The well-worn script reads like this. A protest group blasts a video game manufacturer, its designers, actors, and writers for dumping a game on the market loaded with racially insulting and demeaning stereotypes. The video game team yelps that the game is pure entertainment, has some blacks or Latinos in on the design and production, and gets high marks from the industry. That script is trotted out so often that it can be recited while counting sleep.
So it was no surprise that Jun Takeuchi yanked out that script to defend his video game brainchild Resident Evil 5 from the charge that it’s racist. But what else could one call it? It features a white male (modern day Bawana) mowing down a pack of poor, primitive disease-challenged Africans. The white killer is on a search and destroy mission to stop the spread of a deadly virus. The racist game reinforces the worst of the worst ancient stereotypes against and about Africans.
I realize there are a lot of questions on whether the game is racist. True all of the previous zombies have been white. Still there are very few black video game characters and most of them are negative stereotypes, including CJ from Grand Theft Auto 4. White characters in video games range from good guys to bad guys and don’t follow any typical stereotypes. The game seems to play off negative stereotypes off Africans-poor, diseased zombies. What other Africans are in video games to balance out the negative stereotypes from this game?
How many black heroes are there in video games? They seem to either be sidekicks or bad guys? Anyone who’s ever played video games online knows the racist banter that white spout on blacks while playing video games. Where are they getting their ideas?
Also this game is one of the few times many people will be exposed to African people and culture. Africans have already been dehumanized and stereotyped in the media and this game won’t help. In an ideal world were the full diaspora of the African community is shown, one zombie video game wouldn’t be a problem. But with attitudes and stereotypes about Africans as negative as they are, I can see why some people have issues