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#51 Edited by wchigo (900 posts) -

@sethmode said:
@manhattan_project said:

@sethmode: I had a thing I wanted to say and discuss in this place where people discuss things? I don't really get what your problem is here. If you don't like my thread you don't have to interact with it at all.

I really don't know what you're driving at here. I'm not "getting at" anything. I was very upfront in my first post that I think it's silly to ask a question you already have a definitive and inflexible answer to. You asked me to explain further and I did. I just find the idea of asking questions when you aren't actually looking to be convinced of anything silly and counterproductive when you could, again, just start a thread with your opinion as a statement and let the conversation build from there. If you are so upset about what irritates me about thread titles, just ignore me.

Why is it silly to ask a question in that context? He never stated anywhere something like "Come convince me otherwise!" or shit that some people will pull.

I always took the thread to be asking others their opinion on Ashley and having one location for everyone else to chime in, and he likewise states as such in his opening sentence. You can have an opinion about something, and ask others what they think even if it won't change your mind. It happens and the time, and while I might have my mind set on something, I will at times welcome different perspectives. It might open my eyes to something that I hadn't considered before and alter my thoughts on a subject, even if ultimately I still arrive at the same conclusion.

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#52 Posted by SethMode (2010 posts) -

@wchigo: My original statement was "Love a good thread where the creator asks a question with which they have already made up their mind definitively regarding the answer."

Whether you are fine with threads like that or not, is fine. I just don't like them. I am really, honestly, confused as to why this has been a topic of conversation. I simply stated what I didn't like about his thread...he asked me why I didn't like it...I said why...and then for some reason it started a weird fight. I just don't particularly care for fake questions, as I've said several times. This really didn't have to be a thing.

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#53 Posted by TobbRobb (6583 posts) -

I don't think the racism is the real issue. From my perspective, the two human characters in ME1 are by far the least interesting. They are just straight boring and add almost nothing to the game. So having to pick one is basically a coin flip for me, except Ashley is kind of an asshole so fuck her. It really just comes down to apathy for a character then turning into general dislike over first impressions. Garrus and Tali most people cared enough to see their redemption arcs, Ashley you have no real motivation to do so.

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#54 Posted by thetrashman (16 posts) -

She killed Wrex in my game. Fuck her.

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#55 Posted by mavs (386 posts) -

Well if you want to compare Garrus and Ashley specifically:

Ashley has the racist thing, obviously. She also doesn't see eye to eye with Shepard in ME1 and doesn't show any hint of grasping the potential of doing things Shepard's way. And then in the other games she's a thorn in your side, doubting you every chance she gets. Which honestly is kind of a good sign in ME2, but then she's gone and in ME3 she proves herself to be nearly a complete failure.

Garrus, even if you have a problem with him, he just wants to do what Shepard does. And the games are set up so Shepard does things very well, and that makes Garrus look like a good guy. I guess you could choose to look through the story to how he views the world and whether you like that or not, but I'm surprised you're surprised that most people just bought the line the games give you straight up.

Tali hates the Geth, who within 20 minutes of the title screen of the first game are impaling people and turning them into zombies. Considering that, and the state her people are in, and that the details of the rebellion aren't widely known in detail, it's a similar situation to Garrus. The game simply doesn't treat her anything like how it treats Ashley. The supposed justification for Ashley's prejudice is the First Contact War, which is spoken of and subtly brought up in places, but you never see any direct evidence the way you do with the Geth. I think the way they handle it is interesting and the correct choice for the sake of the story, it's just not really fair to Ashley.

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#56 Posted by MerxWorx01 (859 posts) -

My memories of the games have blurred a bit but the Ashley character always seemed like she was born on the cusp of when Humanities first interactions with Alien races began poorly and based on her experience with on Eden(the place where everyone practically died due to the actions of a Turian) and when it came down asking the Alien council for help they blamed it on the humans being so close to the edges of civilized space. Based on that alone most would see it wise to not trust aliens. Xenophobia is wrong and breeds hate but in the dangerous unknowns of space it can lead to a longer lifespan. Stay away from unknown risk, avoid eating unfamiliar food and keep strangers at an arms length can be life saving tips.

