Penny Arcade Examines the RE5 Racism Controversy

February 18, 2009 -

While gamers continue to debate whether or not the upcoming Resident Evil 5 contains racist imagery, the Penny Arcade crew has weighed in on the issue with a new comic (left).

Incidentally, in a recent GamePolitics poll on the topic, 83% of GP readers disagreed with the idea that there was racism in the game.

For the full PA comic, click here.


Comments

Re: Penny Arcade Examines the RE5 Racism Controversy

My answers: Not Racist, Racist, Racist. Duh.

Re: Penny Arcade Examines the RE5 Racism Controversy

Actually, there are a lot of people that seem to believe that any minority cannot, by definition, be racist.  The general idea(I don't believe it, but this is the line of thinking) is that they do not have authority of the government  and, as such, cannot engage in racist activities at all.  Not only that, but it is considered inoffensive if a minority has "racist attitudes" towards the race majority simply because of their powerlessness.

I believe this is something that has actually been taught in various colleges around the US.

Here's a quote I found on the comments section of a Youtube video that actually believes this hog wash:

"A black person is not racist when it is towards a white person, it could be called discrimination or prejudice but never racist. "White" people are the ones that made that "black" person have the emotions and anger from his ancestors that were treated horribly by the "whites". It is not his fault for being that way it is the society he grew up in that was created by the white's oppression."

Yes, I'm aware of how ridiculous that is.

Re: Penny Arcade Examines the RE5 Racism Controversy

Yah, I remember reading a comment that on a blog in the past that pretty much made that statement. Ironically, the person who did so said that others were trying to redefine the word "racist."

Complete BS, in my mind. For one thing, it's possible to be racist without engaging in actual racist oppression of someone. For another thing, people are individuals, and just because blacks are a minority in this country doesn't mean a particular black person can't find himself in a position where he has power over someone else of a different skin color.

Re: Penny Arcade Examines the RE5 Racism Controversy

Agreed.  I think the most discriminated person out there are straight young white males.  You can have scolarships, clubs, organisations for people who are asian, latinos, african-americans, women, old-people, GBLQ.  But if you try to create one for someone who dosn't fall into any of these catagories, your being racists/sexists/etc... 

I dont advocate supremecy, but I do advocate equality.  I feel bad that people were oppressed, but I cannot be held responsible for what they did 50 years ago.  I was not alive then.  While racism does exist today, it is not one sided.  There are just as many people who hate white males then there are white males who hate other races.

Re: Penny Arcade Examines the RE5 Racism Controversy

Actually, if you read the news post Tycho explains it perfectly. He says something to effect of "you don't see the genocide, you don't see the genocide, and then you suddenly see it." I can totally see what he's talking about. It's very easy to find something if you are looking for it. I won't doubt the racist imagery but if no one had pointed it out to us, I don't think most of the population would have even noticed and it would have been treated like any other game involving killing things.

Re: Penny Arcade Examines the RE5 Racism Controversy

Now, I think we should move to another area for the RE series in which we can all agree on...

Anybody up for shooting French zombies?

______________________________ Because I have NO Life... :P I introduce the following. PSN User ID: FirebirdXR (Yes, I use that moniker often) Xbox Live ID: FirebirdLR (Don't bother, It's a Silver Membership) *Limited Time Only* I put both because I

Re: Penny Arcade Examines the RE5 Racism Controversy

Wee wee...i mean braaiinnss...i mean run awayyy....

(note that the above racism was done in a light manner, and was not meant to offend, but to simply be a little joking)

-If an apple a day keeps the doctor away....what happens when a doctor eats an apple?-

-Optimum est pati quod emendare non possis-It is best to endure what you cannot change-

Re: Penny Arcade Examines the RE5 Racism Controversy

Thank you, Chadachada,

I forgot to put j/k in there...

______________________________ Because I have NO Life... :P I introduce the following. PSN User ID: FirebirdXR (Yes, I use that moniker often) Xbox Live ID: FirebirdLR (Don't bother, It's a Silver Membership) *Limited Time Only* I put both because I

Re: Penny Arcade Examines the RE5 Racism Controversy

It points out that LOTS of games that involve killing CAN be interpretted as racist.

WoW = Go kill those people over there. They look different than us and talk a different language.

Zombie Games = Go kill those things over there. They look different and don't speak any language.

If they were white zombies that didnt look dirty and rotten and everyone was represented exactly equally then no one would know who the civvies are supposed to be and who the enemies are supposed to be.

