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Video games accused of insidious racism..


Carlucci
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Minorities often depicted as predators

 

she worried about the effects of games like earlier versions of Grand Theft Auto on black youngsters, including her 11-year-old son. "These games don't teach them anything about respect, tolerance and responsibility,"

 

1. 11 Years old is too young to play GTA.

 

2. Since when do video games have to teach anything other than hand-eye coordination?

 

 

Carlos.

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Agreed about the age. The problem with a lot of these is that parents would rather blame what they see in video games instead of going and becoming informed about what their child is playing. But that's the way a lot of parents work these days, they let the media educate their child rather than them. I actually find it rather disturbing how quick they pounce on anything that excuses their own shoddy ignorance about their offspring.

 

For your second point, really depends on the game. Of course, I don't think GTA is specifically labelled as edutainment, so it has no obligations, you're correct. If we were busting on a new R-rated version of Carmen SanDiego by Tecmo we might have a little more room to debate :P.

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Although I only skimmed the article, I see they are complaining about blacks and hispanics being represented in negative ways, such as the gangs in GTA. Why is nothing mentioned of the Italians (which I happen to be and am in no way offened) represented as the mob? Furthermore, they said 83% of blacks in video games are athletes.

 

They say it's stereotyping, but I ask this: When is the last time you've seen an all white gang in the inner cities? Furthermore, regarding the major sports, aside from the NHL, blacks make up the majority of players in the NBA and NFL, and a decent portion of the MLB.

 

I fail to see any misrepresentation. There have been plenty of minorities in leading roles. Off the top of my head would be Ding Chavez from Rainbow Six.

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popular video games that play on racial stereotypes, including images of black youths committing and reveling in violent street crime.

 

1) Name a major character in a Grand Theft Auto game, irrespective of skin pigmentation, who is not involved in violent street crime. You can't. Know why? Because the game is a depiction of violent street crime; the clue was in the title.

 

2) The game is set in the gang culture of South-Central LA in 1991. Would they rather we present a game in which, despite that setting, no minority characters feature? Would that avoid calls of racism?

 

How about if we only make the victims of that crime minority characters, in order to avoid suggesting that anyone other than Italian-Americans can commit violent acts? I don't think that anone would take offence at a game in which you play a gang of white people going around beating the crap out of minorities, would they?

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A few things:

 

2. Since when do video games have to teach anything other than hand-eye coordination?

 

I don't think her statement was that games should teach kids anything, but rather that they do teach kids, and it's what they may be learning from them that bothers her. Whether she's right about that is another matter.

 

They say it's stereotyping, but I ask this: When is the last time you've seen an all white gang in the inner cities?

 

I'm going to play a little Devil's advocate here. I don't think anyone in the article would argue that point, but I suspect they would focus on the reasons why that sad fact is true. As the article says:

 

popular video games that play on racial stereotypes, including images of black youths committing and reveling in violent street crime.

 

Stereotypes are often quite accurate, but the complaint here is that these games 'play' on the stereotype and make it entertainment rather than something to be abhorred.

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Originally posted by iainl@Aug 13 2004, 08:47 AM

Apparently, portraying gangsters as Italian-American is unacceptable, either.

I recall that Italians in NYC tried to keep cast members from the Sopranos from appearing in the Columbus Day parade because the the portrayal of Italians in that show. I believe that they were successful.

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Originally posted by FreakTornado@Aug 13 2004, 11:23 AM

popular video games that play on racial stereotypes, including images of black youths committing and reveling in violent street crime.

 

Stereotypes are often quite accurate, but the complaint here is that these games 'play' on the stereotype and make it entertainment rather than something to be abhorred.

I wonder if these same people would complain if a videogame came out portraying high-class, white CEO's who's primary goal was to make lot's of money by purchasing insider trade secrets.

 

Sim CEO anyone? :green:

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I wonder if these same people would complain if a videogame came out portraying high-class, white CEO's who's primary goal was to make lot's of money by purchasing insider trade secrets.

 

I assume the same people wouldn't complain, since they would no longer be part of the minority being portrayed, but I imagine some CEOs might.

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If we were busting on a new R-rated version of Carmen SanDiego by Tecmo we might have a little more room to debate .

 

R-rated Carmen SanDiego? Sold!!

 

Taking GTA as an example, if we were to make a politically correct GTA, what would that be like, exactly? Ethnic-neutral gangsters?

