August 10th, 2007

So. I’m Black. I’m a gamer. You’d think that I’d have commented on “that Resident Evil 5 controversy” by now. Well, I didn’t actually see it until Thursday because I’ve been too busy working on random stuff. And now that I’ve seen the trailer and read various blogs talking about it, I’m reminded of one thing: my first reaction to everything never matches up to those of others. Most opinions range somewhere in between “It’s a game about a white guy shooting a bunch of poor black people!” and others are saying, “Stop whining! They’re just a bunch of zombies!” Me? I was disturbed for a completely different reason. Ready? Here’s my thought:

“Umbrella’s testing stuff out on poor Black people.”

Now, I’m no Resident Evil expert but I know that the main enemy group is Umbrella and they’re always doing something that ends with people turning into zombies. Considering the conspiracy theories that have been spoken about for decades, I’m shocked that I haven’t seen it brought up yet. Look, I find it disturbing that poor Black villagers are being killed, but hasn’t that been one of the main points of good zombie horror since 1968’s Night of the Living Dead? Part of the Romero-style zombie’s dramatic tension is how most of the zombies start off as either innocent dead people or innocent live people bitten by zombies and the high point of it is when family or friends of the characters are infected. In other words, having to destroy them is SUPPOSED to be disturbing.

I can see both sides of the argument here… but just a bit. Seeing a white guy shooting a bunch of villagers makes me feel uneasy, but this isn’t coming off as bad as those old B&W movies where the great white adventurer treks through some dangerous “unconquered land filled with dark, ignorant savages” that pull nuns out of their cars and eat them. Every time someone prematurely rolls out the word “racist”, all it does is hurt the cause as much as that kid who devalued the importance of wolf sightings. A chill pill may be in order until we actually know that this is the second coming of Custer’s Revenge. As a gamer, I understand how irksome it is when people start blaming video games for things that it has nothing to do with. I watched some of those goofy hearings on video games back in the 90’s so I’ve seen just how much a true professional can twist the truth to make games look bad. On the flip side, every time something like this happens, some of the people that complain about the complainers and their complaining tend to let something slip. You know the ones. They start off on the main topic but their post or reply slowly derails into a covert “That’s what I can’t stand about those people” rant.

You know what the worst part is? I’ve heard more about this RE5 situation than I’ve heard about serious real life issues like the Jena 6. In that story, the part where racist teenagers hung nooses from that tree as a message to the Black teenagers and never got punished and the DA spoke at a school assembly where he reportedly threatened the Black kids that protested… that was as real as it gets. I know I’m not most serious cat you’ll find on the internet, but my opinion is that we should probably concentrate on the things that are happening in real life more than problems with fiction. Chris Redfield isn’t going to kill you. People worried about a video game that you aren’t isn’t going to kill you. Real life? That’ll kill you dead every time.

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