Crispy Gamer Calls Out Resident Evil 5's Racism

 Pages PREV 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
 

Does this make the movie Zulu racist too?

What about Blood Diamond?

A stereotype is just that.... everything about human interaction is based on stereotype. I bet this person is still upset about being related to primates (evolution, fyi).

teh_gunslinger:
And I would hesitate to call Spartan society fascist. That would be something of an anachronism.

I don't think Sparta itself is fascist, either. But 300 (standing on a long tradition of reinterpreting Sparta and pointlessly idolizing it) definitely turns its myths into nationalistic ones. And I look at that and go "Why the hell did you choose to do that, 300?" and I've never heard a satisfying answer back.

-- Alex

Jumplion:

I'll say this as many times as I have to, if Video Games are ever to reach the stature of "art" then we have to take on these issues head first. We can't just ignore them and hope they go away, nor can we just make a petty excuse without addressing the real issue at hand. This argument has always been on how these people are portrayed, never that it's Africa with African zombies.

Maybe I misunderstand your post but from what I can glean you feel that because RE5 portrays black Africans in a "negative" and stereotypical light (i.e. spears and spiked shields, gaunt, undernourished living in poverty) that it is racist and thus negatively represents video games as a lesser form of art. I think it is racist, based on the dictionary.com definition of racism, to ignore accurate depictions of rural life in Africa when basing a game in Africa. You recreate the atmosphere, even if it is un-pc to depict real world conditions. I am someone (not to sound too pretentious here but I might. Apologies in advance) who reads about Africa in the news every day and looks at many pictures of urban and suburban African life. That is kinda what a rural, North African village would be like. The inhabitants are mostly impoverished black people. Does not make them bad people. Makes them who they are. It is racist to coddle them BASED on their skin color. I also do not think the RE zombie virus cares about the race of who they infect.

To sum up my point: to denounce the fact that the rural, North African zombies are black and being killed by a white guy is racist in of itself by suggesting that one should base their policies based on the color of one's skin.

I hate to repost but:

laikenf:
Do those people even know what racism is?

From dictionary.com:
rac⋅ism
   /ˈreɪsɪzəm/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [rey-siz-uhm] Show IPA
-noun
1. a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human races determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one's own race is superior and has the right to rule others.
2. a policy, system of government, etc., based upon or fostering such a doctrine; discrimination.

Powerman88:

Jumplion:

I'll say this as many times as I have to, if Video Games are ever to reach the stature of "art" then we have to take on these issues head first. We can't just ignore them and hope they go away, nor can we just make a petty excuse without addressing the real issue at hand. This argument has always been on how these people are portrayed, never that it's Africa with African zombies.

Maybe I misunderstand your post but from what I can glean you feel that because RE5 portrays black Africans in a "negative" and stereotypical light (i.e. spears and spiked shields, gaunt, undernourished living in poverty) that it is racist and thus negatively represents video games as a lesser form of art. I think it is racist, based on the dictionary.com definition of racism, to ignore accurate depictions of rural life in Africa when basing a game in Africa. You recreate the atmosphere, even if it is un-pc to depict real world conditions. I am someone (not to sound too pretentious here but I might. Apologies in advance) who reads about Africa in the news every day and looks at many pictures of urban and suburban African life. That is kinda what a rural, North African village would be like. The inhabitants are mostly impoverished black people. Does not make them bad people. Makes them who they are. It is racist to coddle them BASED on their skin color. I also do not think the RE zombie virus cares about the race of who they infect.

To sum up my point: to denounce the fact that the rural, North African zombies are black and being killed by a white guy is racist in of itself by suggesting that one should base their policies based on the color of one's skin.

I hate to repost but:

laikenf:
Do those people even know what racism is?

From dictionary.com:
rac⋅ism
   /ˈreɪsɪzəm/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [rey-siz-uhm] Show IPA
-noun
1. a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human races determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one's own race is superior and has the right to rule others.
2. a policy, system of government, etc., based upon or fostering such a doctrine; discrimination.

Thank you. If a game (or any other form of entertainment) offends sombody because of it's sensitive content (Africa being the case of RE5) it doesn't mean it's racist. Here in america at least you can say there are three types of white men: the racist, the non-racist (or he who doesn't give a fuck) and the white man who feels he needs to atone for his ancestors sins. The latter are the kind that usually blow these kinds of things out of proportion. I have a feeling that the person who wrote that review belongs to that group.

Alex_P:

teh_gunslinger:
And I would hesitate to call Spartan society fascist. That would be something of an anachronism.

