Saturday, September 3, 2011

Is This Racist?

Below, the latest facepalm-inducing example of tone-deafness to ethnic-caricature in the video games industry, courtest "Deus Ex: Human Revolution."

So... is this "racist?" Eh... it's definitely a racial-caricature, so on the narrowest of terms... yeah, it kinda is. My colleague Jim Sterling seems to think so. My other colleague Greg Tito sees it a bit more gray. I think Greg raises good points, though overall I think my reaction more closely aligns with Jim's in this case.

Now, to be fair, one imagines that the developer - Eidos Montreal - is staffed either by full-blown racists or devoted fans of Minstrel Show routines; so one has to imagine THIS voice coming out of THIS character-design is a case of something that was obviously going to be a problem simply not getting "caught" before it went to pressing.

My question on this, just like with "Resident Evil 5," is WHY does this stuff slip by uncaught? This isn't a small-potatoes developer - do they not have a person in Quality Control who's supposed to watch for "issues" like this? Because, I'm sorry... not to take anything away from the game, but "end result of voice/character comes off like a Stephen Fetchit bit" is kind of a problem.


Anonymous said...

Is it racist to portray the undeniable fact that plenty of black people talk like this? Hell no. :/ Just because you show a character acting like many people do who also belong to the same race doesn't mean you're saying ALL the people of that race act that way.

Is it racist to have rednecks in games? Is it racist to have smart Asians or Asians who are gifted in the martial arts in games? Is it racist to have a thief who just happens to be Latino? Fuck no. People like that exist, and to say "you can't do that or it's racist" is to deny reality and diversity. Somehow I seriously doubt this is the only black character in Deus Ex, and just because you happen to include one black person who talks like many black people do does not make you racist. If this were the ONLY black character in the game and it was talking like this, it'd be questionable. But if there are other, more dignified black people in the game and this is one example of a more "off the streets" black person, no wrong has been done.

Gabe said...

Why does this stuff not get caught? Because there continues to be a lack of diversity among game makers. Most games are made by straight white or Japanese men for other straight white or Japanese men, and sensitivity to other kinds of people isn't something most of them pay attention to until it blows up in their faces, like with this or RE5. It's one of the reasons that we need more diversity in the games business.

assman said...

Letitia is a bad character, but I wouldn't say the game is racist. She's not the only homeless person that sifts through trash. Most of them aren't black women with unfortunate accents. Many black people work as scientists at the company your character is employed with. And IIRC, one of the scientists you rescue in the game is a black woman.

Developers do have a tendency to put shallow black characters in games though. Look at Starcraft 2. I think the only black character in the game was a pseudo voodoo witchdoctor with an inexplicable Jamaican accent.

Bioware, a developer that would seem to know better, put an extremely bland black character in Mass Effect 2. Most of the characters are really interesting, but Jacob's always like, "Yo dawg, we gotta go to the Citadel and get our drink on, HOLLA."

ZAENGO said...

i guess i would think this does seem like an absurdly over the top caricature to people who have never lived in the south.

Jason "Njiska" Westhaver said...

This is a cultural issue, but I'm going to argue that it's not one of black and white, but rather American perceptions of racism vs. other cultures perceptions of racism. Deus Ex: Human Revolution is a game that was designed by a Canadian development team and as Canadians they share a different cultural background from yourself.

America's past is filled with moments of racial tension. You grow up learning about slavery, civil rights, affirmative action and actually instances of racism e.g. Rodney King. It's a big part of your culture, your history and your national identity. Canadians don't have that heritage. When we grow up we're taught about our life as British colony dealing with the French, Indians and the American rebels. We learn about subjects like the Acadian expulsion and the fur trade. The only time we even touch on the subject of slavery or racial issues is as part of a lecture on the underground railroad. Specifically in regards to how we offered safe harbour to the escaped slaves. If anything even close to a racial issue is discussed here its going to be about Indian Treaties and rights.

Our two drastically different cultural backgrounds have shaped drastically different views on the subject. To me the scene is nothing more than a silly moment. An amusing chuckle at an over-the-top stereotype. Not unlike the feeling I got listening to the ridiculous Hong Kong accents in the original and certainly not anything that I would ever consider offensive. I'm willing to bet the QA team felt the same way and that's why it's still there. I don't believe this is a case of something not getting caught, but rather a clash of cultures.

