The Escapist Talks Racism in Video Games, Not Once but Twice

So the Escapist has recently posted two articles about racism in gaming. The first, by Bob Chapman, talks about the racist origins of a popular setting in some adventure games: The Lost City. This trope comes from a time when people viewed ancient civilizations from places such as Africa as mysterious, because the white people at the time couldn’t believe that the black people of the past could ever be so advanced. So obviously many of these were civilizations were built by magical white people of the past. Like Atlantis.

I’m glad Chapman brings this up because if there’s one thing that sets me off is the idea of how aliens or magic creatures had to be the cause of ancient technology we didn’t think was available because we think that the people (mostly from non-white places) were too primitive.

Then we get the second article by Shamus Young, who brings up the lack of non-white male video game protagonists. I like his set up for it because he says while these things annoy him, it’s not what the article was about. The thing that bothered him was the video games industry’s response when people say their should be more diverse: “Gamers need to have a character they can relate to.” This is what gets him, and I agree.

This sort of statement is dumb as hell, and racist. Young says this pushes the blame of racism on the gaming audience, and that the blame still belongs to the industry. The part that gets me most is the “relate to” line. It’s dismissive of every non-white-male human out there, telling them to buck up and play a straight white man. Because everyone can relate to being a white man, right?

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