That being said, a number of aliens that will eventually call the Normandy home are outright killers, assassins and mercenaries. Some killed for money, some killed for a cause and some piled up bodies for less than noble reasons.

I'd say the soldier from a no name colony, that as far as I know doesn't have such a bloody and ruthless background earns less of my disdain.

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#57 Posted by SloppyDetective (1604 posts) -

@sethmode: you're confusing "simply stating" with passive aggressive snark.

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#58 Posted by wchigo (900 posts) -

@sethmode: I respect it, I just don't see why it's a fake question so to speak. He wasn't asking to be convinced otherwise, just wanted to know other people's thoughts. With that being said, that's my last words on the topic. I've already kind of overstepped by interjecting myself in a conversation that I was not asked to be a part of after all. No disrespect meant to you at all duder.

To get back on topic, yeah the way Ashley behaves paints her in a bad light, but I only now realized after watching Mass Alex, that I never really thought enough about the start of the Quarian-Geth conflict. The Geth were created by the Quarians, and just when they were starting to obtain real intelligence and consciousness, they were deemed too dangerous (without any chance to prove themselves, and before they took any sort of violent actions against their creators or any other living organism) and were set to be exterminated. And all this when it was already illegal to create real AI, of which the Quarians defend themselves by stating that the Geth were not created as true AIs. Man, that's seriously dark shit right there...

Yeah, it sucks what happened to the Quarians afterwards, and being born centuries later you can hardly place the blame of this conflict on Tali, but the way she just blindly believes all Geth to be the worse because they almost wiped out the Quarians and took over the Quarian homeworld despite the fact that you were the ones that started all that shit and you might not even be in this situation if you were rational and reasonable kind of rubs me the wrong way now. I mean sure, the Geth are pretty much shown to the player to be bad at the start of the game, but even all that may have been avoidable if the Quarians hadn't tried to destroy them all, which I'm sure led to the Geth deciding to paint in broad strokes and label all organics as bad/hostile to their kind.

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#59 Edited by BrunoTheThird (833 posts) -

On one of my many playthroughs I let Ashley live, and generally developed her relationship positively with Shephard right up to ME3. I finally got her at that point. In ME1 she is flippant at times about the other races -- I'm sure it's hard for a staunchly religious human brought up in a proud military family and fighting in a war against the Turians not to grow up with some iffy views -- but she doesn't appreciate xenophobia herself. She insults some political group for being blind, alien-hating assholes.

In ME3, she's just a competent, smart, good soldier IMO.

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#60 Posted by VoleMaulder (98 posts) -

@redhotchilimist: I just wanted to say that I agree so much with your take (although maybe not 100% on the character ranking, but that's beside the point and highly subjective). Other characters do engage in deplorable behaviour and acts which get very easily overlooked, if not perceived as endearing or super-cool and bad ass. Mass Effect, as a whole, has a serious tone problem, and I say that having played the original trilogy 3 times and still considering them among my favourite games. Ashley is the least of their problems.

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#62 Posted by xanadu (2044 posts) -

Anyone who brings Ashley over to ME2 is a monster that I do not wish to know.

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#63 Posted by mems1224 (2505 posts) -

@xanadu: the alternative is bringing Kaiden over which is a hell I would not wish upon my worst enemy.

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#65 Edited by Dan_CiTi (5219 posts) -

Because Ashley is also super boring bro. Like, she's just some shitty lady with crummy behaviour and a racist outlook on the galaxy. Literally everything about her is either A. utterly bland and/or B. crummy bigot.

the end.

most other characters, even when they had significant flaws, were crafted in a way that felt like they had an entire novel worth of backstory and world ahead of them. Ashley was just some lady. As for Kaiden, I'd rather have a generally boring but hardworking person than a boring bigot who complains/is contrarian all the time.

