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Anthropologist: Resident Evil 5 racism claims are silly

6:20 PM on 03.06.2009 // Jim Sterling

Despite the fact that Resident Evil 5 is very clearly not racist, the "zomg Resident Evil 5 is racist and nobody black worked on this game" crowd still try to find racism where racism does not exist. In an attempt to settle the debate once and for all, Videogamer reached out to an anthropologist, who is probably more qualified to talk about racism than any of us, for comment.

Glenn Bowman's official opinion? It's "silly" to call the game racist.

Bowman, who works as a senior lecturer at the University of Kent, picked up on the idea of RE5's African setting as a threatening, foreign environment, but did not take it as racial. "My sense is if you're going to set a zombie film in Africa you're going to have African zombies," he explains. "I think what they're trying to do is make a setting of terror, of anxiety. ... We could go back to the mention of that one scene you claim that people were using as a sign of racism, where supposedly a blond white woman is being dragged into a second floor house to be raped - it looked like to be raped. Well there's a couple of problems there. One is she wasn't being dragged in to be raped, she was being dragged in to be infected. And secondly the person who dragged her in is not black."

Even more interestingly, Bowman points out that an anti-colonialism element to the game's subplot: "There's the diary left behind by the kid who's eventually infected (found on a table in the Native Village section), which points out very clearly that in the past the colonials came in and exploited the local people, ripped them off of stuff, damaged them. He says that maybe they came back to give us this immunization because they felt guilty. There's something quite interesting going on with that. The fact that they actually came back to screw them up once again and infect them with this virus or disease, seems to me to be far more damning of the colonial powers towards Africa than it says anything about whether or not blacks are some sort of savages."

Ultimately, the verdict is that accusations of racism in RE5 are wrong. Go see the full interview, as it's quite an interesting read, and revel in righteousness.

Jim Sterling, Former Reviews Editor
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Destructoid reviews editor, responsible for running and maintaining the cutting edge videogame critique that people ignore because all they want to see are the scores at the end. Also a regular f... more   |   staff directory

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