 

I guess that particular parent wouldn't want games involving gansters to exist, period. But she would have to get rid of all the movies glorifying gangsters, too.

 

I agree, it's just parenting. These games do teach kids nasty things, but they should not be playing them in the first place.

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Another case of lazy parents blaming video games for their kids behavior. The only stereotype that bugs me in this whole deal is the idea that all video games are for kids. Hey parents listen up. Video games have ratings just like movies. Pay attention and start getting more involved with your children.

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Originally posted by Cyberwoo@Aug 14 2004, 10:48 AM

Another case of lazy parents blaming video games for their kids behavior.

Morgan's conclusions aren't yours or necessarily mine, but that isn't fair. His girlfriend is being a responsible parent by paying attention to what her child is doing. And he's being a responsible citizen by speaking out about something that concerns him.

 

There's a lot of silly stuff going on about stereotypes (check out Diane Ravitch's new book to see how extremists on the Left and Right affect our textbooks). Still, there are legitimate concerns about the affect on our society from stereotypes in our entertainment. It strikes me as a complex issue and not constructive to reduce it to merely "lazy parents."

 

-j

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I'm not saying that the video games that have questionable content (like GTA) are right or wrong I'm just saying that the developers who create these games have every right to make whatever kind of game they want. The fact that a game such as GTA sells so well has to tell you something about our culture. This culture is represented in our music, movies, media, and yes video games. None of those outlets created the culture we live in today rather they are just a reflection of who we have become.

 

That being said a young impressionable kid who doesn't have the tools to become a good citizen (ie: Good family/friends/education/etc) can be persuaded by any and all of those outlets. So where does the blame lie I ask you?

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I can't help but recall the "Kill all the Hatians" uproar the last time a GTA game was released.

 

My best hope for San Andreas is that it will include a "Kill all the political correctness obsessed nutjobs" mission. I wonder if the option of not buying has occurred to these people. Or is the goal more to remove anything they disagree with from the marketplace of ideas?

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Originally posted by Cyberwoo@Aug 14 2004, 02:57 PM

... I'm just saying that the developers who create these games have every right to make whatever kind of game they want.

I'm not sure I understand your point. The piece makes no argument whether or not the game should be sold at all. It just talks about a guy who is upset by the portrayal of minorities in videogames. He sees a message he doesn't like in the game. You don't. I might not. His complaint remains a reasonable one to discuss and I don't see how it boils down to "lazy parents."

 

-j

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I agree, to me it seems more like a responsible, but extremely misguided parent than a lazy one. I can applaud a parent who takes an active interest in what their child is exposed to. However, instead of starting ridiculous movements to demonize video games in the media, it would make more sense to either:

 

A. Not buy the game

 

or

 

B. Buy the game, let the kid play it, but actually talk to him and tell him what you disagree with in the game and why.

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Originally posted by Robot Monkey+Aug 14 2004, 06:54 PM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (Robot Monkey @ Aug 14 2004, 06:54 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> <!--QuoteBegin-Cyberwoo@Aug 14 2004, 02:57 PM

... I'm just saying that the developers who create these games have every right to make whatever kind of game they want.

I'm not sure I understand your point. The piece makes no argument whether or not the game should be sold at all. It just talks about a guy who is upset by the portrayal of minorities in videogames. He sees a message he doesn't like in the game. You don't. I might not. His complaint remains a reasonable one to discuss and I don't see how it boils down to "lazy parents."

 

-j [/b]

I went back and read the link again and I realize that you're right. It was a parent voicing concerns over a child's videogame but I was too quick to dismiss it as yet another case of poor parenting which, in most cases, it is. Parents seem to complain about video games so often that it makes me wonder if those ratings are just going completely unnoticed.

 

But this is a different issue. It's about sterotypes. But stereotypes will always exist and I don't think videogames is the place to start when trying to limit their impact on our society. Movies, music, television have a much greater influence than games do.

 

What, realistically, can be done? How can we change things to limit the effect of stereotypes on minorities? I don't have any answer.

 

In the meantime, the best we have are the ratings (just like with movies) and it is up to parents to shelter their youth until they have a reasonable grasp of fiction and reality and are able to recognize that those things they're seeing are stereotypes.

 

But I also don't think it's fair to dismiss the parenting aspect entirely. This article was written because a parent was concerned about the images depicted to her kid and, more generally, to our youth.

 

"A lot of young people are unable to discern between reality and satirical depictions," he said.
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While I'm always slightly nervous about the whole "Well, you and I may understand that this is just satire, but other people are stupid, and probably won't" thing, I agree that its important to examine what is being called for here.

