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Gaming's Minority Stereotypes and Exceptions

It should be no surprise to anyone who's played a lot of video games that the medium's protagonists are mostly white males. A recent study from the University of California revealed that this "virtual population" doesn't even match up with reality, and that Hispanic, black and Middle Eastern people are markedly underrepresented. Furthermore, the few minority and ethnic characters that are featured in video games risk falling into stereotypes. Take a look at these 10 minority game characters through the years and see whether gaming's portrayal of minorities has changed for better or worse.

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Yi-Long3249d ago (Edited 3249d ago )

No matter how you will portray 'minorities' in games, there will always be people complaining.

You portray them with a faulty personality? "Ow, you're making fun of a minority!"
You portray them as the perfect people: smart, handsome, clever, decent, honest, upright, charming? "Ow, you're just portraying these people how you WANT them to be, it's not realistic!!! People have flaws!!!" ('The Cosby Show' argument)

Nevermind all the hassle there is if there's the option to shoot them in a game(!)

Can't win, cause people will always find something to complain anyways.

Personally, I couldn't care less. I look at how the character plays, and how (s)he's written, etc etc... and some characters I like and some I don't. Nothing to do with race though. I'm white, but I certainly don't like every white character in games. And I don't like every non-white character in games. It just depends on a lot of things. Race not being one of them.

I think it's just a huge senseless discussion about a topic that stupid and unneccesary and outdated. I think most young/smart people nowadays have the ability to look past race, to see the character underneath, and to not try to mistake the actions/personality of 1 individual character, onto a whole group.

ThePimpOfSound3249d ago

I admire your optimism. Unfortunately not everyone is young/smart.

shoinan3249d ago

If racial issues really were outdated then the world would be a much better place than it is.

FishCake9T43249d ago

A typical character from a wide range of games
A white guy who is an all rounder
A woman who is fast but not powerful
And a big black guy who strong but is slow as hell.

Saaking3248d ago

I hate all the people going around calling people racist. If there's a commercial with all white people "it's racisst!!!" There must be be a non-white person! I don't understand it really, I mean, why are they so insecure?

presto7173248d ago

I've been thinking about it. It'll probably never happen.

The world we live in...

cyberwaffles3248d ago

you're right man. i'm far from being racist, but i always wondered why i see either a white or asian guy as the default protagonist of most movies or games and minority roles play as supporting characters (although they can be awesome supporting characters). sure there are exceptions that i honestly can't think of at the top of my head, but it always seems to be like that.

if i ever make a game, it's going to star a mexican guy named marceles and he's going to wear a turtle neck and a ruffled bandanna tied to his left arm.

Yi-Long3248d ago

... there will always be dumb ignorant people, so there will always be racism (sadly). I have no illusions that it's disappearing completely.

However, we are more and more living in a global world, so we have more and more interracial relationships, we have a lot more variation in the people we work with, go to school with, play with, sport with, communicate with, etc etc.
So more and more the racial barriers are SLOWLY being lifted, for many of us, and especially our children, and in the future their children.

Only 3-4 years ago there were a whole bunch of people crying about how CJ in GTA3: San Andreas was a black guy and people didnt want to play with a black guy in GTA... (it was sad)

Now we just had the Ballad of Gay Tony, and already we noticed that the 'outcry' over the main character was a whole lot less heavy.

More and more young people grow up in a multi-cultural world, where we communicate with people of all color, religion, walks of life, etc. And that will help raise to open our eyes, hearts and minds.

Yes, there will always still be racist people. But we are slowly making progress. And the point I was making in the original post, is that no matter what you do in your game, when it comes to having different characters in your game, there will always be a few people who will raise their voice and complain about it.

Most of the time it isn't even worth responding to, to be honest.

iceman063248d ago

I only wish that the REST of the world was as ready to embrace the new, multicultural society that most young people are exposed to today. However, we still have that staunch majority that was born into a world where race is STILL an issue. As you stated, this shouldn't be an issue. We SHOULD be able to play a game without thought for the race of the character or without dissecting the motivations for why a certain race was used in a certain way. But, that is just not reality. As a minority myself...I don't dwell on the thought that I am not properly represented in videogames. However, it would be nice to see a day where a minority is shown and it is not just the same stereotypes (whether positive or negative). In this respect, it must be made clear that games are still in their infancy. There is time to catch up with television and movies, which aren't perfect on their own.
Ultimately, the question exists because there truly is a misrepresentation. I hope, like you, that the next generation will continue to grow and embrace different cultures, creeds, religions, etc. It's a slow and arduous process...but one that is well overdue.

+ Show (5) more repliesLast reply 3248d ago
SlamVanderhuge3249d ago

Great article.

I like that gaming protagonists are getting a bit more multicultural, even as Xbox Live and PSN users continue to sling racial slurs back and forth like they are meaningless. Guess many of those people aren't playing the single player modes anyway.

timmyrulz3248d ago

You want racist?

