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Because We Can't Have Nice Things: Scribblenauts Racism! Breaking!

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EternalGamer

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amtentori said:
i would say that they fact that they overlooked it proves that they are not racist.
It didnt even cross their minds. when race is a non issue, thats when racism ends, not when you are being overly cautious and patronizing by being extremely careful not to offend certain groups.
Yeah, fine they aren't racist, I never said they were. That still doesn't make it not stupid and a fuck up. You can do dumb shit even when you don't INTEND to do it. The racist connotation is the primary meaning of the word and it is the one most people know. Far more people know that than know about the gourd. It isn't expecting too much to say they should have been aware enough to know that.

"I didn't know any better" isn't always a pass from any type of culpability nor should it be.
 
JoeFu said:
If anybody needs to do more homework, its Kotaku. THE FIRST GOOGLE SEARCH FOR SAMBO IS RUSSIAN MARTIAL ARTS OMFG RACIST
Oh yeah, they woulda googled it and seen that the devs were referring to martial arts when the watermelon popped up...

Even wikipedia and the entire front page of google don't reference a fig gourd when you search for Sambo. Of course these are comprehensive searches by any means but to act like someone finding out that Sambo produced a watermelon in the game should've thought of russian martial arts first or that its even remotely common to use that term in reference to Fig gourds is laughable. Again, it's obvious the devs meant no harm, but to say it's outrageous to make the connections to racism is equally ridiculous.

JoeFu said:
Before today, I had no idea what sambo was. Now I know its a gourd and was a blackface thing back in the day. The thing is it was a gourd before it was a blackface racial comic or whatever. and guess what, sambo is still a gourd. LIke other posters pointed out, if you don't live in america, sambo is a gourd, and not a racial term, and even IF YOU DO live in NA like I do, you probably found out today it was used as a racial term.
:lol Yeah, because you've never heard it until now it's only been used "back in the day."
 

RSLAEV

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Apr 5, 2006
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laserbeam said:
Agreed I feel really bad for Jackson and 5th Cell. Kotaku is taking a page from Jimmy Carters playbook apparently.




Funny enough the first find Google.com,Bing.com etc bring up is the Russian Martial Art. Words can have multiple meanings you know and considering the word in the game brings out one of its meanings that is totally harmless people need to back the fuck off the racist stuff.

"Words can have multiple meanings you know"...... I'm just going to let that sentence roll around in my head for a bit...


.....


.....


O.K. now that I'm done. This is a discussion about a game that magically creates a WATERMELON when you type the word SAMBO, am I right? I don't want to get confused. can I get a confirm/deny here please? *snaps fingers*
 

KHarvey16

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Apr 24, 2008
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Htown said:
The thing that actually offends me isn't Scribblenauts, it's the fact that nobody here seems to know that Sambo is a racist term.
Why would that offend you? I thinks it's fucking great that words like that can lose that kind of meaning over time.
 

cuyahoga

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Apr 14, 2009
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lorddarkflare said:
Concessions need not be made.

They do not need to make anyone white or black. These things(not that i am saying anything is up) are usually symptoms of a bigger societal issue and often change when those are resolved. Forced 'minorities' is also a trope.
That's why you don't force them with offensive, reductionist caricatures, just make your already whatever protagonist a minority. I don't see why whoever is the main character of Scribblenauts couldn't have been a minority.
 

EternalGamer

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KHarvey16 said:
Why would that offend you? I thinks it's fucking great that words like that can lose that kind of meaning over time.

I sort of agree that it is a positive sign. But the narcisicism of people who automatically assume because they don't know about something then it must not be a big deal to anyone else is pretty ridiculous and offensive.
 

JoeFu

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EazyB said:
Oh yeah, they woulda googled it and seen that the devs were referring to martial arts when the watermelon popped up...

Even wikipedia and the entire front page of google don't reference a fig gourd when you search for Sambo. Of course these are comprehensive searches by any means but to act like someone finding out that Sambo produced a watermelon in the game should've thought of russian martial arts first or that its even remotely common to use that term in reference to Fig gourds is laughable. Again, it's obvious the devs meant no harm, but to say it's outrageous to make the connections to racism is equally ridiculous.


:lol Yeah, because you've never heard it until now it's only been used "back in the day."
Who uses it now? If it was widely used now, wouldn't more people have known about it? I'm a 20 year old college student I've taken college history courses and have heard nothing about Sambo referenced when talking about racism in America.