Drunken Lemur said...

If it is racist, it's at least less racist than RE5 with it's grass skirts and Jaguar skin Bikinis. At least you aren't shooting her.

Jay said...

I watched the entire thing just now. No, I don't think it's racist to have a black woman portrayed as having to sift through garbage, portraying haves, and have nots. Yes, if she were the ONLY black person in the game, then this would classify as a stereotype. However, she is not.

She is a flat character however. One that is quickly forgotten in the grand scheme of things. Sorry, but not everything comes down to black and white. It's like saying some of the characters of Huckleberry Finn were racist when, in actuality, there's a lot of subtlety in the characters.

I would personally like to see MORE ways of diversity in gaming that involved cultural ticks, oddities of language that are expressed from people that speak not too perfect English all the time. I think they can add positively to a game. Sure, translating it is quite difficult. But done correctly, how cool is it when you hear a character speaking different dialects other than Bostonian, Texan, and English for all?

Anonymous said...

Why is Batman talking to Madea?

MovieBob said...

Okay, just to clarify:

I don't think it's (again, accidentally) "racist" because it's just a random broad caricature of a character who happens to be black. That's not the problem.

The problem is that it's, however unintentionally, a very specific variety of racist-caricature generally refered to as a "minstrel show" archetype. I assume it occured without malicious intent, but I still think someone ought to have caught it.

Lord Tantalus said...

The voice is admittedly annoying, but i Have met A LOT of people who actually talk like this. My grandma (full japanese) talks like this, because she grew up in a place were people commonly talked like this (south central LA.) My mother (half japanese half white) occasionally slips into a form of talk like this herself, she was raised in Oakland. If you listen to the speech pattern and ignore the stupid voice, it sounds like how a lot of my relatives (fully whitebread amuricans who live in Texas) talk. Bob you must not talk with a wide variety of people, but i can tell you that this style of speech is not exclusive to black people. A bit characturish? Certainly. but far from racist

Anonymous said...

Oh not this again. People actually (still) talk like that in certain parts of the world. Live with it, for god's sake.

Tkscz said...

Racist? No, being a black person myself I see this kind of person a lot. Stereotypical? Yes, but again I see that all the time. Living in a "ghetto" this is usually how they talk, though when confronted by an outside source (like this scene here) they'll yell racist out of the ass, regardless of if it pin points them down to a T.

Hell, the main hero could be considered racist against Neo type heroes if that's the case lol. As for RE5, me and my friend both agreed it's not racist. They're in Africa for crying out loud. It'll be racist if there were NO black people, plus they're all zombies (mind controlled monsters?). They aren't killing innocent people here. Regardless of Chris' color.

Markus said...

How is this racist? I talked to her ingame myself, and that thought didn't even come to mind. Would it still be racist if wasn't black? I don't get it.
And btw, all the bad people in this game are white and you have to rescue black hostages. Clearly racist...
Calm down, dude!

Mads said...

If you haven't played the game, or at least done the research to find out if this is a common occurence in it, keep your oppinions to yourself.

I have played the game. The game is not racist. In context, Latitia is a single character who's a former CI of Adams. She could have been pulled right out of any cop show currently on TV. Or a GTA game.

The majority of gang members, hoodlums and bums in the game are white. There's also a nearly equal amount of males and females. And there are plenty of high-ranking black people in the game.

Why wasn't it caught? Because _there's nothing wrong with it_. I honestly believe this has been checked in all manners. It's not a mistake. This was meant to be included in this way.

I have tried to look for minstrel shows on youtube. I don't see the relation. Latitia isn't trying to be funny. She isn't in blackface. And plenty of people talk like that.

If the game is anything, it's slightly sexist in both directions, because sexist behaviour is integral to the plot turning out the way it does at one point; but latitia is a random occurence where her race and manner of speaking are of no import to the story.

But Bob? Play the damn game. If there was _ever_ a reason for a game to be first person perspective, it would be this one. And it's a _damn_ good game.

bigjkt said...

