Resident Evil 5 - Racist?

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Re: Resident Evil 5 - Racist?

Postby David Yun on Thu Mar 26, 2009 10:36 pm

Feel free to start a new thread. That's more of a game design issue.
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Re: Resident Evil 5 - Racist?

Postby Mike on Thu Mar 26, 2009 11:38 pm

I just figure you see stereotypes in every game. Yeah, Africa has a fucked up history between the slave trade, the diamond trade, apartheid, and all that business. And yeah, should people want, they can draw comparisons and look at how the game is depicting them as savages (as zombies and non-zombies).

If a game was set in a slum of America I would personally expect to see stray dogs, bums, crackheads, and so on. The "savagery" shown in the beginning of the game can just be setting the "mood' for what the area is like. I didn't think "Wow, them colored folks are mean ones!" as much as I thought "Man, this place is rough."

I don't think that the game was put out with the goal of repressing Africa in a new medium. I think it was something that (while probably expected) caused drama because people want it to cause drama. My personal view on cries of racism is that sometimes people just look for reasons to be annoyed, then take it over the top.

If I didn't have previous context for the T-Virus/Las Plagas I could see it being offensive. I agree that Spain doesn't have the same history, but it wasn't even thought of (minus by the people who have compared the T-Virus to shit like herpes/aids/etc forever as a joke) as a comparison to HIV/AIDS. IN the context of the series, I think that comparison is just digging to find reasons to be pissed.

And no, I'm not saying we should spit on African history and be completely disrespectful and insensitive. I will say the Blondie getting dragged inside was un-needed. I just personally do think that any little thing can be made into a controversial clusterfuck just because people feel the desire to get wicked pissed.


Honestly, in context of the game, maybe they are playing off of downing Africa. Umbrella isn't a benevolent company. "Who can we ravage with this for whatever reasons we have?" "Hmm, villages that have a hard time dealing with previous problems? They'd NEVER stop this... fuckin' do it"

Who knows, maybe the devs had some social commentary (positive or negative) that they wanted to push. Past that, I just try to look at these types of things as fiction as opposed to something more. Comparisons can be drawn, of course, but I still stand by my previous statement that when people LOOK for reasons to be pissed, they can always be found.
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Re: Resident Evil 5 - Racist?

Postby David Yun on Fri Mar 27, 2009 6:01 am

Mike wrote:I don't think that the game was put out with the goal of repressing Africa in a new medium. I think it was something that (while probably expected) caused drama because people want it to cause drama. My personal view on cries of racism is that sometimes people just look for reasons to be annoyed, then take it over the top.


Well, we're in agreement there. I don't think Capcom was driven by malicious intent. And there are definitely individuals taking the game out of context for their own agenda of screaming racism. But I think you do have to acknowledge that the game exhibits specific imagery that is, let's use the word, "academically" recognized as racially charged.

Mike, some of this shit really can cause pain. Like say, if I watch Breakfast at Tiffany's and I see Mickey Rooney doing that bullshit "ah ching chong" bit as the upstairs neighbor, I'm not gonna be jumping up and down screaming, but it IS fucked up and does offend me. It reminds me of times I've been spit on and gotten into fights just for not being white. If you come from a certain background, you don't have to LOOK for connections to be annoyed. The imagery itself blatantly connects you to that annoyance.

Not having that specific set of experiences, Resident Evil 5 didn't cause me any such personal discomfort, but the imagery is so "classically racist" that I could see how such connections would be unavoidable for some black people.

Mike wrote:Honestly, in context of the game, maybe they are playing off of downing Africa. Umbrella isn't a benevolent company. "Who can we ravage with this for whatever reasons we have?" "Hmm, villages that have a hard time dealing with previous problems? They'd NEVER stop this... fuckin' do it"

Who knows, maybe the devs had some social commentary (positive or negative) that they wanted to push. Past that, I just try to look at these types of things as fiction as opposed to something more. Comparisons can be drawn, of course, but I still stand by my previous statement that when people LOOK for reasons to be pissed, they can always be found.


