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A Criticism of Race Portrayal in Games

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the not-everyone-is-equal-in-gta dept.

141

Joystiq points out (and comments incitefully on) a two-part examination of African-American roles in videogames on the site Black Voice News. Series author Richard Jones takes the videogame industry to task for the numerous poor images that young black people have to compare themselves to. He singles out Carl Johnson, the protagonist of GTA: San Andreas as an example. Jones also acknowledges that 'the video game industry is all about money', pointing out the unfortunate lack of black designers and illustrators in the industry to sway the creative choices of publisheres and developers. He gives a call to arms to black players, saying they should focus some of their passion on the skills required to make games. They'd get rich, he says, and work to reverse some of the negative stereotypes that non-whites are subject to in games. The Opposable Thumbs blog takes a critical look at his argument, offering up another side to the story. While it's obvious that Mr. Jones doesn't have a great grasp on the games industry itself, he would seem to make a few valid points as well.

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141 comments

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Fo' shizzle (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18068922)

First pizzle

Suck it!

Love Always,
News For Turds

Supply & Demand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18068946)

From the sound of his argument, there's a lot of demand out there. And as he hints at, get started making those games. If you're black, have an aptitude for computers, and you're intelligent and ambitious then the gaming world is your oyster.
 

Re:Supply & Demand (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18068960)

so much for race equality...
equal but different.

Yup, and thanks to affirmative action (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18069406)

You don't even need to be as qualified as the non-black people you're competing against. You just have to be black, how easy is that for a black person?

Re:Yup, and thanks to affirmative action (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18069484)

Yup. And really, race is such an absurd concept! The differences between races is at best superficial. Therefore, race doesn't exist, take your pills and go back to sleep.

yes.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18068950)

and all asian people go kung fu fighting.

Are you sure? (3, Funny)

Uukrul (835197) | more than 7 years ago | (#18069064)

and all asian people go kung fu fighting.

In my games when japanese girls fight agains enourmous tentacled monsters they don't go kung fu fighting. I think my games aren't stereotyped.

I doubt that... (2, Insightful)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#18068958)

They'd get rich, he says, and work to reverse some of the negative stereotypes that non-whites are subject to in games.

If rap music is any indicator, the trend for negative stereotypes in video games won't change that much regardless of the game designer's skin color. Besides, with a few big name exceptions, who gets rich in the video game industry anyway?

Re:I doubt that... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18069222)

Not to mention, San Andreas was strongly influenced by LA "hood" movies of the 80s and 90s, such as Juice, Menace 2 Society, Boyz in the Hood, etc. etc., most of which were directed and written by black people. Just as GTA3 was strongly influenced by New York mob crime movies such as The Godfather, and Vice City was strongly influenced by Miami drug-kingpin crime movies such as Scarface. It isn't a racist portrayal of African-Americans, it's a very accurate portrayal of previous movie and TV show portrayals of African-Americans.

Re:I doubt that... (1)

senatorpjt (709879) | more than 7 years ago | (#18071232)

I'm personally offended by the way white people are portrayed in GTA1-3, Vice City, and Liberty City Stories.

Re:I doubt that... (1)

BigBuckHunter (722855) | more than 7 years ago | (#18073986)

"Rap Music" is no longer black music, and hasn't been since the labels began supporting and marketing it. Same as R&B after Motown died. Same with Blues, Same with Jazz.

BBH

We need more? (2, Funny)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 7 years ago | (#18068966)

Look, the greatest game of all time already has a black protagonist: Shaq-Fu. I mean, after encountering that masterpiece, how could you ever want to play any other game?

Re:We need more? (1)

Sciros (986030) | more than 7 years ago | (#18069520)

Dude Shaq is an alien.

huh? (4, Insightful)

nomadic (141991) | more than 7 years ago | (#18068974)

The Opposable Thumbs blog takes a critical look at his argument, offering up another side to the story.

And in that blog we get this line:

His argument falls apart, though, when you consider that almost every game in recent memory that has you taking on the role of a character allows some sort of racial customization.

Which honestly, is a ludicrous assertion. MAYBE if you limit "taking on the role of a character" to RPGs, but most games have you taking on the role of a character, and most of them don't allow any customization whatsoever.

Re:huh? (2, Interesting)

xenocide2 (231786) | more than 7 years ago | (#18070006)

Probably the best way the Opposable Thumbs author could have countered the article was a response in kind. Where Jones cites GTA, present an equal and opposite anecdote: Beyond Good and Evil. Failing that, maybe point out the interesting distinction that you can customize everything about your character in San Andreas except the color of his skin, and the implications. Jones's main argument is that blacks spend too much time playing games and not enough making them. Becoming a game developer is a bad career move. As programmers they typically make less than counterparts elsewhere would. The same holds true with nearly every game related endevor. Moreover, the best game developers I know barely play (similar perhaps to how drug dealers don't do drugs and remain dealers long). The kinds of skills and interests that make making games fun are wholly different than those that make playing them fun. They're doing this because they're interested in the kinds of problems making games present, not to please their socio-economic peers. Trust me, nobody makes Spongebob Squarepants to impress their friends.

But after consideration, I think more Americans making console games would be a good start. Consider how many games featuring all white casts are made by the Japanese studios, and how weird that is for a second.

inciteful comments (1)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 7 years ago | (#18068980)

If anyone else had written it, I might think that "comments incitefully" was a clever pun. But as it's Zonk, I'm afraid it's more likely a Malapropism.

Nice one, Zonk (1)

edittard (805475) | more than 7 years ago | (#18068984)

and comments incitefully on
I doubt that incitefully is a word, but even if it is, I doubt it's the one you were looking for.

Gordon Freeman, anyone? (2, Funny)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 7 years ago | (#18069008)

I mean, everyone knows he's Indo-Afro-Latino-Cau-freakin'-castic. The only thing he's not is Laplander. What we need are more Laplander game designers. Then we'd be playing some reindeer games, man.

Re:Gordon Freeman, anyone? (3, Funny)

jb.hl.com (782137) | more than 7 years ago | (#18070642)

Cau-freakin'-castic

Caucastic? Is that like some brand new description of Charlie Brooker [wikipedia.org] or something that I haven't heard yet?

"He's caustic...he's sarcastic...he's CAUCASTIC!"

Re:Gordon Freeman, anyone? (1)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 7 years ago | (#18073712)

He's fantastically semi-caucasionistic!

It doesn't matter who develops it (1, Insightful)

HappySqurriel (1010623) | more than 7 years ago | (#18069012)

Look at rap music ...
For the most part, Rap music has the worst portrail of black people and it is created (for the most part) by black people ...

Simply having more black people in the industry is not going to change how black people are represented in games

GTA:SA might be a bad example.... (4, Insightful)

wolfemi1 (765089) | more than 7 years ago | (#18069034)

...seeing that it is the fourth game in a series where all the other anti-hero protagonists have been white guys.

