Being Black in Video Games

Being Black in real life isn’t super easy. Sure you always have company whenever you go shopping, even if you started alone. You’re more likely to have a living will or healthcare proxy (at least you should). Because Black folks are dropping dead like it’s Jim Crow again.
South Park’s new game recently introduced a slider that was labeled “Difficulty” and changed the character’s race. The darker you are the “harder” the difficulty. It’s funny because it’s true.

At least Fractured But Whole lets you be a person of color if you really want to. Or if you just really want to see a person of color as a hero in a video game. Continue reading “Being Black in Video Games”

Super Growth Hair Story!

Tavia and her Mum both with natural hair
That Fat baby is my big sister; Lady with the legs is our mum.
(I wasn’t alive when this picture was taken.)

I was always a “tender headed” child. That is, I cried when I got my hair combed.
I don’t remember when my mother[1. My mom is awesome and I love her to pieces and wouldn’t trade her for anything or anyone. She’s super nice and when the car dealer tried to screw me I called her to straighten them out– and she did. She’s wonderful and inspiring and shit at doing hair. She gets her’s done at a salon(not black) every weekend.] started relaxing my hair. I remember that it was probably, in part at least, my fault. At least once a week, getting my hair combed was the worst thing that could ever happen to me. It was exhausting for our whole family. Continue reading “Super Growth Hair Story!”

The Land of The Video Game Apocalypse

Video games and the apocalypse go hand in hand. Player One is always that one guy with shit to do and an appointment on Tuesday trying to make his (or her) way through this mess and help all these people out—how’d they survive before Player One came along?
But, we keep coming back to these needy people in their dangerous world because of some romanticism that we can hack it, fix it, or beat it into submission.
Of all the video game apocalypses, which is the worst; which is the best? Is it the overwhelming zombies of Resident Evil, the galactic invasions of Mass Effect, the aggressive extermination in Halo, or some other hellish scenario?
If given the choice, I’d find this Unicorn Apocalypse from the Samsung Mobile commercials and be there. I don’t know all the details of Unicorn Apocalypse I just know those are two things I need to see in one place in order to die happy.

Some of my favorite and most feared video game apocalypses

Continue reading “The Land of The Video Game Apocalypse”

Why minorities will survive the apocalypse

Young Fresh Multiracial Group - Peel and Stick Wall Decal by Wallmonkeys
Young Fresh Multiracial Group – Peel and Stick Wall Decal by Wallmonkeys… Why you want a multiracial group of strangers giving the thumbs up stuck on your wall is beyond me; but you can have it for $33.99.

In most popular media about the apocalypse minorities are pretty much Red Shirts— there because someone needs to die so it might as well be them. This was highlighted in a PinkRayGun article recapping the season finale of Falling Skies.
The Black Dude Dies First is a well trodden trope in almost all mediums, especially the post-apocalyptic genre. Terra Nova did it. The Walking Dead has championed the token minority trope— but at least they get to live. However these tropes don’t take into account the stereotypes and facts that would actually keep minorities alive in apocalyptic times.

Black people are fast and carry guns

Taboo: Why Black Athletes Dominate Sports And Why We're Afraid To Talk About ItIf Black people are faster than the rest of the people then they’re the most likely to get away. It’s like that saying/cartoon/adage[1. To be honest, I don’t know where it came from. It’s just a thing people say.]: You don’t need to outrun the bear, you just need to outrun the other person running from the bear. In this case, “Bear” would be “Zombie.”
Congrats, Black people, all you have to do is live up to the hype and you won’t be the minority for long. And if all else fails, just whip out your standard issue gun and slow some folks down like our favorite Deputy Dickbag [2. SPOILER – I’m talking about Shane from The Walking Dead.].

Asians are smart and have super-human muscle memory.

Top of the Class: How Asian Parents Raise High Achievers--and How You Can Too
While I might be in a minority of people still watching America’s Next Best Dance Crew, I’m sure if someone else had been watching they’d notice the disproportionately high number of Asians (then blacks and then Hispanics). It’s similar to the disproportionately high number or Asians in the Math, Science, and Engineering schools on college campuses.
These people[3. Yes, I see what I did there.], if they have the aptitude they’re assumed to have, will be able to out survive their majority friends. They’ll build lifesaving tech, and bust out some mind-bending dance/fighting moves to confound the enemy then scurry away through a tiny air vent that the more privileged and more obese can’t fit it.

Hispanics are shifty and travel in uncountable numbers

Latinos, Inc.: The Marketing and Making of a PeopleSurprise, Bitches! Little Jose isn’t alone.
As soon as the bandits get comfortable confronting him, sixteen dudes with chains and bats start creeping slowly from around corners. What the What?!
If Hispanics truly travel in deep, secretive numbers as it’s suggested they do, they’ve got the element to surprise built into their social culture.
We saw it on season one of The Walking Dead, there was one little boy. Then five(ish) dudes that he ran to for safety. Then a community of, like, 67 people running a co-op as though it wasn’t the apocalypse at all… Okay.

Minorities expect the worst

Passing for what you are not--whether it is mulattos passing as white, Jews passing as Christian, or drag queens passing as women--can be a method of protection or self-defense. But it can also be a uniquely pleasurable experience, one that trades on the erotics of secrecy and revelation. It is precisely passing's radical playfulness, the way it asks us to reconsider our assumptions and forces our most cherished fantasies of identity to self-destruct, that is centrally addressed in Passing: Identity and Interpretation in Sexuality, Race, and Religion.Being a minority doesn’t just mean you have super powers, it also means you’re persecuted on some other make-believe shit.   Sometimes that’s in the form of actively being hunted. Sometimes that’s verbal assaults. Often that physical violence. In Carriers (2009) there’s a scene where a bunch of redneck thugs in a pick-up truck string up an Asian man with a sign that reads: Chinks brought it.
This constant persecution and threat of violence has bread a more cautious mindset into many minority cultures. Not simply, the choice to “stick with your own kind,” but a self-preservation instinct that identifies others as not only actual, but also statistical enemenies.
By default, if you’re The Black Guy you expect to be the first to go down. The Hispanic Guy should expect to not be trusted and eventually turned on. And the Asian can expect to die second because no one will get his back.
From Nazis to the Ku Klux Klan to the Westbro Baptist Church, rightness and facts have never been the first choice for those who prey on minorities. And consistency has never really been the first choice of wrirters portraying minorities.
Maybe one day the apocalypse will come and and everyone will flood the local ghettos (because that’s where you find people of color) in a desperate attempt to recruit a few good minorities into their party. Or, maybe, one day we’ll realize minorities aren’t this amalgas concept of “people of color” as much as they’re just people. Not embodiments of concepts, standards of measurement, and especially not cannon fodder.