'Whore of the Orient' Takes Heat for 'Racially Insensitive' Title

September 3, 2013 - GamePolitics Staff

A prominent member of the Australian-Chinese community is speaking out against "Whore of the Orient," the latest game from L.A. Noire creator Brendan McNamara and Australian development studio Kennedy Miller Mitchell. Jieh-Yung Lo, the deputy mayor of Monash Council, tells the Sydney Morning Herald that the "O-word is very similar to the N-word for African-American communities" and that in his opinion - the game is an ''attempt to disgrace Chinese culture, history and traditions."

''The most shocking revelation is that Team Bondi received $200,000 from Screen New South Wales to develop the project,'' Lo said.

''Australian institutions should be encouraged to fund projects and initiatives that cultivate mutual understanding and prosperity in the Australia-China relationship," he added. "We need to build greater trust and cultural understanding rather than promote division and negativity.''

Lo has vowed to file a complaint to the Human Rights Commission on grounds of racial vilification. Lo also said that he is a gamer and that he enjoyed playing L.A. Noire. He is calling on Team Bondi to ''retract the title and stop development of the game." He also said that the best outcome would be for the name of the game to be changed.

Announced in August of 2012, Whore of the Orient is an open-world third-person action game set in 1936 Shanghai, being developed for consoles and Windows.

KMM has not publicly commented on this story.

Source: SMH by way of Cheater87

 


Comments

Re: 'Whore of the Orient' Takes Heat for 'Racially ...

I'm Australian and I can't say I have ever known the word "orient" or "oriental" to be considered particularly offensive. Certainly no where near something like the "N-word".

Maybe if it was called "The oriental whore" I could see why that would be degrading.

We also have "oriental" noodles here, too, are they also offensive? Or would it only be offensive if an Asian person was on the packet?

 

Re: 'Whore of the Orient' Takes Heat for 'Racially ...

I have actually encountered quite a few asian people who consider 'oriental' to be pretty offensive when applied to a person.  One line I have heard rather often is 'oriental is what you call a rug, not a person'.

I have no idea how wide spread the feeling is, but some people at least consider it a dehumanizing way to describe a person.

Re: 'Whore of the Orient' Takes Heat for 'Racially ...

But apparently nobody has any trouble with the use of 'whore', nobody is suggesting the game be called Prostitute of the Orient instead. Go figure.

Re: 'Whore of the Orient' Takes Heat for 'Racially ...

I don't know. If you are one Andrew Eisen doing a satire of the Old Spice commercial, you get a whole lot of flack for saying "whore".

Re: 'Whore of the Orient' Takes Heat for 'Racially ...

Words only have the power we give them. Every time you tell someone "you cant use that word because it means a bad thing" you reinforce it.

Re: 'Whore of the Orient' Takes Heat for 'Racially ...

While it would be nice if people were simply not effected, this is not far off victim blaming.

Words that are offensive usually are because they have a historical meaning to the listener, and thus when people use them that historical piece is brought back up, and it has the taint of the speaker elevating a time period and context that was advantagous to the speaker but crummy for the listener.    Even if people work at not letting it effect them, it still comes across as the speaker not being aware or not caring about those historical events,.. a bit of a 'hey, remember that time my ancestors were really crappy to your ancestors?  Wasn't that great? why does that bother you? I am fine with it'

Re: 'Whore of the Orient' Takes Heat for 'Racially ...

Oriental is similar to nigger? Seriously?

Re: 'Whore of the Orient' Takes Heat for 'Racially ...

It might be a stronger slur in Austrialia than it is elsewhere. Racial stereotypes can be weird like that.

Re: 'Whore of the Orient' Takes Heat for 'Racially ...

First I've heard of it too.  According to the dictionary, 'Orient' is simply an archaic word for the East, as in 'regions having a culture derived from ancient non-European especially Asian areas.'

However, the third definition of 'Oriental' defines it as a "sometimes offensive" way to say 'Asian.'

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: 'Whore of the Orient' Takes Heat for 'Racially ...

That's what I was thinking. Doesn't sound racially insensitive, it just sounds like an old school version of "Asian".

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

Re: 'Whore of the Orient' Takes Heat for 'Racially ...

It's the old Euphemism Treadmill in action - Although originally there was nothing insensitive about it, the people it referred to were regularly discriminated against. This meant that when the word was used to refer to them, it often came loaded with bile. After enough time of it being used this way, those people hear the bile whenever they hear the word, even if no bile were intended to be transmitted. In this way, an innocent term becomes a slur.

For a comparison, look at the word "retarded." It was introduced as a nice way to phrase things, as its strict definition simply meant "coming later in time." But with all the discrimination against developmentally-disabled people, and all the bile thrown their way, the word became loaded with the history of discrimination against them. Nowadays, it's commonly considered a slur, and just hearing it can cause people to flinch in pain as it triggers the times it was used to demean them. (Although the N-word wasn't originally a euphemism, it followed the same evolution. It was value-neutral at first, but all the racism behind it got attached to the word itself, which is why it's considered a slur now.)

Re: 'Whore of the Orient' Takes Heat for 'Racially ...

So in this sense it might be closer to "negro" in the US instead of the N-word?

Seems a little odd to have controversy if used in a historical context, but this IS concerning "something x China" relationships, so that could explain a lot.

Re: 'Whore of the Orient' Takes Heat for 'Racially ...

Not knowing much about the game, I would have to say it depends on the context.  

Telling things in a historical context is always a tricky thing since horrible historical events retold through rose tinted glasses tend to not make people on the recieving side of those events all that happy.

Take, for instance, nazi fetishism.  If you made the game from the perspective of a blond haired blue eyed german protaganist surrounded by sneaky money grubbing jews who kidnap the hero's daughter in order to butcher and sell her, it would be within the context of a period drama that was popular at the time, but if you made a rosy version of it today people would be pretty pissed off about it.

So just because you are recreating a historical feel does not absolve the writer of historical problems with that context.  You have to apply some level of modern lens to it otherwise you are being just as offensive as the people of the time were.

Re: 'Whore of the Orient' Takes Heat for 'Racially ...

Giving that the game takes place in such a time makes it make sense ,but we do live in a world when history is to be forgotten when it's convenient for some.

 
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