Pardon me for not knowing a racist term, but what the hell does that have to do with a gourd in a game. It's like some poster said earlier, this must have been planned by the KKK, infiltrate 5th cell, get on their design team/coding/art whatever team and insert some racial term that isn't used anymore.
 

Crateman

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amtentori said:
i would say that they fact that they overlooked it proves that they are not racist.
It didnt even cross their minds. when race is a non issue, thats when racism ends, not when you are being overly cautious and patronizing by being extremely careful not to offend certain groups.
Completely agree.

RSLAEV said:
Did I stumble in to a thread of people with the audacity to claim that the term 'Sambo' doesn't have any racist connotations at all?
Yes. At least for me, someone raised in another country which is not the US.

For me, sambo was a cool Russian martial art performed by Blue Mary on the KOF series. Today I know it's a gourd and a racial slur. I'm so sorry for not knowing that beforehand.
 

HUELEN10

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A Black Falcon said:
I know a lot of people here are now trying to deny that the word means what it does, but come on. It's the most common definition, that or the book that it's taken from. Search for it in any dictionary and the first definition is the racist one. The second definition is another racist one. Dictionary.com for instance doesn't even mention this Portugese food dish they referenced, just the racist ones and the aforementioned Russian wrestling style... and their defense is that no, we only meant the ingredient and we had no clue about the racist definition? And this coming from an American developer? It's possible, sure, but it just stretches credibility. Again I agree that yeah, it probably wasn't added meaning the racist definition. But how the heck did it get through?
5th Cell had five people research words for six months for Scribblenauts, encyclopedias on chemical compounds, lifeforms, food, etc! It is VERY possible.
EDIT: I bet Jackson would tell you the same.
 

Tiktaalik

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Jak140 said:
I have the game and can confirm the above. "American Eskimo" is a dog though. "Native American" spawns a man in headdress and "Eskimo" a guy in a fur coat. Your right that it's probably a case of inadvertent ignorance rather than something done with deliberate malice. They most likely were in a precarious position whichever way they went, but they definitely should have taken an all or none approach to including ethnicities.
See this is actually much worse than the coincidence/oversight of spawning a watermelon looking thing for "sambo". This reflects how American Indians are still treated like caricatureish non persons by many. Look to the Cleveland Indians logo for an idea of what I'm getting at.
 
Well fuck all the people who are calling it racist. Let them think what they want. I'm gonna go buy the game today and enjoy it for what it is, a VIDEOGAME.

People who bring up this shit in the first place have nothing better to do then look for racist things all day. I mean honestly, you really expect me to believe the person didn't type in Sambo on purpose? :S

Also, the people who get offended by stuff like this probably also get offended at having to say "Under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance to America. I don't have a religion and I still say it. Do I get offended about it? Nope.
 

lorddarkflare

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Crateman said:
Completely agree.


Yes. At least for me, someone raised in another country which is not the US.

For me, sambo was a cool Russian martial art performed by Blue Mary on the KOF series. Today I know it's a gourd and a racial slur. I'm so sorry for not knowing that beforehand.
Stop taking it so damned personally, this is really in the context of people who live in the U.S.


I also agree with amtentori. But i do not think(or at least i hope not) that people truly believe that 5th cell is racist, just that this term IS a racial one, an carries enough weight for some to be offended, if it was not obviously something else of course.
 

EternalGamer

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HUELEN10 said:
5th Cell had five people research words for six months for Scribblenauts, encyclopedias on chemical compounds, lifeforms, food, etc! It is VERY possible, and I bet Jackson would tell you the same.
But none of the other racial epithets work. Meaning that they clearly had somebody make sure to eliminate those. But this one not only staid in but resulted in an image that reinforced the racial stereotype. I'll definitely be willing to give them the benefit of doubt that it wasn't intentionally racist, but regardless somebody fucked up in a huge way. Whoever the dude was that made sure the other terms didn't register, he (or they) screwed up big time.
 
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HUELEN10 said:
5th Cell had five people research words for six months for Scribblenauts, encyclopedias on chemical compounds, lifeforms, food, etc! It is VERY possible, and I bet Jackson would tell you the same.