Basically all of the 'base' human party members besides Jacob was a whole lot of nothing, and even he barely made the cut. Jack, Zaeed, and even Kasumi to a lesser extent were the only humans worth a damn.

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#66 Edited by devise22 (736 posts) -

As someone who had Ashley as a romance option my first playthrough, (I also went with a very pro Human bias backstory, with paragon choices) her romance options in the first game feel very much like a fun fling and not serious. As my Shepard started to open up to aliens and other races, she ended up getting passed off as romance option in later games.

But I will say I don't think they do a particularly good job "redeeming" Ashley even when you do try to calm down her tendencies. The issue with her is far more than just a few lines of dialogue, although the "aliens and animals look alike" comment is pretty bad. It's more that we are presented with a huge Citadel of collective aliens all living together in the millions and instead of trying to ask questions and learn things, all Ash is ever concerned about is the human perspective. Hell the human perspective is probably not even a fair point. In 3, she's so pro Alliance that anybody who remotely resembles anyone that isn't she is weary of. You can tell that if it were up to Ash, the Humans wouldn't be seeking a spot on a council of Alien races. She'd want to build her own Citadel, that was Alliance/Human run.

She isn't necessarily irredeemable, but she's the type of "bigot" that hides in plain sight. She understands that "officially" the stance from the Alliance re alien relations is one of peace and understanding. So she minds her tongue in official situations. The moment she can freely speak, she let's it be known where her thoughts stand. Even as you push her away from that in 1 and in 3, her focus is very much a "humanity first" priority.

Just speaking in terms of how fair it is that she gets the treatment she does from the community versus other characters, I'll just speak to Garruss since he was the other companion I put the most time into. Garrus is a killer, and does have some "authoritarian" slants. But isn't killing people just because he wants to. In a world of connected society and Citadels and millions of races, Garrus finds that the red tape and bureaucracy surrounding his job makes it hard for him to do what he wants to do. It's not like Garrus has "no code." He's basically space Batman. He has a code, it's just it's his own and he is happy to be working with a Specter which allows him more freedom to be able to investigate problems and actually solve them instead of always pass them up the chain. Remember how 1 opens? Saren, a rogue Specter is given the benefit of the doubt despite Garrus and C-Sec having more dirt on him? Literally the red-tape stuff he's talking about.

I'd argue though the biggest reason the other characters, even the flawed ones, are more interesting/redeemable is that they don't endlessly embody their negative character traits the way Ash does. Ash doesn't like non humans, focuses almost all her side dialogue on either the human perspective or her war/hero stories that are her "reasons" for her pro human slant. Tali has that huge problem with the Geth for example, but even she listens to criticisms about it with an open mind. So many of the other NPC's spend their entire time with Shepard using his questions as learning opportunities to learn more about other races, the Alliance, Shepard, etc. Ash? Rarely, if ever. She's more concerned about telilng us we can't trust X.

Using the argument that she can't just be anti-alien because well she also wouldn't trust Jack from 2 for example I don't buy either. Jack is a non alliance human who was experimented on. She's basically the closest you get to an x-men analogy in the game. It's not just a pro human slant Ash has, it's pro Alliance. She also has a fear of bioethics. Which again, tied into the idea that it's "non human" stuff. She is even weary of Kaiden at points in the first game, and he is alliance. But again biotic who was experimented on. Ash also hates Cerebrus too in 2.

Like seriously, even if you explore her Ash as a character is just "reason to not trust/hate something" over and over and over. Starts with aliens, moves to Cerebrus, biotics, the list goes on. The moment you the player stop playing as "Mostly Pro Human Alliance Military Hero" she becomes absolutely unbearable and none of her dialogue ever pushes her out of those waters. You can have conversations with her, but you never change her stance and she never seems to end up enlightened seeking answers to things she clearly doesn't understand from the moment you meet her.

