Friday, September 29, 2017

Racist stereotypes run amok in this video game

By Tanvi Wattal
“To make the offbeat games we know you want to play, but you didn’t think anyone had the conjones to make”. This is the mission statement of Big-O-Tree Games. If you look closely enough, you may see that their logo resembles a Chinese man with exaggerated narrow eyes – a common stereotype.
The Markham, Ontario-based company prides itself in bringing "unique" games to consumers. Their first game release is Dirty Chinese Restaurant. Centered around the restaurant owner Wong Fu, the objective of the game is to run either a “prestigious oriental establishment” or “a real filthy dive”, according to the company’s website.
Wong Fu is seen dumpster diving for ingredients, chasing cats and dogs for meat, and turning a blind eye to employees being deported. Furthermore, the characters physically embody every Chinese stereotype that the community has worked to break; Wong Fu has a big belly, mustache, and angry expression.
The company's blatantly racist logo.
Although the trailer for Dirty Chinese Restaurant was released in October of 2016, Twitter users have just recently start avidly condemning the game.
“Our game in no way is meant to be an accurate representation of Chinese culture,” said the company.
In an attempt to shatter the mold, has Big-O-Tree Games gone too far? To understand the implications of this game politically and socially we spoke to a Twitter user who has actively spoken about his distaste for the game, Karlin Chan.
He argues that the “game is based solely on Chinese/Asian stereotypes” and that the “creator used every negative stereotype possible”. To Chan, every aspect of the game is offensive: from the “rice patty hats, to the names, to the coloration of the skin tone”.

‘It has come to our attention that our small, independent game, Dirty Chinese Restaurant, has upset some people due to its content,” said Big-O-Tree-Games in a statement to AsAmNews. “Our game is mainly satire and comedy influenced by the classic politically incorrect shows we grew up watching, such as: South Park, All in the Family, Sanford & Son, Family Guy, Simpsons, and Chappelle’s Show. We also listen to Jay-Z.”
Other than the obvious surface level issues, Dirty Chinese Restaurant has a larger social impact. Chan exemplifies that the game can have a “negative impact on people who have limited exposure to Chinese people and restaurants by implying that Chinese restaurants source their ingredients from dumpsters and kill rats and dogs.”
The course of action that Chan recommends, and has followed himself, is to contact elected officials so that they can condemn the game. Furthermore, he urges everyone to contact the Apple and Google Play Stores and bring the flaws of the game to their attention. Taking away their platform will not only send out a strong message against bigotry, but also set a precedent for handling hateful media.
Dirty Chinese Restaurant has attracted the attention of Rep. Grace Meng. The Vice-Chair of the Democratic National Committee took to Facebook to reprimand the company and express her concern about what it signifies.
“I wish I could say that I was shocked that there is a new video game soon to be released called “Dirty Chinese Restaurant.” This game uses every negative and demeaning stereotype that I have ever come across as a Chinese American. From the names used for the characters of the game, to the types of food they cook, to the disturbing depiction of their faces, this game epitomizes racism against Asian Americans. I fear that prejudice against and othering of Asian Americans remainss a form of racism that is too frequently brushed off and tacitly accepted. Racism against Asian Americans is just as harmful and pernicious as racism against any other group, and we must call it out when we see it. How we portray people matters. I urge Google, Apple, Android, and any other platform to not carry the game Dirty Chinese Restaurant, or any other game that glorifies in hurting any community.”
One wonders if Markham, would have created an "offbeat" game featuring a Sambo eating watermelon. Or, are Asians fair game? WE might as well "unpun" the name of of the company and call it for what it really is - BIGOTRY!

EDITOR'S NOTE: Views From the Edge added the last paragraph to this report.

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