As far as this "fig-leaf gourd" issue is concerned, I truly believe it was no foul. On the possible religious issue I mentioned though, I think that's different. Implying that some religions are better than others is iffy territory as is, but I would need to have it confirmed myself.
That's my point though. If you're researching words, you are going to look at their dictionary definitions. And online dictionaries don't even LIST this gourd as a possible definition, while they list many, many examples of all the ways the term is used in racist ways. They had to have known. As I said in more depth in my last post I just find it nearly impossible to imagine that nobody there responsible had any idea, given how much work they put in to avoid other stereotypes, trademarks, etc. The question is, why the heck did they leave it in?

As for the religious thing, what exactly is that? I'm not following the main Scribblenauts thread.
 

Htown

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Jackson said:
I wasn't very happy when I told them that our last game we made "Lock's Quest" had a black guy as Lock's best friend who was the lead support character in the story.

But for some reason they refused to quote me on that point. Why? Not sure, Joystiq did, that smacks of sensationalism to me. Probably because it would undermine the whole racism point.

To be honest, I like Stephen a lot, but I don't know Ashcraft from Adam. But I thought that was kinda messed up they refused to take my quote about our last game.
Uh...

Look, I don't believe for a moment that you guys had ANY racist intent whatsoever. This whole thing is clearly just a misunderstanding, and I'm really looking forward to popping my newly bought copy of Scribblenauts into my DS tomorrow...

But you realize that's just a variation on the old "some of my friends are black, I CAN'T be racist" defense, right?

All you guys need to say is that we were looking up words, and we were being thorough, and sambo is a fruit and here's a picture of it. Bam. Done. Justified, not racist, I'm satisfied. It's all good.

And let's just save the minority sidekick discussion for another day.
 

LiveFromKyoto

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EternalGamer said:
Yeah, fine they aren't racist, I never said they were. That still doesn't make it not stupid and a fuck up. You can do dumb shit even when you don't INTEND to do it. The racist connotation is the primary meaning of the word and it is the one most people know. Far more people know that than know about the gourd. It isn't expecting too much to say they should have been aware enough to know that.

"I didn't know any better" isn't always a pass from any type of culpability nor should it be.
Dude, it's a word that genuinely means something else, and they used the proper definition. Is nobody allowed to ever use that word again because of some outdated epithet from another language? Who calls anybody a "sambo" here in the 21st century? Nobody, that's who.
 
HUELEN10 said:
On the possible religious issue I mentioned though, I think that's different. Implying that some religions are better than others is iffy territory as is, but I would need to have it confirmed myself.
You could argue that since there is a God in the game at all, it's considering some monotheistic religion to be better than atheism. I don't think they're trying to claim that their object bank is a correct or endorsed way to view reality, it's just a playful and subjective representation of relationships between nouns.

People in this thread are being surprisingly reasonable and I'm learning a lot (besides definitions of words).
 

sonicmj1

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EternalGamer said:
But none of the other racial epithets work. Meaning that they clearly had somebody make sure to eliminate those. But this one not only staid in but resulted in an image that reinforced the racial stereotype. I'll definitely be willing to give them the benefit of doubt that it wasn't intentionally racist, but regardless somebody fucked up in a huge way. Whoever the dude was that made sure the other terms didn't register, he (or they) screwed up big time.
How does the image of a watermelon "reinforce" the "Sambo" stereotype? I just don't see it.

Tiktaalik is right that, if you wanted to start a racial shitstorm, depicting Native Americans with tribal headdresses would be a more logical beginning, because that actually shows and reinforces a negative stereotype. This is gross overreaching.
 

lorddarkflare

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LiveFromKyoto said:
Dude, it's a word that genuinely means something else, and they used the proper definition. Is nobody allowed to ever use that word again because of some outdated epithet from another language? Who calls anybody a "sambo" here in the 21st century? Nobody, that's who.
Sure you can use it, just not in the context where it would be found offensive.

Words have power when we give it to them. So if i called a white person a table, and i meant it as some sort of slur, you best believe that if it became popular, Table would be dirty in certain circumstances.

A word that already had history is MUCH worse.

But i see no harm in this situation, but people can and WILL overreact when it suits them. All you have to do is open your TV to a news network to see this shit happen.
 

Ca1amity

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cuyahoga said:
Sometimes I feel dumber for reading a post. This is an American commentary on an American-developed game about a term I've encountered in multiple college classes, and it is pretty salient that the piece is not targeted towards non-Americans.
One of my points exactly. "American commentary" - Kotaku doesnt purport to be the American Gamers Guide its "the Gamers guide" with editors for Japan and Oceania and dedicated sub-sites for each of those regions. If you can speak English Kotaku (theoretically) should be for you. Why is this being brought up when it is culturally relevant to your country exclusively? Also, lets not be willfully naive enough to think this feature was "targeted" to Americans, it was aimed at clicks.

