Columnist Deems Enslaved Racially Insensitive

Tom Goldman

Crying on the inside.
Aug 17, 2009
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Columnist Deems Enslaved Racially Insensitive



Is Enslaved racist? About as much as Resident Evil 5.

African American-focused NBC news website Grio has posted an opinion piece on Ninja Theory's Enslaved [http://www.amazon.com/Enslaved-Odyssey-West-Xbox-360/dp/B00319DX4W/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1287585752&sr=8-1] that questions its racial sensitivity. Columnist Kyle Harvey sees the game as "irresponsible" and believes that it has "racial undertones."

Harvey's argument is based on the fact that Enslaved involves a character named Monkey that is forced to do another character's bidding. "I'm saying Enslaved is a culturally irresponsible game," he writes. "Based in the not-so-distant future, you play as a slave. A slave named Monkey." Forget the fact that the main character's name stems from Enslaved's loose basis on Chinese novel Journey to the West.

Enslaved begins with Monkey and a female character, whom have no previous relation to each other, escaping from a crashed ship. The female "enslaves" Monkey with a piece of technology to ensure that he won't harm her and to make him do her bidding. Harvey compares Enslaved's plot to that of an "excerpt from a slave diary" and says the "premise alone raises enough eyebrows to warrant a serious debate." He says this relationship reminds him "more of the Driving Miss Daisy variety than Lethal Weapon." Forget any possibility that the game was set up this way for the purpose of challenging gameplay and to create conflict within an interesting story.

Harvey admits that Monkey is not "decisively black" and says he has an "olive" or "tan complexion," but he wonders "if this game would be on the shelves if the main character's skin were a few shades darker." If anything in Harvey's article rings true, it'd be this, but he's reaching by even calling Monkey all that tan.

The article goes on to say that Enslaved is about earning "freedom papers," that "having a slave essentially fight for his basic rights to humanity as the plot of your story is more hurtful than inspirational," and that the game "shouldn't even exist." Much like my thoughts on Resident Evil 4 [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/89242-Resident-Evil-5-Coverage-Reignites-Racism-Debate] was to Caucasians, and Enslaved isn't racist just because its primary gameplay mechanic involves a futuristic control device.

Source: GamePolitics [http://www.thegrio.com/entertainment/is-enslaved-video-game-racially-insensitive.php]

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theaceplaya

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Jul 20, 2009
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Some people look to stir a hornets nest just to get attention. None of his arguments are valid. At all.
 

DJDarque

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Aug 24, 2009
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It sounds to me like he didn't really play the entire game (or any at all, possibly). The relationship between characters is much deeper than just slave and master. Also the ending contradicts the whole article pretty much. I agree that he is looking for something that isn't there.
 

Celtic_Kerr

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May 21, 2010
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Life is fulll of little pricks. Monkey is hardly tan, and enslaved is hardly a game based around any kind of historical slavery. End of story
 

qbanknight

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Apr 15, 2009
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This is pathetic, another insensitive self-righteous prick who believes himself holier-than-thou just because he's politically correct. It's agreed that racism exists everywhere, this game doesn't have an ounce of that. Slavery used to exist for thousands of years, and guess what? White people used to be enslaved as well. I'm Cuban, I have very a dark skin complexion. I am not offended by anything I saw in Enslaved (actually I thought it was pretty good). This guy is just trying to play the race card since films and television have become so PC that there's nothing to complain about. He's just trying to pick a fight where none exists, no worse than your Resident Evil 5 example or the blithering idiocy of the racist allegations in Left 4 Dead 2
 

Tom Goldman

Crying on the inside.
Aug 17, 2009
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And here we go again.

These people must be really bored to make it this far, looking for a context that validates his opinion... it's really sad.
 

JaredXE

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Apr 1, 2009
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Well I find the columnist to be both retarded and culturally insensitive. IT'S BASED OFF A CHINESE LEGEND. No blacks need apply, and this guy needs to read more...like maybe read the freaking back of the box. It explains it right there.


EDIT: It's also amusing how much effort went into trying to describe the skin tone of Monkey. Who is played by Andy Serkis. Who is perhaps the pastiest person I have ever seen. Again, the writer is an ignorant retard trying to play a non-existant race card.
 

Foolishman1776

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Jul 4, 2009
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Oh, it's racially insensitive? Oh my, I'm sorry person who wrote the article, were your feelings hurt? Please tell me what your point is? Are you concerned that someone might play the game and think that slavery is okay? If not, what are you worried about? Are you just complaining to get your quota of race card playing for this month?

(this written to the author of the original article, not the Escapist article)
 

teh_Canape

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May 18, 2010
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he's right, giant murderous robots that exterminated a whole country need rights and be treated like equals
 

gregitaly

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Mar 12, 2009
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Aww man this is so true. As soon as I was done playing the game I went out and oppressed the hell out of some minorities. It's my burden as a white man to do that ya' know!
 

duchaked

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Dec 25, 2008
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coulda made Monkey Asian and then it woulda fit better with that Monkey King legend thing with the staff and...yeah but then he probably wouldn't be so big
 

Rooster Cogburn

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May 24, 2008
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Why are we so absolutist about racial issues? Why does everything have to be only 'on' or only 'off'? Why can't we comment on the implications of race-relations and media without calling someone or something racist? Why do we try to cram people and media into categories of 'racist' and 'not racist'? It does not encourage interesting or useful analysis.
 
Feb 13, 2008
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[HEADING=3]OOOH OOOH PAY ATTENTION TO ME! I'M THE ONLY ONE WHO KNOWS THIS IS RACIST!!!![/HEADING]

Go away, you waste of column inches.
 

Korolev

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Jul 4, 2008
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A columnist has to write a certain number of columns, and finding controversy where it doesn't exist is one way of doing that.
 

Lvl 64 Klutz

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Apr 8, 2008
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See, at least the RE5 argument was that the game was being racially biased, no matter how desperate an argument it was. This isn't even a matter of race or racism. Hell, his argument is the most racist part of this whole article, implying that only Africans and other dark-skinned races were ever victims of slavery.

It's a social issue, there's nothing racial even remotely brought up in the game.
 

DustyDrB

Made of ticky tacky
Jan 19, 2010
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Womp wooooomp.
Really, no one listens to these people anymore. Unless you live in California or Australia, I guess.
Enslaved is probably my 3rd favorite game of the year, though. It comes in after Mass Effect 2 and Red Dead Redemption.
 

Prof. Monkeypox

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Mar 17, 2010
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I can see where he's coming from (so long as this is genuine concerns), but I really feel he's dwelling to much on this. Enslaved was the first game in a while that piqued my interest from no prior knowledge, and no part of that interest came from the "racist undertones." The plot has a definite justification for its actions, and clearly has a lot of thought put into it. As for "as racist as RE 5," that's not true in even the hypothetical sense.
 
Apr 28, 2008
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Of course his skin is tan/olive. He spends his time roaming the world without a shirt on. Of course he would have a darker skin-tone then most.
 

Mintycabbage

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Dec 3, 2008
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Not every slave was black. If you want proof just look at the Roman Empire's Slave trade. Also in middle age Europe, peasants were basically slaves and they were the same race as the nobility! Hell there is still slavery today among the Chinese Mafia trafficking people. Shouldn't we be just as sensitive to them. I think monkey would be a little it tanned, having to work in the sun all day. According to this guy we should ban all media containing slaves fighting for freedom, so logically we should also ban the film Spartacus.