Why Resident Evil 5 will be seen as racist

2 min read
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Racism

Yes we are back on this subject as it just isn’t going away and the more that Capcom attempts to stop the racism claims the worse it becomes.

To try and avert the gossip Resident Evil 5 producer, Masachika Kawata, has come out and managed to stir the pot some more. Apparently he is convinced that the problems have been sorted seeing that

“after the introduction of the character Sheva, who is half-African, half-European, everything died down and we’re quite happy with that”

So to stop the problem with racism they decided to add in a mixed race person who is slightly related to an African… somehow I don’t think that is going to cut it.

But he doesn’t slow down there he also manages to state

“Actually it was a little bit of a surprise for us as obviously the game is set in Africa and so depicting native Africans was a natural thing to do”

Now I completely understand that he was just trying to be honest but there are two aspects of this statement that should have been cut by a public relations officer.

1. Depicting native Africans as a gang of aggressive thugs isn’t a good idea. Yes there are aggressive African thugs roaming the continent but at the same time there are innocent, kind and happy ones as well.

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2. Calling a group of people Native Californians, or Native Americans may be perfectly acceptable but due to a long history of colonialism calling Africans native just doesn’t go down well. It’s not terrible but it isn’t advised either.

Mark my words now, this story is just going to get bigger and possibly will get completely out of control after it’s release… lets just hope logic conquers all in the end.

Source: Eurogamer

Last Updated: February 16, 2009

Gavin Mannion

I for one welcome our future robotic overlords

  • SlippyMadFrog

    “lets just hope logic conquers all in the end”
    lol, wishfull thinking. As soon as video games and politics cross paths, logic is the first thing to go out the window. :unsure:

  • darthdad

    A lot like politics and sport. 🙁

  • fred

    Why would there be no issue at all if it was black guys/girls shooting at some crazy white folks ?

  • PillsburyDeeBoy

    This is lengthy (I’m sorry):
    I must congratulate Lazygamer, firstly, for being fairly neutral in its opinion of this saga’s unfolding. You’ve sort of mediated well, calling out facts when they’re evident and dispelling idiocy when necessary. Having said that, however, I do wonder if readers and gamers truly understand why RE5 is considered well… racist. N’Gai tried to articulate it – and I understood him – but many others didn’t… so let me give it a bash:

    “The problem Resident Evil has – beyond the whole it is set in Africa thing, and therefore it is logical that one would be shooting Africans – is that you have a white guy shooting a whole bunch of hasidic looking black people. That’s it. Therein lies almost the entire problem. The history that underpins that image will likely never be forgotten.

    Really, one can aliken it – and though I know most of you will dismiss the suggestion as preposterous and extreme – to a blonde guy with blue eyes shooting hasidic looking people with dark hair and jewish features throughout the duration of a game. Sure, if you have not thought this through thoroughly, you cannot see the relationship but ask the Jewish community how they would react to my offered scenario… and there you’ll start to see the links.

    That’s why RE5 is perceived as racist. The political history coupled with the setting and the perceptions illicited – regardless of how accidental – are not pleasant. Furthermore, if one perpetuates stereotypes unapologetically and thinking it’s okay to create a “racial hybrid” as solace, you seem even more out of touch.

    I don’t think the RE5 team set out to make this video game at all racist. I don’t. But there ignorance only makes them look that little bit more careless… and a careless inference to social media is not seen as that. It’s seen as what that carelessness represents to others.

  • because black folk didn’t oppress white folk for over a hundred years…

    We don’t have to like it but we do have to acknowledge it

  • PillsburyDeeBoy

    You’ve smacked the nail square on its burly head.

  • Chocolate Salty

    your “understanding” of what was said is still your opinion, so instead of being arrogant and trying to provide us lesser mortal with a translation, rather write it as such… you do, in my opinion make a good case, and arguably well written… this game is going to sell well, there is no such thing as bad publicity… I also agree that this game is racist, despite possibly not really being intended as such…

  • janrik

    Does the game promote hate towards another racial group?

    Having not played it, I would not know.

    If it is YES: then it is racist.

    If it is NO: then it is not.

    If people have hang ups, don’t bloody play it.

    My grandparents died in British Concentration camps.
    I do not hate the British or feel that when English speaking people shoot white Afrikaans speaking people in Far Cry 2, that is is a arrow pointing at my heritage, race or upbringing.

    Africa has Africans. Shocking I know. But get used to it.
    The T-Virus or G-Virus or whatever is not going to care what color zombie you are going to be.

    :silly:

  • SlippyMadFrog

    I disagree

    “The political history coupled with the setting and the perceptions illicited – regardless of how accidental – are not pleasant”
    EVERYTHING is coupled with some historic setting that is unpleasant.
    If my grandfather was shot in WW2 by the germans, will it be considered offensive to me (and the thousands of other famalies) if someone released a game where you play as a german in WW2?

    There comes a time where you have to MOVE THE F*CK ON! You can’t keep living in the past and accuse every thing of being racist. IMO the only racist people in the RE5 instance are the people who noticed the “racism”. I just saw people shooting zombies, not white people murdering black people because they are black.

