Historical Racism in Bioshock Infinite (Some Spoilers)

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#1 Posted by Citizengamer (198 posts) -

I wrote this story for Motherboard as I was finishing up my playthrough of "Bioshock Infinite." I really enjoyed the historical threads that tied into the game's setting, even if much of the depictions of historical racism fall by the wayside in the end.

I don't spoil the game's big revelation or ending, but I do include in-game examples of references to certain historical events and mindsets. Feel free to read, comment, and critique.


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#2 Posted by FourWude (2274 posts) -

The evils of the white man.

Tsk tsk.

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#3 Posted by JasonR86 (10178 posts) -

I just want to come in here to say I first read this thread title as 'hysterical racism in bioshock infinite'.

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#4 Edited by Citizengamer (198 posts) -

Hah well, different times? To be fair, I think we can find racism in many cultures. But the guys carrying the biggest boom sticks are the ones who get to shape the world through their particular viewpoint.

Also, Imperial Japan did a pretty good job of imposing its own rather racist views on much of Asia. (Plus Japanese troops were involved in China during the Boxer Rebellion along with the Western powers).

That misreading of the post title as "hysterical racism" is actually pretty funny.

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#5 Posted by Ostratego (60 posts) -

Yes, racism was pretty apparent in only the first half of Infinite. There were separate washrooms, separate entrances, slums, and so on. The first half was less hectic in terms of parallel universes, so that was when Irrational decided to hammer home the racism.

About mid-way through, when you started going to multiple dimensions, you started to see the consequence of racism: rebellion. The rebellion became the major enemy in the second half of the game.

I don't think that the theme of racism waned. I think that it was more along the line of the theme of racism coming to full swing: if you hate somebody so much, It's going to come back and bite you (and ultimately the world). Racism kinda also caused an aspect of the climax of the game.

I think the theme of racism was in full swing throughout the whole story: if the theme was a compound sentence, with each of it's two haves being the corresponding halves of the game, then it would say something along the lines of, "if you hate somebody so much, it's going to come back and bite you."

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#6 Edited by Citizengamer (198 posts) -

@ostratego: That's a good way of putting it. I didn't really touch on the Vox Populi's rebellion and how that's depicted, but you could argue that the second half of the game unspools the consequences of building a city upon a foundation of racism and hateful ideology. I somewhat agree with some other critiques that suggest the game's story didn't do full justice to Daisy Fitzroy's character in terms of fleshing her out, but that didn't interfere too much with my enjoyment of the game.

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