I'm not saying that the GTA series is a good role model, but I don't see how it is inherently racist that the PC is a black man.

Re:GTA:SA might be a bad example.... (2, Insightful)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 7 years ago | (#18069148)

I'm not saying that the GTA series is a good role model

Now there's an understatement.

The last 3 GTA games (GTA3, Vice City and San Andreas) was paroday games where they tried to apply as much as cliche's and prejudice things into the game. It's probably the worse example for any serious virtual world real world analysis.

They might start with the music industry first.... (3, Insightful)

EWAdams (953502) | more than 7 years ago | (#18069038)

African-Americans play a BIG role in the music industry, unlike the game industry, so you have to wonder why so many of them persist in portraying themselves in such a negative fashion there. Gangsta rap has been the worst thing for race relations since the acquittal of the cops who beat up Rodney King -- and for the most part it's not white musicians making it.

Re:They might start with the music industry first. (1)

Reverberant (303566) | more than 7 years ago | (#18069752)

African-Americans play a BIG role in the music industry

Define "BIG" - while rappers, R&B singers, and certain producers are visible on TV, the great majority of executives, A&R reps, and producers are white, even at hip-hop labels like Def Jam and Roc-A-Fella.

so you have to wonder why so many of them persist in portraying themselves in such a negative fashion there.

Again, define "so many" - popular artists =/ most artists. And these guys are popular because white teenagers are buying so much of the product. For every hardcore gangsta rapper you hear on the radio, you have a gospel or R&B artist who can't get airplay.

Gangsta rap has been the worst thing for race relations since the acquittal of the cops who beat up Rodney King -- and for the most part it's not white musicians making it.

Fuck tha Police [wikipedia.org] came out in 1988 and white suburbanites were outraged. The Rodney King [wikipedia.org] verdict was announced four years later, and people started to understand that maybe the song reflected a relevant point of view. One man's outrage is another man's foresight.

While white musicians aren't making most of it, white consumers are buying it and white executives are pushing it. As long as that's true, blacks (and Asians and whites and Latinos) will be making it.

Re:They might start with the music industry first. (2, Informative)

l4m3z0r (799504) | more than 7 years ago | (#18070132)

Gangsta rap has been the worst thing for race relations since the acquittal of the cops who beat up Rodney King...

Gansta rap predates the Rodney King fiasco by a number of years.

There's no such thing as race. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18069052)

Race is a social construction. The term race is itself "racist" because it has roots in a scientific theory that there are different sub-species of humans. There are only a few ultra right-wing scientists left who still hold on to this theory.

There are different cultures, obviously, and also different skin colours and other superficial appearances.

Re:There's no such thing as race. (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#18069320)

Race is a social construction.

I'm an Orc, you insenstive clod.

KFG

Re:There's no such thing as race. (1)

JebusIsLord (566856) | more than 7 years ago | (#18069382)

Just to elaborate (but not correct you), the whole idea of "sub-species" is non-scientific. Species exist in nature - they describe gene flow between individuals. The idea of a sub-species is just a sometimes-useful taxonomic grouping, but ultimately has no basis in biology.

Re:There's no such thing as race. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18069428)

Oh, I didn't know that. My girlfriend took some anthropology classes and the prof told her that in order for sub-species to appear there has to be population fragmentation and (complete) isolation or something like that, but that it has been observed amongst other animals. Sorry, that's the extent of the details I have...

Re:There's no such thing as race. (1)

Pluvius (734915) | more than 7 years ago | (#18072490)

Actually, it does. Subspecies indicate populations that are currently undergoing speciation away from the rest of the species. An example that we're all familiar with is the dog (Canis lupus familiaris) versus the common wolf (Canis lupus lupus). The concept of a subspecies might not be totally concrete, but then, neither is the concept of a species [wikipedia.org] .

This is not happening with black people, of course. We're all Homo sapiens sapiens.

Rob

Re:There's no such thing as race. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18069636)

"There are only a few ultra right-wing scientists left who still hold on to this theory."

And a few left-wing politicians who take every opportunity they can to remind us that certain races are inferior and need special rights and privileges just to succeed at an equal level to other races.

Re:There's no such thing as race. (-1, Offtopic)

TomHandy (578620) | more than 7 years ago | (#18069868)

That is completely ridiculous. If you're referring to affirmative action, etc. - it isn't based around the idea that certain races are inferior and need special rights and privileges to succeed at an equal level. It is based on the knowledge that the white majority race historically doesn't give minorities a fair shot (i.e. white managers will tend to hire white employees over equally qualified minority employees).

Really, I'm sick of reading stuff like this where people try and twist affirmative action into something else, in order to try and portray proponents of it as racists, and to get the people who make it necessary off the hook.

So again; at least for the most part, affirmative action has NOTHING to do with a belief that minorities are inferior and need special privileges to compete on equal footing. The only people I know who believe this are generally affirmative action opponents who DO believe that that is its main purpose, to help make sure that inferior minorities will get hired over superior white people.

Re:There's no such thing as race. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18071276)

If what you say is true then why is it only certain minorities "need" affirmative action? The minorities that statistically score lower on intelligence tests and end up having lower SES? There are certain minorities which actually tend to score better than whites and they are often excluded from such "corrective actions against the white majority".

Affirmative action is by definition a racist concept, it seeks to discriminate its assistance on the basis of race, and even excludes certain minorities from its definition of "minorities". Lower intelligence and lower SES white people have the same struggles and the people this assistance intends to target, and on the flip side higher intelligence/SES blacks do not need the assistance at all.

These divisive concepts only fuel contempt and racism.

Re:There's no such thing as race. (1)

Umbrel (1040414) | more than 7 years ago | (#18069706)

Races exit, and I'm not talking about homo sapiens only, they are less defined than subspecies, but that doesn't mean they are SOCIAL constructs (any clasification is a construct).

There is no white and black races, there are about 4 "black" human races and 3 "white" ones, and lot more "yellow" and "brown". I agree that the clasificacion itself is not static, just like when talking about dogs, the classification of a dalmatian or a dobberman is a contruct by an organization (having several definitions of the perfect -insert race here- dog).

But few people would argue that a dobberman and a dalmatian are the same kind of dogs, yet even less people would argue one is more dog than the other, that's the point with races they are biological clasifications based on fenotype, and they are not supose to be casts.

Casts are social constructs and we (humans) have the tendency to use casts and base them on anything from races to propertys, beliefs, genders, ages, etc. and then asocciate the social worth of the cast as innherent (and exclusive) to an attribute used to define that cast or perhaps even to another attribute that should not not even related at all.

BTW homo sapiens is a biological clasification based on genotype, and is the only known (accepted?) species to be human. Human is an ontological clasification (not social), but like any other attribute it has suffered these "cast syndrome" repeated times through history.

