BBFC Sees No Racism in Resident Evil 5

March 2, 2009 -

The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) has weighed in on Resident Evil 5 and finds no evidence of racism, reports Eurogamer.

Complaints of racial insensitivity in RE5 have cropped up periodically ever since a trailer for the game was released at E3 2007. Most recently, Eurogamer's report on a pre-release look at RE5 code renewed concerns about possible racism in the game.

But the BBFC's Sue Clark dismissed the racial angle in a scene fretted about by Eurogamer:

It's the bit where you see "a white blonde woman being dragged off, screaming, by black men", as our preview put it... [BBFC's] Clark responded, "In the version [of the scene] submitted to the BBFC there is only one man pulling the blonde woman in from the balcony, and I can't say the skimpiness of her dress impressed itself on me. The single man is not black either.

"As the whole game is set in Africa it is hardly surprising that some of the characters are black, just like the fact that some of the characters in an earlier version were Spanish as the game was set in Spain," Clark continued.

"We do take racism very seriously, but in this case there is no issue around racism."

Odd that both Eurogamer and Kikizo reported it was black men doing the dragging, but presumably we were given an earlier version of the code than the one submitted to the BBFC.


Comments

Re: BBFC Sees No Racism in Resident Evil 5

But but but there is a white guy killing black dead people...

Isn't white people messing with the corpses of black people initself racist?

Only white people killing white, hispanic, asian, arabic, jewish and other non-black people is allowed, didn't everyone get the memo?

Re: BBFC Sees No Racism in Resident Evil 5

There seems to be many different definitions of racism. One side seems to see racism in certain games that negatively affects them. For example, any depiction of a white man killing 100 black people, despite the context of the killings, is seen as racist or promoting racism. In other words, the end product, no matter what the intent or the context, can be racist, even though the original author did not intend any sort of racist imagery.

At the opposite end, I see people arguing that when looking for racism, you should look at the context in which the supposed racism is depicted. In this case, RE5, people who argue that this game is not racist say that in the context of the story line and setting, it's fitting that the one operative placed in africa has no choice but to kill the people there because they are being controlled and want to kill him.

I think there is one more, where some people are afraid of the potential affect the game can actually have on the gaming populous, regardless of context. Looking at the game from an "objective" pov, without even taking the storyline and setting into account, you see a white man killing africans. They fear the since the majority of the enemies are africans, the game will promote in a very subtle way, a sense of aggression towards them. It's a scary thought.

For the first group of people, I think this is the worst way to judge any game or other works of art such as paintings and stories. If you can call something racist and restrict it's use just because you are offended and you think that it's racists, then pretty much anything can be banned as long as you can somewhat argue it out. The best example I can think of involved a case where an african american woman sued her daughter's school for making her read Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn. The story repeatedly uses the "N" word in reference to "N"-word Jim. Her daughter was so distraught by it. The mother requested that the book be banned. The judges declined to rule in her favor.

For the second group, I think this is the better way to determine if something is racist. Look at the context of the story. What sort of discrimination is there and why? Is it for the color of their skin? Does it promote some sort of enthnic superiority over another ethnicity? Will it teach us anything good about it? Just because there is racism in the story doesn't mean the author wants to promote it. Maybe the author used it to teach everyone a lesson or an insight on it.

For the third group, I would group them with the first group for obvious reasons.

Re: BBFC Sees No Racism in Resident Evil 5

Don't know how the BBFC has been considered reactionary, but considering that they have to deal with similar films in the past I'm sure they're used to this sort of content, and the fact that they discuss the themes from the fourth game show the hypocrisy is the racist argument relating to the fifth game.

Re: BBFC Sees No Racism in Resident Evil 5

I've been concerned about the racism angle, honestly. I hadn't seen much of the game before, and so I was kind of reserving judgement, but I definitely didn't think it was outside the realm of believability for those images to be in there. In an industry as culturally divided as the game industry (Japanese/Western European/American), it's definitely not outside the pale to think that the racial issues could be misrepresented or misunderstood. Also, I think N'Gai Croal is one of the sharpest people writing about games and if he's waving red flags, I'm inclined to sit up and pay attention.