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#67 Edited by SeventyTwoTransformations (48 posts) -

'The can't tell the aliens from animals' line is bad. Whats worse is that she doubles down on it. In his conversation Alex shut that shit down with a renegade option but if you choose the paragon dialogue this is what she says:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=134&v=T6QiCXct-4E

In reference to working with aliens:

“Look, if you walk in the woods with your dog and get attacked by a bear, you’ll let your dog get killed attacking the bear so you can run away and live. Because as much as you love your dog, he’s not a Human person.”

Once again she compares your alien allies to animals. This shows that the 'can't tell aliens from animals' line is not some one-off-slip of the tongue folks, but a firmly entrenched belief.

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#68 Posted by mems1224 (2505 posts) -

@seventytwotransformations: to be fair, she's right about the council. In her weird analogy the humans are the dog. She wasn't comparing the council races to animals.

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#69 Posted by Jonny_Anonymous (3671 posts) -

@manhattan_project: Quarian's didn't give the Geth life, they evolved sentience on there own.

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#70 Posted by cikame (2824 posts) -

Cus Ashley's a b****, and Garrus and Tali are really cool.

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#71 Edited by soulcake (2777 posts) -

It's probably normal to quistion all those non humans onboard. They didn't even sign a NDA to not copy that state of the art hyperdrive 😀

Also i don't think fake Carth O'nasi is that much better.

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#72 Posted by alexl86 (868 posts) -

It’s a story based game and Ashley adds more to the story than Kaiden. Ashely deals with real issues, issues with how she perceive herself and her species in relation to other intelligent life. She’s not a great character, but don’t tell me this isn’t how a good portion of humanity would act in this situation.

The only marginally interesting thing I remember from Kaiden is that he gets migraines from his biotic implant, because it’s older than Shepard’s if Shepard is a biotic, which I think means a piece of tech is more interesting than his actual personality.

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#73 Posted by SeventyTwoTransformations (48 posts) -

@mems1224:

I don’t think that quite right. The video makes it clearer than the quote I put there.

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#74 Edited by AdamALC (289 posts) -

Ashley said a few things and then learns from them with the help of Shepard and the crew, she grows. You have to spend three games convincing the Quarians not to wipe the Geth (who they created, and enslaved) out. That people fawn over Tali despite her attitude and shit on Ashley for a few comments has always mystified me. Genocidal slavery is just a bigger issue to me. My biggest issue in a game sense with Ashley and Kaiden is that for the remaining games they are pretty much absent. They come back in one scene hostile regardless of your previous relations in 2, and then they are gone for about half of 3 provided that you don't have to shoot one of them.

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#75 Posted by mems1224 (2505 posts) -

@seventytwotransformations: she's literally talking about how she doesn't trust the council because they would sacrifice humanity to save their own.

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#76 Edited by Redhotchilimist (2963 posts) -

@seventytwotransformations: I'm with mems on that one. The full quote(besides a pessimism/optimism thing) is "I don't think we should turn down allies, I just think we shouldn't bet everything on them staying allies. As noble as the council members seem now, if their backs are against the wall, they'll abandon us. Look, if you're fighting a bear, and the only way for you to survive is to sic your dog on it and run, you'll do it. As much as you love your dog, it isn't human. It's not racism, not really. Members of their own species will always be more important to them than humans are."

In that analogy, humans are the dogs who are abandoned by the council. It's not humanity that sacrifices the council for their own survival, it's the council that leaves us behind to die for them because we aren't the same species. She's calling us the council's dogs, if anything. Ashley is very clearly being space racist to the aliens, but I don't think there's any need to say she calls aliens dogs when she doesn't. That is a misunderstanding.

@volemaulder said:

@redhotchilimist: I just wanted to say that I agree so much with your take (although maybe not 100% on the character ranking, but that's beside the point and highly subjective). Other characters do engage in deplorable behaviour and acts which get very easily overlooked, if not perceived as endearing or super-cool and bad ass. Mass Effect, as a whole, has a serious tone problem, and I say that having played the original trilogy 3 times and still considering them among my favourite games. Ashley is the least of their problems.