So youve encountered the term when you got to college, that doesnt support the "everyone knows about it" argument very well. Also, if these classes were on race, ethnicity, or american history youre recieving highly specialized, high-level knowledge that falls well outside the "mainstream". I'm not saying people dont know the terms use - again, I said in the OP i DO and I'm not American - its just a weak argument.

Also related - who gives a shit if theyre American developers? They didnt know the particular useage of this particular word as it relates to *one* countries cultural history. Just becuase that country is America doesnt make it any more important considering the situation at hand.

cuyahoga said:
Anyways, is this anything other than an unfortunate coincidence? No, but the publisher and developer should coordinate a PR response and decide what to about this in future copies of the game to nip a potential controversy in the bud. And maybe make the protagonist of the next game a black character.
Yes, lets recall/edit the game because there is the chance that a small minority might be offended inadvertently by an honest lack of knowledge that results in a gameplay situation that is tenuously racist. Do you hear yourself?

Make the next protagonist black? Why? To apologize for this "offense"? Get out.

Edit: copy issues
 
Ca1amity said:
One of my points exactly. "American commentary" - Kotaku doesnt purport to be the American Gamers Guide its "the Gamers guide" with editors for Japan and Oceania and dedicated sub-sites for each of those regions. If you can speak English Kotaku (theoretically) should be for you. Why is this being brought up when it is culturally relevant to your country exclusively? Also, lets not be willfully naive enough to think this feature was "targeted" to Americans, it was aimed at clicks.

So youve encountered the term when you got to college, that doesnt support the "everyone knows about it" argument very well. Also, if these classes were on race, ethnicity, or american history youre recieving highly specialized, high-level knowledge that falls well outside the "mainstream". I'm not saying people dont know the terms use - again, I said in the OP i DO and I'm not American - its just a weak argument.

Also related - who gives a shit if theyre American developers? They didnt know the particular useage of this particular word as it relates to *one* countries cultural history. Just becuase that country is America doesnt make it any more important considering the situation at hand.

I don't mean to offend you in anyway, but IMO that is enough of a trope that it wouldn't quell a controversy. Why not make the protagonist a black guy?



Yes, lets recall/edit the game because there is the chance that a small minority might be offended inadvertently by an honest lack of knowledge that results in a gameplay situation that is tenuously racist. Do you hear yourself?

Make the next protagonist black? Why? To apologize for this "offense"? Get out.
Holy crap, I totally agree with this guy. By editing the game, you are verifying that it is thought as racist, and by making the next game characters race different, you are verifying that you made a mistake and have to make up for it.

Considering that the Publisher owns Scribblenauts, I doubt WB is going to do anything to change it. They will see through the shitstorm people are brewing and ignore it as if it was nothing. Then it will soon slip into the domain of the internet that no one cares about anymore.
 

HMC

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RSLAEV said:
Did I stumble in to a thread of people with the audacity to claim that the term 'Sambo' doesn't have any racist connotations at all?


a Gourd? a type of wrestling?? Give me a fucking break people!
"If it's not offensive to me, it's not offensive to anyone...kthnx" - GAF
 

Aphallatosis

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Tiktaalik said:
Also on the topic of foolhardy decisions, no one with a game available to check this fact has gotten back to me on that, at least according to the leaked list of words, you can create a whole bunch of indigenous nationalities but not any other races....
You seem to be right on this point. Native creates a dark skinned man in a large mask/headdress, Native American spawns a white dude in a feathered headdress, Eskimo a guy in a big furry jacket, Maori spawns an white girl in a grass skirt and a lei on her head, Midget spawns a little white guy in a normal outfit, and Dwarf spawns a fantasy Dwarf with a horned helmet and beard. You can't spawn Asian, African American, Black Guy, etc. Basketball Player is black, Football Player is black, and Baseball Player is white. :p

Plenty of stuff to be offended at if you want.
 

KHarvey16

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Stifling innovation and creativity through the misapplication of political correctness: check. All in a day's work.
 