I'm relieved to see a source that's been reactionary in the past giving this issue a thumbs up. The game industry doesn't need the controversy, and hopefully a stamp of approval from the BBFC will go a long way toward stopping it.

Re: BBFC Sees No Racism in Resident Evil 5

Even if the game did depict racism, so what?  Should we censor that?  Maybe Europeans would, but not in the US.  Nobody rose a stink and demanded we censor American History X.  Instead, that movie was nominated for Oscars.

Re: BBFC Sees No Racism in Resident Evil 5

Because it did a damn good portrayal of racism and the way American culture has been shaped by racism.

And the curb-stomp scene was just awesome =D

(desensitized, what?)

-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: BBFC Sees No Racism in Resident Evil 5

But, even if the game has straight racism in it, that doesn't make it inherently bad! There IS racism in Africa, both black on white and white on black, and there IS a ton of gender discrimination too. And especially when a situation is as dire as it is in RE5, you'd expect it to show a lot more. There's a line between realistic drama and racist biggotry. If someone made a slave-era game and didn't have the N-word or racism in it, I'd think it was unrealistic. Likewise, I think that even if they had the "black mob dragging a white woman away" scene, it would'nt be a negative thing to have, but simply a highlight of the degredation of humanity there.

Like I said, there's a line, and nothing that I have seen so far (for an RE fan) could be taken as really racist on the part of the company, or offensive on their part. I can see how some people could misinterpret it, but I disagree completely. Wasn't their a white girl in RE4 that got dragged away/kidnapped by spanish people....? Oh wait, Ashlee Grahm, the President's daughter, that's right. Also, wasn't Ada Wong captured a time or two by spanish people? Oh buy that's okay, because she's Asian and Ashlee was white, and the kidnappers were spanish. It'd be offensive if it was mexicans, but spanish people are fine to portray as kidnappers. Oh, and we couldn't have black people do that either, god forbid.

-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: BBFC Sees No Racism in Resident Evil 5

Anyone else surprised that the Eurogamer guy was making shit up?  I certainly wasn't.

There have always been motherf*ckers, there will always be motherf*ckers, but what we can't do is let them control our motherf*cking lives. -John Oliver, December 1st, 2008

There have always been motherf*ckers, there will always be motherf*ckers, but what we can't do is let them control our motherf*cking lives. -John Oliver, December 1st, 2008

Re: BBFC Sees No Racism in Resident Evil 5

People so quick to cry racism often are.  They're also in it for a quick buck (lookin at you Jackson).

Re: BBFC Sees No Racism in Resident Evil 5

I still can't believe people thought this was racist; yet nothing was said about Resident Evil 4...

The demo was really good; I've watched the trailer so many times...I can't see what was so racist about it. I guess if you haven't played any other RE games you may think that the game is racist but com'n they are at least depicting the setting right.

Its like someone complained that WWII/WWI moves have no black soldiers...but that's because historically the US had separate troops based on the color of your skin. Why depict reality inaccurately?

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Re: BBFC Sees No Racism in Resident Evil 5

Basically, the misinformed always make claims like that. Some of the offended, are also ones that likely never experience racism, but see someone decrying something and they want in on the bandwagon.

 

 

Re: BBFC Sees No Racism in Resident Evil 5

*loonng whistle* I only clicked on 3 of those links. Jeez.

-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: BBFC Sees No Racism in Resident Evil 5

Hell yeah! That's what I like hearing! 

 

Reality/////////////////////////////////////Fantasy. Seems like a pretty thick line to me...

Re: BBFC Sees No Racism in Resident Evil 5

So, did they just say "To hell with it!" and replace all the black zombies with white zombies, despite the African setting? I guess black supremist N'gai Croal will be happy he can fantasize about killing white people again.

Re: BBFC Sees No Racism in Resident Evil 5

As much as I despise for N'Gai Croal for his comments on the game itself, I don't find it fair to call him a racist; he hasn't proven himself one.