When you first hear this it sounds like Batman is getting a hot tip from his best informant Aunt Jemimah. I haven't played the game so I don't know enough about her character to know who she is were she is from. Is she from the deep south and if so, how did she end up there in Chi-Town of the not too distant future. Will some black people in 2027 still talk with southern accents and semi broken English? I don't know. Are there other black people in the game who talk like this? I don't know. I'm not ready to judge this clip of video as clear cut example of Racism and I think at the most I wouldn't label it Racist so much as I would Racially insensitive and yes there is a difference. Racism is a deliberate act of discrimination or intolerance based on race a/0 ethnicity where as this at the most is just another possible example of people expressing their limited perceptions of race and characterization. To those people who are ready and willing to shoot down the very idea this video clip being just that try to understand. Her voice and language strikes a deep chord with some black people because it reminds them of not just of some members of their own family but also a deeper feeling harkening back to at time when a lot of black people spoke this way as result of being denied a proper education leading to having a broken vocabulary. That coupled with Racism made it harder for black people to advance in this country. That's why when I hear her speak this way I cringe just a little because it's deeper than a stereotype. It's a small but powerful reminder of a piece of American history some people would like to forget.

Darren said...

I think the character plays on some stereotypes, but I don't really think it is racist. Besides there are other black characters in this game that have very different personalities. If all the black characters in this game acted like her then we would have a problem. But just having one I don't think is a huge issue.

She is also a minor character so I doubt she will get much attention. Its not like RE5 at all :/

Besides I thought the scene was sort of funny and I liked her personality, which I suppose makes me racist then :/

Aiddon said...

the character is racist in the same way Jar-Jar Binks or -shudder- the twins from Bayformers 2 were; however unintentional it IS a negative, misinformed stereotype that is painfully inappropriate in this day and age. Yes, there are indeed people who do talk and act like that, but that still doesn't excuse this character. This doesn't make the people who made the game racist, but this IS a stupid thing that someone should have caught. I mean at the very least they could have portrayed her with a different accent.

Of course, what REALLY irritates me is how, once again, the gaming community shows just how gutless and defensive it is when it comes to dealing with controversy. Looks like we need another episode discussing race, Bob. Because we NEED to discuss the ugly truths gamers are afraid to face.

TheAlmightyNarf said...

Ya know, I think a line has to be drawn between a "negative stereotype" and a "racist stereotype". This is obviously a negative stereotype, but I'm not convinced it's a racist one. It's already been brought up here, but would a southern redneck with a thick accent be considered a racist stereotype? Is it racist to portray a militant white supremest? Or how about this... are the acts and public personas of most black rappers infact racists stereotypes of black people?

Negative stereotypes, the lot of 'em. But, racist? No.

Kevin Blackwell said...

Disclaimer: I have not played the game.

First of all, Tish does not seem like a very well-designed character to me. Her accent and speech mannerisms do not seem to be:
a) organically related to the cultural setting she is supposedly a part of,
b) essential to some aspect of her character development that is important to the game's narrative,
c) intrinsically entertaining.

I think that her speech patterns seem jarring and out of place, which attests to lazy character design. If her mannerisms fail to satisfy a), she can be destructive to the immersion of the gaming experience. I personally find her speech very annoying because she fails to satisfy c) (to my taste). Even failing a) and c), there could still be a very good reason for having Tish speak that way if b) held. Having not played the game, I don't actually know, but it doesn't seem like it does.

However, being a perhaps lazily designed character is not the same thing as being a racist character. While the comments already posted claiming that there are people who really do talk like Tish perhaps overstate the case, they have a point. While part of what seems to be wrong with Tish's speech is that it doesn't actually sound like the way anyone really talks, it is a recognizable attempt at imitating speech patterns that do exist. And that, even if the character fails to imitate that way of speaking well, is not racist – it's not even stereotypical.

