Deus Ex Stereotyping African Americans?

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#1 Edited by kahjah (26 posts) -

Loved this week's episode guys, I wanted to get everyone's take on something that I found while playing Deus Ex. I found some of the dialogue by some of the NPC's extremely offensive, One of the NPC's you find as soon as you get into the open world part of the game is a African American looking character who is speaking with a slave dialect. I was totally taken off guard and was really saddened that a game like this had content like this in it. I could understand if it was set in a time period that would dictate the use for it but this game is set way into the future. 

I wonder if companies understand if this is offensive or if they just don't care. Please let's keep this conversation as adult as possible. I know the crew finished the game, I wonder if they came across this and if so what did they think about it?

Here is the dialogue in question. 

  

#2 Posted by MooseyMcMan (11331 posts) -

I feel like that character specifically has to be a joke. There's no way someone could say those lines, and then other people record those lines without them thinking it was a joke. I mean, it just HAS to be, right? 

Moderator
#3 Posted by OllyOxenFree (4976 posts) -

Hehe... French Canadians...

#4 Posted by DarkidRising (38 posts) -

It's no more offensive than the Chinese guy, or the Middle-Eastern guys, or the white-collar, gruff guy. Besides, doesn't this dialect still exist today? If so, then the 'slavery' pre-fix is null and void. If not, then the inclusion of broad, stereotyped accents is a crime committed by pretty much ANY game.

#5 Edited by FajitaBoss (115 posts) -

The hispanic guy you handle in the factory is also to ESE Vato,  as an hispanic I don't mind it but it does break the inmersion amigo. 
 
heck not even here in Cali people talks like that, I highly doubt a future merc is going to be Choloing arround. 
 
It comes down to poor voice acting all over that game.. 

#6 Posted by DVombatus (79 posts) -

As far as I know, she's the only black person who talks like that in the whole game.  
 
If this is the case, I wouldn't say they're doing anything wrong, but if every black person talked like that there would be something to discuss besides one instance of bad taste.

#7 Edited by Jocund (125 posts) -

I guess I had some issue with it at first, but some other portrayals of black characters (Van Bruggen especially) were enough for me to forgive and forget it later on.  
 
And yeah, the crew did stumble upon her in the Quick Look, and their response was what you'd expect it to be. 

#8 Posted by emergency (1193 posts) -

Ugh, I think it's safe to say that there is a tonne of racial stereotypes and over the top voice acting in this game. It's there way of trying to create interesting and unique characters, not them trying to offend you. Please calm down.

#9 Posted by left4doof (286 posts) -

I think it's offensive but it feels like they just don't know anybetter.

#10 Posted by Snipzor (3317 posts) -

Silly French Canadians... y'know... it's a damn shame you never see the general from the start of the game again. That guy's voice is awesome. Anyway, it's safe to say the entire cast of characters is stereotyped. Don't take it seriously, it's kind of a throwback to the original. 
 
In fact, I could find that out quite easily from someone who works at Eidos Montreal.

#11 Posted by Animasta (14715 posts) -

you forgot about Van Bruggen...

#12 Posted by amomjc (977 posts) -

I know a Black Woman on my EMT Dialysis-Route for my second job that talks like this, so I don't really know that I can comment against it?

#13 Posted by Oldirtybearon (4856 posts) -

I'm glad the OP decided to single out Letitia and not, say, the dozens of incredibly racist Chinese accents. That's clearly less offensive than one solitary NPC that doesn't talk like she's a "slave", but instead talks like she's destroyed her brain with alcohol and drugs, and wasn't that intelligent to begin with. 
 
Totally worth your attention far more than "I RIKE FLY LICE"

#14 Posted by IBurningStar (2189 posts) -

Eh, could be worse. She could be eating a meal of fried chicken, watermelon, and Koolaid. And talking about how she loves living off welfare and how she does nothing all day but smoke marijuana and listen to rap music.  