  • SlippyMadFrog

    “My grandparents died in British Concentration camps.
    I do not hate the British or feel that when English speaking people shoot white Afrikaans speaking people in Far Cry 2”
    Thank You!!!
    The KKK is racist
    Apartheid is racist
    giving someone a job because he is white is racist
    RE5 is NOT racist

  • codemonkey

    It is not racist people. Please stop this crap, focus on world hunger or something worth your time and energy. People like the ones propogating this crap are the reason why racism will never die out.

    Once people stop looking for racism in every litte thing , then we can truly start to move on.

    And i do not agree with the statement above at all, stating that white people can not comment on racism since we oppressed other people for hundreds of years.

    This is complete and utter garbage , who did i oppress? who did my dad oppress? No one.

    Move on people!!!!! We are all equal.

    If a south african game developer developed a game , and the protaganist “Moses” went to europe to kill zombies, most zombies will be white. Thats logical , get that into your heads.

    And unfortunatly africa has the highest instances of rape and murders in the world , so that is why the developers may have depicted that in a cut scene. This is a HORRROR game , not the bunnies hugg other bunnies game.

    Thanks:)

  • “RE5 is NOT racist”
    Unfortunately we don’t know that yet, the same as we don’t know if it is racist or not.

    No one has played the entire game yet and reported on it so until that happens the question exists.

    Also I will take this second to point out that the sites claiming racism are not sites generally associated with anti racism campaigns or the promotion of any political opinion.

  • easy

    just out of interest, does any one know if any african based rights group has made any statements about this particular game?
    would be interesting to see what reaction they have.

  • To be honest, one can see it anyway they chose . .however, it’s not the intention of the game at all.

    People use racism to stir the pot (not say LazySAgamer is okay) and they will latch hold of any excuse to push the point.

    When I discussed this issue with Far Cry 2 creative designer Clint Hocking here in Australia last year, he basically said. That the game is based in Africa, we have white and black Africans playing roles. The white guys and the black guys are all trying to kill each other, and it’s a story about how they survive.

    If they were to remove the black people in the game, he said how could we sell the idea to the African Government, it wouldn’t represent their country, now would it.

    In fact, he said that not only Far Cry 2, but other games being made in Africa have to be run past the African government, and in fact, he was worried about that.

    What happened was that the government applauded them for getting it right and very close to reality. And they said that other games under development were running along those lines, albeit somewhat horror based.

    Now one could ONLY assume they (African Government) were not mentioning a “certain” game also being developed in Africa . .

    SO you see, the Africans’ are not taking the racial issue to heart, as it exists in their country and to try and say it doesn’t would be false.

    They aren’t playing on the issue either, but they do watch what is being portrayed in their country, and in the end, isn’t it that country (Africa in this case) that we should be worried about if they were taking it to heart, which they aren’t.

    It’s often the bleeding hearts that want to push the issue, even if the people concerned are NOT against it (the game/movie/novel etc).

    As Clint quite rightly pointed out. The game is for adults (so is Resi 5) and the game is deplicted in Africa, which it is, so if we made it with all one race, and didn’t have either side shooting or defending themselves, we wouldn’t have a game, and Africa wouldn’t get the income it gets from these games by use of various licenses etc.

    He did say they (African’s) were exceptionally please with the game and praised them for having the proper dialect and races in the game, and I’m sure Resi 5 will also do the same.

    If anything, seeing that Far Cry 2 was more “real world senerios” and Resi 5 is basically a horror story gone wrong with zombies, Far Cry 2 would have had a much more difficult time getting approval and consent from the African’s and the African government. They got it in bucket loads.

    So instead of stirring a pot, why not see it as a simply story, just like any movie, book of fiction . . . Plus it does highlight the imbalances on a deeper level, but that’s more to deal with on another level than this.

    Let’s not make a mountain out of a mole hill . . Far Cry 2 got through without being racist, especially from the African’s, I’m damn sure Resi 5’s Horror based game will do the same. 🙂

  • darthdad

    “African Government”?

  • janrik

    “African Government”?

    Is that the new thing that Kadafi wants to setup?

    Poor dude might not know that there are 53 African countries… most of them with their own Governments…

  • Bboy

    I love lamp

  • I spoke with Clint and LP from Ubi Montreal as well and I brought up the possibility of any racial issues with Far Cry 2 and if it worried them, and LP’s answer actually impressed me. He basically said that it’s about damn time that videogames tackle more issues, such as racism or similar. Movies do it, books do it. Racism IS an issue in the world, and its not something we should all just ignore, its there and we should not avoid it. That being said, I think that calling Resident Evil 5 is Racist is unfair.

    Central Africa is hectic, there has been conflict there for a while and things arent pretty, its not racist, its true. I am tired of racism as much as I am tired of people screaming “racist” every 5 seconds.

  • Bboy

    eish

  • Havok

    WTF is the “African Government”?

  • easy

    united states of africa – usa :whistle:
    not to be confused with the african union (au)

    some light reading for you – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_of_Africa

  • SlippyMadFrog

    “Unfortunately we don’t know that yet, the same as we don’t know if it is racist or not.
    No one has played the entire game yet and reported on it so until that happens the question exists.”
    Lazy, we all know why people are accusing it of being racist. There is no need to play the game to know that a white policeman is killing hordes of black zombies.