A stereotype is a bad generalization; it is the fallacious inductive reasoning from the fact that there are some members of a certain group who have certain (usually negatively perceived) characteristics to the claim that ALL members of that group have that characteristic. Stereotypes are offensive because you ignore the reality of an individual, and instead recognize them only as a member of a group (which they may not even self-identify with!). Tish, as a single character, can therefore not show that the game designers were stereotyping – no matter whether her character is unlikeable or poorly designed. To provide evidence for the claim that game designers are operating on a stereotype, there would have to be a pattern of characters with similar negatively portrayed characteristics all of whom belong to some (well-recognized) group. Again, I don't know whether such a patter exists in Deus Ex: HR, but it doesn't sound like anyone is claiming that there is.

There's also the further issue that I don't think Tish's speech patterns cleave most closely with race. More than anything else, I think they're supposed to be tied to her socio-economic status. (This is a less important point, because a stereotype based on socio-economic status can be just as offensive and bigoted as one rooted in race. But, even if she is a manifestation of a negative stereotype, I'm not convinced it's a racial one.)

Klyka said...

This character reminds me of a thinner Mammy Two Shoes in terms of speech mannerisms.

Mads said...

@ bigjkt

Racism is a deliberate act of discrimination or intolerance based on race a/0 ethnicity where as this at the most is just another possible example of people expressing their limited perceptions of race and characterization.

Yeah but it's not even that. Deus Ex has a deep and compelling narrative set in a dystopic future.

I understand why dismissals like my own might be hard to accept, but in context, this isn't racist. It's not racially insensitive. It's not stepping on anybodys toes. It's completely and utterly politically correct.

It in no way, shape or form suggests that people living today who share one or more traits with this character also as a concequence share additional traits with the character. It doesn't perpetrate any myths. It's one character, doing one thing, speaking in one particular way, with plenty of examples of other characters doing different things sharing some traits with her but not others.

I cannot stress this enough. And you know what? I'm angry. I'm angry we're having this conversation at all. It's slanderous to suggest that this is racism, and then drag one line of conversation out of context. There's a _reason_ the CI Adam talks to is in a bad shape; things are fucked up. They've gone downhill from modern day society. They illustrate this in countless ways, but one of them is a CI who looks like a bum, goes through someones trash, and sells information while speaking with a thick dialect. This is not a bright future.
@ Aiddon

You write, at the very least they could have portrayed her with a different accent.
Ok. Well, what dialect would you have her use. And since you say "at the very least", what else would you change now that you're at it.

How would you change things such that the characters dialect still indicated that:

- She's had little education
- She's lived most of her life in the slums
- She's poor

Please. Explain it to me. What would you choose, and why is it supperior, since you want to have a conversation about ugly truths gamers are afraid to face. Please. Enlighten me.

@ Kevin
You're wrong about B. Simple as that. There's no indication she's lazily designed. Her voice actor perhaps isn't of magnificent quality, but it appears she's been integrated into the setting in an organic fashion. For a game, at least.

She's a very minor character; she's an information broker, one of only a few people from Detroit that Adam knew in the past that aren't associated with a major biotech company, and she's there to help establish the first hub area. There's a number of things the character accomplishes, the least of which is to entertain.

Generally, conversations in Deus Ex are _not_ there to be outright entertaining. They serve a purpose.

I'm not going to claim that her character design is the most brilliant ever, but there's fundamentally nothing wrong with it.

Roberto said...

"I think that showing a black lady that talks like a lot of irl black ladies is racist".

Says the guy that believes that Halo promotes the Master Race, and that will undoubtely respond to me by calling me an Halo fanboy douchebag, even tough I've never played Halo in my whole life.

Good reasoning as always, Bob.

Aiddon said...

-rubs temples- Mads, do I REALLY need to point out the painfully obvious about gaming and race? Then here goes: gaming is whiter than a snowman sprinkled with chalk and it has a bad tendency to play up stupid, offensive stereotypes with minorities without even knowing it. And the fact that way too many gamers chicken out when faces with something as badly done and offensive as this is utterly pathetic. Seriously, the comments I see on this page alone (as well as comments made by PROFESSIONAL FUCKING JOURNALISTS) remind me of someone who tries to squirm their way out of an argument because they realize they're at the losing end of it. Welcome to the truth: this character is a pretty insensitive stereotype and the guy on Time who pointed it out first is 100% right.

