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Racism In Games
switchbadger
This has been a hot and spicey topic on the internet for quite some time especially since the release of Resident Evil 5 and the fact that it takes place in an African village where you have to defend yourself from the zombified locals. (Or something like that. I don't claim perfect knowledge. It's not my style of game.) Another wave of this lamenting has been inspired by the release of Left 4 Dead 2. I just read someone else's blog about how "[he is] disturbed by the growing trend of racist undertones that are cropping up in video games."
(For his whole blog go to blogs.chron.com/gamehacks/2009/07/racism_in_video_games_the_new.html#more. And yes I don't care that I'm advertising for him. It's the subject matter that I'm chewing out. Not the author.)

For starters I'd like to roll onto the definition of racism that I have come to understand. Discriminating against someone because of their racial background. Discrimination between things is why we don't eat poisonous plants or allow blind people to become pilots. Discrimination against things is thinking Hindus cannot fly aeroplanes or all plants with bulbous roots are poisonous. Discrimination against something means using a criteria that is not related to a certain quality to identify subjects that are "supposed" to have that quality. Like Hindus not being able to fly aeroplanes. Being Hindu has nothing to do with your ability to fly an aeroplane.
So discriminating against a black person would be not allowing him to associate with you because you believe "all black people are dirty and stupid."
Discriminating between black people would be not allowing one to participate in a pharmacological trials for sun tanning lotion designed to help white people get a good tan, because it would skew the results.

So the primary argument here is that shooting at a black person in a game is bad. Never mind the fact that you're shooting at them for being a zombie trying to munch on your delicious and tasty flesh. Never mind the whole "black vs. white skin colour" argument. What I'd like to point out is that you're discriminating against a zombie by shooting all of it's comrades and not this one because he/she (Don't want to be sexist too now do we.) happened to be an animate a corpse with a different pigmentation of ithe skin. I just hope you discriminate between targets by shooting at the ones trying to eat your brains and not the ones who are running for cover. That would be a good criteria to decide what to shoot at since it stems from the survival instinct. Discriminating "between" targets because of their skin colour makes you a racist because that would stem from a preference to race. So if you only shot non-black zombies that would make you a racist trying to survive but not doing so effectively because of all the black zombies enjoying a healthy serving of your innards.

So I suppose I've exhausted the topic of how the player should act and that is a relatively short process. The another side of the coin lies at the developers. Why would developers put black people into their game as zombies? Because they're racist? No. For the same reason they put black people into the party of protagonists? Probably not. They probably put black protagonists in because it seemed like good character ideas or, doubtedly, in a vain effort to placate the hordes of people who blindly shout "racism" if they don't see a black person portrayed in a party of protagonists. So why include black people at all? For realism. That wonderous effect that gets you emotionally involved in a game by immersing you into the game and making you feel as though you are actually in the game experiencing the world for yourself. So Resident Evil 5 has a scene taking place in an African village. How many African villages do you know of that are inhabited solely by white people, or hispanics if we really want to drive home the don't-kill-the-black-people-but-everyone-else-is-ok idea. I don't personally know many African villages but I'm quite willing to bet money that they aren't populated by a solely non-black group of people. As for Left 4 Dead 2, the story takes place in New Orleans. Black people live in New Orleans alongside people of all other racial groups. Here are 2 photos to prove it,
www.illinoisphoto.com/pictures/d/154281-2/New+Orleans+August+29+2005.jpg
www.nydailynews.com/blogs/gustav/docs/images/500_new-orleans-residents.JPG
and you can find many more with just a google search. So in the name of immersion black people were included in a game that was taking place in a city where black people live. It feels more real. If they weren't included I might have questioned the developers' vision of an "ideal New Orleans" or think that they actively pitied black people which is also bad because it seems to express the idea that black people can't take care of themselves. Which, I am quick to remind you, is also racism since your skin colour has nothing to do with your ability to look after yourself. (Which is why BEE puts a hive under my bonet because being black has nothing to do with your financial background. Your financial background has to do with your financial background.)

So the edge running around the depth of the coin would be the sociological front. I'm not a sociologist so I openly invite those who are to correct me of my errors.
It seems you can open the question of what gunning down black people in games make people think? Does it negatively effect their opinion of black people?
I personally don't think it's right to gun any one down and the legal system seems to agree with me on that but in zombie games I'm too busy discriminating between those who have a pulse and those who view my buttocks as prime steak to even notice skin colour. I honestly don't care if you are white, black, coloured, Asian, Mediterranean, pygmy, friends, family or sperm whale. If you are a member of the undead viewing me as haute cuisine I will run away and gun you down. If this has to do with the fact that I'm white please do tell me how and I want to also ask why I'm not, but get the nagging feeling that certain people out there think I should be, upset that there are virtually no homosexual protagonists in mainstream gaming.

I suppose the only time you can call a game racist is when the developers made the game because they hate a certain race. If you want a racist game I can always try make one for you by having you play a member of the KKK murdering black people as they walk around eating fried chicken, speaking in broken English and having the dress sense of a dead hobo in a storm water drain. Although I don't really want to make that game because I'm not racist. (I'm stupidist. I hate stupid people.)

Part of me just wonders idly about the writer of the blog I mentioned at the beginning. It almost sounds like most people play zombie games to shoot zombies while he plays zombie games to shoot white people. This of course I mean in jest.
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