Fe de erratas (1)

Umbrel (1040414) | more than 7 years ago | (#18069822)

"black" human races and

"black" homo sapiens races and

attribute that should not not even related at all

attribute that should not be or is not even related at all

Re:There's no such thing as race. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18070048)

Race is a social construction. The term race is itself "racist" because it has roots in a scientific theory that there are different sub-species of humans. There are only a few ultra right-wing scientists left who still hold on to this theory.


And yet multilocus allele cluster analysis [uchicago.edu] neatly divides most people into the racial catagories most of us are familiar with.

Race is as real as pressure or temperature -- it's a property the emerges from a large number of individuals.

Re:There's no such thing as race. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18072862)

Rosenberg is one of those ultra-conservative fringe scientists that most anthropologists reject. If you open your eyes and read a literature review, you'll see what I mean. If you can't find one, do your own review: you'll still see what I mean.

Re:There's no such thing as race. (3, Interesting)

ergo98 (9391) | more than 7 years ago | (#18070660)

Race is a social construction. The term race is itself "racist"...

There are different cultures, obviously, and also different skin colours and other superficial appearances.

Are you for real?

Humans migrated across the globe in an era when separating meant limited or no contact (or breeding) with groups elsewhere. Specialization to the environment -- basic evolution-in-the-small --, and traits being exaggerated through group inbreeding, measurably changed each group in ways much greater than skin color. Some races (look up the term "racist", btw) are taller, or darker, or with larger or smaller noses. Some races are allergic to milk while others are not. Some are susceptible to conditions like MS, while others are not. Some have diseases that only their race contract.

Some races, in a general sense, are better at some things than other races (while it's okay to say, for instance, that one race is dominant at physical sports, don't dare mention race in the context of intelligence).

While global travel/movement means that eventually, far in the future, we'll all re-merge into one race, simply brushing it under the rug under some PC nonsense doesn't help anyone.

Re:There's no such thing as race. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18071268)

No. You are wrong. I am white, with British ancestry, but there is no statistically significant correlation between my genes and the genes of another white person than between my genes and the genes of a black person, except for superficial characteristics. No, I don't have a link, do your own fucking research.

Re:There's no such thing as race. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18073336)

Everything you said is right except for "No. You are wrong.", and perhapse the use of "superficial". Because you answered yourself right there. There IS a difference in superficial characteristics -- as well as less superficial ones like lactase-retention (formerly known as the opposite of lactose-intolerance), present in most white populations and not in most others.

It is not racist to say that white people are on the whole better at digesting milk.

Re:There's no such thing as race. (2, Interesting)

silentounce (1004459) | more than 7 years ago | (#18071434)

It's the identification of races that is the problem. Most people differentiate the races based on skin or hair color, facial features, body proportions, etc. But in reality you may have more genetically in common with someone who looks dramatically different from you than someone who shares your external traits. That is a proven fact, and that is one of the reasons that most scientists reject race classification. You are correct that some people are dominant in athletics, some are dominant in intelligence, some are more artistic, but this has more to do with individual DNA and groups of people that are related than so-called "races". My basic point is this, while you may be able to tell what "race" someone is by looking at them, you cannot necessarily tell other things. Differentiation in physical appearance takes up such a small portion or our genome.

Tag: Thinkoftheminorities (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18069060)

"He gives a call to arms to black players"

Sounds like they need to give the minorities better weapons in the games.

How about random/user-defined populations? (2, Interesting)

mattr (78516) | more than 7 years ago | (#18069070)

I've been wondering recently with people talking about race in games why the games can't be adjustable. Although I've most recently played games on the Wii that seem to let you create different race individuals, apparently many do not let you do that. It would seem useful to allow the user to adjust things to look like his or her community, or like a different community. It could be done by parents, or just for fun. When I was a kid we had Wizardry II (Apple ][) and IIRC you could select Dungeons and Dragons style races like dwarf, mage, etc. Ultima and the rest of the genre too. I didn't realize games created roles for kids to look up to, but certainly I was looking in the Wii selection for faces that I wanted to be. I had lots of fun doing it but actually they ought to provide more combinations, it took a while to find one I really enjoyed "being".

Re:How about random/user-defined populations? (1)

mikesd81 (518581) | more than 7 years ago | (#18069192)

I would assume the reason is that's a lot of coding to add that feature. And is it really a worth while feature? Most games I play that are shooter games are based on a movie or based on a story where changing the character doesn't make sense.

Re:How about random/user-defined populations? (1)

echinda (948608) | more than 7 years ago | (#18069410)

Lots of games give the player the ability to not just adjust the race of the protagonist, but micro-adjust his/her features. Elder Scrolls: Oblivion gives you so much fine tuned control over your characters features that it borders on the fetishistic.

Which makes games where you don't get to choose and are just stuck in a white body gunning down dark-skinned folks all the more bizarre.

Re:How about random/user-defined populations? (1)

Megane (129182) | more than 7 years ago | (#18074110)

When I was a kid we had Wizardry II (Apple ][) and IIRC you could select Dungeons and Dragons style races like dwarf, mage, etc. Ultima and the rest of the genre too.

Yeah, but them was cracka dwarfs and mages and elves.

Yeah, Elves are not as cool as people think (2, Funny)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 7 years ago | (#18069084)

And are Orcs really soooo bad?

Previous Games (4, Informative)

warmgun (669556) | more than 7 years ago | (#18069090)

In the first GTA3 you were an unnamed white hoodlum in NY. In the second, you were an italian mobster in Miami. In the third, you're a black gangbanger in LA. The series plays on stereotypes and nothing is sacred. In all of them, all races were equally depicted as villains. It really isn't fair to decry their depiction of African Americans unless you include their depiction of homosexuals, hippies, latinos, bikers, cops, jews, lawyers, etc...

The GTA games have always had a heavily satirical slant to them, and anyone who has actually played the games would be able to tell you that.

Re:Previous Games (1)

bateleur (814657) | more than 7 years ago | (#18069550)

Entirely true, but then satire always suffers from this vulnerability.

Because it requires just a little bit of actual intelligence to realise that something is a joke, there will always be some people who miss the point. Those few people, whether themselves or via third parties with anti-games agendas, cause a disproportionate amount of trouble.

Re:Previous Games (1)

j-turkey (187775) | more than 7 years ago | (#18070114)

In the first GTA3 you were an unnamed white hoodlum in NY. In the second, you were an italian mobster in Miami. In the third, you're a black gangbanger in LA. The series plays on stereotypes and nothing is sacred. In all of them, all races were equally depicted as villains. It really isn't fair to decry their depiction of African Americans unless you include their depiction of homosexuals, hippies, latinos, bikers, cops, jews, lawyers, etc...

I couldn't agree more -- this is much ado about nothing. It's sad that people have to make far reaches like this by calling race when our society has so many real race issues. I suppose that video games (especially the GTA series) are such easy targets by (what are amounting to) a bunch of thugs wanting a scapegoat to point at.