Thanks! I feel like it gets brought up pretty rarely, so maybe it's only an issue for a few of us. But the tone shifts in the writing and the changes in characters as a whole, especially between 1 and 2, was by far my biggest issue when playing the games.

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#77 Posted by devise22 (736 posts) -

@redhotchilimist: But this is where this gets complicated. Remember that is Ash's perception of the Council races, not the truth. Do you earnestly believe that every single Turian would save another Turian over a human just because of the race they are in? What if it's a Turian they hate? Garrus would save Saren over Shepard? She refuses to see that there are millions of aliens on the Citadel all coexisting. Are there problems? Yes. Is humanity treated amazingly even in the first parts of that game? No.

But the fact that Ash constantly boils everything down to "it's them or us and if you don't see that they would do the same to us then your blind" is precesily what plays into her phobia's. It's not even just that she's blinded by her own hatred and ignorance, she pushes that ideal to every other species. Right, like there are no pro human Turians or Salarians, or the list goes on. It ultimately boils down to her perception that all form of relationship with any alien should be taken with caution, and is dangerous. Which is simply put, naive in her best instances and ignorant and offensive in some of her "speak freely" outbursts.

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#79 Posted by mems1224 (2505 posts) -

@devise22: She is perfectly fine coexisting and working with aliens. on Virmire she volunteers to fight alongside the Salarians even though she knows it's a suicide mission. Her whole thing is not relying on other species to survive, she doesn't hate the other species except maybe the Turians. Humans are essentially 2nd class citizens and she doesn't want them to become dependent on other species. Does she say a few ignorant things? Absolutely but she's not racist. She doesn't believe humanity is the superior species and is disgusted by certain groups later on that do think that way.

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#80 Posted by nicksmi56 (840 posts) -

I never felt the intense hatred for Ashley that the rest of the internet feels.

Yes, she's a racist, but she also has the chance to grow beyond this over the course of the games. Heck, one of my favorite memories of ME1 was the pure joy I felt when Ashley wound up being the party member arguing to save the Council. It really felt like I had an impact on that happening. Plus, outside of the racism, I still find her pretty fun to use and be around. She's a smart-aleck, she's a dang good soldier and she's not afraid to speak plainly about how she's feeling about a situation or decision. These are all positive qualities, and they especially stick out in ME1 which, for all it did for the series, has the worst absolute worst character interactions. I mean Liara falls for you the minute she gets on the ship for crying out loud, and as much as I love Garrus, his ME1 interpretation is boring as hell.

So when I finally get to my trilogy marathon (never finished 3, so gonna go back and go through all of them fresh relatively soon), Ashley's definitely gonna be the one leaving Virmire. You don't have to like or agree with every aspect of a character to appreciate them as a whole, and Kaidan is not only less interesting as a character, but is pretty much already done with his growth by the time that you meet him.

No regrets on my part.

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#81 Posted by SeventyTwoTransformations (48 posts) -

@redhotchilimist:

I might agree with you if she was just talking about the council but I think she is talking about aliens allies in general. Remember this conversation starts by her voicing her concerns about wrex and Garrus. Krogans are not a council race I’m not even sure they have an embassy.

This is all very ironic having played me2 where she is the one that abandons you like the dog in her analogy whereas every one of your other team members (who also has their own concerns about Cerberus) is willling to help you out even if they don’t join your squad. Ashley on the other hand doesn’t even want to hear you out.

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#83 Posted by someoneproud (583 posts) -

I really didn't like Ashley, but mostly down to her shitty attitude generally, too much back talk and fucking things up. If she wants to hate on aliens that's her beef but I don't want it interfering with what I'm trying to do. I happily let her die at the end of ME1 and I would've even if I had the chance to save both.