Plus Letitia is WEIRDLY out of place. Jenny, one of Adam's old cop buddies who is undercover as a prostitute, is black and speaks without a ridiculous minstrel show accent. Greg and Josie, the married couple who you can rescue in the plant mission in the game also don't use any stupid slang that has all sorts of unfortunate implications. Heck, there are also a lot of bums in the game who speak normally, so why the HELL does Letitia talk like this? It's like watching Breaking Bad or reading something by Corman Mccarthy and suddenly one of Jeff Dunham's stupid puppets walks in.

D. Calkins said...

As I suspected, there are a lot of great comments above arguing for or against the notion that the portrayal of the character is "racist" or at the very least in bad taste. But I think the issue is actually much more simple to understand than all that.

When something seems unbelievable, it probably is. So your question Bob:

"WHY does this stuff slip by uncaught? This isn't a small-potatoes developer - do they not have a person in Quality Control who's supposed to watch for 'issues' like this?"

Short answer: This stuff DOESN'T slip by uncaught. My guess is that when they invented the Letitia character, they wanted a different accent and delivery to "color" (pardon my horrible pun) her dialogue. Indeed, wouldn't it seem strange if the poor black woman DIDN'T have an accent to distinguish her from other characters? There is nothing inherently racist about expecting certain people to speak a certain way. It would be comically incongruous for, say, a scientist to speak with a strong southern drawl (unless it was explained in the game).

So no, I don't think the developers are racist. But even if they were, the voice acting is admittedly terrible here. Not only is the choice of "minstrel show" as an archetype a bizarre one, but the delivery is inconsistent on top of it. It's just a bad performance. If it's racism, it's awkwardly performed racism.

Again regardless, there's no way this DIDN'T pass by quality control. As you pointed out Bob, it's too unbelievable that a serious developer wouldn't notice the potential "issue" here. So the real question is, why did the developer WILLINGLY let a silly and potentially scandalous voice dub into their game?

The answer:

Because it generates buzz. It markets the game. Simple as that.

Letitia, quite simply, is the bad (read, low-quality) execution of a reasonable and non-racist idea (that idea being "the poor black character should speak differently"). Her presence in the game is small. For most, her appearance will pass by as a small blip, the delivery comical as a caricature. It's no less comical (though admittedly far less common) than Adam Jensen's overwrought, token, I'm-a-stoic/supercilious-badass voice-over.

But for everyone else, the character will generate conversation. For those with a cursory understanding of racial issues but a fratboy mentality about it, Letitia clips will make for great YouTube fodder with "Raceism iz fucking hilarious bro!!" taglines. The more sophisticated game critic (here's where you come in Bob, and the rest of those commenting) will attempt either a vigorous defense or scathing critique of the developer (and/or the game, and/or Games in general) bringing into the discussion all manner of erudite analysis. And more power to you all!

But in the end, Letitia is a small side character, and at worst, the "racism" surrounding her is so poorly executed it's nearly anachronistic. It's an opportunity for JUST ENOUGH conflict to arise to get the game mentioned on blogs and videos across the internet.

The developer can't lose here. Debates about the degree of racism aside, Letitia at her worst isn't racist enough to cause anyone to not buy the game or try to convince others to do the same. At her best, she's got search hits for Deus Ex up. And at her very best, she's got people in their critique of her either sheepishly having to admit up front that they haven't actually played the game or declaring proudly "If you haven't played the game, you don't really know what you're talking about, so PLAY THE DAMN GAME."

Sounds like a marketing win to me.

Mads said...

@ Aiddon

I'm not trying to weasel out of any arguments. If you get me on a logical inconsistency or a flawed assumption, I'll admit you're right and I was wrong. I don't have a stake in gaming; it's a young medium, it's full of little and big mistakes in various titles, and I think that's ok, hippie that I am.

But yes, a lot of gaming journalists rationalize their points of view after they come up with what they want to think. They like this game, therefore they'll think hard of arguments in support. Or they're peeved about the game, and they'll think hard to find arguments against it. A lot of forum posters do it too. I may be doing it without realizing it.

It often makes for contrived arguments, or ones with obvious problems, but a logically consistent argument is logically consistent nomatter its way of coming about.