Re:Previous Games (1)

Bastian (66383) | more than 7 years ago | (#18070314)

Really, it's interesting to note that the most multiracial games on the mass marke are the GTA series, where everyone is a hoodlum. Most other games feature overwhelmingly white casts, especially if that game's characters have much personality. The first non-white protagonist that pops into my mind outside of GTA is Barret, and he is laden with a multitude of stereotypes - basically just Mr. T with a prosthesis.

Re:Previous Games (1)

ubertote (166928) | more than 7 years ago | (#18071362)

The first main dark-skinned protagnist i can think of is Cain (Agent Nathaniel Cain) from the computer game "Sanity" my friend had once. Man, i need to get a copy of that. It was one of the few overhead view games (think the original GTA) that i really liked, besides "Syndicate".

FF7 Berret Quotes (2, Funny)

Arakageeta (671142) | more than 7 years ago | (#18069096)

Post Final Fantasy 7 Berret quotes here. I'll start: "But that's for Marlene's schoolin'!"

Re:FF7 Berret Quotes (1)

Madpony (935423) | more than 7 years ago | (#18069972)

"I pity da foo' who ain't got a machine gun for a hand!"

Minorities (2, Insightful)

digitrev (989335) | more than 7 years ago | (#18069128)

The biggest problem is that racial minorities are just that. Minorities. As such, most games are geared toward the majority. Which, in North America, is your white middle-class suburbanite teen. And the only thing that a lot of them know about minorities is the stereotypes. It's so much easier to make money feeding on people's preconceived notions that worry about educating them.

The real solution? Dilute North America so far that we all become one race.

Re:Minorities (1)

the honger (992005) | more than 7 years ago | (#18069762)

Forced homogenization. Pretty.

Re:Minorities (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18070588)

The real solution? Dilute North America so far that we all become one race.
Therein lies the real problem.

We already ARE one race. Human.

I can't but think (2, Insightful)

mikesd81 (518581) | more than 7 years ago | (#18069136)

that we get 2 articles about this in one month because it's February [wikipedia.org] ..second /. article here [slashdot.org]

I personally never noticed in a game about shooting thugs what their race are. It's a shame that racism still exists. Even the blatantly biased commercial for the superbowl about Tony Dungy and Lovie Smith. What really keeps racism alive is these arguments about it. How many people have played Max Payne or Dead to Rights and really take notices of the color of the digital skin of the guy you're shooting? The links in the summary surely will open up heated debate. In the article "Psychologists agree that if your race is always the thief or killer, then after a while you start to think that's how you should be, or you think that's how your people are." ... Well, what about in games like Dead To Rights where the white cop just goes through the street shooting people? So does that make white kids think they should become vigilante cops?

I'm not saying that Mr. Jones is incorrect. I'm saying it's how you are raised. You can't just blame things on games and movies. Society needs to change and become more acceptable. Take a lesson from Star Trek.

Re:I can't but think (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18069604)

But think of the effect of positive disinformation too. If you portray black poor people as nice and friendly in your game, and because of it in real-life tourists go visit black ghettos and get mugged, it's also a shame.

Re:I can't but think (1)

dyslexicbunny (940925) | more than 7 years ago | (#18072882)

Take a lesson from Star Trek.
So you're saying if we destroy the Middle East, we'll meet the Vulcans?!?

This comment is meant as a joke; but seriously, try to someone of Arabic descent in Star Trek. Until popular culture removes the idea of the token ethnic guy, there is going to be some form of racism.

Another Slashdot Article On This (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18069160)

There was also another article from Terra Nova [slashdot.org] about "Cultural Borrowing in WoW" where they point out that the Horde (or 'evil' side of the game) have Jamaican accents, voodoo-flavored culture or have features in text/sound related to indigenous peoples that have in the past been seen as inferior.

I guess that today's article focuses on the non-white stereotypes in games in more realistic real life games. I know a lot of people are going to say that this is folklore in Warcraft or that it's 'just a story' in GTA and that the character could be any color. But why is it that I've never seen a game from the point of the Native American defending attacks from people like Andrew Jackson or Phil Sheridan? Why haven't I ever seen a game where the hero (and an actual positive hero) is fighting against someone who is white or Caucasian?

Daikatana (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 7 years ago | (#18069180)

I think it's time we applauded Daikatana for not allowing the player to leave without his African-American buddy, Superfly.

Moo (1)

Chacham (981) | more than 7 years ago | (#18069218)

While we're on this topic, i would like to point out the apparent age discrimination on slashdot in moderators. The popular comments far outweigh intelligent ones in high moderations.

One good example - Guild Wars Nightfall (2, Interesting)

ReverendLoki (663861) | more than 7 years ago | (#18069220)

The latest chapter of GuildWars, Nightfall, is set in a Northern African inspired area of the GW world, has quite a few positive black and vaguely Arab/Mediterranean characters. Now, as the protagonist in an RPG, you get your standard character customization, but it seems to me they included more options for the various ethnicities one would expect to find in North Africa (then again, it may just be me; of course, I also thought the Factions chapter included more Asian ethnic options as well, which is appropriate given the Asian theme of that chapter). So, you don't have to be a black character, but a number of your comrades, allies and such are, and are cast in the role of hero alongside your own in a fantasy setting. And the thing is, none of them are really ethnically stereotyped, and if you're not paying a lot of attention, it's easy to overlook while playing. In short, I really like the way they handled it in game.

Second Life (2, Interesting)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | more than 7 years ago | (#18069230)

Except for the furries which seem to be all around in Second life, most people are white, or some other typical shade of human with less frequency than they are white.

I'm green. When people meet me, they usually say "Whoa dude, you're green". Fucking stupid. Why NOT be green? It's bizarre that most human characters in second life are boring human colors which you can just go to the mall to see. And if they're animals, they are just big versions of things you can see at the zoo.

Why don't Second Life people dress up like animals that you can see at the grocery store? There's no reason why you couldn't be a big talking salmon, but I've never seen one. I don't recall ever seeing a cow in Second Life either. Or a chicken. Everybody's a cum covered fox or kitty it seems. Maybe a wolf, but it'll actually look more like a coyote with tits. Monkeys are in short supply too. Everybody loves monkeys and apes. Why haven't I met bigfoot in Second Life yet?

Racism in video games like Second life is way more than black or white. Fucking Kermit the Frog was right about it not being easy to be green.

Animal Crossing (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#18070336)

Why don't Second Life people dress up like animals that you can see at the grocery store?
Because SLers have already experienced that to death in Animal Crossing games.

I don't recall ever seeing a cow in Second Life either. Or a chicken.
Probably because some cow or chicken in AC pissed them off?

Everybody's a [with] covered fox or kitty it seems.
Does the fact that fox and kitty were the villains in Pinocchio [wikipedia.org] have anything to do with it?

