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#101 Edited by North6 (1094 posts) -

I always thought it was pretty clear that Ashley was the obvious "low hanging fruit" "beat you over the head with this" introduction to the race relations storylines. Conversely, the Tali / Geth one is a bit more contemplative, smartly wrapped in a sapient "What is life" package and then wrapping that in "Hey, even though the Geth are a race of sapient beings, they're being mind controlled". I think the conclusion most people draw is that there is widespread understanding of Tali's prejudice, but it is what it is, good reason or not.

Would the Krogan have conquered the galaxy? Did the Salarians have to do what they did (and then did again under Mordin)?

Ashley isn't irredeemable, quite the opposite (this should be obvious, given how early on she's introduced). Ashley is a test to see which parts of the race relations flowchart you are willing to engage with. The game *forces* you to confront at least some aspects of race / species relations, whether its through your engagement with it, or your choice to ignore it.

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#102 Posted by OurSin_360 (6133 posts) -

I don't know, but man i swear this exact thread was made a few years ago, like word for word.

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#103 Posted by Corvak (1967 posts) -

Shes not irredeemable, though Bioware opted to never really do much about it.

Ashley (and Kaidan, really) are kinda one-dimensional, especially in the first game. Bioware didn't do super great with character development in ME1, spending far more time on worldbuilding instead. This is why the alien characters are so much more popular, they all have their racial backstories to prop them up, things Bioware really wanted players to get used to in the first game. Theres also a final gameplay reason - Ashley is a Soldier class, and most players pick Soldier as their first Shepard, so shes often the worst character to add to your team.

With Ashley, they kinda made her only real personality thing to be racist and not very trusting of other species - in the Mass Effect backstory, you can kinda understand it, particularly knowing how humans relate to each other. The other races are incredibly condescending towards humanity at the beginning of the first game - though they are actually surprisingly welcoming to humans compared to the norm, but humans only see them as something holding them back. Ashley in particular, as a survivor of Eden Prime and as a soldier in a military that is automatically untrusting from the get go due to the whole Turian war thing - she certainly has reasons to distrust aliens. When the Turian war happened, humanity went from being the only frog in a small pond to just another empire in a galaxy of empires, and they're resentful about it.

The issue I always run into - is theres no plot where Ashley can be convinced to change. And Shepard can't really align with her either. Setting aside prejudices in favor of unity vs. sticking it out on your own seems like a natural plot point in the Mass Effect universe, but they never really went for it in a way that mattered, which I suppose kinda ties into the criticism the third game got at the end.

One of the most awkward to consume truths in science fiction is the idea that FTL-capable humans are probably more likely to be the "alien invader" than the oppressed defender.

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#104 Posted by Whitestripes09 (917 posts) -

It's interesting looking back and seeing all the different ways the developers tried to get you to really feel about in-universe topics through character interactions. It just reminds me of that empty feeling I had at the end of 3 where they yanked those questions and answers right from our feet and then tried to stuff Andromeda down our throat as if that was supposed to make everything okay.

It's weird... but in some sick way I want to see a Mass Effect 4 still. Just to see whatever crazy explanation they give for the events after 3. No Andromeda or prequel bs. Just admit your mistakes and run wild with it.

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#105 Posted by BladeOfCreation (1269 posts) -

@manhattan_project: Thank you for making this thread. I think it's a good idea, if the community is discussing this particular aspect of Mass Effect at length, to make this separate from the comment section on the videos.

Your point about people responding to her racism more because she's a human character is a good one. Several people in the comment section on the video made that very same point.

Tali, Mordin, and Javik are all viciously racist. In Tali's case, her ancestors (accidentally) created a sentient race of machines and those machines slaughtered 99% of the quarian species to defend themselves. The Council races then spent the next 300 years treating the Migrant Fleet like the sci-fi equivalent of the Romani. I'm surprised she's not more hostile towards the Council races, honestly. The geth were 300 years ago and now simply a part of quarian history. The way that quarians are treated by everyone else is unconscionable.

Mordin is a monster who knows what he is and, in the (possible) end, finally has Shepard help him do the right thing.

Javik is an irredeemable smug imperialist.

All of this is affected by the fact that Mass Effect, while a great series, is still a series with tropes. The problem with the krogan is the same problem we see with orcs in fantasy. In a world with dozens or even hundreds of sentient species, it gets ridiculous to say that entire species has a certain personality type. We do it with humans, and then turn that into our fiction, and obviously fiction distorts and amplifies stuff to make us see things a certain way or feel a certain way. I think that's the case here, and Ashley's racism is the most grounded and realistic racism in the series, which is probably why people have this reaction to her.

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#106 Posted by Veektarius (6409 posts) -

Ashley isn't one of my favorite Mass Effect characters, but I do really like her. Know who my favorite ME character is? Zaeed, who likes to bet on dog fights and wants to let a factory full of innocents die so he can get revenge. So I guess maybe having a moral disagreement with a character doesn't make them a less interesting character to me, and it's weird to me that other people don't work that way.

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#107 Posted by sildfisk (36 posts) -
No Caption Provided

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#108 Posted by AlphaZro (78 posts) -

I never had a problem with Ashley, like a bunch of people said she ignorant and since we only spend a decent time with her in ME1 and her appearance in ME 2 is to be the one character that doesn't want to ride out with Cerberus even if Shepard is with them, Bioware had to condense her storyline to one game.

To be fair she perfectly fine by the end of the game even in part 2 if you have Garrus with you, she greets him like an old squadmate, she doesn't call him Turian or disregard him in any kind of way so she learns her lesson. Let's not forget the reason she is ignorant is partially due to the blacklisting and not having to actually deal with Aliens. Never mind the fact that she and Pressly have a point about having random people forget the alien part you just met poking around one of the most advanced warships in the Human Fleet is kinda stupid.

Besides most of us on here are quick to slap send Ashley to her death but call every other human character in the ME Universe boring

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#110 Posted by Onemanarmyy (4239 posts) -

It sounds like you don't like that people are FREE to call people out for being racist when they decide to not like someone based on their race. How immature of you. Get real, this is a free world, not a safe playpen for racists.

How do you even stumble on month old threads and feel the need to make an account to tell people to grow up :D