A game set in Africa where disease infected people turn to zombies and is being mowed down by an army fatigue wearing white man. Is this racist or not that is the question on the minds of many who are awaiting the new game by Capcom called Resident Evil 5. Most of us know this game by now at least from the last two movies and the new one set to release here soon. Nay Sayers are pointing out the fact that the game has already cast whites from the U.S. and Spaniards from Spain as the zombies and worthy of killing so why not blacks from Africa?
We should look at it from all sides. I can see where they are going when they say that it wasn’t “inherently” racist. Since the people who designed the games were Asian and the game had previously profiled a couple of other nationalities as the diseased creatures being blown to the after life by the hero or heroine. Did Capcom deliberately pick Africa, or the fact that the hero was a Caucasian wearing army fatigues, or know that people would be sensitive and complain. The answer is of course they knew.
There had to be a team of people who went through the fine tuning of the game, picking location, plot, etc., which means that they probably went over every aspect of the game. To say that the Asian designers are unaware of the problems associated with Caucasians and Africans is just plain ridiculous. I think that slavery and the American condition is extremely prominent point in American history. We study world history and I would have to believe that Asians and others do as well.
The problem with the game is not that it takes place in Africa, that is fine and worthy of a game. The problems are that:
This game portrays the Africans as diseased, when we know that there is Aids which is a real problem there and the world seems to be ignoring the situation.
The game portrays a Caucasian in army fatigues as the so called hero or “savior” who is let loose to run roughshod over those diseased Africans. We know that there are people in the U.S. who are touting that in order to stave off AIDS we should start “exterminating” those with the disease in Africa.
The fact that they don’t give you any other choices for a hero except that of a white man. This is a very sensitive issue since the fact is that whites raped Africa of its people, land and natural resources. In fact they continue to rape and pillage Africa as we speak.
It doesn’t matter that they had already used whites and Spaniards as the zombies. There is no stigmatism in using white on white crime in a game. There is a sense of propaganda when young white children are exposed to the wonton killing of blacks or Africans for fun. The problem is that there is already a sense of privilege and the “I’m better than them” attitude that is instilled from early on by seeing the abhorrent treatment of blacks on television, movies, news and life in general.
So if we put this all together we can see full well that this game is going to be perceived as racist. Did Capcom bank on that to make controversy surround the game thereby causing it to get a lot of media attention without having to dig into the coffers for advertising? That is a real possibility, but that still leaves open the fact that using racism in any fashion is wrong and insensitive. I personally believe that regardless of who the game creators were; this game is blatantly racists. I do not believe that we are being too sensitive because unfortunately the scenario happens way too often which causes a heightened sensitivity to the issue.
These types of issues will rise up time and time again until people either stop being racist or stop being so insensitive about others painful pasts, present and future.