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Kicking ass and chewing bubblegum

kat · 1 · 5601

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Offline kat

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There's something peculiarly incongruous about the cultural critics refrain that a persons skin colour dictates how they should be seen by society and the marketplace, the implication that Hispanics, Blacks, Iranians, etc., are intentionally under-served, marginalised or discriminated against if not catered to as being "Hispanic", "Black" etc., first and 'individual' or 'person' second. That people can or should only define themselves by arbitrary characteristics over which they have little control, considering themselves 'victims' if not acknowledged by, or as, such.

It is seemingly unthinkable for an Hispanic American to play an FPS in which the 'hero' character is established as being white, the bad guy, brown/black/[colour]. That the gamer simply cannot or should not enjoy the game for the story being told. Good versus Bad. That because the hero is not immediately reflective of the player, it must mean game developers and publishers are implicitly racist, or at the very least subconsciously marginalising whole swathes of people through some inherent "white neo-colonialism" they didn't know they had as beneficiaries of inheriting an existing system. It's basically, and without the barest hint of irony; everyone, except those pointing out the 'problem', is racists.


For this picture of the world to be true however, it requires the individual lack or have no agency, that marginalised groups can only act as a member or agent of a particular ethnicity, can only see themselves, or be seen by others, conduct their lives around being [insert 'X' arbitrary characteristic here]. It's a world view, an pseudo-individualised ecosystem, that holds people hostage to, or coerces, self-identification as 'X' and only as 'X'. It confines, traps them within the group, 'belong or else suffer the consequences'.

It says Sophia cannot not play Wolfenstein because B.J. Blazkowicz is white (Polish decent) and male. It says she is utterly incapable of stepping outside her identity into another's, that she hasn't the intelligence to imagine their identity to be hers, hers, theirs for the experience - she's not playing as B.J., she is B.J., B.J. is herself - just as the inter-sectional narrative demands of "white, male, heterosexual" game developers and publishers and their catering to supposed marginalised demographics. It says Sophia cannot, must not play 'white' games simply because she likes the story, kicking ass and chewing bubblegum. She's a race-traitor if she does.

This message having unopposed traction speaks volumes, of the narrative it creates, of the people pushing it, and of those supporting it, tacitly or otherwise.

Further Reading
- "Just shoot the Aayrabs" or "why can't we play games as terrorists"
- "Muslim blood is cheap" or "why can't we play as terrorists, part II"
- The dark side of diversity: "positive discrimination" (reverse discrimination)