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Square Enix reponds to Deus Ex racism accusations

Thursday, 1st September 2011 16:52 GMT By Andrew Groen

Square-Enix has offered a response to allegations that one of its NPCs represents an African-American racial stereotype.


The character is known as Trash Lady, or Letitia, and is seen literally digging through the trash. In the video below, when she is approached she begs for money, and speaks in a dialect associated with the American slave period.

“Deus Ex: Human Revolution is a fictional story which reflects the diversity of the world’s future population by featuring characters of various cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds,” told GamesRadar. “While these characters are meant to portray people living in the year 2027, it has never been our intention to represent any particular ethnic group in a negative light.”

What do you think? Is this latent racism? Or is this a non-story?

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58 Comments

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  1. Droid

    Yet another thing where people dig up race issues over nothing. I think the part people should be stating here is that this is meant to be a female and yet it’s obviously voiced by a bloke. :)

    #1 3 years ago
  2. YoungZer0

    Shouldn’t have to apologize.

    #2 3 years ago
  3. Fin

    This is the first time I’ve heard the main character’s voice. Love it!

    #3 3 years ago
  4. Ireland Michael

    African-American slave stereotype? What the fuck are they talking about? There are black women now who go around talking like that!

    Heck, I know a black woman who talks like this… I guess she’s racist too, huh?

    #4 3 years ago
  5. viralshag

    I would say 1) it’s a non-issue, 2) it’s just bad voice acting and 3) the “Engrish” speaking Chinese people sounded worse to me.

    #5 3 years ago
  6. Kuwabara

    Im playing the game right now and liking it, nearly at the end, but i have to admit, i noticed a few references to black people in the game that made me think are they racist to black. This scene, thugs u encounter being black, people u meet on the street and what they had to say, the post about a nigerian girl changing her skin colour to white..

    #6 3 years ago
  7. DSB

    Awful writing, awful voice acting. I don’t think it’s racist, I just think it’s fundamentally bad.

    @1 How do you know she’s a chick? She could be “augmented” ;)

    @4 You do? That particular dialect is an awful lot like the one used by the “stupid niggers” that were pretty much all black people were seen fit to portray in American movies way up into the 60′s. I haven’t seen that particular dialect anywhere else, but I still think it’s more a case of the Deus Ex writers taking the easy road and simply going with a ridiculous stereotype, instead of bothering to create an actual character.

    @6 They aren’t exactly nice to the asians either, but it’s not worse than anything the first Hitman did.

    #7 3 years ago
  8. Droid

    @7 The big tits kinda gave it away. Granted it could have just been MeatLeaf doing some greenscreen work.

    #8 3 years ago
  9. DSB

    @8 I don’t mean to spoil anything for you, but we have fake tits now. Look up “tranny”. Hence the “augmented” :P

    #9 3 years ago
  10. KAP

    I remember when I spoke this NPC and thought wow, but then carried on with the game as normal.
    Admittly, she’s a little out of character seeing as it’s the year 2027, that would mean slavery was diminished in the 80s an 90s lol

    I don’t think it’s s massive deal, just a “ok come on guys”

    #10 3 years ago
  11. DSB

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7bE-h4hLu74

    Irresistable.

    #11 3 years ago
  12. TD_Monstrous69

    I could see on where people might be upset. But overall, seems like a non-issue, and just more like a WTF moment.

    #12 3 years ago
  13. 2plus2equals5

    I’m not afro/american, english is not my mother language and i don’t have the game, so i can’t judge, but sometimes some people sees racism where there isn’t, they are the real racists.

    #13 3 years ago
  14. hitnrun

    If depicting the world as it is qualifies as racism, put a sheet on my head.

    The interaction takes place in Detroit. De-troit. The only fault I found was that her patois is a bit country, with the dangling “s”s. (Also, I’m not entirely sure there will be a Detroit as depicted in the game in 2027.)

    Also, those who have deprived themselves of this GOTY candidate should be aware she is not a developed “character”, she’s exactly what she looks like – a throwaway one-off conversation.

    The ironic thing is that the people whining about these “stereotypes” no doubt consider themselves great proponents of artistic expression. The fundamental principle of art is capturing what is there. Maybe if their experience of black people weren’t limited to photons from a high-res lightbulb, they wouldn’t have quite so much to say on the topic.

    #14 3 years ago
  15. Kabby

    Where’s the youtube video of Jensen punching her in the face?

    I am disappoint.

