Resident Evil 5 Racist?

As I discussed the overall game play of Resident Evil 5 with a friend, he made it a point to say that the game is racist. So I looked into the controversy at his suggestion, and decided to write this article. Here are my observations:

Critics came down pretty hard on the game, stating that it “Depicts blacks as inhuman savages,” and they also pointed out the fact that the lead character killing all the black zombies is white. It certainly doesn’t help that his partner who is an African native is pretty light in complexion compared to the other natives. Even her accent is different, sounding more like she’s from Australia than Africa. There is also the fact that some of the zombies are sporting grass skirts and big masks. These components of the game cannot be denied, and some will be offended.

On the other hand, I find the motives of these critics rather questionable. They seem to be drawing their own conclusions on the game, which in turn incites racial tension and serves as a divisive tactic. Great Publicity though. Journalists are making money exploiting this situation. Another interesting point is that the game takes place in Africa. Do you know what’s in Africa? Black people! I’d say the likelihood of running into a black zombie is pretty high. As for being inhuman, well zombies aren’t human. Zombies transcend race. When you see one, you kill it. Period. Let’s not forget Josh Stone, an African mercenary that helps Chris fight zombies in the game, and apart from the trailer, the zombies in the game are pretty diversified.

Verdict: Who the hell cares? Seriously? I didn’t even think about it until it was brought to my attention. Did any of us really think about it before it became such a big deal? I’m more offended at the critics who are patting themselves on the back because they pointed out something that they deem as racist. This whole situation is being dissected into nonsense interpretations about AIDS in Africa and black versus white. Think about where this information is coming from. When has the media ever been honest with us? None of these people have actually played any of the Resident Evil games, let alone this one. It’s highly doubtful that they’ve done anything short of watching the trailer.

If anyone has been following this series, it’s rather clear that the virus has spread across the world. It’s clearly not about AIDS. This installment is meant to conclude Chris Redfield’s story. And yes, he’s white. There’s no getting around that. He’s been part of the series since the beginning. If we wanted to dissect this further, we could also look at the stereotype that every evil, greedy corporation in video games are run by evil white men. Analyzing the game is sucking away all of the fun. The reactions are absurd and the outrage misguided. Think about it. Why this game? Why not GTA: San Andreas? How about Mike Tyson’s Punch Out? If the media really cared, they would have tried to stop it with earlier video games. If racism is so important to them, they’d be taking on actual issues, such as the inadequate protection for the people in Darfur, not picking at a video game. Don’t get sucked into the nonsense.

No matter how long and how passionately you argue about this, everyone has their own opinion. Let’s just agree to disagree, and get back to exploding some zombie heads.