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#84 Posted by mellotronrules (2609 posts) -

ashley's stated attitudes triple suck and come from a bad place, but i think the writing (if you opt in to exploring her character) does a decent job of indicating the 'why.' it's cliche, but so are large swathes of mass effect.

the notion that she might be labelled 'irredeemable' is borderline depressing though. she has really contemptible views at the start- but by the end of 3 her character does have an arc that suggests she changes.

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#85 Edited by The_Ruiner (1775 posts) -

The thing about Ashley that really resonates in today's climate is. She's a law enforcement person that can not see past her own prejudices and brings those biases into her work. That's dangerous.

As a military officer, she is in a position where she deals with aliens regularly. But, she walks into any situation that involves aliens with a loaded gun and the mentality that anyone who isn't human is to be treated with mistrust. Sure the first contact war made tensions with the Turians high. But Ashley treats EVERY alien with the same level of mistrust. Ashley doesn't see non humans as people. She sees them as threats. All of them.

In America we've seen how law enforcement and military officials who take their personal biases toward people who are different from them into heated situations tends to pan out... Ashley isn't like a neo-nazi level extremist or anything. But at the end of the day, she only feels safe when every face in the room looks like hers. People who are different put her on edge. If she is in the presence of a different species, she metaphorically and literally has one hand on her gun. That kinda rubs people the wrong way.

I think the real flaw with Ashley is, that you, as Shepard, aren't given enough opportunities to try and educate her and change her mind. Your choices are usually "shut up" or "fuckin' aliens am I right?"

As for Tali, a case could be made for her being racist against the Geth. But the fact that there are zero non hostile Geth in ME 1 makes her distrust of them a little more practical rather than personal. They are treated like the orcs in Lord of the Rings in that first game.

As for Garrus, the fact that he wants to be a dirty cop/vigilante is problematic, but they frame that relationship in a way they makes it seem like he needs guidance form his mentor (Shepard) about which way he'll ultimately go.

And Mordin, is interesting because Mordin seems to have zero hatred for Krogans. He did what he did because the Krogans were literally killing everyone. They weren't targeted for extinction because they were Krogan. They were taking over the entire galaxy and no one could stop them. Mordin has a tremendous amount of regret that the genophage happened. But the story has always been framed that it was a desperate hail Mary to stop the Krogans from taking over the entire galaxy. One of my biggest complaints about ME 3 was that in 1 and 2, the genophage is written as a complex issue that was morally reprehensible but absolutely necessary to keep the Krogans from becoming far too numerous and wiping everyone else out. Which they absolutely would have done. But in ME 3 it's so simplified to "a mistake" and you're given the chance to undo it without addressing any of the concerns that put it into place in the first place. Just felt like a cop out.

And it's difficult to see any of the alien companions in ME as bigoted because they're best friends with you. A human. They admire you even.

@carlthenimrod said:

Disclaimer: I beat Mass Effect 1 & 2 (not 3) but my memory is shitty so I don't remember the particulars of Ashley.

What I will say however is that Archie Bunker from "All in the Family" was a bigot who said terrible things. But he was also a very likeable character because he was actually a decent person despite some of his outward flaws. His humanity made him a believable and compelling character to watch and it led to a lot of funny/interesting moments when his bigotry was challenged.

The thing about All in the Family is, the entire story is about Archie Bunker's redemption. He starts off completely ignorant and bigoted. But as the series goes on he opens his home to a young black man. He makes friends with his black neighbors. He says dumb shit because he's an uneducated, misguided fool. But as the series goes on, he learns and gets better.

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#86 Posted by bludgeonParagon (20 posts) -

The best part about the bear-and-dog analogy is that Ashley absolutely calls it, and when shit starts to go down in the final game the council (and especially the asari Councilor, previously considered to be the strongest mediator and the least protectionist in the group) is absolutely prepared to throw humanity to the bears in order to buy time for their own races to gather what strength they have. It takes the greatest unifier in the galaxy (Shepard) for them to go "well hey I can't really do much from where I am but here's some folk who might help you out".

