Homefront: Videogame or Racist Generator?
Note to my new fans, there won’t be any news related to TU’s 2011 March Madness run today. Tomorrow we will have a full recap of the Tulsa-Arizona first round game (Tip at 2:45PM Eastern at the BOK Center) up shortly after that game’s conclusion. Until then, please enjoy this thought-provoking (see: completely asinine) article about racism and videogames, or check out the three articles that seem to have set off the madness:
OK, back to the story.
As I mentioned a few days ago here, a new videogame entitled Homefront has come out, which I now have in my possession. For those of you not in the know, Homefront is set in the United States in the year 2027, where the player charged with fighting off an occupation by Korea, which has come to control most of the world. I won’t bother spending too much time explaining how this world came to be, as the backstory is summed up nicely in this video produced by the developers, which plays the first time the game is loaded into your console.
I was really excited to see what
the bay area would look with so many Asians it would be like to play a first person shooter game with urban warfare set in places like San Francisco, so I pre-ordered a copy of this game and picked it up on Tuesday.
By the way, in case you were offended by the joke in the last paragraph, let me share a story with you. The first time I came to San Francisco it was on a school trip where I traveled with an Asian girl from Tulsa who had been adopted into a white family. She had since assimilated into white Oklahoma culture much like my friend and groomsman Michael, whose denouncement of his culture I documented in this post.
Anyway, as I walked through the San Francisco airport with this girl, she grabbed my arm and pulled herself close to me. Realizing that this was likely not a move of affection (or at least I assumed) I said “What the Hell?” (In retrospect, I hope I’m right on that not being a grab of affection, otherwise I’m looking like quite the jerk). She responded with “I’m afraid of Asian people.” It was at this moment I looked around and realized that the San Francisco airport was completely full of Asians, if I had to guess, there were something like a billion Asians there. Then I had a second realization.
“But you are Asian”
“I know, but I’m not that Asian, they freak me out.” I later found that she used the word “that” to mean she carried a much lower magnitude of Asian-ness, as opposed to meaning she was a different type of Asian. A quick Google search enabled me to determine that degree of Asian-ness is measured on the “Chan” scale.
I told the girl that she had no need to fear, as the Asians were unlikely to take her back to her homeland since she had become too dumb and spoiled as a result of her being raised by rich white people (OK, I didn’t actually say that).
So I brought up that story for two reasons. First, to defend the questionable joke I made earlier, but more importantly to explain how I think it would be entirely possible for somebody from Oklahoma could come to San Francisco after seeing that back-story video and believe the fictitious occupation had begun. I could just see the story now:
San Francisco, CA: A man from Edmond, Oklahoma was arrested at SFO airport today after he tackled 4 Chinese men while yelling “Korean Scum! This is my country.”
Clevon Earnhardt, who legally changed his last name from “Smith” last month in remembrance of the 10 year anniversary of the death of NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt, was arrested for assault at the scene. Earnhardt, 29, had to be tasered, as he resisted being subdued by airport security, who were themselves Asian.
Witnesses reported that Earnhardt had this to say as he was taken into custody, “This is a damn nightmare! You watch out, these colors don’t run!”
Police later told reporters that Earnhardt had been under the impression that Koreans had taken over San Francisco based on a videogame that he claimed was “very realistical.”
When told of the news Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin pledged three million dollars of state funds to a campaign to educate Oklahomans that Asian people had not taken over California but are just much more common there. The administrator of the campaign said he hopes to purchase 500,000 custom Oklahoma Sooner baseball caps inscribed with the slogan “Asia is not the enemy, Texas is.”
Believe it or not, the game features even more overt racism. In one sequence, a pair of Korean soldiers jump out of a crashed airplane, at which point one of the characters in the game yells “G***s (slur for Asians, you can figure this out) in the fuselage.”
The weird thing about that was that I didn’t catch it the first time it was said. However, I was killed shortly after the point and the game restarted from just before that point. The second time I heard it I responded with “Oh my God, did they really just say that?” The third time I heard it I thought “They really did say that!” However, after the seventh time my character was killed in the exact same spot and I restarted at that point I was pretty much ready to join the game in its Korean hatred.
Later I wondered, is it really that easy to turn someone horribly racist? I apparently was ready to turn against any race that dared stand in the way of my videogame progress. I’m glad I wasn’t in the actual Korean war, if for no other reason than I imagine I would terribly racist.
Alright, Corndoggers, time to get back to the game. Still fighting in middle America somewhere, though the game promises we’re working our way to San Fran. Oh, wait a second… the character you control is a Korean-American born in Oakland? You just blew my mind, Homefront.
Tune back tomorrow as I’m sure you’ll want to hear about what happened in the Tulsa-Arizona basketball game. I can promise it will be entertaining. Until then, uh, goodbye (I really need to work on those sign-offs).