Spurred by the controversy surrounding alleged racism in Resident Evil 5, Website videogamer.com decided to talk to an expert on racism. No, not the Grand Exalted Kleagle of the Ku Klux Klan. They spoke to Glenn Bowman, a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Anthropology at the University of Kent, Canterbury.
Bowman checked out three Resident Evil 5 levels and while the academic did note a number of interesting references to indigenous people's reaction to colonialism in Africa, Bowman did not see racism. "I think it's silly to call it 'racist,'" Bowman said. Then pointed out that in a horror game, you gotta make things scary, so a horror game set in Africa will naturally feature scary Africans and scary African cultural artifacts. Nothing racist there.
"Maybe they'll make the next game happen in Finland and you'll have a whole series of Inuits and the like being really scary and running around with Walrus heads on," Bowman said. (Are you listening, Capcom?!)
As for why the game is being called racist:
"I think it ties in with what I was talking about, about inverse racism. That in a sense there's a politically correct position which says this should be your knee-jerk reaction to what's going on there. I think it's quite likely but I'm not sure that in any way the makers of this game can be held responsible for that kind of response. I think that might be possible, in which case I think what they really should be asking themselves is, although I can't imagine people would do this, why are they having those kind of responses? And what negativity is implicit in that positive response? And the negativity is that actually we don't look at people as human beings, we look at them as black and white..."
The rest of the interview is just as fascinating. I recommend it.