So please. Don't patronize my point of view by asserting I'm trying to weasel out. Argue against it, and lets see who's right! Only one of us is.

Speaking of which, you didn't answer my question, you just asked me another one. Why is this woman speaking with a different dialect than the other black people in the game.

Her dialect is different, because her upbringing was different from the characters you mention, because she's lived in poverty for a very long time, and because she's uneducated. There, I answered your question.

So answer mine: What dialect would you choose to give her, and still communicate her social class, upbringing and education level, and still make her seem like a believable scoundrel about to take a lot of your money for information?

What dialect? Which one? You said that they could at least have given her a different one in your first post, so _which one_ ?

As for the dialect being a minstrel show dialect. Ok. Find me a link to you tube to a minstrel show where someone speaks like Latitia. I bet I can find a completely normal person on youtube talking in a dialect that's closer to Latitias than whatever you come up with. If I can't, I'll admit you're right, and that her dialect has racist origins, and that it shouldn't have been used.

Adam said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tyson said...

People throw around the words "racist" and "racism" to the point that these words have completely lost their original meaning. Almost equivalent to what has been done with the word "hate" over the past 10 or 15 years.

The accepted definitions of the word "racism" according to follow:

rac•ism   /ˈreɪsɪzəm/
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.
3. hatred or intolerance of another race or other races.

I have a hard time with the idea that that this depiction of the character's accent or manner of speaking arose out of a belief on the part of the developer, or someone employed by the developer, that "inherent differences among the various human races determine cultural or individual achievement," or for that matter that anyone had a "hatred or intolerance of another race."

In order for the game to exhibit "racism" within the definitions of the word as set forth above, there would have exist some underlying theme or subplot in the game wherein the idea was put forward - whether expressly or impliedly - that one of the races in the game was superior to the black race, or that there was some hatred or intolerance of the black race as a whole. I have not seen any of the comments here even suggest such a notion, and I do not believe that the game does that when considered on balance.

Now, I would absolutely attribute the portrayal of this character’s accent and manner of speaking as "stereotypical," and possibly even "prejudicial." Look these words up in a dictionary, don’t just assume you know what they mean.

You are absolutely supposed to assume things about this character as a result of the accent and manner of speaking used by the writer and actor. That was most definitely the intent of the writer and actor, and it is a technique that is always - always, always - used by writers in the development of characters, whether the medium is video games, or books, or film. In this case, as a result of the stereotypes used in the character's accent and manner of speaking, we are supposed to assume (at the very least) that:

(a) the character is unintelligent;
(b) the character probably hails from the south;
(c) the character is poor; and
(d) the character is uneducated.

These ideas absolutely reflect stereotype and possibly prejudice. However, none of these ideas can be properly classified as “racist;” that is, connected with the idea that blacks - as a race - are inferior to another race or that the developer or the characters in the game have a hatred or intolerance of the entire black race.

The word “racism” in the context of this discussion is far, far out of place. We are having this discussion because we have diluted and distorted the word through overuse and inappropriate use. Using the word “racist” or “racism” in the context of this discussion is lazy English, lazy writing, and just plain lazy thinking.

Smashmatt202 said...

I did NOT expect her voice to sound like THAT! ESPECIALLY when her expression and mouth movements barely change!

TheAgriPunk said...

@ Ebsessed

What black people do you know that speak like this? It's a caricature that's decades old and it has a history of being derogatory. It's considered an uneducated slave dialect.... not good to have in a video game set in the future!

On a side note, no one seems to have any problem with the Mario caricature of Italian Americans. It's terrible. Don't get me wrong, I love those fuckin' games but make the dude sound like a fuckin' New Yorker for Christ's sake!

Aside from being offensive I think they did a poll and most people wanted the voice of Mario to change.

TheAgriPunk said...

Ummmmm, I lived in Chicago for almost a decade and worked in factories with guys from the south side and no one sounded like this. The closest thing to it was an 80 year old guy I knew who worked beside me for years and even he sounded nothing like this. I lived in mostly poor black neighborhoods for a very large part of my life and black people just don't sound like this. Sorry. This would be like being familiar with a real british accent and watching an American actor brutalize it and having a bunch of American people tell you, "Well you know, that's exactly how they sound." No it isn't.