Re:Second Life (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 7 years ago | (#18070974)

Why NOT be green?

Because, as a great philosopher [msu.edu] once said, it's not easy being green.

Re:Second Life (1)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 7 years ago | (#18071448)

I'm green. When people meet me, they usually say "Whoa dude, you're green".
I think you just solved the whole race-in-games problem here. Make all the bad guys green.

Because, as a great philosopher once said, it's not easy being green.
O.K., maybe instead of green, all bad guys can be cyan or violet, or some other color that no person possibly could be naturally.
(
side note:As an MSU Spartan fan, I can attest to that!)

Re:Second Life (1)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | more than 7 years ago | (#18071528)

ObFact: I am a Spartan too.

Re:Second Life (1)

CronoCloud (590650) | more than 7 years ago | (#18073570)

Good "black" skin is hard to find, that's the complaint I've heard.

There's cow avatars out now, I've seen a chicken, and a penguin. Various anthropormhic animals of course, the usual cats and foxes as well as jackals, rats, racoons etc.

It's a Good thing... (4, Interesting)

IBitOBear (410965) | more than 7 years ago | (#18069240)

It's a good thing that the first four GTA games weren't about some white guy....

Oh wait...

And of course the Arabs and Persians and Jews all get off scott-free because they control the media...

Of course the gay characters are _never_ stereotypes...

And the "sex workers" of the world are always portrayed in the most positive and even-handed light possible...

And the "spics" and "rice burners" were perfectly valid and even-handed portrayals of racial norms as well...

(And we all know that cops are just corrupt dealers and killers with legal enforcement powers that can be convinced to leave you alone if you change your clothes or drive your bike through just the right spot in the local mall parking lot.)

I don't hear this guy protesting the treatment of and message presented to the youth of any _other_ "minority".

ENOUGH WITH THE EMOTIONAL STUBBED TOES ALREADY!

The sad fact of the matter is that GTA wasn't portraying "black people" as anything, it was portraying the "black gansta stereotype" and it was _even_ somewhat even-handed since the main character was "acting against type" by trying to straighten out a mess as much as make one.

And before you re-stub your emotional toe on the word "stereotype", please keep in mind that every non-proper noun _IS_ a stereotype. Teacher. Cop. Politician. Meter Maid. Brother. Sister. Nun. Clerk. Priest. (etc od nausium). Every single damn one of those words come with a precompiled message and set of expectations. That's all a "stereotype" is. "Baseless racial stereotype" is a different concept all together.

The actual problem is that the "gangsta" movement has deliberately manufactured a stereotype that someone doesn't like, but this is being hoist on their own petard. Heck, the members of that self-created group probably thought the portrayal was totally cool.

You cannot save people from their own damn selves, nor should people who make a bad image for themselves garner sympathy.

As far as the "game makers", well, they know that a game based on the law-abiding middle-income family guy from suburbia, who goes to work and pays bills on time and attends a baseline church and plays a friendly game of poker once a month with "the guys" WOUDL MAKE A TERRIBLY BORING VIDEOGAME.

I'd say "They tried to make a good game, so sue them" but I am sure somebody somewhere with a bruised medula would do just that.

And P.S. I didn't like or play the game when my roommate brought it home because _NONE_ of those stereo types interested me. I kind-of liked Vice City because the soundtrack was interesting and the action wasn't skewed beyond the empty plot of Miami Vice. But I didn't whine about the game much either, except when it was interfering with me using the TV for something valuable. (I'd say "like NASCAR or Pro Wrestling" but I fear the irony would be lost on the stupid and someone would take that seriously and dub me "raciest" without regarding context, so let me put "watching firefly" here instead.)

Re:It's a Good thing... (1)

travdaddy (527149) | more than 7 years ago | (#18069554)

As far as the "game makers", well, they know that a game based on the law-abiding middle-income family guy from suburbia, who goes to work and pays bills on time and attends a baseline church and plays a friendly game of poker once a month with "the guys" WOUDL MAKE A TERRIBLY BORING VIDEOGAME.

You mean The Sims? Yeah, people hated that...

But seriously, you're right. Video games should be held to all the same standards as movies. Why should CJ in San Andreas be held to a different standard than Samuel L. Jackson in Shaft? People have it in their heads that a stereotypical character in a video game is somehow worse than a stereotypical character in a movie. Can someone explain that to me without using the letters MPAA?

Re:It's a Good thing... (1)

IBitOBear (410965) | more than 7 years ago | (#18069934)

Actually a lot of people hated The SIMS, myself included. But even if they hadn't, the game was made, and made by a competitor, so the slot for "that video game plot" was "used up". There isn't enough room in the market place for non-covariant repetition. Yea we keep making variations of stories by Shakespeare and The Bible, but they _are_ variations. We don't just keep making Gone With The Wind from the same script, we at least tweak it between iterations.

E.G. once someone made "The SIMS" so nobody else needed to, or really could, not at least without taking at most a minuscule fraction of the market and a whole lot of grief for being a copycat.

Meanwhile, "Middle Class Accountant: The First-Person Actuarial" would sell to _nobody_ 8-).

It still just boils down to this:

White guy with white slacks and Hawaiian shirt and gun => campy 80 reference to those wacky Italians.

Black guy with baggy pants and a do-rag and gun => ethnic crime against our otherwise untarnished black youth.

Muslim with beard and a turban and a gun => "oh well, Achmed is a bad guy and we all know it."

Its a double standard that boils down to "represent someone I identify with and, plus or minus some lip-service, it is evil. Everybody else is fair game."

Divisiveness in the name of selective unity is a form of willful ignorance, and willful ignorance is the root of all stupid evil.

Sims Crossing (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#18070402)

once someone made "The SIMS" so nobody else needed to, or really could, not at least without taking at most a minuscule fraction of the market and a whole lot of grief for being a copycat.
Really? Is Nintendo a copycat for taking elements of EA's The Sims and adding a dash of Natsume's Harvest Moon to make Animal Crossing?

Re:Sims Crossing is IMMATERIAL (1)

IBitOBear (410965) | more than 7 years ago | (#18072988)

Animal crossing is "covariant" as opposed to "non-covariant". That is, according to your position, they took The SIMS and added things. Which is fine.

My immediate point was that nobody could make another "The SIMS" (particularly to model the boring life of some accountant.)

My larger point implicit in the thread as a whole is that a "first person" game about some random law abiding person would not sell.

As a matter of fact, not all The SIMS are "law abiding" and for that matter "The SIMS" doesn't follow any one character.

The SIMS itself, is largely based on the "god-view tweaking environment affecting only partially controllable independent entities" that you could follow all the way back to the game Populous.

But see the "second person shooters" (GTA etc) are a fundamentally different kind of game that The SIMS. You are not supposed to self-identify with some individual SIM the way you are supposed to take droopy-mac-gangsta-pants' personal plight to heart.

