Historically-based entertainment needs racism for accuracy

Alan Rawles

Racism should be a thing of the past. The problem is that racism is still very vocal in modern times. Whether it’s a judgmental look or a stereotypical comment, racism is still alive.

Some people may ask then why racism is still around in modern entertainment. Wouldn’t racism continue to fuel racist attitudes?

Let me take it from one angle. No, some racism portrayed in entertainment shouldn’t be left out. Before you get mad and say, “of course you would say that, you’re white,” let me finish.

The scripted entertainment racism I’m supportive of is the kind used in historically accurate events.

There are plenty of entertainment based mediums such as movies, television shows and video games that have racist elements. These racist scenarios are portrayed because, at that time in history, racism was more publicly accepted than today. Let me give an example.

The video game “Ma a 3” is set in a fictional, but heavily based on, New Orleans in the 1960s. e main character, Lincoln Clay, is of mixed race. In the 1960s, the Civil Rights movement was taking place. Unfortunately, people who were not white were heavily discriminated against.

This shows in the game, and the developers made sure to let audiences know why it is in the game. Part of a message prior to starting the game states, “we felt to not include this very real and shameful part of our past would have been offensive to the millions who faced – and still face–bigotry, discrimination, prejudice and racism in all its forms.”

The developer mentions earlier in the message how they are against racism, but they wanted to make sure an accurate portrayal of the 1960’s American South was given to players.

I’m fine with this decision.

As the developer said, leaving this out would have insulted the millions of people who went through this terrible time in American history.

The Civil Rights movement is one of the most historical events of its time alongside the moon landing and the Vietnam War.

In fact, the game actually takes place in 1968, so players experience more than racism. They can see the discrimination of soldiers returning from war, and the way people in authority shrugged o crime from white citizens.

Being in control of a person who is a target for racism seems to give a greater impact than just a passive experience such as a movie.

When Clay is confronted with the Southern Union (Ma a 3’s KKK), I get a glimpse of how horrible he is treated by the insults thrown at him.

It’s especially rough when I see the reactions of white citizens in the game.

Policemen can be seen abusing any non-white citizen, and the police will even begin attacking Clay if you make him stand around them for too long.

This game lets us see our past so that hopefully we can correct our future. I’m a rm believer of learning from past mistakes.

Hopefully entertainment like “Ma a 3” can show future generations that it wasn’t always the best of times.

Our country isn’t perfect.