In movies they, now have dialect coaches, and that's probably something that games that want to take themselves seriously should start to have.

Nathan said...

I'll say what I said on the Escapist.

Admittedly I've not played Human Revolution, and I don't see me playing it sometime in the near future. Money issues and all. But, if this is the only black character in the game, I can see how the argument could be made that this is racist. I know plenty of black people that talk like this, so, if this is the only black character in the game, it's easy to say that 100% of the black characters talk like that. The people who are gonna point this out as racist are over-empathetic and most likely see racism in everything.

Aiddon said...

sounds to me like we need Mississippi Pwning 3 cuz, by Buddha, SOMEBODY has to have the courage to confront this. A lot of statements I see remind of the kind of arguments assholes use (ie, the kind Bob brought up in Correctitude)

Anonymous said...

@Jason "Njiska" Westhaver

You kind of forgot about the way we Canadians treated Asians during the construction of the railroad- and especially during wartime.

Regardless, when it comes to what I just watched... I'm somehow not surprised. Lemme try to figure out why I'm not surprised...

Anonymous said...

Disregard my comment. I didn't read referred comment correctly because I am a tool.

toosoo said...

I go with the words of a sketch from robot chicken and which a black character talked like this and everyone looked at him weird and he said
"what?, does every persons on the tvs gots to be a positive role model?"

I'm not saying that this is comepletely right but does every character everywhere have to be race appropriate with no unpossitive qualitys

you pointed out that halo has this master race sentiment to you and it is kinda true to an extent tho i feel that more unintentional but,that has unpossitive qualitys too but most of the time people dont pay attention to these chatacters or these implications

Nova said...

The point of this character is that she has a potential mental handicap. It's not the fact that she is black that is the issue here but that she is homeless because there are many homeless people with mental illnesses. If this was the only black person in the game then I would see an issue but she isn't. There are plenty of black people in this game, most of whom are intelligent. Don't look at her as being a caricature of a black person but just as being a character. If you look at her as being a Black person (which I didn't until Mr. Sterling and others pointed it out) then that's more of an issue with you because throughout the whole game there are plenty of black people who clearly have intelligent things to say about the main issue in the game. You bring up Letitia? well my Counter point to that is Jenny Alexander in the same city in the same game.

dragonfist said...

Usually this isn't a problem for me, except the accent ... sooo Aunt Jemima-ish. It doesn't even belong in this century, let alone in a super urban, futuristic environment (homeless or not). I saw the words "sassy" used in a description and this is hardly even. There is a guy that digs in our dumpster everyday in Atlanta, GA and he doesn't even sound this backwards.

My question is ... why didn't they come up with a more appropriate voice actor? She sounds like she belongs on the set of roots.

Do your research, and create a whole believable environment. Shame, cause i was on the fence about this game ... but now that i saw this crap its not gonna happen. I am one to vote with my dollar so ill just spend my money elsewhere .

Misterprickly said...

was that a GUY doing the voice or just VERY bad VO?

OT: No; It is not Racist.

to quote EBsessed...

"Is it racist to have rednecks in games? Is it racist to have smart Asians or Asians who are gifted in the martial arts in games? Is it racist to have a thief who just happens to be Latino? Fuck no. People like that exist, and to say "you can't do that or it's racist" is to deny reality and diversity. Somehow I seriously doubt this is the only black character in Deus Ex, and just because you happen to include one black person who talks like many black people do does not make you racist. If this were the ONLY black character in the game and it was talking like this, it'd be questionable. But if there are other, more dignified black people in the game and this is one example of a more "off the streets" black person, no wrong has been done."

I agree; look at how other cultures are portrayed; such as...

-the French
-the Scots

My point is, EVERY culture has a stereotype and like it or not they ARE perpetuated (even by their own), to deny this (even in something like a video game) is to say "it does NOT exist" and that is a outright LIE!

Is it Racist? No.

Aiddon said...

yay, more bigoted "fun!":

My respect for gaming over the past year has rapidly declined. Thank Buddha that Nintendo is still a ray of sunshine