You (metaphorically) have the "well what about my cat!" response to my _original_ statement that "metal is hard". Fluffy being fluffy isn't material to the discussion.

When people make statements _ALL_ the words count. So does the _Topic_. The fact that The SIMS is centered around SIMS that have boring virtual lives in no way furthers the conversation as to whether or not people would buy a game _CENTERED_ around _A_ (singular) suburban nobody doing nothing in particular. See how those things are not even _SORT_ _OF_ the same?

That makes the meta-meta-issue of enumerating the progression of the third-person god-controller games moot when discussing games "about" "characters".

Please learn to include context in your arguments.

Re:It's a Good thing... (1)

senatorpjt (709879) | more than 7 years ago | (#18071312)

Actually a lot of people hated The SIMS, myself included. But even if they hadn't, the game was made, and made by a competitor, so the slot for "that video game plot" was "used up". There isn't enough room in the market place for non-covariant repetition.

What about the 5,000 or so knockoffs of Wolfenstein 3D?

Re:It's a Good thing... (1)

IBitOBear (410965) | more than 7 years ago | (#18073312)

Ok, what _exactly_ about the the Wolfenstien rippoffs?

Before you answer, let's recap:

We are talking about what I will, for the lack of a better name, call "second person shooters" where we follow the development of _specific_ (thats singular for you ESL people) character. This is a kind of interactive literature sort of game. I bring up the literary uninterestingness of such a game centered around an accountant who is living an uneventful law-abiding life. Said game being uninteresting for the same reasons that nobody writes novels where nothing new happens to a nobody (or at least when they do it doesn't sell). And point out that such a game wouldn't sell and wouldn't be played.

Then someone (triumphantly?) counters that the "Populous" ripoff/reenvisioning/technically realistic re-envisioning (whatever) game "The SIMS" basically disproves my point about the literary value of a following an uninteresting character because The SIMS "has accountants with boring lives in it", which, frankly has no bearing on the discussion. (If this is too complex, understand that The SIMS isn't "about" some specific accountant lovingly wrought into cut-scenes, plots, and dialog, its about your ability to, at your whim, do things like starve that accountant to death or drive him insane by "accidentally" locking him in a room with no doors.)

And so now, to counter my "second person shooter/character game" argument you wantonly toss in a throw-away line about the "third person shooter" and all its variations which _nobody_ can honestly say is "about" anything much other than BFGs and body counts. If the Wolfenstien guy "happens to be an accountant" he certainly isn't leading the uneventful "good role model" life previously alluded to.

So I get it... you had _not_ point but you knew how to post... sure... consider this response the yummy cookie that your "but hay" post so richly deserves... 8-)

Now, given all that... what about the 5000 Wolfenstien rippofs again and how do they have bearing on the concept that the GTA games should replace their lead characters with good role models for the black youth of America?

Re:It's a Good thing... (1)

cliffski (65094) | more than 7 years ago | (#18072896)

"Meanwhile, "Middle Class Accountant: The First-Person Actuarial" would sell to _nobody_ 8-)."

actually it sells pretty well...
Ok so you can't be an accountant (yet) but you can be a lawyer:

http://www.kudosgame.com/ [kudosgame.com]

And you can even be a waiter, a shelf-stacker in a grocery store, or a taxi driver.

I think there is actually a market for games that feature people of every race without going into clichéd stereotypes. The thing is, most game designers, producers and biz people will not make them. I've worked for a few big game companies, and out of maybe 200 people in those companies, I can only think of ONE black guy, a pretty cool dude who used to draw judge dredd apparently. Bear in mind this was London, where the racial mix is pretty varied.
I always found that weird, and kind of creepy. I know that a lot of game employees are supposedly well-adjusted liberal middle class people with no prejudice (so they would claim) but its' always spooky to work somewhere with hardly any women and pretty much no non-whites.
The games industry needs more black people, it also needs more women, and not just working as receptionists. In fact, does anyone even know a games company with a male receptionist? (wherever I worked, the receptionists always looked like supermodels).

Re:It's a Good thing... (1)

IBitOBear (410965) | more than 7 years ago | (#18073662)

[sarcasm]
yes, this _clearly_ is the perfect drop-in replacement for GTA on the PS(x) where I can sit down and follow the rich action experience of...

oh wait, this is a "turn based strategy game where you..."

So there isn't a plot, as such.

Oh, I see, this is a completely different kind of game, but I can totally see how it would just draw in the GTA crowd because nothing says "fast action" and "good story telling" like an open-ended turn-based strategy game. Gee, let me at it. I can hardly wait to throw off my life as a programmer to assume the unmatched adrenaline of "saxophone playing drug addict"! No wait! A waiter! That will get the blood pumping like nothing else! How did we miss this blockbuster at E3, it must have been just leaping off shelf, so we couldn't find it, and _that's_ how we missed it... It all comes clear to me now.

Oh, and the role-modely goodness that comes from the fact that the doped out musician could be _any_ _race_ _at_ _all_ is just so liberating....
[/sarcasm]

Look, you might as well bring up Sudoku. I play that. I _like_ that. But it has no bearing here. Heck I can name countless good and bad games in countless other genres, but they are _in_ _other_ _genres_.

We are talking about a particular game genre when we talk about games where the characters we are meant to follow (or revile and kill) are walking their paces according to scripts and cut-scenes. It's a kind of interactive literature. Someone scripted the thing. And since it isn't "like make your dude and do whatever... dude" there is the task of authorship and the player also has the role of viewer and critic. That means the _story_ has to sell along with the action. And lets face it "Accountant: the good black father and his heroic struggle with everyday life" isn't going to sell even _if_ the story is a masterwork, because "up-down-up-down-left-right-start to get the dried on stuff of the plate before putting it in the dishwasher" just isn't that compelling.

So the question of a story game that would sell to the people who would buy GTA:(whatever) is in no way explored by bringing up "eve2" or "tetris" or "WoW" or whatever.

Yes?

Re:It's a Good thing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18069812)

a game based on the law-abiding middle-income family guy from suburbia, who goes to work and pays bills on time and attends a baseline church and plays a friendly game of poker once a month with "the guys" WOUDL MAKE A TERRIBLY BORING VIDEOGAME.
Or it could become the best selling game of all time.

Re:It's a Good thing... (1)

dominion (3153) | more than 7 years ago | (#18070250)

And of course the Arabs and Persians and Jews all get off scott-free because they control the media... Of course the gay characters are _never_ stereotypes... And the "sex workers" of the world are always portrayed in the most positive and even-handed light possible... And the "spics" and "rice burners" were perfectly valid and even-handed portrayals of racial norms as well...

You're right, two wrongs do make a right!

Amazing!

Re:It's a Good thing... (2, Insightful)

IBitOBear (410965) | more than 7 years ago | (#18074118)

Where exactly did I say "two wrongs do make a right"? Where did I even hint at that.