    #15 3 years ago
  16. DSB

    @14 Firstly, if an NPC is placed in the game, and has a talking part, then that talking part should preferably include some form of characterisation, beyond simply a cheap stereotype.

    Secondly,

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mammy_archetype

    Again, I don’t think they intended to play on that sort of thing, I just don’t think they cared enough to avoid it.

    I’d like to see all the black people walking around talking like it’s the 1950′s. I’ve been in some fairly black areas of the US, and I haven’t run into anyone talking like that, unless they were playing a maid in a 1950′s hollywood movie, or somehow scolding one another for not caring enough about their rights, by doing a parody of one of those maids.

    I also don’t see anyone claiming that they aren’t well within their rights to express themselves however they like. Freedom of expression includes the right to critisize others for what they express, however.

    #16 3 years ago
  17. Droid

    @9 Yeah I got you. Hence ‘MeatLoaf’. You not seen fight club I take it. :)

    Anyways racism will never disappear. Everyone is at least a little racist. There will always be someone or some group you don’t like, and those people who say they arent are just lying. The sooner everyone realises this the less it will be a problem.

    #17 3 years ago
  18. DSB

    @17 Hey! I’ve read the book and watched the movie about a million times :P Meatloaf wasn’t a tranny though, he just had bitch-tits from doing steroids.

    #18 3 years ago
  19. Droid

    @18 Lol I know. Nevermind. :)

    #19 3 years ago
  20. deathgaze

    @OP: Non-issue. I livewith people that talk like that. :D

    Edit: Oh yeah, and I’m pretty sure that chick is voiced by a guy. Either that or “she” is supposed to be a cross dresser. Her voice makes my subwoofer flip out.

    #20 3 years ago
  21. Ireland Michael

    The entire Chinese section of the game is one giant racial stereotype.

    I don’t see anyone calling that racist.

    The game is poorly acted and poorly written all over the place to be honest. The actress who did this probably thought she was pulling off a perfectly authentic accent.

    #21 3 years ago
  22. Gekidami

    Besides the terrible voice acting (and the fact she sounds like a man), i dont really see how this is racist. Fact is in the US plenty of people do talk like this. Same goes for RE5 in fact; People can cry and moan about the ‘tribal’ enemies all they want, it wont change the fact that yes; In Africa there are still people who live like their ancestors.

    Sorry to say, but it seems like reality is ‘racist’ to some people.

    #22 3 years ago
  23. xino

    eh?

    first of all the video was annoying, the lips wasn’t even syncing with the voice.
    The voice was very annoying too!

    and I don’t see this racist

    but you know Square Enix…their games are always stereotype!

    #23 3 years ago
  24. DSB

    I think there’s a pretty big difference between RE5 and this example. Granted, I didn’t bother to play it all the way through, but the fact that Africa is an often primitive and violent place isn’t exactly in question.

    I thought the Spanish got it far worse in RE4.

    Maybe I’m sheltered, but I haven’t run into (or seen on contemporary television) any black people from this day and age who talk like that, unless they’re trying to prove a point relating to their history, and as such I can see how drawing it into question is perfectly valid, even if I don’t support the conclusion that it’s racist.

    #24 3 years ago
  25. Uncontested

    That video made me want to gouge my ears out listening to that terrible voice acting.

    #25 3 years ago
  26. Phoenixblight

    @24

    You are pretty shelter because coming from Southern California and now living in Texas you will meet people with that dialect all the time. I even went to Louisiana to visit a friend and same thing there even more concentrated version. Though with this version it sounds pretty forced and not authentic.

    #26 3 years ago
  27. Nozz

    Wow, the thought never even crossed my mind! To me she was just another character that had useful info Jensen could use.

    EDIT: @28 – Boring, ignorant comment.

    #27 3 years ago
  28. Alakratt

    Oh great…black people bitching again…surprised they play rpgs, I thought they only played COD, basketball and football games! Should they be idk stealing in the guetto or something? Instead bitching because of a game?

    EDIT: Let me add that it’s ridiculous that almost every time devs include black as enemies or as thugs, black people start criticizing and try to influence the game. RE4 suffered from this and that’s why we got that dumbass of a partner Sheeva. So Capcom couldn’t do a RE game in Africa because automatically their racists. This and stuff you hear on the news really shows that people had enough of your racist bitching! Slavery has been over for a long time, get over it pussies!