#15 Posted by AhmadMetallic (18954 posts) -

Are there or aren't there African Americans who speak like that?

#16 Posted by Creamypies (4081 posts) -

Ahhh black people...

#17 Posted by I_smell (3924 posts) -

The chinese guys in this game are a FUCKING MESS!

#18 Posted by TheSilentTruth (1124 posts) -

As a black dude, I lol'd.

#19 Posted by MooseyMcMan (11331 posts) -

What's up with the hate on the Chinese voice acting? Am I the only person that missed the stereotypical lines and only heard the ones where they were speaking in Chinese?

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#20 Posted by AyKay_47 (293 posts) -

Are you one of those people that thought Resident Evil 5 was racist too? Get the fuck outta here. This shit's as offensive as a dark-skinned potato.

#21 Posted by Icemael (6343 posts) -
@csoup said:

I know a Black Woman on my EMT Dialysis-Route for my second job that talks like this, so I don't really know that I can comment against it?

The next time you meet that woman, tell her that she is stereotyping her people and that you are saddened by her offensive, racist behaviour.
#22 Edited by Marz (5659 posts) -

lol that's my youtube video, but yeah seems to be getting spread around lots of internet forums and stirring up alot of emotions.

#23 Posted by eroticfishcake (7786 posts) -

According to the credits, that character and the boss lady in the first mission are voiced by the same character. Go figure. As for the Chinese characters, they're a little better but they don't sound "authenthic" when they talk in English. Even when they're speaking Mandarin they talk in a very slow, deliberate manner. If you've heard a Mandarin speaker before then you'll know what's strange about that. I only notice this since my entire family is Chinese. Also, in all fairness it's not like the original DX had amazing voice acting. But that was eleven years ago...

#24 Posted by DeShawn2ks (1055 posts) -

Damn it I was suppose to be offended by that? I am slacking, that flew right over my head when I came across her. I thought she was just some bum crack head digging in the dumpster.

#25 Posted by BrainSpecialist (554 posts) -

@eroticfishcake: It certainly wasn't amazing, but it was better than this. It certainly wasn't any Rorschach "I'm Batman!" gruff bullshit. The voice acting for this character really stuck out to me though. I can't imagine someone recording that, playing it back and thinking "Yeah, that's fine!" Maybe they thought "It's a game! Who needs decent voice acting?"

Although it's realistically a fairly tall order, after Mass Effect and LA Noire, and even Uncharted have been and gone there's no excuse for poor voice acting at this calibre of game. It's lazy.

#26 Posted by Dallas_Raines (2191 posts) -

French Canadians being ignorant of other peoples, who would have thought?

#27 Posted by DeShawn2ks (1055 posts) -

I love the game but I will admit this game has shitty voice acting all around. Should have just went the safe route and got Nolan North to do all the voices.

#28 Edited by FluxWaveZ (19372 posts) -
@left4doof said:

I think it's offensive but it feels like they just don't know anybetter.

What the hell does that mean? You do know Quebec is an extremely culturally diverse area, do you not? 
 
@Lord_Yeti said: 

French Canadians being ignorant of other peoples, who would have thought?

What? This stereotyping is way more prevalent in the U.S. than it is in Quebec. What other examples do you have of French Canadians being culturally ignorant?
#29 Posted by Apathylad (3067 posts) -

For some reason I am now reminded of Kenan Thompson dressed up as a woman on SNL.

#30 Posted by frythefly (200 posts) -

#31 Edited by Meowshi (2911 posts) -
@AyKay_47 said:

Are you one of those people that thought Resident Evil 5 was racist too? Get the fuck outta here. This shit's as offensive as a dark-skinned potato.

Just because it doesn't offend you, doesn't mean it isn't racist.  The woman sounds like the fucking Mammy Twoshoes from Tom and Jerry. 
#32 Posted by bonbolapti (1617 posts) -

I think it's more offensive to still look for things like this to be offended by.