Actually yeah, I didn't write about it, but the plot about testing the virus on Africans made me think of our horrible Tuskegee syphilis experiments. However, looking at Capcom's clumsy writing, I can't imagine that they had any meaningful message.

And I do agree; some people do just look for things to piss them off. But there are also certain touchstones that can justifiably piss you off upon immediate contact.
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Re: Resident Evil 5 - Racist?

Postby Mike on Fri Mar 27, 2009 6:49 am

Yatzhee's take on the racism seems pretty spot on.
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Re: Resident Evil 5 - Racist?

Postby David Yun on Fri Mar 27, 2009 7:35 am

Yeah, "Capcom aren't bad people; they're just idiots," seems to be in line with the place you and I agree.

As an aside, I think it's funny how he is SO guilty of your take on "pulling the racism card" as applied to gaming. In order to do the snarky, smartassery of his show, he has to go looking for terribleness in games to get angry about. He occasionally makes an excellent point about wretched game design, but more often than not, he /ragequits all over an issue that isn't that big of a deal.

Did you catch his '50 Cent' review though? That was a much more thorough diatribe on race. "The Glock of Damocles" is one of his best turns of phrases. And the ending destroyed me!
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Re: Resident Evil 5 - Racist?

Postby Zokrah on Fri Mar 27, 2009 11:08 am

To be fair, I think it's actually pretty entertaining this whole concept of racial slander in a game. Granted, I'd have to agree with Mike that everyone's over reacting, but I think perhaps the points about dehumanization of Africans weren't intended nor anticipated, but rather an attempt to deliberately dehumanize ZOMBIES. But before I argue that point, if we'd like to discuss the dehumanization of Africans, perhaps we should mention the whole Darfur region and the atrocities committed there in. Or Zimbabwe? Mugabe's awesome or lack thereof methods of beating his citizens some to death for not voting for him? Or maybe how Sudan likes to bomb the displaced citizens every chance they get for tribal genocide? Hell, look at the bullshit that goes on in Chad. Rebel attacks, smack downs of whole villages, etc. Look, I'm not carrying the torch in favor or ANY racial acts of hatred, but to start a rant and begin to vent about racial insensitivities... look, I guarantee you that probably 90% of Africans won't even play the game, nor even see that they're being 'dehumanized' on a video game. They're more concerned with finding food and water and not getting killed by assholes with AK-47's who decide they're gonna try and run the kingdom now.

All this is a bunch of crap, and this whole touchy feely shit has gone WAY over board. It's a game. Just like the Ape cartoon that apparently was a comparison to Obama, get the fuck over it. Are we really so arrogant to spend more time on whether or not something is politically correct rather than focus on real world issues like starvation and the spread of AIDS? Ninja please.
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Re: Resident Evil 5 - Racist?

Postby Mike on Fri Mar 27, 2009 4:37 pm

I thought about it on the car ride home. If Africans (People FROM Africa) raised hell I'd think we might have more of an issue. We joked on Vent during a WoW raid last week that "Fucking white people re-vamped the white man's burden to be offended for every atrocity." We were busting our resident Puerto Rican's ass, to which she was dishing it right back, just general smack talk... and some mid-western whitey got mad FOR her when SHE was actually having fun with it.

I think that's another part of my problem... I HATE when people get offended FOR other people (unless it's that "omg he loves me, you don't know what kinda guy he really is, you just hear the bad things." At that point it's big brother's job to kick ass).
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Re: Resident Evil 5 - Racist?

Postby David Yun on Fri Mar 27, 2009 10:51 pm

Zokrah wrote:...perhaps we should mention the whole Darfur region and the atrocities committed there in. Or Zimbabwe? Mugabe's awesome or lack thereof methods of beating his citizens some to death for not voting for him? Or maybe how Sudan likes to bomb the displaced citizens every chance they get for tribal genocide? Hell, look at the bullshit that goes on in Chad. Rebel attacks, smack downs of whole villages, etc. Look, I'm not carrying the torch in favor or ANY racial acts of hatred, but to start a rant and begin to vent about racial insensitivities... look, I guarantee you that probably 90% of Africans won't even play the game, nor even see that they're being 'dehumanized' on a video game. They're more concerned with finding food and water and not getting killed by assholes with AK-47's who decide they're gonna try and run the kingdom now.

