "Author's intent" can only excuse so much.

Now, that doesn't make the game or it's developers "racist"... but it makes them look pretty careless: How did NOBODY at any point in development 'catch' this before it went into pressing? Granted, thus far every piece of voice-acting I've heard from this game has been uniformly horrible - like, late-1990s hastily-translated Japanese arcade game horrible - But the the sheer tone-deafness of this instance boggles the mind.

Black people in a game? Must be racist!

Southern accent?! Of course it must be racist!

God I wish I was so simple minded as to think in that manner. It'd make me reading this awhole lot less enraging. It's not racist. People are just easily offended. Simple as that.

So, its racist, having a character that talks that way.
And its not if you have 'white trash' npcs? or any other chracter who just happens to portray a 'stereotype'? What about all the asian doctors? Is that racist?

If they had a character in the game that is actually playing a racist character, Is it racist of them for adding that charcter in the game? Should every character be Politically correct? Talk Politically correct?
Should all books, movies, tv, games have no characters you aren't meant to dislike becuase they should all be politically correct?

The first person who broke this story was our very own Jim Sterling, and everyone on Destructoid agreed with him then. But the Escapist shifts all the focus on Evan Narcisse and now all the commentators call him "an easily offended black man."

Is it impossible for a person to sound like that? No? Then how is it racist? If an ACTUAL black person naturally talked like that would that make them a racist caricature?

Have I really been talking in only questions for this whole post?

Not anymore.

Heroic One:
Game takes place in Detroit, and there's only like six black people.
lol okay

Erm there are tons of black people...most of random NPC's you see when walking about are black I noticed.

The list goes on.

Like I said earlier the character offended me when I came across it but than I realised I don't really know anyone from America so I'm not really in a position to judge what is correct. Mostly everyone who doesn't work at the corporation buildings are down on their luck in that first area so she fits in enough.

I don't know why they chose that accent I think it is a southern one? Seems a bit of an odd choice if anything. Perhaps if they had changed that it would have been a bit less dodgy.

SillyBear:

Lancer873:
*sigh* Let's get one thing clear, folks.

If there is anything I would love to get clear, it would be the fact that your definition of racism is not law, and means next to nothing. You can't come in here and act like you wrote the text book on racism. It's an incredibly complex thing and everyone's definition is different. Just because someone has a different definition to you doesn't give you the right to bring in the old *siiiigh*s.

Lancer873:
Saying that women tend to like dresses, that's not sexist.

So it's not racist if I say black people tend to be illiterate and borderline retarded?

I think it is.

Well for starters, black people do not tend to be illiterate and borderline retarded, and secondly, that actually constitutes something offensive, and, as I mentioned later in that post, would make it clear that you hold blacks to be an "inferior" race. The fact that a significant amount of females tend to get an enjoyment out of fashion-based subjects that most men do not understand is not offensive, and is actually true. What I'm saying is that, statistically speaking, many stereotypes exist because they hold some semblance of truth. It's not wrong to acknowledge that there are differences between the majority of one group, and the majority of another group. It's wrong to hold this as proof that the other group is "inferior" in some way to the other, or to believe that there are no exceptions to the statistic. Let's put it this way: If I say "women have nipples that are larger than men's," am I being sexist? No, because this is true. The extra X chromosome that women have tends to do that. If I say that "Men, on average, are stronger, in terms of upper-body strength, than women," am I being sexist? Most people would think I am, but statistically and scientifically speaking, this is true. Testosterone increases muscle buildup, especially in the upper-body. It would be sexist to believe that it is impossible for a woman to be stronger than me (most women are probably actually stronger than me in terms of upper-body strength. I'm not very strong), or to claim this somehow makes a man who is weaker than a woman "inferior" to other men.

Now, there may be some stereotypes that are being enforced in a sort of way in today's society. I, too, realize that it's sick for women to be idolizing people with eating disorders and for men to idolize steroid abusers, these stereotypes are wrong, but that is because we are viewing these stereotypes as "better". We cannot ignore the fact that there are differences between races, sexes, and religions. I do not think that racial sensitivity means we should try to pretend that everybody is on even grounds, because that's just not the way the world works.

Lancer873:
snip

No offense but what I think the guys is trying to say is that this Stereotype ISN'T accurate. It's actually pretty bizzarre in fact to have a street lady with an ancient deep southern accent wandering around 2077 Detroit?

btw I don't like dresses or fashion! /rasp! ;p

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