-I apologize-

-I apologize-

Re: Penny Arcade Examines the RE5 Racism Controversy

It's a manner of depicted imagery.  People are concerned about the way blacks are depicted as savage cannibals, which might carry more weight if they weren't *zombies*.  It's just a bandwagon effect that people are nothing if not willing to run behind.

M. Carusi

Capitol Gaming

http://capitolgaming.blogspot.com

Re: Penny Arcade Examines the RE5 Racism Controversy

I think the cartoon would have been more effective if the third panel had shown the black guy holding the gun.  The lack of 'bite' in Penny Arcade cartoons is the whole reason I don't seek them out.

Re: Penny Arcade Examines the RE5 Racism Controversy

 "Incidentally, in a recent GamePolitics poll on the topic, 83% of GP readers disagreed with the idea that there was racism in the game."

That isn't the question the poll asked.

Funny little comic.  Waiting with bated breath for Tycho's blog on the matter.

Re: Penny Arcade Examines the RE5 Racism Controversy

Based on what we know so far, do you think that Resident Evil 5 contains racist imagery?

Racism, racist imagery, not a lot of difference to those raising a fuss over it.

E. Zachary Knight
Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
http://www.theeca.com/chapters_oklahoma

Re: Penny Arcade Examines the RE5 Racism Controversy

So every movie about the Third Reich is racist?

Re: Penny Arcade Examines the RE5 Racism Controversy

 No, clearly they aren't.  This conversation isn't about whether or not the game is racist.  At least, it shouldn't be.  Everyone who is framing the question in that manner is missing the mark by a mile.  The question is, and this is what the poll asked originally, does the game contain racist imagery?  You bring up an excellent point - films depicting Nazi Germany contain racist imagery.  But how do those works of art treat that imagery?  Is a scene, in Schindler's List for instance, of helpless, starved Jews being stripped down by humorless SS guards and then led to a shower room where they are gassed to death a proper treatment of that topic?  Does the imagery understand the history of the events it's portraying and the impact of what it is showing?  Is it intended to entertain or inform?  Every year more and more people like most of us around here drift over to the Art side of the Are Games Art? debate.  But if we can't step back and give the same critical eye to our favorite medium that we and others give to films and literature and music, then are we doing our own arguments any justice?

Re: Penny Arcade Examines the RE5 Racism Controversy

Good point. I don't think that RE5 is meant to be racist, nor should anyone be offended by it. But I wouldn't doubt that there isn't some racism in it (like black-on-white violence or white-on-black violence, given the volatile setting)

-If an apple a day keeps the doctor away....what happens when a doctor eats an apple?-

-Optimum est pati quod emendare non possis-It is best to endure what you cannot change-

Re: Penny Arcade Examines the RE5 Racism Controversy

Actually, it's an essential difference.

Re: Penny Arcade Examines the RE5 Racism Controversy

Edit: This was in reply to Ashton's comment.  Trying to post before coffee leads to blunders.

How about the polls they do for political issues?  Especially when they divide it into race/ethnic groups, where the hell are the Asians?  Either it's assumed that Asians are all of one hive mentality like the Borg (anime is the first wave of assimilation) and all vote the same or they're lumped in with the white voters. 

First secure an independent income, then practice virtue. -Greek Proverb

Re: Penny Arcade Examines the RE5 Racism Controversy

I would actually be curious how the GP poll broke down by race, gender, orientation, etc.

83% feeling that RE5 is not racist is vaugly close to the black population percentage in America.

Re: Penny Arcade Examines the RE5 Racism Controversy

That is actually a really good idea. Can we please have another poll on this? I would love to see the results.

I don't think RE5 is deliberately racist. I mean, it was developed by Capcom, a Japanese company. In Japan, they don't really have any racial taboos like we do here. They just don't think about that kind of stuff. It's probably a result of them being a closed society for so long. A lot of people in the west might find it racist, and I would just like to tell them to chill. So a white guy is shooting black zombies. Are we going to cry about this? Do we need to include an equal number of white zombies as well? And how about throwing in some zombies in wheelchairs so we aren't being descriminatory against the disabled? Or, instead of that, how about we just grow the fuck up. Capcom didn't set the game in Africa or make the majority of the zombies black out of racist intent. That's just a fact. The people who are making this an issue are the people who want to see racism where there isn't any. We can't keep throwing shit fits every time a white guy starts shooting black guys in a video game.