I'm pretty sure I said "no wrongs make for a complete failure of marketability".

I'm also pretty sure that I said that people who cherry-pick their outrage from within a complete festering scab of outrageousness are not worth taking seriously because selective rage about something no worse than the background noise was crying wolf in a crowded theater full of sheep... or maybe not that last one...

I think it _would_ be safe to presume that I think anybody who considers the characters portrayed in a GTA game (or most television shows, or a lot of books, or religious texts for that matter) are _intended_ or suitable as "role models" should just STFU because they are idiots.

You see, I can at least sympathize with people who think the whole genre is flawed. It's when the people decide that one particular element of the genre is somehow aimed just at them that I call bullshit.

If the diatribe from the original article was a (sad rehash) of the whole "these games are bad, um-kay" argument I'd at least have _some_ sympathy. I wouldn't necessarily _agree_ but I'd have some _sympathy_.

You see, I have some _perspective_. I try to write, and I try to read, and so I _know_ and _understand_ that "effective story telling" _usually_ requires the author to grotesquely simplify the characters they present. If you try to unfold each entity into the unique and delicate snowflake that they are, full of their own passions and reasons and heartbreaking back-story they bring to the rich tableau of life, you never get to tell the story you are actually trying to tell.

So yea, the "rice burner" who has come into town to challenge your ability to take a street racer through a dirt track (of all the stupid things), rendered in the active memory of a PS2 "region" and with a full seven words of dialog in the course of a 12 second cut-scene, is in all likelihood, going to come out "a touch stereotyped". Let's not even start on the touching back-story of each of the 200 rubber-stamped drug dealing pimps that seem to endlessly and innocently wander that one street oblivious to the death and mayhem happening not one step away day after day...

Having accepted the limits of the media, and the goal of the story, _and_ it's placement as part-5 of a series, it is just a _little_ to late to start yammering because, sweet mary and joseph, this one is *GASP* _black_.... oh the horror!

If you think your kids are too stupid to know its a freaking game, you shouldn't be letting them play it.

If you cannot control your own children then why should we let you try to control an _industry_?

If you don't even _have_ children then your role-model talk is really self-serving political bullcrap.

So to recap:
  Video Game? Not a Role Model.
  Sports Figure? Not a Role Model.
  Politician? Not a Role Model.
  Stranger on the street? Not a Role Model.
  Political Stranger on the street of a Video Game? ... you guessed it ... Not a role model.

Even if they are black...

Incitefully? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18069250)

Are you sure that's the word you wanted to use?

Woe betide the Hispanic on the 360 (1)

echinda (948608) | more than 7 years ago | (#18069258)

Is it just me, or does anyone else get the sneaking suspicion that game devs see latinos and think "target"?

I played the demo of the new 360 shooter "Crackdown" on the weekend. From a race relations perspective, on the plus side you get to pick the race of your character and have a fairly wide range of options.

On the negative side, you then spend the next hour of the demo killing latinos. Lots of them.

One example does not an argument make, you say? Arguing from analogy is bad logic, you postulate?

Well, take a look at the Saint's Row demo, also available to you from the kind folks at XBox Live. Load it up, sit back and .... kill some latinos.

Coincidence, you sputter?

Okay, sit down, relax and pop in the disc for a little GRAW. The great thing about this game is that you have HUGE range of guns available ... for killing latinos. Sure, there are some asians to kill as well, and I'm admittedly not that far along in the single player campaign (can ANYONE get used to the squad command d-pad stuff?), but so far it's pretty much been a latino shooting spree.

Now I'm a white guy, and a bit dense when it comes to the social niceties. I'm the kind of guy that forgets valentines day despite the fact that the secretaries in my office had hearts pasted on everything that wasn't self-mobile for days in the lead-up.

So when I tell you that I notice this stuff, it's rampant.

Equal-opportunity killing (1)

jchenx (267053) | more than 7 years ago | (#18070884)

I don't know about GRAW, since I haven't played it, but I can speak a little to Crackdown and Saint's Row, having played a lot of both. (Yes, I got the retail copy of Crackdown before it officially released)

Both Crackdown and Saint's Row certainly have your fair share of hispanic thugs that you take down. But to be fair, they also have several other gangs of various ethnic types. Saint's Row has your stereotypical rap-listening, gold-chain wearing African-American gang that you have to take down, as well as your stereotypical car-modding, street racing Asian thugs. Crackdown also has your stereotypical communist-loving, heavy metal listening, ultra-punk Eastern European gang, and a stereotypical rich, technology-loving, Asian gang.

Note how many times I said stereotypical in that last paragraph. It's because it's true. As an Asian-American myself, yeah I can say that I had fun playing those games, but it still irks me everytime these racial stereotypes are used in games. No doubt, developers also poke fun at other races as well. For example, there's a hilarious radio station in Saint's Row that makes fun of the Religious Right as racist, scientifically-backwards nut jobs (similar to the Colbert Report on Comedy Central).

That said, it would be nice if games didn't have to resort to racial stereotyping, no matter if it is "fair" by equally making fun of every race. Just because it's fair doesn't necessarily make it "fine" or "okay". It's perpetually reinforcing these stereotypes, no matter how incorrect they may be. Not every Italian guy is a member of the mob, or every Christian a racist hick, or Muslim a terrorist threat, or every Asian a kung-fu expert, etc.

Unfortunately, I know why developers continue to do this in games. Simply put, it sells. And I know I'm guilty and hypocritical because I still buy these games despite it.

Re:Woe betide the Hispanic on the 360 (1)

strobe74 (617588) | more than 7 years ago | (#18072630)

Yeah I can't wait until they bring some reality to these games. We all know that the inner-city areas of the major metropolitan cities we've all come to know and love are not filled with black gang members wearing colors, driving low rider cars, or Latino's wearing their button down blue/white/plaid shirts buttoned only at the top with their kaki pants.. NO.. it's all lies created by Hollywood.. the bitches.

Why can't the reality of street gangs and inner-city skid row neighborhoods finally be brought to big media.. and show the insanity of the "white and nerdy" Weird Al stereo type that is much closer to reality than anything else. In fact, it's so close to reality that it shouldn't be called a stereo type.. it should be a .. reality type!!! We all have this dream.. to see reality.. of the sinister "white and nerdy" lawn mowing, slacks wearing bottle thick glasses wearing GANGSTAZ that dominate those ghettos. Someday.. someday..

Anyway, my Prozac is wearing off. I need to go take some more and probably go see my therapist. I got a little excited there and now I have issues with my parents because of it.. DAMN RACISM!!!

/curls up in a ball under his desk and weeps softly until his dreams are realized.

