Wow, Kotaku must be thrilled to see their name mentioned so much here. I mean, if genuine articles about actual, serious issues make people think of them then they must be doing something right, huh? It's certainly a step up from the typical complaint they get about... video game cakes and Japanese panty shots or whatever it is.
It's sad to see some of you people get so furious over the basic idea of equality, as if that's something that should be argued about instead of just being implicitly understood. I mean, did you grow up with mothers that were constantly putting cigarettes out on your arms or something?
Or are you just currently growing up as an outsider and feel the need to lash out whenever anyone claims that there are groups of people out there that somehow have it even worse than you do? I was like you once. I was angry all the time. As I grew up I cooled down and gained a little perspective on the world. I hope, for your sakes, that you have a similar experience and get out of your weird, little bubble, at least for a little while. It gets oppressively ignorant in there.
It's interesting this is mentioned. In the original Night of the living dead the main guy that is focused on is a black guy. This seemingly (I don't know if it was intentional but it really seems to be) was a statement about racism (see the end of Night of the living dead when they assume he's also a zombie and shoot him and drag him out on a fish hook). I kind of assumed it had similar aspirations of underpinnings in the same way in this game. If you read into it. I don't know if that's intentional. It is certainly interesting, but I don't think the focus should be on someones skin color. I have always figured the reason for mostly white guys is because when you write it's easiest to write what you know. Video games have only started to get better writing. For me it makes sense guys are usually white as the guy writing it is white. His immediate attention is not that the character is white if he has any lick of sense. His thought should be on what will do well to round out the character. Often though, when writing, when you get into a good flow, you no longer dictate what happens. You just let it happen. That's how I write anyway- with mixed results. Interestingly the fans often find more in the writing then the author realizes because of this. It's pretty common. That's why when sometimes you ask a question about what something means, the Director of a film or the writer simply may say he doesn't know, or has thought about it and thinks it may be something but doesn't really have the answer. Particularly in the case of good writing, you don't necessarily write things for a reason. You may come up with a situation and let everything else flow from there. That is how I have always written, anyway. Knowing video game attention to detail I am sure there was probably a reason he's black, but I don't think it was ultimately a big deal in the creation process but more of an aesthetic choice as well as possibly an homage.
I'm glad I'm not alone in seeing the parallels between Lee and Ben from Night of the Living Dead.
After doing a bit more digging into Duane Jones (the guy who played Ben in NoTLD) I found this little tidbit (from IMDB):
Jones was a former English professor who directed at the Maguire Theater at the Old Westbury campus of New York State University, and he additionally served as artistic director at the Richard Allen Center in New York City. His casting as the hero of the Romero film was rather unique, as it was the first occasion that an African American actor had portrayed the hero in a horror film. The tall, well-spoken Jones appeared in a handful of other B-grade horror movies such as Ganja & Hess (1973) and Vampires (1986), but none are remembered as well as his first on-screen role.
@FluxWaveZ: So to answer my question: some people claiming to be black on a forum is your source. Look, dude, of cause it doesn't stop there, and your sources are as valid as mine, but do you see where I'm coming from? A bunch of white men calling to arms over issues that has nothing to do with them, and thereby calling attention to and victimizing groups of people perfectly capable to fight their own fight, but chooses not to because they themselves don't see a problem.
Anita Sarkeesian claimed that ICO was misogynistic. Disqualified.
“But in the end I decided a boy would have a little more grip to climb the Trico. Another problem is that girls tend to wear skirts, and The Last Guardian features a lot of climbing.”
And apparently a lot of shots from below, making all girls and all traditionally-clad Scotsmen simply out of the question.
Because all girls wear skirts.
I think Anita has a leg to stand on, there.
Plus, you convieniently ignored Fluxwavez' reference to N'Gai Croal, who offered completely justified criticism of RE5's othering of Africans.
I'm not interested in getting into a "some of my family members are black" or "some of my best friends are black" conversation with anyone, because it's stupid. It just degenerates into a pissing contest.
It's a fair point that there's something a little weird about straight white dudes "white knighting" for communities that they don't represent. But that's a terribly narrow perspective to take on the discussion. In point of fact, it comes off as deliberately myopic, like you're trying to stop the discussion from happening, which doesn't seem to be the case, but that's how it comes across. Especially coupled with posts that seem to be disproportionately contrarian.
However, as far as video games are part of culture (specifically "Westernized"/first world culture) they're beholden to certain attitudes and power structures that were set in place long before any of us were born. So, yeah, as a straight white dude, I'm absolutely baffled by the insistence on normative white male power fantasies as protagonists in most games. I'm disgusted by the fact that women always have to fall into these absurd categories, and that black characters are routinely relegated into comic relief or gangsta stereotypes. It's absolutely fucking insane to me that Lee Everett stands out as a character because he's generally depicted as a person and as fucked up as the rest of us. That it's a rarity that people outside of a small section of the population are given the same consideration and agency as this specific, privileged class.
Agreed, that senator/murder thing seemed a bit too blown-out for my tastes, but I think TellTale did a pretty great job. Race is still important in these situations because it's a question of representation, and how that representation carries over into and reinforces existing cultural attitudes. Acting like the U.S. just "solved" its longstanding history of discrimination because it elected Obama is probably one of the most naive things I've heard. Especially in light of the embarrassing rhetoric that came from all sides during the last election.