---------------------------------

Internet troll > internet paladin

-------------------------------------------------------- Believe in something! Even if it's wrong, believe in it! GET OFF MY PHONE! -Glenn Beck

Re: Penny Arcade Examines the RE5 Racism Controversy

"In Japan, they don't really have any racial taboos like we do here."

I believe this is very incorrect. Watch Eyeshield 21 and tell me that its not the most racist thing you have ever seen.

I also understand there is a great deal of racisim against Chinese.

I agree with your post in spirit, however.

Re: Penny Arcade Examines the RE5 Racism Controversy

And koreans.

And blacks.

And americans.

A significant portion of the japanese population is pretty nippon-centric and xenophobic.

Re: Penny Arcade Examines the RE5 Racism Controversy

I watched a little and got bored. I didn't see anything racist, but it's probably in there. The same with Dragon Ball. Whenever there's a black character, he always has the stereotypical blackface. But I don't think there's any malicious intent there.
-------------------------------------------------------- Believe in something! Even if it's wrong, believe in it! GET OFF MY PHONE! -Glenn Beck

Re: Penny Arcade Examines the RE5 Racism Controversy

....I can't believe I've watched DB and DBZ most of my whole life, and never even noticed that. I guess that's because I don't see racism, I just see a dark-skinned guy or a weird-faced guy...

-If an apple a day keeps the doctor away....what happens when a doctor eats an apple?-

-Optimum est pati quod emendare non possis-It is best to endure what you cannot change-

Re: Penny Arcade Examines the RE5 Racism Controversy

Why does color of a skin, sex, or sexual preference matter for a poll? 

Re: Penny Arcade Examines the RE5 Racism Controversy

Because it would be interesting to see how opinion breaks down based on background?

There is a differnce between:

If we have a population split of, say, 80% white and 20% black:

    80% of blacks and 80% of whites feel this is not racist

    vs

    100% of white and 0% of black feel this is racist

While these two breakdowns result in the same final percentage they say very differnt things about how people feel about something, specificly it goes from 'most people feel this is not racist' to 'whites do not feel this is racist, blacks do'.

Re: Penny Arcade Examines the RE5 Racism Controversy

So not being black but being European makes me what?

Re: Penny Arcade Examines the RE5 Racism Controversy

Another demographic that might also be interesting?

Demographic information is not mutually exclusive. Ideally you want poll data to come with as much background info as possible and then search for patterns.

Re: Penny Arcade Examines the RE5 Racism Controversy

Makes your post completely pointless...? I don't know what type of answer you're looking for.

-If an apple a day keeps the doctor away....what happens when a doctor eats an apple?-

-Optimum est pati quod emendare non possis-It is best to endure what you cannot change-

Re: Penny Arcade Examines the RE5 Racism Controversy

If I had to guess, I'd say that probably makes you a white European.

---------------------------------

 Internet troll > internet paladin

-------------------------------------------------------- Believe in something! Even if it's wrong, believe in it! GET OFF MY PHONE! -Glenn Beck

Re: Penny Arcade Examines the RE5 Racism Controversy

Now you sound like a racist. =P It ain't black so it's white.

But to go into detail, I have 1/16 indonesian blood and have a fairly tanned skin in comparison, despite not getting much light in the past years. (Really need a trip to Spain again, 1 week would get me decently dark again.) This puts me in a region where some people actually assume I'm a muslim and told my brother to shut up against real Dutchies. It's kind of a weird demographic and puts me in a rather unique point of view.

Re: Penny Arcade Examines the RE5 Racism Controversy

I've always thought of this like the scene in Da Vinci Code where Tom Hanks shows his students the image of a group of people in white robes with pointed hoods and asks how many of them think it's racist imagery and most put their hands up, then the picture pans back to show that it's a Christian group celebrating Holy Week in Spain.

Just because you look at an image and believe it to be racist imagry, doesn't mean it actually is racist.

Re: Penny Arcade Examines the RE5 Racism Controversy

Very very true. Good example.

Re: Penny Arcade Examines the RE5 Racism Controversy

Good example...good example indeed.  Some people almost make game themselves by how they can find racism in any context.  Some would probably get upset just because this is typed with black lettering on a majority white background. 

Zen

Zen aka Jeremy Powers
Editor and Host of the Zenspath Podcast (now on iTunes)
www.ZensPath.com
XBL: "PsychoticZen" PSN: "Zenspath"
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Re: Penny Arcade Examines the RE5 Racism Controversy

Flip it around.  A black man threatening a white 'zombie' with a gun, perhaps against the  backdrop of an inner city?  Racist?