EternalGamer

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LiveFromKyoto said:
Dude, it's a word that genuinely means something else, and they used the proper definition. Is nobody allowed to ever use that word again because of some outdated epithet from another language? Who calls anybody a "sambo" here in the 21st century? Nobody, that's who.
You guys keep ignoring that it is the PRIMARY definition of the word it is the one more people know. Should nobody ever be allowed to use the word again? Of course they should. If you are somewhere where there is a big plate of this fruit, knock yourself out by telling your friend to have some "sambo." But you should be aware of the context you are using it in and make it clear. In this context, it is not clear at all because that is not the association most people are going to make. And they clearly were trying to avoid other racial epithets because none of them are in the game. They just fucked up with this one and it's a pretty big fuck up.
 

IrishNinja

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ITT: we rationalize PC bullshit by mocking people who've not heard the racist slang used on our block, while ignoring both the OP and the creator posting along.

dont stop now, GAF! that game half of you made avatars from just came out, and any press is good press, yeah?:lol
 
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sonicmj1 said:
How does the image of a watermelon "reinforce" the "Sambo" stereotype? I just don't see it.

Tiktaalik is right that, if you wanted to start a racial shitstorm, depicting Native Americans with tribal headdresses would be a more logical beginning, because that actually shows and reinforces a negative stereotype. This is gross overreaching.
The very post above yours counters every word in this post. Look at those pictures and then try to say that again.

As for the Native American thing, Native Americans with feather headdresses aren't automatically negative stereotypes... stereotypes, yeah probably, but negative? Not always. This is different.

EternalGamer said:
You guys keep ignoring that it is the PRIMARY definition of the word it is the one more people know. Should nobody ever be allowed to use the word again? Of course they should. If you are somewhere where there is a big plate of this fruit, knock yourself out by telling your friend to have some "sambo." But you should be aware of the context you are using it in and make it clear. In this context, it is not clear at all because that is not the association most people are going to make. And they clearly were trying to avoid other racial epithets because none of them are in the game. They just fucked up with this one and it's a pretty big fuck up.
Indeed. Words can change definition. "Sambo" took on a racist one in the late 1800s, and that remains the definition of the word. It isn't outdated and unknown, it is current. It is the only definition of the word you will find in many dictionaries, and none of them mention the one that the game is claimed to be referencing. People who defend this can try to ignore that all they want, but it doesn't change the facts.
 

mavs

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A Black Falcon said:
Being ignorant about the law does not mean you don't have to follow it... same applies here. And it is a very well known term.
I've lived in the US my whole life and never heard the term, either as a slur or otherwise. I've only lived in very white regions but I am obviously not white myself, so if it was "very well known" I'd expect to at least hear it. Sounds more like an obscure or obsolete slur, so if it's also an actual word that refers to an actual object (one you could play in a serious Scrabble game) then it's quite legitimate in a dictionary-based game.
 

LiveFromKyoto

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lorddarkflare said:
Sure you can use it, just not in the context where it would be found offensive.
But that's just it, there's no real grounding to find it offensive. You type in sambo, you get a picture of a sambo fruit. You have to misinterpret it to find a racial conclusion.

Words have power when we give it to them. So if i called a white person a table, and i meant it as some sort of slur, you best believe that if it became popular, Table would be dirty in certain circumstances.

A word that already had history is MUCH worse.
There are crackers and snowflakes in this game. 'CISM!
 

RSLAEV

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Takin it back yo'


The worst thing isn't even the fact that this is in the game. The worst thing are the people in this thread who are trying to re-write history because the specter of racism makes them uncomfortable. Well I'm sorry but when people use the word 'Sambo' in this country they weren't talking about a gourd or some GODDAMN MARTIAL ARTIST!

You don't have to understand it because if you aren't black you probably can't understand it. When someone tells you that a word or a term is racist and offensive to them and you reply by quoting a dictionary? You don't get it-just give up. I know you feel like someone is stealing a word from you or something but trust me, you're better off not going there-you can't fight an emotional response to a word or phrase with an intellectual argument.
 

EternalGamer

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sonicmj1 said:
How does the image of a watermelon "reinforce" the "Sambo" stereotype? I just don't see it.

Tiktaalik is right that, if you wanted to start a racial shitstorm, depicting Native Americans with tribal headdresses would be a more logical beginning, because that actually shows and reinforces a negative stereotype. This is gross overreaching.
Dude, there is a huge example of an image right above you of it being used in conjuction with a black charactiture eating a watermelon. Becaues blacks were stereotyped as being dumb and lazy and just wanted to sit around and eat fried chicken and watermelon all the time.