We have the "black community"
We have the "muslim community"
We have the "gay and lesbian community"
We have the "Hispanic" community
We also have the "Woman community"

i have never heard of "white man community" because to set one up would be considered racist.
If racism wants to be eradicted then dropping these "communities" would be an ideal start.

IronFistChinMi3248d ago

White man community = The Man!

Staircase3248d ago

Uh, you've never heard of the "White Community?"

Those are Sociological classifications, not racist terms.

Snake Raiser3248d ago

I actually have heard of a Caucasian community.

The_Zeitgeist3248d ago

@timmyrulz

We have the "black community"
We have the "muslim community"
We have the "gay and lesbian community"
We have the "Hispanic" community
We also have the "Woman community"

Lets see there are so many flaws in that its hard to know where to start. Um okay I give you the Black community. However Muslims pride would be religious zealotry not racism. Gay and Lesbians want equality and are discriminated against. Sexual orientation is not race related. Again I'll give you Hispanic pride. But Woman Power as racism? That is sexism. Learn the difference or else you will just sound like some kid that doesn't know what he is talking about.

ViciousBoston3248d ago

Timmy is correct. White people can't have a white only organizaton. It has to fufill a quota of minority members. There is tons of descrimination against white people, male and female. Its a shame white people can't get eachothers backs like other racial communitys. We're so quick to not help eachother when we need to stand together.

My entire gripe is that minoritys push this on you that its not right to br proud that you're white. We can't have a White Pride day. I am personally proud of my heritage of being Italian and Irish and being associated with a race thats given the world so much. I don't think I should be scared or "taught" to be shameful of my race.

In regards to this article though, its because majority of developers are white/asian. Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony are all owned and operated by caucasian/asian individuals.

Everything is a double standard with minoritys. "RESIDENT EVIL 5 IS RACIST YOU SHOOT BLACK PEOPLE!" yeah...and in Resident Evil 1, 2, 3, Code Veronica, and 4 (hispanic, but white hispanic) you shoot all white zombies. No one from the white community cried racist. GTA: San Andreas also. "Its ok to kill white people but not black people, THATS WRONG BURRRRBURRRBURRRRBURRR".

iceman063248d ago

You can't REALLY be serious!?!?!? "There is tons of descrimination against white people". Where do you live? Having a quota as you call it is NOT discrimination...in fact...it is meant to fight discrimination against minorities. The "White" community is the majority of the USA. You don't have to look for someone that looks like you...because you are the representative majority. Nobody says that you can't be proud of your roots.
"My entire gripe is that minoritys push this on you that its not right to br proud that you're white." What minorities have the power to push anything? Minorities are representative of less than 30% of the population. (in the USA) Plus, I have never heard anybody trying to strip away pride in a particular heritage. However, WHITE PRIDE has been the moniker for the several active racial hate groups in the USA. They are not just proud...they have the belief of being superior because of their inherent color. Which is strange in itself because sociologically color doesn't define race anyway.

Organizations, clubs, etc. are asked to be inclusive on ALL sides. The fact is that most members of the majority don't have interest in minority organizations and clubs. Even historically black colleges have Caucasians, Hispanics, Indian, African, and Asian students.

The point that you made about the developers is TRUE...and that is inherently the issue. Until more minorities are represented as developers, artists, etc. The trend will not move forward. I am not saying that there is some overriding conspiracy to lock out minorities. I am just stating a fact.

The pure fact IS that minorities are in a battle for equality. Nothing else. They just want the same opportunities afforded to the rest of the people in the country. That includes being represented in movies, music, TV, videogames, business, politics, etc. at least at the rate that is concurrent with their population percentage. That shouldn't be a threatening thought. But...for some it is the scariest thing in the world!!!

+ Show (3) more repliesLast reply 3248d ago
STIKUP ARTIST3248d ago

Its cool when there are games with main characters of the same background as you, like luis lopez from BOGT he talks just like me. I don't mind most games having you play as white guy but its cool to see a character you can actually identify with.

deno3248d ago

If the games are made by white and asian designers as are most then they can make all the white and asian characters they want. It's their creation and their freedom to put their own race into it. If you are a minority and you don't like all these asian and white characters in games then start your own middle eastern studio or black studio. I moved to america from russia and I can't stand this minority crying garbage. When I lived in russia no minority would dare tell us to bend over for their needs.

Shadowstar3248d ago

Games cost a lot of money to make, and if you don't have that money, you can't get in. A black person should start a game company to make games about black people? Hell, yeah, that'd be awesome! But I don't have funding to give him/her, do you? And if the publishers say, yeah, but we're white, and we only want games made about white people, that's okay too?

We live in an imperfect society, and we should work to make it better. I don't think we should use society's imperfections to justify our issues.

iceman063248d ago

Imperfection is NOT an excuse as long as there is an attempt to address those issues.

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