Yeah Ashley says some incredibly shitty things, especially during the first game, but even a broken clock is right at least once a day

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#87 Posted by burncoat (558 posts) -

@muftyriots: Slightly off topic, but Tali wasn't exiled. She was on a mission on an old Quarian homeworld where the sun was growing old faster than should be possible because of dark energy (a storyline that was dropped completely by ME3). She joins you because you rescue her and only goes back to the Flotilla with you because her father was working on Geth tech that she sent back to be studied (but she had no idea of the nature of those experiments). She can either be exiled or acquitted depending on how well you deal with the situation. Ashley in ME2 still doesn't even trust or believe Shepard at all. Literally everybody on your crew from the first game believes you except her/Kaiden which honestly feels more like bad writing than "she's an asshole" (even though she totally is).

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#88 Posted by hassun (9961 posts) -

While Ashley seems like a pretty shitty person, she's more interesting than Kaidan at the very least.

I went with Kaidan in almost all my playthroughs and while it's not like Ahley gets a better pay-off, I wish I'd left her alive instead because she has a more interesting personality at least.

In the end they both suffer massively from being killable, as do most killable characters in video games. Because it means the writers will not put a lot of effort into them anymore.

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#90 Posted by deactivated-5ba16609964d9 (3361 posts) -

When I played the original Mass Effect I rarely used Kaidan/Ashley because I'm in goddamn space so give me some gleep glop aliens to pal around with. Personally I'm a Wrex guy because he's a big beefy space frog who's seen some shit so what's not to love?

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#91 Posted by Mamba219 (267 posts) -

Some real self-righteous people in this thread.

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#92 Posted by Quarters (2658 posts) -

Yeah, she has some cynical, rough views on aliens at the start of the first game, but you can pretty fundamentally alter that, especially in a romance situation. She's furious about Shepard's allies in ME2, and she backs off from her initial feelings about aliens entirely in ME3. Most of the party members have done incredibly sketchy crap in those games, the fact that people just get super serious about Ashley is weird. I get it, she's a more realistic issue and all that, but still, I think people are blowing it out of proportion.

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#93 Posted by BBAlpert (2912 posts) -
@devise22 said:

She isn't necessarily irredeemable, but she's the type of "bigot" that hides in plain sight. She understands that "officially" the stance from the Alliance re alien relations is one of peace and understanding. So she minds her tongue in official situations. The moment she can freely speak, she let's it be known where her thoughts stand. Even as you push her away from that in 1 and in 3, her focus is very much a "humanity first" priority.

I think this is the key. She's not a "puts on a white hood and leaves a burning cross on Liara's front yard" space racist, but she is a "calls Wrex 'articulate' and thinks it's a compliment", "tells Garrus that he's 'one of the good ones'", "instinctively clutches her purse when she passes Tali on the street" space racist.

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#94 Posted by Dixavd (2901 posts) -

She's not irredeemable but in Mass Effect 1 you literally have a choice between saving her or Kaiden: why would you bother saving her given her xenophobia just because she could change later? With the other characters, you don't have a similar early choice to drop her from the story so every player gets to see them start to redeem themselves.

Ashley is also a light-skinned woman (not an alien) so her racism feels much closer to home. Many people have probably met someone like her - not overtly aggressive, but still slips out shitty opinions on those from a different background when around people they think would be cool with it. Even if they haven't she probably reminds people of those white women you hear about on the news who call police on any black person they find suspicious. The similarities to real life are so obvious, of course people are going to react more emotionally to her than the more serious actions of other crew members.

Plus, remember that in these games, murder of nameless characters is a requirement to play it - you have to kill hundreds through the combat system to see the story - so the idea of mass murder is lessened and disconnected (hence, the murderous past of Wrex or of the Quarian's - which Tali supports - don't feel like such a black mark: Every team member has to be a murderer in this game anyway)

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#95 Posted by mems1224 (2505 posts) -

@dixavd: except the white woman analogy doesn't makes sense since humanity is a minority in this universe. She's more like a minority that is distrustful of white people.