The cultural context matters. This is an American developer and this is the primary cultural meaning in America. In a way, it is heartening that so many young people in this thread don't know about this term. But it is also disconcerting because you clearly don't know very much about the history of racism in this country then because the term was used ALL THE TIME and that is something that is a pretty important part of our nation's history to know about.

There is also another unfortunate coincidence here in that the game is published by Warner Bros and Warner Bros used to make cartoons with Sambo characters in them (hell, I remember even watching Bugs Bunny cartoons on TV as a kid only 20 years ago that had sambo characters in them).
 
RSLAEV said:
I know you feel like someone is stealing a word from you or something but trust me, you're better off not going there-you can't fight an emotional response to a word or phrase with an intellectual argument.
Hey man, thanks for posting this. I was approaching this more from a game developer's perspective, and not from a human perspective. Sorry if I said anything in this thread that upset you or invalidated your reactions or feelings, that was definitely not my intent.

I'm still pretty certain there was no racist intent and it was totally just an oversight, and I believe that's the rational interpretation, but I can still see getting upset by it. That sucks. :/
 

lorddarkflare

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LiveFromKyoto said:
But that's just it, there's no real grounding to find it offensive. You type in sambo, you get a picture of a sambo fruit. You have to misinterpret it to find a racial conclusion.



There are crackers and snowflakes in this game. 'CISM!
Thats my point, i do not think that this is offensive. I just find the fact that some people find it inconceivable that some others MAY see a reason as to why it may be inappropriate.

I see a lot of people blowing this shit out of proportion when it is quite simple:

-Game innocently references something
-The reference could be taken as seriously offensive

Thats it. There is not need for anything else.
 

gutshot

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Look, I believe Jackson's already gone on record stating that the research for many of the obscure words in the game was done in technical and scientific journals. Just going through those journals and adding any concrete nouns. Don't you think it is possible that they went through a document containing obscure foods and added sambo that way? They have tens of thousands of words in the game, I don't think they would be googling every word they were about to put in to see what popped up in image search.
 
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mavs said:
I've lived in the US my whole life and never heard the term, either as a slur or otherwise. I've only lived in very white regions but I am obviously not white myself, so if it was "very well known" I'd expect to at least hear it. Sounds more like an obscure or obsolete slur, so if it's also an actual word that refers to an actual object (one you could play in a serious Scrabble game) then it's quite legitimate in a dictionary-based game.
I live in a very white region as well and am white (this is the whitest state in the country in fact), but heard it at least in the context of the original story well before college, that I'm sure of... this isn't just some obscure word you learn in college or something! Anyone trying to represent it as that is being disingenuous.

Sure, I grew up in a liberal, well-read family, and am liberal as well. But still, expecting Americans to know what "Sambo" means is not exactly difficult, to say the least. And if people don't know, yes, that is an even bigger problem, because it says that people don't know enough about the long struggles in America towards acceptance of nonwhite people... and that is definitely something that should be troubling. This is something anyone in high school in America should know, at minimum.
 

cuyahoga

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Apr 14, 2009
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Ca1amity said:
One of my points exactly. "American commentary" - Kotaku doesnt purport to be the American Gamers Guide its "the Gamers guide" with editors for Japan and Oceania and dedicated sub-sites for each of those regions. If you can speak English Kotaku (theoretically) should be for you.
There are localized versions for Japan (Kotaku Japan) and Oceania (Kotaku Australia) with different editors and run by local companies; however, the site is part of the American-focused Gawker Media portfolio.

Ca1amity said:
OWhy is this being brought up when it is culturally relevant to your country exclusively? Also, lets not be willfully naive enough to think this feature was "targeted" to Americans, it was aimed at clicks.
I don't what the intent of writing the article was, so I'm not going to comment on it and pretend I do, which is the abhorrent thing you are doing.


Ca1amity said:
So youve encountered the term when you got to college, that doesnt support the "everyone knows about it" argument very well. Also, if these classes were on race, ethnicity, or american history youre recieving highly specialized, high-level knowledge that falls well outside the "mainstream". I'm not saying people dont know the terms use - again, I said in the OP i DO and I'm not American - its just a weak argument.
No, introductory 101-type social sciences classes at a community college, which is not "highly specialized" or whatever.

Ca1amity said:
Also related - who gives a shit if theyre American developers? They didnt know the particular useage of this particular word as it relates to *one* countries cultural history. Just becuase that country is America doesnt make it any more important considering the situation at hand.
Yes, it definitely does.