    #28 3 years ago
  29. IL DUCE

    Yeah it seems like portraying real life is racist these days…so if there is an Emo white kid in the game or some white soccer mom, or maybe some wall street/corporate white dude who speaks very properly and wears a sharp suit is that racist? Its the slums and some ghetto bitch is digging thru trash, who gives a shit…

    Not to mention, how is the Asian accent racist, some Asians do have that accent and make R sounds for Ls…its not racism, its just reality…

    Now maybe some things are a little over the top or exaggerated but that doesn’t make it racist…unless everyone is white in the game, or they are in there lynching people for their race then its not racist…

    The media today man…what a joke

    #29 3 years ago
  30. Patrick Garratt

    Keep it clean in here, please. No bigoted remarks.

    #30 3 years ago
  31. Tech-N9ne

    @28 You’re a big fool, for your arrogant, dumbass generalization.

    I’m black, I played the game and did not even notice anything with this scene. Until silly posts like this, say black people find it racist, what black ppl? could you please show those that found it offensive? oh I see nobody knows who.

    #31 3 years ago
  32. IL DUCE

    And to add onto that…stereotyping – maybe, but racist/racism – no…

    #32 3 years ago
  33. jacobvandy

    I prefer black people talking like this rather than what a lot of them do today, which is basically omit the ending of words completely.

    “Wha di thi ca sa whe i wo sta fo anyo?”

    I’m sorry, I’m not quite grasping the pacifics…

    “Maaa, wha yo tal’n ‘bou doo?”

    #33 3 years ago
  34. triggerhappy

    What? Im black and I talk like that. I thought it was a good representation of my people. Only joking, I don’t really talk like that. Infact im not black either, im whiter than a snowy day november. But yeh, all representations of life are racist these days. I actually complained to ofcom that theres no white people in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, so there you go.

    @28: now THAT was racist, you should be ashamed of yourself.

    #34 3 years ago
  35. StolenGlory

    @28

    That is hands down, the most disgusting and idiotically close-minded post I have ever seen on this forum.

    You should be fucking ashamed. I feel ashamed just reading it.

    #35 3 years ago
  36. Alakratt

    @31
    I use logic, something your brain can’t handle. Who else other than blacks would see that as racist? Keep it cool brah, no need for name calling!

    EDIT: To everyone saying my “evil” comment is disgusting bla, bla. If you aren’t black you know that at least once, something very similar has passed thru your minds. So stop pretending that whay I said isn’t true. Anyway, I got better things to do. Deus Ex is great!!

    #36 3 years ago
  37. beast313

    @36

    Doesn’t sound like logic to me. More like stereotyping and generalization. Mix with a bunch of useless hate speech to me. Sounds like you just had the chance to spew garbage and did.

    I am black. Your last statement proves just who and what you are. No more discussion is needed.

    #37 3 years ago
  38. OrbitMonkey

    @37 He works for Square Enix obviously ;)

    #38 3 years ago
  39. Noodlemanny

    There are only Asian and Black non-important characters and ones displayed badly because of society. Call me racist but think about how many movies have white protagonists. There are the are big actor players who are black like Will Smith but the list of white is just endless. Its almost all because Hollywood makes most of the movies we see but the effect is that ‘people’ just connect with ‘white’ better. Because everyones just more used to that and are comfortable with it. Its human nature. Of course this isn’t always true. We’re all individually the same.
    I haven’t really explained myself very well but I can’t really think of a better way to say it. But its true.

    @Alakratt
    Your the problem, no one would see racism where there isn’t any if it weren’t for people like you.
    EDIT Because then racism wouldn’t exist.

    #39 3 years ago
  40. Yoshi

    This is exactly why we don’t have different races for main characters and instead filled with American main character… go the FUCK UP INDUSTRY :) = Industry grows up = games grow up = more variety :) <3

    #40 3 years ago
  41. Clupula

    One of my jobs occasionally takes me into Harlem. I have heard multiple people who speak exactly the way she does. I don’t hear any racism here.

    His voice, on the other hand? I don’t think I could have a conversation with someone doing the Solid Snake/Batman voice without asking them why they were talking like that.

    #41 3 years ago
  42. Fin

    Woah, this got way more racist since I left.

    #42 3 years ago
  43. Kuwabara

    She was very useful and a big help in the game, atleast she wasnt a enemy or random stranger. People do still talk like that, and for all we know she grew up on the streets.

    #43 3 years ago
  44. lexph3re

    It’s really entertaining to see how many of the users here aren’t black/african american/multi-cultural.lol probably more entertaining then the statement that Whites are more relateable then anyone else. Man there’s some douche bags on this site.

