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Do You Think We Will See a Nintendo Game With a Minority Lead? [roundtable]
 
That is to say, a lead character that isn't white, straight, or cis.

A few Nintendo games let you create your own avatar like Splatoon, Animal Crossing, and the Miis in general but let's step back from those and talk specifically about named characters with their own story and defined character traits.

Has it happened already in some lesser known title? I've been trying to think of characters that aren't white in Nintendo games and so far the only major example I can think of is Ganondorf.

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Posted: 11/02/16, 22:12:59
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@DapperDave

You're attempting to oversimplify here. Racism isn't a numerical scale that we agree on. There exist real racism issues. Denying that they exist is just diet racism. Does it make the people who do it akin to hate groups like the KKK? No, but it is enabling a racist system to continue unchecked.



There's hateful racism as well as ignorant racism. Hell my grandmother can say kind of racist stuff but in a patronizing, caring way. It's not all the same degree of bad but they are all different degrees of racism.

@J.K. Riki

Don't dismiss media as something that is frivolous. TV shows aren't where people should base their views but they are part of culture and culture very much shapes us and our opinions on both a conscious and subconscious level. As people, we are the sum of our experiences. Consuming media is part of that experience and can affect us drastically. Surely there has been some form of media that changed your view on the world.
Posted: 11/03/16, 21:27:53  - Edited by 
 on: 11/03/16, 21:33:44
DapperDave said:
You're saying because those who interact with you aren't color-blind, they will interact with you differently and thus your identity becomes different. If only people treated others like their race was insignificant then this wouldn't happen. But, as you already stated, you're against color-blindness.

Yes, I'm against color-blindness because in my experience it never means "treating others like their race was insignificant". It's usually a way to avoid discussing racism.

DapperDave said:
I get it though. I think you're saying that because some people will interact with a minority negatively due to their race, then color-blind people who wish to ignore race do nothing to offset this discrimination. So rather than a color-blind attitude, we need to fight to offset the discrimination by giving positive discrimination to people based on race. It's like a balancing act to achieve equality.
It sure is a balancing act.


I have zero fears of Stephen calling me a racist. I don't think it's gonna happen, but if it did, I'd be interested in his argument. Perhaps he saw something I ignored.
Posted: 11/03/16, 21:31:12  - Edited by 
 on: 11/03/16, 21:34:51
@Secret_Tunnel

Here's the big, big problem with "positive discrimination." It encourages racism. It literally causes a group of people who want race to be a nonfactor (the "colorblind" folks, I guess we're calling them) to be discriminated against not for something they did but because other ignorant people are being jerks. Because that's the other side of positive discrimination. It's a scale, yeah? So if you add some to one side of the scale, the other side is like "Hey, what the eff?" Then that side gets upset. And "upset" leads to "anger" and "anger" leads to "hate" and "hate" leads to Yoda. And made the problem worse, you have.

And that game, which is a cool thought experiment don't get me wrong, requires that people think in terms of "people like me." That IS RACISM. The game literally requires racism to function. That is saying "I'm different than that Shape Being because I am a triangle and he is not." If all those shapes considered being part of communities that were like them in terms of Shape Beings, any move would be valid. But it's not, because racism.

I truly do not understand at all the middle section of that game site where, when things are already segregated, no one moves if you slide the bar to 0% and everyone is perfectly happy. That is... wrong, somehow? Because literally everyone in that environment is happy. Everyone. And this "isn't a solution" because... no one had to move or be unhappy? Because... they HAVE to move... because... someone said so? SUPER confused at that logic.

Stephen said:
[
Don't dismiss media as something that is frivolous. TV shows aren't where people should base their views but they are part of culture and culture very much shapes us and our opinions on both a conscious and subconscious level. As people, we are the sum of our experiences. Consuming media is part of that experience and can affect us drastically. Surely there has been some form of media that changed your view on the world.

So then I guess my suggestion is stop doing that it's really, really bad.

Yes, plenty of media has changed my view of the world. Real media. Truth, and reality. Not some white guy cast as a programmer on Elementary or CSI:Scotland. Good heavens, I shudder to think of basing my views of the world on the trash I see on entertainment TV today. Makes me want to throw up, what a horrible life that would be. Yuck.
Posted: 11/03/16, 21:41:26  - Edited by 
 on: 11/03/16, 21:45:49
Secret_Tunnel said:

I think you basically nailed it with your first two paragraphs, which is really heartening. People on the internet listening to each other!