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#96 Posted by Nals (154 posts) -

She's just not a good fit.

Like the thing for me is, take a step back from the racism angle.

Tali is a natural Engineer, and incredibly adept at fixing things/robots. She's a great fit for the crew, especially as they face off against the Geth.

Garrus? Infiltrator, leader, team player, strong soldier, etc. He's got ego problems/growing pains, but he's a solid ally.

Liara? Master of Mass Effect fields, prothean research, and archeology. Great fit.

Wrex? He's a fucking tank.

Kaiden? He is described multiple times as THE BEST BIOTIC in the Alliance outside of potentially Shepard. A decorated war hero who has seen action and has commanded other troops. He's bland and one note, but he also gets along well with every single one of the other companions.

Ashley? She's a soldier. Who.....failed at soldiering. Who got kicked back to Eden Prime because her family requested she stay out of active duty/she fucked up at Academy.

The problem is both Kaiden and Ashley are one note and boring. Neither have much of a personality, Kaiden has his professionalism, and Ashley has her racism. If you "take away the racism" you get left with a blank slate character that might as well not exist.

So of the two, Kaiden is actually useful to the Alliance past Virmire. He's their top biotic, a former squad leader, and knows how to handle himself properly. Ashley is just bad muscle, which you always have plenty of.

Then you get to ME3 and Kaiden gets a personality, gets a ton more to him, and does a ton for the Alliance. Ashley stops being racist and loses all personality she has, instead becoming a party girl and getting trashed constantly, when she's not standing next to her incredibly low poly "sister.".

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#97 Edited by Dixavd (2901 posts) -

@mems1224: You spend all of the games within Human fleets where the aliens are the minorities so for the player, aliens are treated as token characters to fill slots on the team. What matters isn't humanity's actual positioning in the games (which is complicated since there is no majority race in the galaxy, and everyone treats humanity as more powerful than it currently is because of how fat the Alliance is growing) but instead how the player is made to feel about humanity (and in turn, Ashley) in spaces that the player is in.

Edited because both sentences originally made the same point and I thought it was confusing.

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#98 Posted by Max_Cherry (1594 posts) -

Give Ashley a break. She made the ultimate sacrifice in ME1. That makes her a hero in my book.

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#99 Edited by hermes (2611 posts) -

I don't share that hate. Yes, she is less than ideal in the first game, but she grows out of it by the time you reach 3. Also, when compared with the real human supremacists, her prejudices are almost innocent (and yes, despite personal likes, there are some merits to disagreeing with having foreign agents roaming around the most secret and technologically advanced military vessel in the human fleet, unsupervised). Everyone in Mass Effect reeks of stereotyping and casual racism, but that is natural when you are building a world of hats; at least Ashley gets some development out of it.

Also, I would cut Tali some slack. Yes, her views in the first game are akin to genocide, but you have to consider the context: 1) Her people have suffered greatly for countless generations because of the existence of the Geth and they haven't had contact with them for quite a long time. It is likely these are the first Geth any Quarian gets to see outside of stories and historical records, so her being biased and less openminded toward them is understandable. 2) By this point in the series (and up to pretty late in the second game), the Geth really are stereotypical evil killing machines. They are no different than Terminators or Sentinels... It is not until the introduction of Legion that we realize that there are "good Geths", capable of empathy, interest or even communication with biological beings...

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#100 Posted by NTM (11817 posts) -

I think the difference is that Ashley paints a broad brush over every alien, down to just wanting to have humans on the crew as she is skeptical of the other races. To me, she's the 'stuck in the old ways, religious conservative' kind of character. That said, I don't really dislike her. She's not my favorite, but I don't dislike her and just like the rest of the crew in the series, I kept her around and went to go have a conversation with her when I got the chance. I've also never taken Kaiden over her, ever. Plus, from what I remember, her whole racist thing was only one conversation in the entire trilogy. By the end of the trilogy, I kind of just assumed her whole racist thing had become lax as she had seen how the alien crew work with her and Shepard.