All this is a bunch of crap, and this whole touchy feely shit has gone WAY over board. It's a game. Just like the Ape cartoon that apparently was a comparison to Obama, get the fuck over it. Are we really so arrogant to spend more time on whether or not something is politically correct rather than focus on real world issues like starvation and the spread of AIDS? Ninja please.


Yeah, but we're Americans discussing an American cultural issue. You're almost changing the subject. But even then, "if I'm looking for racism", we can talk about Western apathy for a holocaust that surely is rivaling the one perpetrated by the Nazis. How many years has it been since the film Hotel Rwanda? The genocide spilling into the Congo is a continuation of that very same bloodshed, and nobody cares. The death count between that and all the other examples you mentioned has got to be approaching eight figures. That same apathy for those atrocities, is in effect the same as the one toward racial charged imagery in media. Sure, Resident Evil 5 is "just a game", but that doesn't mean we can't discuss and reflect on it. You're entirely right; it's not a big deal. It's just one more drop in the river of racial issues, but if you use the argument that you can only discuss "important" matters, we'd be awfully quiet.

Oh, and I consider "political correctness" to be nothing more than reworded gibberish for the sake of politeness. If we can manage to engage a meaningful discourse, the discussion is anything but.
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Re: Resident Evil 5 - Racist?

Postby David Yun on Fri Mar 27, 2009 11:37 pm

Mike wrote:I thought about it on the car ride home. If Africans (People FROM Africa) raised hell I'd think we might have more of an issue. We joked on Vent during a WoW raid last week that "Fucking white people re-vamped the white man's burden to be offended for every atrocity." We were busting our resident Puerto Rican's ass, to which she was dishing it right back, just general smack talk... and some mid-western whitey got mad FOR her when SHE was actually having fun with it.

I think that's another part of my problem... I HATE when people get offended FOR other people (unless it's that "omg he loves me, you don't know what kinda guy he really is, you just hear the bad things." At that point it's big brother's job to kick ass).


Dude, you don't have to be African to be affected by negative portrayals. Just being plain old black American is sufficient. If overt racism drew an intelligible line between its targets, we could address them separately. And I do know a couple of African-Americans that are bugged by RE5. Their attitude is, "WTF you gonna do? Fucking Japs." Which is, yeah, funny in its irony, but understandable.

And you HATE empathy? You just need to be a fellow human being to understand that, while certain shit rolls off your back, that it could be painful for someone else.

Listen, I gave this a lot of thought as well. I concluded that it could be me that's racially OVER sensitive, but hear me out. I don't want you just knee-jerk thinking that I'm "playing the race card". If you're white, you really don't have a visceral understanding of how offensive even little shit can be, because it reminds you of the big shit. You suffer, what, a few minutes of reverse racism here and there. I'm not saying you aren't aware of racial injustice, but it doesn't affect you in the same fundamental ways. But if you're a minority in the wrong situations, it can be crippling to the psyche.

I'm a "model minority" and I've felt it. I've been spit on by white dudes because of my race, while they were uttering "Ahhh soo" and shit like that that I grew up seeing on television. That kind of experience leaves residual anger that's easily inflamed. Think about how fucked up it is that as a kid, I had to run to get to my fucking piano lesson because I knew that if a patrol car passed me, the cops'd have me spread eagle and grope me just because I didn't belong in that neighborhood. That shit's fucking humiliating. When I see them, I still resent white cops over six feet tall - for all I know, they could be the greatest guys in the world. And as a Korean-American liquor store owner in Lynwood, I see all sorts of stupid racism flying in every which direction. And before you jump all over me for overreacting and lashing out in irrelevant directions, the only point I'm trying to raise is that, maybe, can you understand WHY minorities are sick of even the stupid shit that isn't all that important?

And just like you can't fully grasp what it was like growing up as me, I only have a passing understanding of what it must be like to be black. I know grown ass black dudes that, to this day, drive all the way AROUND the city of Torrance if they need to get to the other side. They don't do that because they enjoy traffic. Just try to picture a life that involves wasting your time and gas like that for no Goddamn good reason. Of course you'll end up with a chip on your shoulder about stuff that you, Mike, can easily dismiss. These otherwise inconsequential bits of bullshit end up irritating minorities, because they're reminders of the stuff that isn't bullshit.