 

Re: BBFC Sees No Racism in Resident Evil 5

There was nothing wrong with what N'Gai said.  All he was doing was commenting on the initial trailer that was shown.  At that time, that was the first time anyone outside of the developers had seen what the zombies actually looked like. And not only that, in that specific trailer, every single zombie was black and was depicted in a violent manner even before they showed that they were actually zombies.  It wasn't until N'Gai flipped that they started showing white zombies mixed in with the black zombies.  So I can understand why he jumped the gun so quickly.  Capcom isn't stupid, they wanted and still want this controversey.  And they knew what they were doing by how they started it off.

With that said, I being African American did not get offended by what I saw, even in the initial trailer that threw N'Gai over the edge.  As far as I'm conserned, This is the first time that I've actually ever noticed a black zombie.  In every zombie movie or video game ever made, the majority of the zombies have been white.  So I asked myself, why would I cry racism over this when this is a Japan developed game, with black developers on the team?  No reason to do so.

If I did have an issue with this game, it's not the black zombies.  My issue would be with the person who decided that this rage virus should originate from Africa.  1. Africa already has enough viruses as it is.  2. The effects of this rage virus only fules the stereotype that we are violent people, in the eyes of people who don't know any better.  That would be my only gripe with this game, and it would be a small would at that.

Re: BBFC Sees No Racism in Resident Evil 5

Erm, no. He commented on it by stating that  judging by the trailer, I know no one black is on the development team. I didn't use quotes since I don't remember the exact quote but it was along those lines.

I don't take well with comments like that, he lost some major points that day in my eyes. Taking things at face value is just as bad as the people who comments on video game players being murders or racist for such comments. "rage virus" originating in africa? As I recall, they stated they wanted to do a game in Africa since the term "zombie" originated there. I've never heard of the rage virus except for a movie known as 28 days later and its sequels. The current virus, is likely a mutated form of the plagas if not a spliced version of that, which is an actual parasite and not a virus. Your issue/anger over this game is misplaced.

Re: BBFC Sees No Racism in Resident Evil 5

He shouted racism based on only face-value, knowing damn well that the context makes it totally reasonable. Lest we remind you....Setting: Africa, Main Demographic: Africans. Recurring character: Chris (a white guy), new girl: Shiva (possibly mulatto, though that is irrelevant). Makes perfect sense, and is not racist.

However, calling that racist based only on the fact that there are people of different races killing other people of different races is racist in itself. Not just that, but he would almost definitely not call a game racist if it had a black main character killing white zombies in a mid-western town. (Actually, wasn't there a branch-off RE game for the ps2 that had some black characters?)

-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: BBFC Sees No Racism in Resident Evil 5

I had a short discussion with him via e-mail over that last major article that he was mentioned in concerning racism in RE5, and while he seems misguided, I don't think the man is racist.

Re: BBFC Sees No Racism in Resident Evil 5

He has all but come out and said it is ok to kill spaniards in a video game but not black people. Remember racism is not just the act of using a particular race for the villains but also saying that you can not use a particular race for the villains.

Re: BBFC Sees No Racism in Resident Evil 5

The first part of what you said, yes. The game is only universally considered un-racist because so much has been pointed out by journalists and removed.

The second half.. uhh, lol?

Re: BBFC Sees No Racism in Resident Evil 5

Nice, it seems the BBFC members are not racist, unlike those who point out the racism.

 

Now we just need Vaz or some group to say either the BBFC didn't do it's job or they were given an altered version.

Re: BBFC Sees No Racism in Resident Evil 5

Yeah...  This world is just depressing at this point really.  We are stuck with being politically correct even when if you do, you no longer reflect reality.  (Yes, Africa is filled with MEXICANS!!!!  there are no black people there at all.)

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Re: BBFC Sees No Racism in Resident Evil 5

Good for BBFC. But now we just have to wait until Keith Vaz finally found about the entire Resident Evil series.

"This game is awful and encourages little children to kill third world african people."

 Something like that I can picture...

The cynical side of videogames (spanish only): http://thelostlevel.blogspot.com/ My DeviantArt Page (aka DeviantCensorship): http://www.darkknightstrikes.deviantart.com/

Re: BBFC Sees No Racism in Resident Evil 5

I'm surprised we haven't heard it yet.

 
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