Re: Penny Arcade Examines the RE5 Racism Controversy

Sadly theres a lot of people who believe racism only applies when done to 'minorities' and doesn't count when reversed.

The sheer hypocracy astounds me :(

Re: Penny Arcade Examines the RE5 Racism Controversy

Yeah, lol, those are the most racist types of people out there. Crying racism when there is none or saying small groups deserve special treatment is just promoting (well, prolonging) racism and generating MORE racial tension...

-If an apple a day keeps the doctor away....what happens when a doctor eats an apple?-

-Optimum est pati quod emendare non possis-It is best to endure what you cannot change-

Re: Penny Arcade Examines the RE5 Racism Controversy

You play Left4Dead too?! :)

Re: Penny Arcade Examines the RE5 Racism Controversy

You're damn straight.  I want to know why THATS fine, but its bad when a white man shoots black zombies.

It astounds me at the level of bullshit involved.

Re: Penny Arcade Examines the RE5 Racism Controversy

TOTALLY great point!

if RE5 is racist then L4D is racist.

In fact i also consider the film blade with wesley snipes, equally racist.

Re: Penny Arcade Examines the RE5 Racism Controversy

I'm torn on getting Resident Evil 5. If I purchase it, I'm going to be lumped in with the other racists. But it has Wesker in it, and I think Wesker rocks... but Jill's dead in it, and I love Jill...

Why is this such a hard choice.

---You are likely to be eaten by a Grue.

---You are likely to be eaten by a Grue.

Re: Penny Arcade Examines the RE5 Racism Controversy

 

well, If Resident 5 is racist, then I guess these games are racist also.

-Quantum of Solace-Bond killed bunch of black people (who are part of a radical group) in this game.  He even got into a fightout with a black man and he strangled him?  OMG, Bond is a British white supremacist.  Don't watch any James Bond movie like Live and Let Die, You only live Twice, and the man with the golden gun. *sarcasm end*

-Call of Duty 4-racist against arab and Russian.

-Medal of Honor and Call of Duty (the ww2 one)-racist against German and Japanese.  read this.

-Prince of Persia-racist because you're character is a middle-eastern prince and the developer wasn't done by any middle eastern countries, so therefore intended racism.

Re: Penny Arcade Examines the RE5 Racism Controversy

Don't forget the "Kill the Haitians" flap from Vice City

 

Re: Penny Arcade Examines the RE5 Racism Controversy

The movie 'Patton'.  Racist against Russians, Germans, and Japanese.  Very positive towards the one black character in the movie.

Re: Penny Arcade Examines the RE5 Racism Controversy

If someone is going to call you racist for buying a video game chances are they did not like you very much to begin with thereby you are no worse off and should therefore buy the game. 

Re: Penny Arcade Examines the RE5 Racism Controversy

I like how they had the pupils pointing down towards the ladies breasts? Which is a nice and subtle joke.

 

Don't hate me for say lady I don't know her name and I probably won't play the game since I hate the control method.

 

_ _ Pops... If you dance with the devil, the devil don't change. The devil changes you.

_ _ Pops... If you dance with the devil, the devil don't change. The devil changes you.

Re: Penny Arcade Examines the RE5 Racism Controversy

> I like how they had the pupils pointing down towards the ladies breasts? Which is a nice and subtle joke.

 

As I've said many times before, (and I must say it's highly applicable to both this statement and many of the other statements regarding RE5) people will see what they want to see. It's one of the beautiful things about art. So much of it is subjective and interpreted indididually and on a very personal level.

One should try to understand that many of the recent stories posted are really stories about subjectivity. RE5 and racism, the sexism noted in some of the comments of the "Violent Play is Normal for Boys" story, the recent "Islam is the Light" controversy. There are people who will find the racism/sexism/socialism/insert random -ism in anything because they are looking for it and when it comes to art, they'll find whatever they think is wrong with it if they want to.

I hate broccoli/ and think it totally sucks/ Why isn't it meat?

Re: Penny Arcade Examines the RE5 Racism Controversy

To me, it looks like the pupils are slightly lower because the woman is shorter than the man.

Sortableturnip's Law: As an online discussion of video game violence grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Jack Thompson approaches 1

Re: Penny Arcade Examines the RE5 Racism Controversy

I keep looking at it and it just looks like he's looking her straight in the eye to me

Re: Penny Arcade Examines the RE5 Racism Controversy

Panel #3 is totally racist. Insectoids have been portraid by the mechanical media as "soft-bots" (hard shell with squishy flesh inside) for too long.

 
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