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Rucksack avatar 10:49 AM on 02.09.2009  (server time)
Resident Evil 5 and The Fight for Free Expression

I hope to keep this short.

This is a blog about censorship, so please feel free not to read it. If anything I say offends you please feel free to either stop reading or let me know in the comments. I will attempt to respond.

America is a big place founded on ideals that we don’t always live up to. We have endemic poverty, we’re often xenophobic, and we can seem a bit strange to “the rest of the world”.

We’re bigger than most people seem to realize: the state of Texas is almost twice the size of the country of Germany. The United States is a jumbled collection of people with different backgrounds, religions, ethnicities, and orientations. Us Americans try to get along, but we often don’t.

Yes, we do have racism.

Even with a “black” president, race is an inescapable fact of many American lives. It may always be part of our culture. It’s something we’re not very proud of.

But, Resident Evil 5 is not racist. It is a video game set in Africa. The primary antagonists of the story seem to be native to the region. These plot decisions have necessitated the need for dark skinned foes.

This is realism not racism.

Even if Resident Evil 5 were blatantly racist I would still not oppose its release. It would offend every fiber of my moral sensibility if this was the reality of the situation. But I would still fight for its right to be released.

“Free speech” is not polite speech. It will always be uncomfortable for someone; but that’s just how the First Amendment of the United States Constitution works.

It seems that those critical of the perceived racial bias in this game have a set a double standard. It seems that they seek to establish those of African descent as a “protected” ethnic group.

Especially irritating are those that offhandedly dismiss the “double standard” claim. This is usually done by arguing that Africans have a unique image problem.The logical extension of this argument is that the rest of humanity is just fine to use as pixel-fodder.

Obviously, there are no other negative stereotypes than a brutal black man.

Resident Evil 5 is sure to become an issue. There will be countless newspaper editorials, magazine articles, and internet “blogs” on this very subject.

Some will call for boycotts and others for outright bans. This will be particularly noticeable in the United States. I find this to be inexcusable.

But like I said, we’re a big nation that doesn’t always live up to our ideals.

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