Ca1amity said:
Yes, lets recall/edit the game because there is the chance that a small minority might be offended inadvertently by an honest lack of knowledge that results in a gameplay situation that is tenuously racist. Do you hear yourself?

Make the next protagonist black? Why? To apologize for this "offense"? Get out.
Yes, I do hear myself; I don't mean to offend, but you should reflect about the fact you are not American before butting in as authoritative source on an Americentric topic. And minorities are not necessarily black.
 

LiveFromKyoto

Member
Jul 19, 2006
25,252
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RSLAEV said:
You don't have to understand it because if you aren't black you probably can't understand it.
I hate this argument. If you've lived some place where you're a visible minority you know what discrimination feels like, and it feels shitty. No one group has total license for that emotion.

But at the same time, you have to look at intent. If you can see it's not negative, there's no benefit in creating negativity.
 

Skeyser

Member
Jul 18, 2007
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I just find it surprising that they knew about this obscure reference to fig leaf gourd but don't know that sambo is a racial slur. There's no mention of Fig leaf gourd if you google Sambo and as far as I know it's not in English dictionaries.
 

ZealousD

Makes world leading predictions like "The sun will rise tomorrow"
Apr 17, 2007
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sonicmj1 said:
How does the image of a watermelon "reinforce" the "Sambo" stereotype? I just don't see it.
"Sambo" refers to a particular type of black stereotype. A happy crazy black slave that's lazy and doesn't want to do work. It works pretty well with another stereotype of a happy black man eating a watermelon. The imagery was commonly used to during the late 1900s as a justification for slavery. Afterall, black people were happy being slaves!
 

Crateman

Member
Dec 9, 2006
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The conclusions I'm drawing from all of this are the following:

-If you are American and somehow don't know the racial connotations of every word you're a bad, bad person and you should be ashamed.

-Kotaku is off my RSS feed.

And really: what can be done about it? Should 5th Cell recall every copy of the game and replace them with a new build of the game where the word Sambo doesn't bring up anything? And, think about it: how many of you guys would have used the word Sambo on the game? I bet that only 5% of the people who would play Scribblenauts would interact with the word... and from that 5%, the 95% would have encountered because they were trying to use every single word written on the leaked list.

EDIT:
My main stance is: 5th Cell was aware of the racial connotations of the word. Sambo is a gourd and looks like a watermelon. They didn't mean to hurt anybody or to sneak a racial reference in the game. Their case is completely plausible.
 

gutshot

Member
Dec 20, 2007
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Skeyser said:
I just find it surprising that they knew about this obscure reference to fig leaf gourd but don't know that sambo is a racial slur. There's no mention of Fig leaf gourd if you google Sambo and as far as I know it's not in English dictionaries.
See my above post for how this could have happened.
 

1337

Member
Jul 29, 2004
859
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The Netherlands
Enough with this 'look at me being so correct' bs from the white world. A lot of white people feel that they are so elite and above other races that they think they have to protect them and keep a hand above their head so they won't be hurt. This is pc bs that needs to be annihilated. PC is killing freedom and every form of entertainment.
 

lorddarkflare

Banned
Dec 19, 2008
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Awesomeville
LiveFromKyoto said:
I hate this argument. If you've lived some place where you're a visible minority you know what discrimination feels like, and it feels shitty. No one group has total license for that emotion.

But at the same time, you have to look at intent. If you can see it's not negative, there's no benefit in creating negativity.
Right, but there is not reason why it cannot be pointed out as to why it can be construed as negative.

All you have to say is that i can see why you may think that, but that was not the intent. Then you move on with your life. You cannot knock sense into all the idiots you meet, you would run out of time.
 
gutshot said:
Look, I believe Jackson's already gone on record stating that the research for many of the obscure words in the game was done in technical and scientific journals. Just going through those journals and adding any concrete nouns. Don't you think it is possible that they went through a document containing obscure foods and added sambo that way? They have tens of thousands of words in the game, I don't think they would be googling every word they were about to put in to see what popped up in image search.
I think this is almost certainly what happened.
 

KHarvey16

Member
Apr 24, 2008
29,643
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Just for the record I've never once heard the word being used anywhere. I'm 24 years old and I spend a lot of time on the Internet. Those claiming it's some obvious word known by everyone can only speak for themselves.
 
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