There is Only Chaos #7: Gaming, Scenario, and Race.

by Words and Chaos

That’s Racist! Or is it?

I was watching Jim Sterling’s video on the overhaul to Revelation’s 2012 and I have to say I’m getting tired of hearing: ‘They are a different culture, and you shoot them so it’s all racist.’ Because that’s bullshit. I get that Jim Sterling has his tongue wedged in his cheek when he says this, but it’s too prevalent now, not just in gaming, to ignore. I’ll keep this within the confines of gaming just to keep it short, but I have a problem with the wider modern issue of branding everything and anything racist if it happens to contain people that are not from the USA or the UK. By this strange, ‘there are other nationalities ergo it’s racist’ logic, how is massacring Mayan natives in one game racist, but another game isn’t?

Of course you’re going to be shooting Mayans! Who in the world else would you be shooting? Canadians? The choice of enemy is determined by the story (lacking though it is) and the setting. That’s basic. If you base a game off of Mayan myth/modern urban legends concerning Mayans/whatever that nonsense was about, you’re probably going to run into Mayans. If I walked through a Southern American setting and had to shoot waves of the French, would that make any sense? No. So we have the Mayans. But that’s racist! Or it just makes sense.

CoD is too easy a choice here, so I’ll try something else, with less of a tarnished reputation. If we consider Counter Strike terrorists to be a the middle-eastern, or Russian, or whatever national context the map is set in, and the Counter terrorists to be the Western, how is Counter Strike then not racist on the same terms? Clearly Valve are interested in portraying the Middle East, Russia, and others, as horrible scum who want to destroy all the democracy and rape your wives, children and your priest. Yada yada yada. How about any other game that has two different nationalities in conflict? Is every fucking game with opposing sides now about racial hatred?

Because that’s what racism is. Racial hatred. Have we forgotten that, or is the existence of other skin tones, cultures, etc, now the criteria for racism? When the British opposed Germany, where we doing it for racist purposes? By the above logic, yes. The first and second world wars were entirely based on the fact that they weren’t British, and that’s all it was. When the Danes invaded the UK, clearly they were horrible xenophobes and wanted to purge our blood because it was inferior. Or the Romans! Caesar crosses over to Britain kills a bunch of us, and it was clearly because of our pasty pale skin and flawed genetics. When Boudicca rebelled and slaughtered her way across Roman Britain, it wasn’t because her daughters had been raped and her people abused. It was because these new people had slightly drier skin. Didn’t anybody tell you that? But it wasn’t. Is the only legitimate conflict now civil war? What’s the rational behind any of this?

People really need to stop throwing this term around. You’re not helping anyone. If anything you’re making the problem worse by diluting what it is to be racist.