    #44 3 years ago
  45. Kuwabara

    Reminds me of the green mile, loved that movie.

    #45 3 years ago
  46. sg1974

    Don’t think I’ve ever heard a white guy speak like that.

    Racist bastards.

    #46 3 years ago
  47. cluongo

    So what? Tao speaks with a broken-chinese english accent, why isn’t that being brought up? It’s the way these people talk…it’s not racist in any way shape or form. Just like Jenson has a typical white hero accent.

    The only reason it was brought to attention? Because shes black. Typical black race card and honestly I’m getting so god damn sick of this shit. Why do African Americans feel so entitled to everything just because they were slaves some 50+ years ago. Get over it. Maybe if you stopped talking like that, no-body would depict you with such vocabulary.

    The real racists in this? The black people who brought this up in the first place. Everyone is ALWAYS looking for free money in America, unfortunetly. Black people KNOW they can easily exploit any situation and call it “race” related. This is called the race card.

    Square Enix your fine. Keep making games. Dont let ignorant ill-informed uneducated people try to stand in your way

    #47 3 years ago
  48. lexph3re

    umm I don’t think a single person has brought up a lawsuit approach. And overly generalizing as only black people are the one’s bringing this to peoples attention goes to show how dumb you are. And, it also shows exactly what you think of the non entitled people. Also, I don’t think you understand a single thing about black/african/Multi-cultural people if you claim it’s all over JUST slavery. Try the fight for equal rights as well you dick. Last time I checked you claiming a demographic are uneducated also shows how much of a moron you are. Jeez, Just how many people showed their true colors off this topic is more amazing then the actual article.

    #48 3 years ago
  49. DSB

    @26 Well I spend time in AL and MS myself every year, both of which are pretty heavy on the dialect, but I’ve never heard anything resembling 1950′s negro-speak, personally.

    I just get a sneaking suspicion that people are mistaking standard street drawl and southern drawl, with a dialect that essentially died along with segregation, for obvious reasons, since it was explicitly used to portay negros as submissive and stupid.

    It’s all in the enunciation. You can say the same words, with the same grammatical errors, but have it point to something completely different depending on where you put the emphasis.

    I’ve personally never heard anyone talk anything like that unless they were mocking someone with references to segregation, which is obviously why the above clip is getting the attention it’s getting. Even if that dialect has survived somewhere, it will always be tied to those things.

    It sounds to me like an exagerated version of a Georgia dialect, so I guess it must’ve travelled a bit. I’d love to see some videos of people still talking like that. It’s news to me.

    #49 3 years ago
  50. Phoenixblight

    @49

    Just because you don’t hear it or see it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. ANd generally the people I am talking about are beyond 60 years old or Louisiana.

    #50 3 years ago
  51. DSB

    @50 Well, that really just makes it less difficult to see how some make the connection. She doesn’t look 60 to me, and given the year the game takes place, she certainly doesn’t look 76.

    #51 3 years ago
  52. Phoenixblight

    Well its a game and its being done by someone that is a horrible voice actor it doesn’t some authentic and it sounds forced. Just bad VA doing bad acting.

    #52 3 years ago
  53. IL DUCE

    Now after watching this video…Totally sounds like a dude doing that voice and it’s not really racist whatsoever, just a abysmal voice acting and is more like an impression of a tranny than anything else…

    #53 3 years ago
  54. Kuwabara

    Dedicated to those who think its racist

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sfjzKYXzsjA

    #54 3 years ago
  55. albo88

    that’s the typical transsexual nigger lol here in Italy we have a lot of them watch out what do you pick on the streets in dark

    #55 3 years ago
  56. StolenGlory

    @55

    Less of the n-word please.

    #56 3 years ago
  57. DSB

    @52 Yup. I agree, I don’t think they’re making a statement on race, I just think they’re too incompetent to realize what it looks like.

    I wouldn’t blame anyone for not realizing that if they haven’t actually seen how poor the rest of the writing is, though. If you’re only looking at that clip, then it’s easy to draw that conclusion.

    Looking at the team in the pictures of the credits, they have plenty of different ethnicities, which really just makes it more of a weird choice.

    I mean again, if it is somehow a common dialect around Michigan (where I believe Michael lives) or northern America, then that would be pretty interesting.

    #57 3 years ago
  58. Alakratt

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sfjzKYXzsjA

    Ya’ll this the shiii!!!

    #58 3 years ago