Jade from Beyond Good and Evil (1)

PIPBoy3000 (619296) | more than 7 years ago | (#18069264)

There was an interesting article [wired.com] where the main character had an ambiguous race. Players were welcome to decide if she was asian, black, or perhaps some humanoid alien of some kind. Personally I just thought she was smart, cute, and sassy, always a winning combination.

Re:Jade from Beyond Good and Evil (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 7 years ago | (#18069546)

That's ambiguous? I always assumed they meant her to be sort-of-asian, with the name Jade and the shade of skin. That world doesn't have China, Japan, etc, so she's not asian no matter what, of course.

As for being on topic... I think these people just want to be heard. They pick the main character of a sequel to complain about. Sorry, but that character DOES fit there. No stereotypes needed. Just like the first GTA games. Those characters fit, too.

It reminds me of the complaints about the nose on the black guy in Fable. OMFG! Yes, it was exaggerated. So was everything else. Deal with it. In turn, that reminds me of my father. He now seems to think that everything is almost a conspiracy. Survivor? "They planned that contest. They made that person win." etc etc. If you get stuck on something, everything will look like that.

As a society, we need to learn to ignore the very-vocal-but-oh-so-wrong bunch. We aren't very good at it, yet.

Reverse Racism? (1)

RockoTDF (1042780) | more than 7 years ago | (#18069530)

Keep in mind that often when a positive black character comes along, he is accused of being an "oreo" or something to that effect. Even if you had something like a black cop as the hero, people will call it "stereotypical" if he still says "whats up, dog?" to an informant or fellow cop. But if he says "Well there my dear friend, do you have any news on that narcotics shipment coming in a fortnight?" he would be accused of "not really being black." Its like people are EXPECTED to act according to the stereotypes to be a "real" member of their race.

It's all Black or White (1)

ashitaka (27544) | more than 7 years ago | (#18069570)

Why does everything about race in America have to have a negative connotation? Why is it all about the stereotypes?

Every time you read some self-centered interest group going on about the treatment of (fill in ethnic, racial, religious) group in a game it's hard to decide what's worse; the whining or the fact that the game makers are taking advantage of these fractures in American society.

What is most depressing is that there doesn't seem to be any possibility of resolution within anyone's lifetime. I'm not talking about rainbows and angels "peace and harmony", I'm talking about no-one giving a flying fark what race you are. It shouldn't freaking matter, but America just seems to want to keep the divide.

I happen to be Caucasian, my wife happens to be Asian. We have taught our kids that they represent the future of humanity, where races mix without fear of discrimination simply because it reaffirms the fundamental truth that we are all just human beings. That color of skin matters less than what they strive to be and how they help move mankind as a whole forward. That should be all there is to it.

Re:It's all Black or White (1)

archen (447353) | more than 7 years ago | (#18069810)

I agree. From what I've seen it comes down to the fact that Americans now live in fear of offending anyone. And it doesn't even seem to matter how harmless something is, people just avoid it at all costs. What I've seen is many preach acceptance, but actually expect avoidance. Just ignore the fact that a guy is black. When I say "that black guy" it's probably because he was the only black guy there, yet some find this offensive. When I say "that white guy" (inferring everyone else in the area was black), then suddenly that's okay. There was a time when America actually was becoming more accepting - where people recognized each other's differences and were okay with them, but somewhere in all the lawsuits and political correctness that became severely warped.

Re:It's all Black or White (1)

the honger (992005) | more than 7 years ago | (#18069926)

"Your heart of hearts. Your show of shows." tm

I criticise the lack of hot, Asian females in game (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18069998)

I mean really, which character would you rather stare at when you play a game, a middle-aged Black guy or a hot Asian woman in revealing clothes?

Elephants in the living room (1)

turing_m (1030530) | more than 7 years ago | (#18070762)

There are a few here. Along with some misunderstandings.

1) Why is it perfectly mainstream and acceptable to link sympathetically to a site called "Black Voice News", when if you did the same thing for a site called "White Voice News", you'd be instantly accused of wanting to gas 6 million people?

2) "The video game industry is all about money"... um, ok. Like any other form of media, it's an immense power that has a small ability to make some money on the side. The ability to shape the minds of millions of people to an extent that movies can't is worth far more than any revenue stream that could be derived from games. 10 billion a year is small potatoes on a world scale. An Iraq war alone costs an order of magnitude more. For someone who has the resources to promote such a thing, the game industry is cheap at multiples of the price.

3) "The problem is that our youth and adult players see themselves as players and not designers or illustrators." It's far more likely because of inherent genetic limitations of IQ wrt population size. It's simply unrealistic to expect large numbers of Black people to be effective in creating video games, the same way it would be to expect the White working class players of video games to be putting out content that has mass appeal. (Obviously there will be a small minority who will.)

I've got to give Richard O. Jones credit though. He does capitalize the word White when referring to race, something that Blacks, Jews, Asians, and Hispanics have benefited from for decades now. It's nice to start being recognized as a people for once. Maybe "our" media will follow suit one day? I'm not holding my breath.

Not a good way to start an objective article (1)

ubertote (166928) | more than 7 years ago | (#18070792)

As a man who plays a lot of video games across a lot of platforms and genres, I like to think that I have a fairly good understanding of the representation of reality rendered by most games.
Riiiight .. Just because a fisherman fishes all day doesn't mean he knows the eating habits and reproduction cycles of the fish he catches.

Sure... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18070904)

He gives a call to arms to black players, saying they should focus some of their passion on the skills required to make games.

Yeah, that'll happen. Mod me racist or whatever, but that community has severe and deep cultural problems that are decades from being overcome. When you're born into a culture that considers success to be "selling out" or achieving a high position is just being the "house Negro", you have a lot more problems than video game portrayals. Seriously, when a kid is told by his peers not to bother with "the white man's math and science" how do you even deal with that?

And if you pay one of them a compliment, but maybe don't word it perfectly, you're dragged through the media mud like some fucking Nazi. Is it any wonder no one gives a shit anymore? People don't want to deal with chips on shoulders when the chip is the size of Manhatten.

And that's the truth no matter how much you politically correct dumbasses hide your heads in the sand.

So what would be a non-racist game? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18071064)

How can you make a quasi-realistic game without including stereotypes? They are everywhere in our society, and should not be avoided like the plague. They should be drawn out and exposed for what they are, a set of (usually) baseless assumptions.
Personally, I get pissed off when minorities stereotype me (a white guy) by assuming I beleive stereotypes about them. To me, actions speak much louder than words or the color of your skin. If I have to hire someone, and the decision is between a white guy and a black guy, I'll go with whomever is more qualified. I don't give a rat's ass if the black guy complains that he wasn't given an equal chance because of his education, that's not my problem and I don't have control of that.

Some games are designed to be a reflection of society, and not just the parts we enjoy and are proud of. Racism in games will always exist as long as it exists in reality.

African-American roles? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18072994)

At least they have one.
What about middle easterners? inuits? eskimos?
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