Thanks. I hope I'm only trying to show that I understand the argument and explain where I disagree. And if I misunderstood and misrepresented the argument, then I hope they will correct me. I don't harbor any ill will to those who disagree with me. Not unless someone says "you disagree with me, therefore you're racist."

To address your third paragraph, this game is a really really awesome showcase of how a little bit of "positive discrimination" can improve society. Takes five minutes to play in your browser, check it out.

There's no perfect solution, but I think one thing to shoot for would be, for example, let's make it so that there aren't a ton of black people born in ghettos. There's one concrete thing we can work on crossing off the list. It's not about coddling people of other races, it's about acknowledging, "oh shit, your life really has been pretty different from mine."

It's a pretty neat game. I'm not against all forms of positive discrimination. I know it seems that way because I'm challenging the idea. Personally I don't like the idea that neighborhoods are divided by race and I would possibly support measures that attempted to correct this, even if there was a small cost to individual liberties.

I don't think we realistically need to worry about a situation where white people are suddenly being discluded from everything because we're so focused on giving special privileges to people of other ethnicities. And if that does happen in a hundred years, I think those humans will be much smarter about this stuff than we are today.

I'm not really concerned with white people being excluded. I'm concerned that a lot of these ideas to correct racism are going to backfire (have backfired) and actually created more racial division.
Posted: 11/03/16, 21:49:11
@J.K. Riki

Again, it is not at all racist to observe that one group of people is unfairly burdened. In an idyllic society, yes, race would be a total non-issue and colour blindness would be the preferred option. We are very, very far away from that. We can all agree that people should be equal regardless of ethnicity, religion, gender, orientation etc. But that's the problem it is very much a 'should' at this point. Because right now it just flat out isn't the case.
Posted: 11/03/16, 21:52:43
@J.K. Riki

You can recognize that some people are different from you in a positive way though, right? That's not racism. Having a fun time going over to your Asian friend's house for dinner because his parents were Chinese immigrants who taught him to make authentic Asian cuisine, and showing an interest in his upbringing that was different from yours because of his ethnicity... that's not racist! That's great! Variety is the spice of life, and that goes for our friends too!

Look closer at that section of the game: the shapes on the edges are happy, but the ones who are deep within the segregated areas are " ". They're bored of being surrounded by people just like them! I mean, in real life, obviously white people living in suburbs who haven't talked to someone of another race in years can be perfectly happy, but that's way less interesting, right? THINK OF THE AUTHENTIC CUISINE!!!

The thing is, acknowledging fun differences is... well, the fun part. You've also gotta admit that a lot of (not all; we've all got that lucky, kinda privileged middle-class black friend who acts super white) people of other races have faced discrimination, or have started out with less than you, and it's important to show empathy for them. It doesn't have to be "DISCRIMINATION 💀," it's just understanding that people are different.
Posted: 11/03/16, 22:00:43
J.K. Riki said:
@Secret_Tunnel

Here's the big, big problem with "positive discrimination." It encourages racism. It literally causes a group of people who want race to be a nonfactor (the "colorblind" folks, I guess we're calling them) to be discriminated against not for something they did but because other ignorant people are being jerks. Because that's the other side of positive discrimination. It's a scale, yeah? So if you add some to one side of the scale, the other side is like "Hey, what the eff?" Then that side gets upset. And "upset" leads to "anger" and "anger" leads to "hate" and "hate" leads to Yoda. And made the problem worse, you have.

And that game, which is a cool thought experiment don't get me wrong, requires that people think in terms of "people like me." That IS RACISM. The game literally requires racism to function. That is saying "I'm different than that Shape Being because I am a triangle and he is not." If all those shapes considered being part of communities that were like them in terms of Shape Beings, any move would be valid. But it's not, because racism.

You're making all my points better than I am.

J.K. Riki said:
It sure is a balancing act.

And who is going to administer this balancing act? The government?
Posted: 11/03/16, 22:02:52
This...isn't about Nintendo anymore, is it?
Posted: 11/03/16, 22:14:13
Secret_Tunnel said:
@J.K. Riki

You can recognize that some people are different from you in a positive way though, right? That's not racism. Having a fun time going over to your Asian friend's house for dinner because his parents were Chinese immigrants who taught him to make authentic Asian cuisine, and showing an interest in his upbringing that was different from yours because of his ethnicity... that's not racist! That's great! Variety is the spice of life, and that goes for our friends too!

Look closer at that section of the game: the shapes on the edges are happy, but the ones who are deep within the segregated areas are " ". They're bored of being surrounded by people just like them! I mean, in real life, obviously white people living in suburbs who haven't talked to someone of another race in years can be perfectly happy, but that's way less interesting, right? THINK OF THE AUTHENTIC CUISINE!!!

