So I'm one of those video game nerds who grew up in the 80s. Zelda, Mario, Mega Man, Ninja Turtles... you know the games. I'm still a gamer all these years later, currently using valuable time on my PS3, PSP, DS, GameCube, Dreamcast and Saturn. My favorite genre is probably RPGs, which is no surprise since as a child I enduring the punishing torture of Final Fantasy I and Dragon Warrior I. I also love action/adventure, puzzle, FPS and pretty much every other video game genre out there, except for sports.
When I'm not wasting time with video games, I'm wasting time as the webmaster of the Mecha and Anime HQ, or recording podcasts. I also have this annoying thing called a day job, which by the way is a reporter.
It's not surprising that the release of Resident Evil 5 has spurred renewed criticism of the game and accusations of racism. We've been hearing about this ever since the game was first unveiled. So front page readers can see Jim discussing the commentary on The Huffington Post, but I'm sure there will be many "shocking" stories on your designated cheesy local news station about the evils of this game. After all, it's on your designated cheesy local news station that we learn things like Pedobear using the DS to stalk his prey.
But it's not just Resident Evil 5 that is under assault with these accusations of racism - just look at any GTA game. To me, these latest salvos in the war to call anything racist illustrate a larger point about race relations in America: so many people quick to run around and label everything as racist, but no one is willing to have an honest discussion about racism any maybe do something about finally putting an end to it.
This is an issue that affects all of American society and goes beyond just video games. Racism is America's dirty little secret. It's the thing you talk about in quiet whispers and just hope will go away. When Barack Obama won the 2008 presidential election, a bunch of people were happy to declare that it was the end of racism, so maybe we should stop talking about it. Far from it. I think people in America view racism too narrowly, as something only directed at black people. This obviously isn't the case, as it's directed to anyone of any skin color or ethnicity. Racism can take any form, whether it's the disparaging comment you make to someone in the mall, or when you think to yourself that a particular person is successful or got that job just because of their skin color.
So what's the answer in dealing with this pesky issue of racism? I don't know. If I did, I'd probably write a book about it and become fabulously wealthy. In America at least, we have to recognize that racism isn't just a bunch of redneck Klansmen putting burning crosses on lawns or lynching people. It's institutional, it's personal. If we can recognize this and honestly discuss the issue of racism, perhaps we can make some progress.
But what we don't need to do is jump on every single thing and call it racist, and then pat ourselves on the back for doing a good job in identifying something as racist. That's just self-serving and doesn't really help. That's not to say things that are blatantly offensive shouldn't be called out, but there's more to it than just calling out. Manufactured outrage from the media or family groups doesn't help either and should be ignored. Until the day comes that people want to honestly face these issues, no aspect of our society will be free of this inanity.