I don't think Sparta itself is fascist, either. But 300 (standing on a long tradition of reinterpreting Sparta and pointlessly idolizing it) definitely turns its myths into nationalistic ones. And I look at that and go "Why the hell did you choose to do that, 300?" and I've never heard a satisfying answer back.

-- Alex

I didn't mean to imply you called it fascist. You always strike me as writing well thought out posts. I was just drawing the picture a bit sharper.

Anyway, I agree that both the movie and comic are needlessly... is macho the word I'm groping for? Over the top romantic? Insane? Well, I'm convinced you know precisely what I mean and I hope you'll excuse my lack of vocabulary.
For the comic I think it's part of the way Miller writes. Sin City is also very much over the top in tone, violence and style. And Miller has something about strong men beating up everything. There is indeed traces of fascistic imagery and ethos in 300 but you could also interpret that as Miller sayin "Fuck that. I'll do this even if people want to rip on me for being a closet fascist. I'm just a huge macho romantic." I have no idea if that is the case, but it's possible at least. I tend to think that Miller didn't write it that way because he wanted to say something about a struggle between east and west or how ever you want to phrase it. The comic is from 1998 if I recall correctly. I think he said somewhere that he saw the old movie as a kid and got hooked on the male warrior ethos and later decided to do it himself with all that it could take.

All this, I think, is just me trying to say that I agree with you on the potential problems of depicting history like that, but that sometimes we don't do a comic (or movie) justice if we interpret it through, in this case, fascistic ideals and myths. Sometimes it's just the work of a kid who watched a movie and got fascinated. I don't know if this goes some way to answer your question as to why the comic did what it did. I hope so.
I have largely ignored the movie, but as it's pretty much frame for frame (hyperbole alert) of the comic I think the answer can be recycled for a bit. Also, I think Snyder is just the kind of guy who likes making that kind of movie. The 3 movies I can remember at the moment he's made has been remakes or adaptations of comics, so he pretty much does what the original does. So I focused on that.

And I would also like to end by saying that almost every story and motif have been abused at this point. The story of the battle of Leonidas and his 300 royal guardsmen are indeed the stuff of legend. And as such it will be abused.

And now I'll try to stop derailing the topic.

laikenf:
Thank you. If a game (or any other form of entertainment) offends sombody because of it's sensitive content (Africa being the case of RE5) it doesn't mean it's racist. Here in america at least you can say there are three types of white men: the racist, the non-racist (or he who doesn't give a fuck) and the white man who feels he needs to atone for his ancestors sins. The latter are the kind that usually blow these kinds of things out of proportion. I have a feeling that the person who wrote that review belongs to that group.

But I'm not saying that RE5 is racist. I never have for this entire debate. I'm saying it's in bad taste, just like how RE4, Uncharted, Fat Princess, or any other debatably "racist" game could be. But I have never said that RE5 is racist. Read the rest of my posts in this entire debate and you'll see how I'm saying that RE5 is as "racist" as any other game could be considered. But that does not mean that it should be let off the hook of whatever hook it's on.

Granted, I'll give you that this situation may be blown a bit out of proportion, but that doesn't make it any less of an issue to debate

Powerman88:
Maybe I misunderstand your post but from what I can glean you feel that because RE5 portrays black Africans in a "negative" and stereotypical light (i.e. spears and spiked shields, gaunt, undernourished living in poverty) that it is racist and thus negatively represents video games as a lesser form of art. I think it is racist, based on the dictionary.com definition of racism, to ignore accurate depictions of rural life in Africa when basing a game in Africa. You recreate the atmosphere, even if it is un-pc to depict real world conditions. I am someone (not to sound too pretentious here but I might. Apologies in advance) who reads about Africa in the news every day and looks at many pictures of urban and suburban African life. That is kinda what a rural, North African village would be like. The inhabitants are mostly impoverished black people. Does not make them bad people. Makes them who they are. It is racist to coddle them BASED on their skin color. I also do not think the RE zombie virus cares about the race of who they infect.

To sum up my point: to denounce the fact that the rural, North African zombies are black and being killed by a white guy is racist in of itself by suggesting that one should base their policies based on the color of one's skin.

I have never said in this entire debate that RE5 is racist because it portrays Africans in a negative fashion. What I have said is that RE5 shows Africans in bad taste and coming off as ignorant of what currently goes on in Africa.

Let me reiterate, RE5 is not racist, but it's no saint either. The way it shows off Africans as complete demons is in bad taste, but I'm not saying it's racist.

Everyone is missing the point entirely of what I'm trying to say, how hard is it to understand that it's not racist but it is in bad taste? Swap RE5 for RE4, Uncharted, Fat Princess, yadayadayada, and you can get the same situation.