I kind of want to zone in on this. When you say "you can recognize that some people are different from you in a positive way" it makes me want to yell "people of a different race are NOT different than me! That's the very idea we're trying to eliminate!" And I think the confusion rests in conflating race with ethnicity and culture and nationality.

You've probably heard someone else points this out before. But it's more than a pedantic distinction, it's everything. Race is just skin color. It's meaningless. It's a social construct. It alone doesn't make you different (though if it causes others to treat you differently then it can cause a difference). You can't judge someone by their race because it doesn't mean anything.

But culture is significant. It's ideas, traditions, beliefs, etc. These things do make us different. And while it's good to be around diverse cultures, I think it's okay to not like everything about a culture and that doesn't make you racist (as I've defined race here, maybe it does to you?). Personally, I'm not a big fan of cannibals.
Posted: 11/03/16, 22:15:59
Cool Trojan Horse, brah

Secret_Tunnel said:

There's no perfect solution, but I think one thing to shoot for would be, for example, let's make it so that there aren't a ton of black people born in ghettos.

Next week I'll be doing my part to help just that. You can, too.

Secret_Tunnel said:

You can recognize that some people are different from you in a positive way though, right? That's not racism. Having a fun time going over to your Asian friend's house for dinner because his parents were Chinese immigrants who taught him to make authentic Asian cuisine, and showing an interest in his upbringing that was different from yours because of his ethnicity... that's not racist!

And unfortunately, theres a pocket of the population that thinks you're racist for just that right there, all of it.
ESPECIALLY if you try to make that same food yourself some day. Interesting times on the internet nowadays.
Posted: 11/03/16, 22:36:50
TriforceBun said:
This...isn't about Nintendo anymore, is it?

Yeah, I aborted a post as I was typing up some point about Obama.

Let's try to keep the conversation Nintendo-focused, or at the very least representation-focused.
Posted: 11/03/16, 22:39:16
DapperDave said:
I kind of want to zone in on this. When you say "you can recognize that some people are different from you in a positive way" it makes me want to yell "people of a different race are NOT different than me! That's the very idea we're trying to eliminate!" And I think the confusion rests in conflating race with ethnicity and culture and nationality.

Hmm... this is actually a really good point. I guess I was purposely using an extreme example to show how race can signify a large difference between people. Because all people are different from you in the sense that you're not clones, they're just different from you in different ways.

So, cultural differences are the hugest, and they usually signify racial differences, but not always; it kinda goes back to the whole "IS MARIO A MINORITY!?" debate from earlier. Culturally, yeah, he loves spaghetti and is a Roman Catholic, but racially, he's just a white dude. Will he suffer discrimination because of his Italianism? Maybe.

...and racial differences often don't signify cultural differences. That middle-class black guy who was your next-door neighbor? He's pretty much the same as you from a cultural perspective. But because he's black, he'll still have to deal with at least a little bit of racism--and he's representing a best-case scenario! And that's not even taking into account all the psychological stuff that goes with being surrounded by white people both in real life and in all of Nintendo's games. (Ha! This post is about Nintendo still!)

It's such a tricky thing to deal with, which is why it's so important to hear people's stories rather than write them off because they don't fit the formula that we happen to believe in. Don't write off a black guy's problems because you're colorblind, don't assume an Italian has never faced discrimination because he's white, and don't proclaim that all white men are automatically more privileged than all black women. There are so many different dimensions that make up who a person is!

So I guess pro-diversity initiatives in regards to race won't always work, and sometimes you'll end up excluding an unprivileged white dude... but I guess on average, race is a good enough thing to go off of, because at least that way you know you're getting people who are pretty different in at least one way, if not more?
Posted: 11/03/16, 22:42:18  - Edited by 
 on: 11/03/16, 22:43:10
@Guillaume

My Ice Climber point has been discarded, apparently. I guess it made sense and went against the narrative.

And if we're talking about games appearing on Nintendo systems (but not MADE by Nintendo)? Destiny of an Emperor is great and is 100% Chinese-looking Chinese people (and an awesome story from years gone by), and Karnov is definitely not white. Nor is the Prince of Persia, or Shantae.
Posted: 11/03/16, 22:42:53
Secret_Tunnel said:

It's such a tricky thing to deal with, which is why it's so important to hear people's stories rather than write them off because they don't fit the formula that we happen to believe in. Don't write off a black guy's problems because you're colorblind, don't assume an Italian has never faced discrimination because he's white, and don't proclaim that all white men are automatically more privileged than all black women. There are so many different dimensions that make up who a person is!