So where I am, is actually kind of confused. N'gai Croal's initial assessment pretty much mirrors my own: that the imagery in RE5 is unsettling, because it taps into historically racist depictions. None of it is, "OMG WTF RACISM RACISM!" Croal wasn't offended as such; he just pointed out that he doubted anyone black was on the development team. Guys like us just want to acknowledge that the imagery is there. We ARE sensitive to it, because it affects us, even if just a very little bit. Nobody asked the majority community to be morally outraged. At best, we hope that people recognize that it's there, and respond along the lines of, "Yeah, I can see why that annoys you."

But if you bring it up, the response is instead, "STFU with your whining, and quit fucking overreacting and playing the race card every chance you get! Fucking get over it already!"

Jesus.

Which response is the one that's actually overreacting?
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Re: Resident Evil 5 - Racist?

Postby Zokrah on Mon Mar 30, 2009 12:00 pm

Yeah, but we're Americans discussing an American cultural issue. You're almost changing the subject. But even then, "if I'm looking for racism", we can talk about Western apathy for a holocaust that surely is rivaling the one perpetrated by the Nazis. How many years has it been since the film Hotel Rwanda? The genocide spilling into the Congo is a continuation of that very same bloodshed, and nobody cares. The death count between that and all the other examples you mentioned has got to be approaching eight figures. That same apathy for those atrocities, is in effect the same as the one toward racial charged imagery in media. Sure, Resident Evil 5 is "just a game", but that doesn't mean we can't discuss and reflect on it. You're entirely right; it's not a big deal. It's just one more drop in the river of racial issues, but if you use the argument that you can only discuss "important" matters, we'd be awfully quiet.

Oh, and I consider "political correctness" to be nothing more than reworded gibberish for the sake of politeness. If we can manage to engage a meaningful discourse, the discussion is anything but.


To be honest, I'm not really certain what you're trying to say. I do want to jump at a few points which I wanted to remark upon if I may. I think fundamentally, we're of ideal mines, though perhaps neither are as eloquent as we'd like to be, so the other can comprehend it as well as we should. A bit wordier way of saying it but hey, I thought I'd try my hand at smart talking :).

Anywho, as for the Hotel Rwanda bit, I'm not sure what a film has to do with anything about this discussion, other than you saying that this horrible situation is being over looked? Well, I'd like to remark that while as you think 'nobody cares', I'd like to disagree. Plenty of people care, the problem is, what is the solution? If you've got one, hey, I'm all ears. My focus is Africa actually. Check out AFRICOM. That JUST stood up. As for no one caring, the Red Cross was just kicked out of Sudan by Bashir for giving aid to those refugees. The US military funds, and gives water to those people as part of helping those in need dealy we like to do. Whole hearts and minds thing.

As for the media portrayal, I agree. I add this stipulation but wish no ill will on its bluntness. "Wow, the media is biased? NO WAI! I thought everything on TV WAS true!?" A battle we've been (fighting?) in for some time now in the military. Everything we do is either wrong, or some sort of crime against humanity. Hello, our mission IS to blow the bejesus out of everything that threatens our homeland. But I digress. That's another Opra I'll have to do later...

Interesting idea. "It's just one more drop in the river of racial issues, but if you use the argument that you can only discuss "important" matters, we'd be awfully quiet." ----- This one got me thinking...for a while. Ok, I’m not entirely sure how I can respond to that remark. I think the racial issues thing is a bit over the top , at least in this context. If I am to make this statement I’ll back up what I mean by it. I mean that, in context to people getting irate about a video game’s insensitivity, this is not a serious racial issue as compared to someone not getting a job based on the color of their skin. As for the awfully quiet remark, I dunno about that. Perhaps though it’s due to the nature of our lines of work that would cause a difference of opinion on that one.

I would have to 100% agree with you on this:

Oh, and I consider "political correctness" to be nothing more than reworded gibberish for the sake of politeness.
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