Jumplion:

laikenf:
Thank you. If a game (or any other form of entertainment) offends sombody because of it's sensitive content (Africa being the case of RE5) it doesn't mean it's racist. Here in america at least you can say there are three types of white men: the racist, the non-racist (or he who doesn't give a fuck) and the white man who feels he needs to atone for his ancestors sins. The latter are the kind that usually blow these kinds of things out of proportion. I have a feeling that the person who wrote that review belongs to that group.

But I'm not saying that RE5 is racist. I never have for this entire debate. I'm saying it's in bad taste, just like how RE4, Uncharted, Fat Princess, or any other debatably "racist" game could be. But I have never said that RE5 is racist. Read the rest of my posts in this entire debate and you'll see how I'm saying that RE5 is as "racist" as any other game could be considered. But that does not mean that it should be let off the hook of whatever hook it's on.

Granted, I'll give you that this situation may be blown a bit out of proportion, but that doesn't make it any less of an issue to debate

NO NO NO!! I completely agree with you. A lot of people confuse something being of bad taste with something being racist; that is why my first post was in the form of a question. It's almost the same with the gay guy debate. The other day a good friend of mine made a gay joke (it wasn't even of bad taste, it was just a joke about a gay guy mind you). Well two of the guys in the group where pretty offended (yeah, gys... go figure) and they started calling my friend a bigot, but when they found out that they where the only two of a group of like 13 people who took it badly they just had to suck it up (after a little scene of course). Or when the beloved Rev. Al Sharpton ran into an issue of Memín (a mexican comic strip about a poor black kid selling newspapers on the streets) and started demanding the mexican press to stop printing those, even though millons of mexicans have enjoyed them for years.

laikenf:

Jumplion:

laikenf:
Thank you. If a game (or any other form of entertainment) offends sombody because of it's sensitive content (Africa being the case of RE5) it doesn't mean it's racist. Here in america at least you can say there are three types of white men: the racist, the non-racist (or he who doesn't give a fuck) and the white man who feels he needs to atone for his ancestors sins. The latter are the kind that usually blow these kinds of things out of proportion. I have a feeling that the person who wrote that review belongs to that group.

But I'm not saying that RE5 is racist. I never have for this entire debate. I'm saying it's in bad taste, just like how RE4, Uncharted, Fat Princess, or any other debatably "racist" game could be. But I have never said that RE5 is racist. Read the rest of my posts in this entire debate and you'll see how I'm saying that RE5 is as "racist" as any other game could be considered. But that does not mean that it should be let off the hook of whatever hook it's on.

Granted, I'll give you that this situation may be blown a bit out of proportion, but that doesn't make it any less of an issue to debate

NO NO NO!! I completely agree with you. A lot of people confuse something being of bad taste with something being racist; that is why my first post was in the form of a question. It's almost the same with the gay guy debate. The other day a good friend of mine made a gay joke (it wasn't even of bad taste, it was just a joke about a gay guy mind you). Well two of the guys in the group where pretty offended (yeah, gys... go figure) and they started calling my friend a bigot, but when they found out that they where the only two of a group of like 13 people who took it badly they just had to suck it up (after a little scene of course). Or when the beloved Rev. Al Sharpton ran into an issue of Memín (a mexican comic strip about a poor black kid selling newspapers on the streets) and started demanding the mexican press to stop printing those, even though millons of mexicans have enjoyed them for years.

Oh thank god, I thought I was going to end up in another debate here. Phewph, glad we're on the same page.

laikenf:
Thank you. If a game (or any other form of entertainment) offends sombody because of it's sensitive content (Africa being the case of RE5) it doesn't mean it's racist. Here in america at least you can say there are three types of white men: the racist, the non-racist (or he who doesn't give a fuck) and the white man who feels he needs to atone for his ancestors sins. The latter are the kind that usually blow these kinds of things out of proportion. I have a feeling that the person who wrote that review belongs to that group.

Several things:

1. Your categories suck.

It's really easy to "not give a fuck" while you keep on being tacitly perpetuating racism. When a person who knows something about racism and cultural myth-making and all that jazz says "Yeah, I'm not concerned about it," I can respect that. All these guys crawling out of the woodwork spouting really basic ideas and being really proud of the fact that they don't give a fuck and being very obviously angry at anyone who does? They're not that guy. They've never thought about it and don't even want to think about it. These folks are not some kind of ideal of non-racist behavior. They're just a bunch of white mostly-teenagers uncomfortable questioning their own (mild) privilege or beliefs.