#33 Edited by MooseyMcMan (11331 posts) -
@Apathylad said:

For some reason I am now reminded of Kenan Thompson dressed up as a woman on SNL.

Man, that'd be awesome. If it was in a game I mean. It is often awesome on SNL.
Moderator
#34 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -
@DarkidRising said:
It's no more offensive than the Chinese guy, or the Middle-Eastern guys, or the white-collar, gruff guy.
So you're saying that Deus Ex: Human Revolution is the Carlos Mencia of gaming?
#35 Edited by The_Boots (86 posts) -

@frythefly: Ha! I still use the "I speeel my DREEEENK" sound clip for my text message ring tone.

In all seriousness, I missed that lady but some of the gang stereotypes caught me off guard. I don't know if I'd consider it offensive, but it's certainly borderline. I guess it'd be more racist if everything in the game weren't like that.

The whole game setting just feels... weird. I live near Detroit and spend a fair amount of time in the city, and the city they made doesn't seem like what future Detroit would look like to me. It feels like future New York that everyone calls Detroit.

#36 Posted by Quacktastic (1066 posts) -

It's probably just innocent insensitivity.

#37 Posted by Branthog (5583 posts) -

Yeah, I was kind of shocked when I ran into that character in the game. I have to assume it's not intentional, but just the result of the really shitty voice acting talent they have in Canada. They need to start putting warnings on games that having Candadian voice actors, because they just suck so bad.

#38 Posted by wolf_blitzer85 (5278 posts) -

I thought it was hilarious. I mean the voice acting is bad, but goddamn.

#39 Posted by kahjah (26 posts) -
@MooseyMcMan: I would think it either had to be a joke or someone really didn't do their homework. I would guess the latter. 
#40 Posted by Luccaface (218 posts) -

The funniest part is if you give her enough beer, she'll give you the code to the storage compartment next to the basketball court.

#41 Posted by CrazyBagMan (849 posts) -

How does one character talking like that make it a stereotype?

#42 Posted by kahjah (26 posts) -

Sure there are lots of stereotypes like this in gaming. I was just struck that this particular very old one was shown in a futuristic game. Slave dialect isn't used today unless by possibly a very small amount of older southern black people. Honestly that is hardly the case at all. That is why this struck such a chord. 

#43 Posted by kahjah (26 posts) -
@emergency: I'm not raging about it, I would hope that if they were trying to have more diverse characters they would have figured out a better way to do this. I'm not outraged or super upset. When I saw it I was more like "Really??? Damn people of color get into the future and we sound like this?" That sucks LOL
#44 Posted by FancySoapsMan (5841 posts) -

you should listen to the Chinese accents in Deus Ex 1 man.

#45 Posted by kahjah (26 posts) -
@AyKay_47: That was witty...............
#46 Edited by HydraHam (1338 posts) -

I would say they stereotyped every ethnic race in this game, all sound horribly offensive and maybe im missing something, maybe it wasn't meant to come off that way but it does, it's not just african americans.

But whatever, it's still an amazing game, i am far too busy enjoying it to give a shit about making a fuss about it, it's just a video game, it's not like they have black people in a field picking cotton saying yes'a mas'a, it's offensive but it's not THAT bad.

#47 Posted by HandsomeDead (11863 posts) -

The people claiming that Quebec doesn't know any better really have never been to Quebec.

#48 Posted by the_OFFICIAL_jAPanese_teaBAG (4308 posts) -

the thought that this voice was racist didnt occur to me, i was thinking about the fact that the voice actor sounds like a guy.  i need to know!

#49 Posted by Sooty (8082 posts) -

AW HELL NO HOLD ME BACK SISTUR

#50 Posted by RagnarokRed (90 posts) -

I don't know what the hell that character was about. I couldn't tell if they were playing it straight, or she was just supposed to be some ironic joke. The voicework reminded me of those old blackface performances from early Hollywood.

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