 

I don't want GTA banned, obviously. However, when we're warning parents that this game really isn't aimed at kids, due to its depictions of violence, drug abuse and prostitution in a contemporary urban setting, being aware of these issues as well is all fair and reasonable.

 

For instance, to take a non-gaming example, I have definite issues with the way both Series 2 of 24 and the Tony Scott film Man On Fire present interrogation through torture as an acceptable, necessary thing for their 'heroes' to do. I don't want them banned, but I do think that we should question why these themes are being used, and place them in the current political context.

 

Returning to that initial point, its worth remembering that this has always gone on - if you look at the history of censorship, time and time again what is considered "acceptable" in any media is judged partly on how the censors feel about the intended audience. Its the whole "You and I read erotica. They look at pornography" clich?, really.

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Censorship and free speech is always an interesting debate. The law surrounding it, at least in the States, is written to protect the people on two fronts. First, it protects people's rights to voice opinions and engage in artistic expression. Second, it protects the public from harm stemming from any acts that may be caused by one person or group's abuse of the right to express him/herself.

 

The most common example is that of yelling "Fire" in a crowded theater. I'm sitting here at my desk, and were I to simply say the word "Fire" at a conversational tone, no one would do a thing. However, were I to jump up, run through the office, yell "Fire!", make everyone run down six flights of stairs out onto Greene St., cause a cascade of other office emptying, cause the doorman to call FDNY, etc., I would probably get myself into a bit of trouble.

 

The case at hand, that of videogames crystallizing racial stereotypes, is pure nonsense in my opinion. Videogames, like movies, are narrative forms that rely on character development. Utilizing race, gender, religion, and the like are some of the most common ways to develop characters, both protagonists and antagonists. There's no way around that.

 

Chewbacca is a Wookie. He acts like a Wookie. Luke is a wussy white kid from a suburban planet. He acts like a wussy white kid from a suburban planet. Lando is a black gangsta with a backstabbing agenda. He acts like it.

 

Sure, these are generalizations and potentially racist remarks (especially if it were proven that Wookies are, in fact, disenfranchised minorities), but they're used in a way to entertain and create character conflict in a story.

 

I'm preaching to the choir here, but people fear what they do not know. Journalists feed off of that fear when they're looking for stories to pitch. Believe me, I know this, as I have worked through some of the biggest writer's blocks in the world by simply thinking about what freaks out the readers of the magazines that I pitch. In this case, the writer was aware that some people fear videogames since they do not understand them. It's much easier to hate and try to destroy what you fear than take the time to understand it.

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I'll apologize right away because I only read the first page of that article and a few of our replies here. If I repeat something that has been stated forgive me. All these movie/video game/TV arguements all boil down to the same thing for me regadless:

 

Parents raise kids; video games, movies, TV, McDonalds, school, or anything else do not.

 

I don't care if a school teaches a child Creationism all day long, if the kid comes home and you teach him/her evolution, that's what they will remember. Same thing for any other medium, your kids learn lasting life skills from you and not any form of media (it influences them, but they LEARN skills from parents.) If you abdicate your raising to the TV or games, then that's the parenting style you have chosen (so live with the results.)

 

We've become a society of pathological victims. Everything is someone else's fault, every minute failure and fault of daily life. I blame the bloodsucking lawyers... :lmfao:

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I saw this quote in IGN's Fable writeup:

 

Q: Is everyone a cracker in this game or do you meet people of color as well?

A: Actually, you will meet quite a few other ethnicities right off the bat. Don't worry, it's not all honky town, just mostly. And no, you cannot alter the race of your character any more than that white kid down the block in the FUBU getup can change his.

 

It seems to have been met with little attention or fanfare. However, I wonder what the reaction would be if in the GTA San Andreas preview, they said:

 

Q: Is everyone a darkie in this game or do you meet white folk as well?

 

While I'm not offended by either the actual remark, or the reverse of it, I think it does underscore a disgusting double standard that extends to far more than just videogames.

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Is this actually from the guys writing Fable (which, given the language used, I find very, very hard to believe came from Brits)?

 

I suspect all you're seeing here is just yet another example of IGN "Quality Journalism". We already know the sort of obnoxious, ignorant, lazy attempts at "humour" to expect from them. Seeing offensive remarks aimed at racism rather than sexism for once isn't that surprising.

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