Very few white Americans actually think in terms of "atoning for their ancestor's sins". The guy writing the article certainly isn't. He's talking about how it makes him feel based on his own experience and his ideas about social justice in the here-and-now. If he's obsessing about the past, it's because of the way it still affects us today.

2. "Out of proportion".

I do think the discourse is out of proportion. I still think there's something to talk about here. And it's pretty spurious to blame it on the one guy writing the article when you've also got a bunch of monkeys hollerin' "SHUT UP! SHUT UP! IT'S JUST A GAME! LEAVE ME TO MY IGNORANT MAN-CHILD WAYS!"

-- Alex

Ironically, if you actually read the files you unlock and stumble upon in the game (files which borderline on way too long. 41 pages of backstory in ONE file? >.<) The key reason they're in Africa is to make use of an old umbrella lab, where the whole virus deal is meant to have started. And what does it say about how and what started it? An ancient tribal race, who had an amazing underground city, and were pretty much super human in their abilities (the very first gene mutations). And what does it say about those savage warriors? That they're peaceful builders, who possesed amazing architectural skills, which are used (in the game world) to help restore other ancient civiliation ruins, and only became violent in self defense.

Damn those savages and their savage building.

So essentially it says they were awesome noble people until the virus went and woke them up on the cranky mutated worms dropping out of your skin and devouring your insides side of bed one morning?

Also, if you think any of the above is a spoiler. Well, you suck. Since 90% of it is optional background reading attatched to the game.

NoDamnNames:

Dr Spaceman:

Honestly, those spear-chucking Africans I saw in the Escapist's own review supplement seemed to be something that would even make Joseph Conrad blush.

So using the same logic would Medieval bow wielding Europeans have been racist if it was set in England?

LOL

What a bunch of shit.

Zombies are 'subhuman' no matter what fucking colour they are. lol

There were 'good' characters in the game that were 'properly' black, not milky coffee like Sheva. And all of the truly evil characters were white.

Is Resident evil 5 racist? Yes, it's racists against fucking zombies and so am I.

miracleofsound:
What a bunch of shit.

Zombies are 'subhuman' no matter what fucking colour they are. lol

Is Resident evil 5 racist? Yes, it's racists against fucking zombies and so am I.

/thread, IMO.

It reminds me of a point made by Dr. Foreman on the show "House"; something about people who don't know the difference between someone being screwed for merely perceived race issues and everyone getting screwed regardless.

If anything, the guy who wrote this RE5 review shot himself in the foot. The fact that he can't see past the perceived race issue of the game and is quick to blame it on the Japanese being xenophobic is just setting up a Straw Man. That developer he spoke with never said anything about there being a race issue involved; instead, the reviewer distorted the developer's position and spun it to sound like the Japanese are ignorant.

When one stops to consider it, the Japanese have little reason for being jerks to Africans since they've historically had prejudice only for the Chinese and Koreans; one might consider that they are blind to the notion of racism against cultures they've had little contact with (being half a world away) and they will accept that the setting they chose will look a certain way and the people there will be a certain way (just with biological mutations and such).

Of course, this is just an assumption - just some food for thought. The reviewer should have left out any topical rants and stuck to the game itself rather than expressing his irrational discomfort and making baseless accusations to pad his own conscience.

Quick query for you all. When you think of the term, "Mexican Culture", do Tacos, Sombreros, or Speedy Gonzales come to mind, at least for a brief instance?

If you think of culture in the Northeastern USA, do the Pilgrims or square dancing come to mind?

What comes to your mind when I say, "Potato's, Corned Beef, and Alcohol?

How about schoolgirls, creepy fetishes, and downright weird consumer products?

If you thought what I think you just thought, I am not saying your racist. I'm saying that you are susceptible to iconic images, a possible, but not necessarily, nor inherently wrong, precursor. When the human mind try's to encode a concept into its brain, it tends to latch onto certain mental shortcuts called Heuristics. Its easier to have a representative icon for some major concept. This is just a quirk of the human brain, and I don't think its fair to call foul on it until you turn this mental shortcut into a rule for actual people in real life situations.

Resident Evil has been shown already to use these Heuristics in its storytelling. Europeans get feudal weaponry, pitchforks, castles, and the like. There just going for storytelling that's easy to latch on to. We associate Africa with spear throwing warriors, and indeed this image is not completely absent from the continent. Its not the most bold storytelling tactic, but I don't think its racist.

On that note, because of the prevalence of racism in America, I think its completely understandable that RE5 will turn a few heads and rattle a few cages as people try to figure out the cultural ramifications of the game. Then, they will realize that the subhuman portrayal is representative of the undead, and not black people, and they will move on. All is going according to plan.