  • easy

    it would become a federal state as america is, which means essentially you have two sets of laws.
    one being federal law, which applies to the entire federal union, and the other being state law which is specific to that state… example would be the death penalty, texas still has it, new jersey does not.

    in theory federal unions work better than isolated governments. so gaddafi has a point

  • RivaZA

    As Africa is made up of many countries each with their own Government, dictators, kings, etc what “African Government” is this that has this authority over all other African countries?

  • the dude

    If this game is racist, then so is COD-Modern Combat and all the WW2 shooters. I am a muslim and by virtue of that fact have some measure of empathy with people of arab descent. So their portrayal in games like COD is racist and Islamophobic. In a twist only possible in South Africa, i am also of german descent, so the watching germans get slaughter and portrayed and the point men of evil is also racist.

  • Actually I am referring mainly to the Eurogamer (and others) quote about uninfected africans attacking the European lady and other racist imagery.. not the act of killing infected black zombies

  • WitWolfyZA

    just let bigons be bigons . That was like more than 14 years ago now

  • WitWolfyZA

    enough said. Its not racist just another cool sequel 🙂

  • Havok

    lol I know what the AU is dude. But it’s not like Africa has one “Government.”

  • janrik

    So if white okes dragged a white lady away…?

  • janrik
  • darthdad

    “(Star_Trek)#United_States_of_Africa” :biggrin: ROFL

  • Quite true . . It IS a huge issue, and those that jump on board the racism ship just to get attention certainly do not do it any favours, that’s for sure.

    I agree, it is about time games deal with such issues, but it is exceptionally hard for them to do that (not saying they won’t or don’t) as it can make their end product no viable. Clint is a remarkable guy, and is full of enthusiasm and dedication, that is for sure.

    Plus it’s nice to see and hear ppl in his position supporting things – as best they can. If one looks at Far Cry 2, they could make that out to be racist, as they could COD 5 World at War, which portrays the Asian race in a terrible picture indeed. We have futuristic games again using certain races as their targets.

    I suppose the difference is that many that could get mileage out of a racial issue in places like Central Africa, the Middle East, even downtown America do so and make the best of it. Always at someone else’s expense.

    (see Clint Eastwoods lates movie, that’s an eye opener, and VERY racist, yet needed to be told).

    It’s not an easy or palatable topic to deal with, as every region has their own issues and see other nations issues as different to those who are affected by them – naturally. There was agreat site created by a chap that ended up working for Ubi . .it was a hmmm what do they call it . . .??? not real and used to promote a game – scratches head . .anyhow . .He made the site appear to be direct feed from Central Africa to give it that authentic feel, reporting in from the various locations within the game as if it were real life.

    It certainly had many ppl stand up and take notice, that’s for sure. If I can find the link, I’ll post it up here for you, although I’m sure you probably know of it already . ?!

    I’m certainly not dismissing the issue in what I said/say, it’s just that it would be almost impossible to make a game, write a book, be it fiction or fact, create a movie etc in any of these countries without there being some form of racism in it. As the real life does deplict that. It all depends on how it is told.

  • Mossycoat

    was wondering exactly that myself

  • oli

    (excuse my spelling)

    im so glad i dont have to register to speak up about this. personally, you people make me sick. codemonkeys right, racism is only an issue because you lot made it one. a few points:

    1# what looks more vulnurable, a pretty, young, londe, white woman alone in the middle of africa and being dragged off by a raging zommbie.. or an african woman in her own vilage bei.. oh wait, if every villager has been infected then why is she being dragged off? oh yer thats cuz she wouldnt be! she would be trying to bite your head off like all the others.

    2# the reason chris is white is because hes been white in the rest of the bleedin story! and him and sheva are shooting at “black people” because theyve been sent to africa which just happens to be populated by “black” africans.

    3# even if they are tryin depict a bit of the brutality of africa, they arnt saying its all like that. think about it, the game couldn have taken place in more than a few hundred miles at most.

    4# africans are as racist as the rest of us and in cases even more so. Some africans kill ohter africans becaue of what couttry or even what village they come from. less than a year ago teams of africans went to other african farmers houses and burnt their children alive, macheted their wives and made them watch before shooting them in the chest.

    5# ide bet all my money that the majority of people who keep bitching about racism wernt even born or even live i africa. nor their parents.

    6# finaly my biggest point and i dont know how to make this any clearer.

    If you want someone to punish for the pain and suffering caused by slavery… look no further than the F-in ARABS! why? because theyre still doing it! at least the west has stopped doing it and apologised. alot of african slaves went back to work for the plantation owners who enslaved them even after it wa abolished. they couldn get beaten or worked for no wages but the plantations still gave them jobs. i mean for crying out loud, the jews complain less about what they went through and i dont mean to ofend the people who went through slavery but the holocaust was a billion times worse. im not saying we should forget but just stop raming it down everyones throats.

  • oli

    who sez they wernt infeted

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