I'm in favor of trying not to assume things about other people in general (that includes assuming someone has racist motivation behind their differing opinions).
Posted: 11/03/16, 22:54:14
How about Doc Louis?
Posted: 11/03/16, 22:54:28
I wrote a pretty long post and the site ate it. Who programmed this garbage site? Oh... yeah.

I dunno. I live with an Asian child of immigrants so I have learned a lot about why a lot of this stuff matters to her. A lot of it comes down to the fact that things ARE different for her, and were even MORE different for her parents, because they are Asian, and ignoring that makes her feel like you're erasing her reality for some kind of let's all hold hands kumbaya hippie nonsense that denies the unique issues her and her family faced for being Asian in a white-dominated world (Toronto and now Chicago, in her case.) Her being an Asian person navigating a primarily white-controlled culture is never NOT going to be a thing.

But I'm not going to speak for her so, whatever. I'd just suggest talking to a variety of people different than yourselves if you want to really understand why representation matters to members of marginalized / minority groups. And if you speak to a wide variety of marginalized people and really listen to what they are saying and still feel like none of this should matter well, then you're entitled to feel however you want, but I find it hard to have sympathy for a view that basically comes down to "these people who experienced something that I, by definition, have no experience of are wrong for feeling differently about it than I do and I'm just going to keep insisting that it shouldn't matter anyway."

And I'm especially going to have no sympathy for you if your views extend to "and actually them caring about this makes them the true racists."

Honestly at this point I'm mostly done with endlessly trying to explain why this matters to people who don't want to consider the viewpoints of marginalized people about their representations in media. I mostly just ignore the noise and keep pushing for more (and maybe more importantly, better) diversity regardless.

DapperDave said:
I kind of want to zone in on this. When you say "you can recognize that some people are different from you in a positive way" it makes me want to yell "people of a different race are NOT different than me! That's the very idea we're trying to eliminate!" And I think the confusion rests in conflating race with ethnicity and culture and nationality.

Well, scientifically speaking I think the idea of distinct races has pretty much been obliterated. But culturally speaking it is usually just a stand-in for ethnicity and culture and nationality, etc. and in that respect race has cultural reality. Regarding this, a lot of people do not want to be seen as "the same" but to have their differences be accepted (ideally embraced but one step at a time I guess) and to be seen as true equals.
Posted: 11/03/16, 22:57:56  - Edited by 
 on: 11/03/16, 23:14:38
@DapperDave

It has already been ruled that Little Mac is the star of the show, even in Doc Louis' Punch-Out!! Can't make this stuff up.
Posted: 11/03/16, 23:00:20
pokepal148 said:
I give this thread about 3 more pages before being locked.

Wouldn't surprise me. An overly cynical person would be questioning the timing of this thread too. Zero, Mustache and myself *just* had an exchange about how nice the place has been since we've all made the unspoken effort to keep the politically charged issues away from NW over the last year. But here we are, dancing to the tune again. Sigh.

I don't have the energy or time to keep pointing out all the problematic issues with some of the things people here are saying, especially when the counter-argument is likely to boil down to 'that's racist'. It's already started with Stephen and Dave. Oh joy.

So I'm going to go on the record and just state that JKR is basically nailing pretty almost everything I want to say. Kudos.

Oh and in the spirit of Grant's contribution, I'll just point out Nintendo's *other* big lead character. The one that (in some form or another at least) predates Mario. The one who is black:

Posted: 11/03/16, 23:00:25  - Edited by 
 on: 11/03/16, 23:01:02
Mr_Mustache said:
@DapperDave

It has already been ruled that Little Mac is the star of the show, even in Doc Louis' Punch-Out!! Can't make this stuff up.

High goal posts.
Posted: 11/03/16, 23:08:35
Zero said:
And if you speak to a wide variety of marginalized people and really listen to what they are saying and still feel like none of this should matter well, then you're entitled to feel however you want, but I find it hard to have sympathy for a view that basically comes down to "these people who experienced something that I, by definition, have no experience of are wrong for feeling differently about it than I do and I'm just going to keep insisting that it shouldn't matter anyway.".

"wrong for feeling differently about it than I do" is kind of vague. Are you saying that I should not disagree with proposals made by someone who "experiences something that I, by definition, have no experience of", in other words, I "feel" those proposals are "wrong"?
Posted: 11/03/16, 23:14:32
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