Lastly, Occams razor. The nameless NPCs in the game are portrayed as a sexual threat, and shown as bloodthirsty savages. Is it simpler to assume that this is A) An attempt at exploiting racist tropes to present racist political commentary, furthering some Anti-Black agenda that originates from a Japanese group or B) Because there what Zombies have always done.

This would only be Racist if it makes the implication of these behaviors in non-zombie NPCs. Gold star to you for being self-critical and trying to maintain social justice, now pick up the controller and explode some zombie heads.

Alex_P:

laikenf:
Thank you. If a game (or any other form of entertainment) offends sombody because of it's sensitive content (Africa being the case of RE5) it doesn't mean it's racist. Here in america at least you can say there are three types of white men: the racist, the non-racist (or he who doesn't give a fuck) and the white man who feels he needs to atone for his ancestors sins. The latter are the kind that usually blow these kinds of things out of proportion. I have a feeling that the person who wrote that review belongs to that group.

Several things:

1. Your categories suck.

It's really easy to "not give a fuck" while you keep on being tacitly perpetuating racism. When a person who knows something about racism and cultural myth-making and all that jazz says "Yeah, I'm not concerned about it," I can respect that. All these guys crawling out of the woodwork spouting really basic ideas and being really proud of the fact that they don't give a fuck and being very obviously angry at anyone who does? They're not that guy. They've never thought about it and don't even want to think about it. These folks are not some kind of ideal of non-racist behavior. They're just a bunch of white mostly-teenagers uncomfortable questioning their own (mild) privilege or beliefs.

Very few white Americans actually think in terms of "atoning for their ancestor's sins". The guy writing the article certainly isn't. He's talking about how it makes him feel based on his own experience and his ideas about social justice in the here-and-now. If he's obsessing about the past, it's because of the way it still affects us today.

2. "Out of proportion".

I do think the discourse is out of proportion. I still think there's something to talk about here. And it's pretty spurious to blame it on the one guy writing the article when you've also got a bunch of monkeys hollerin' "SHUT UP! SHUT UP! IT'S JUST A GAME! LEAVE ME TO MY IGNORANT MAN-CHILD WAYS!"

-- Alex

What I meant by not giving a fuck is simply people to whom racism is simply not even in their subconscious, I'm aware of the fact that it's impossible to actually know what a person really thinks or feels, but believe me, a lot of people who have played the game and simply blast by it without even noticing a hint of racism, maybe others would not have noticed either if this wouldn't of have gone so far, why is this? I don't know, maybe it's a good thing or maybe it's one of the bad things about equality.

About very few Americans feeling they should atone to their past sins; I agree, but, there are some issues like racism that a lot of white Americans feel uncomfortable talking about or let's just say "handling" it when it is presented in a compromising or disturbing way. Whatever the individual reasons for this.

Another thing: as mediocre as RE5's story is, it does explain a lot of things, causes and effects, so a lot of the blame goes to people just not paying attention, or not being interested in the narrative.

Oh and "Your categories suck." Totally uncalled for man.

ExistentialCrisis:

miracleofsound:
What a bunch of shit.

Zombies are 'subhuman' no matter what fucking colour they are. lol

Is Resident evil 5 racist? Yes, it's racists against fucking zombies and so am I.

/thread, IMO.

It reminds me of a point made by Dr. Foreman on the show "House"; something about people who don't know the difference between someone being screwed for merely perceived race issues and everyone getting screwed regardless.

If anything, the guy who wrote this RE5 review shot himself in the foot. The fact that he can't see past the perceived race issue of the game and is quick to blame it on the Japanese being xenophobic is just setting up a Straw Man. That developer he spoke with never said anything about there being a race issue involved; instead, the reviewer distorted the developer's position and spun it to sound like the Japanese are ignorant.

When one stops to consider it, the Japanese have little reason for being jerks to Africans since they've historically had prejudice only for the Chinese and Koreans; one might consider that they are blind to the notion of racism against cultures they've had little contact with (being half a world away) and they will accept that the setting they chose will look a certain way and the people there will be a certain way (just with biological mutations and such).

Of course, this is just an assumption - just some food for thought. The reviewer should have left out any topical rants and stuck to the game itself rather than expressing his irrational discomfort and making baseless accusations to pad his own conscience.

Too true.

Plus I just unlocked Sheva's tribal costume and it is totally HOT! Hooray for Capcom's bi gender gratuitous eroticising of it's lead characters!

 Pages PREV 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Registered for a free account here