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

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JoeFu

Banned
Aug 30, 2007
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guys guys guys, martial artist bring up an asian dude they are racist.

you guys don't understand if you aren't asian
 

HUELEN10

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Feb 29, 2008
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EternalGamer said:
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.
My parents we're immigrants who came into the USA in the 1980s, so I was the first American in my family. I am american, I was raised here, and I've treated my American and my Jewish heritage equally, and I have never, never heard of "the term we are talking about" being used, not once in the 21 years I've been on this earth. Surely I am not alone. I know about my country's history, including its dark past with the discrimination against blacks, Jews, and asians (just some examples), and I've never heard it before. I just IMed some friends from campus, and of the 10 I IMed with American heritage going back at least 3 generations, only 1 of them heard of the term, only 1. I honestly don't think it is that common.
 

sonicmj1

Member
Dec 2, 2007
8,973
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ZealousD said:
"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!
There are a number of logical jumps that get you to that point. The game doesn't take "sambo" and give you a black man holding a watermelon.

In a world where typing the name of an object gives you the actual object, how does the word "sambo" producing a watermelon imply this stereotype? You literally have to bring your definition of the word and plop it down next to the produced object in order to make your analysis fit. A watermelon on its own says nothing about black people in general, at least not in the context shown here.

I can see how the Native American example mentioned could be seen as reinforcing a stereotype, but if the word "Native" summoned a headdress, I'd find it to be more confusing than racist.
 

lorddarkflare

Banned
Dec 19, 2008
2,660
0
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30
Awesomeville
Crateman said:
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.
And this is the sort of shit that keeps crap like this running.
 

EternalGamer

Banned
Nov 6, 2006
4,455
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Crateman said:
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.
Your not a bad person, but you should not necessarily be proud that you don't know anything about your country's history. Sambo is not an obscure term. Not knowing it shows you don't know ANYTHING about early 20th century racist propaganda in the United States. And yes, ignorance is something that, in a lot of cases, if you should not be ashamed of, you should at least be humbled by.
 

Alex Connolly

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May 12, 2008
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twitter.com
Ashcraft is the biggest click-whoring alleged-scandal muckraker on that damn site. I lament old whatsherface...the weekend staffer girl who linked to and wrote about decent articles...leaving.

I'm glad we've got Ashcraft, though. There aren't enough people out there taking bullets for yet more H-games nobody will likely ever play, but click on because there's hentai smut beyond "the jump".

Still, to quote Patrick Alexander of Eegra, they're protected by the BRIAN CRECENTE INTEGRITY BADGE OF GAMES JOURNALISM.
 

Black Rainbow

Member
May 27, 2009
309
0
0
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.
Rest assured, millions of people know the word to be offensive although the definition in question is dated. It's tempting to think that it would be best to forget that the word "Sambo" ever had a negative connotation and simply take it to mean fig leaf gourd or Russian judo, but as the old adage goes "those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
 

mavs

Member
Mar 18, 2009
4,536
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A Black Falcon said:
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.
It's ridiculous to say that not knowing every very dead slur means not knowing about the struggle for racial equality. If racial insults are taboo, you can expect them to be scrubbed from cultural memory. So I know what blackface is, and I know about crazy religious and scientific theories about race, but I haven't inherited the historical dictionary of the white establishment.

So yeah, I'm half black and I don't get this. Given the clean record of the developer (and accounting for some bias as they are from my town), I need to see some evidence of malice before I even call this insensitive.
 

RomanticHeroX

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May 11, 2009
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If you're so desparate to be offended by something hey, you can probably find offense anywhere. Even on the extremely small chance that this was done in any way consciously as opposed to, you know, the rational idea that they got it in a list of things that look like watermelon to expand their vocabulary and nobody noticed because like myself and many others they didn't realize it was an outdated term with racial connections I still wouldn't care. Scribblenauts is such a beautiful, unique and creative game that it's fucking appaling that it's being dragged down by what is at best pointless sensationalism and at worst a crass attempt at page hits.
 

EternalGamer

Banned
Nov 6, 2006
4,455
0
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HUELEN10 said:
My parents we're immigrants who came into the USA in the 1980s, so I was the first American in my family. I am american, I was raised here, and I've treated my American and my Jewish heritage equally, and I have never, never heard of "the term we are talking about" being used, not once in the 21 years I've been on this earth. Surely I am not alone. I know about my country's history, including its dark past with the discrimination against blacks, Jews, and asians (just some examples), and I've never heard it before. I just IMed some friends from campus, and of the 10 I IMed with American heritage going back at least 3 generations, only 1 of them heard of the term, only 1. I honestly don't think it is that common.

Sorry, but if you have never heard this term, you are proving you DON'T really know very much about the history of racism in the United States. It is that simple. This term and the iconography associated with it was everywhere. Warner Bros (the company that publishes this game) even made "Little Sambo" cartoons and Sambo was even a character in Bugs Bunny cartoons.

And yes, there are a lot of people that don't know as much about American history as they should.

Hopefuly in your college career you'll get around to taking a course in American history. And I'm not trying to be condescending when I say that. You're young and still have a lot to learn. I wasn't exactly all that aware of history and culture when I was that age either.
 

Ca1amity

Neo Member
Apr 16, 2007
169
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Toronto
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.
Primary definition in some parts of America. "Most people" in America.
As stated in OP, part of the problem is America =/= THE WORLD. As much as you want it to be so.

A Black Knight said:
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.
Post photos of the many dictionaries you checked and note their publication/editing dates. It is *A* definiton of the word, not the only one. It is the primary definiton in SOME parts of AMERICA. The fact of the matter the word is offensive only against the backdrop of American culture/history.
That doesnt make it not potentially racist. What it does mean is that in a Dictionary game for ALL english speaking markets, what happens to be YOUR primary definition is not necessarily THE GAMES or OTHER PEOPLES primary definition.

For example, Sanguine can mean bloody and hopeful. These are contrary words for most people, and yet, there they are.

Also, does the word 'Newfie' mean anything to you people posting on the racist side? I'll bet not, and at most you'll know its a Canadian thing. What you wont be aware of is that people of an older generation (say born in the 20s and earlier) find the term incredibly discriminatory and derogatory. Do you know what websters says about it? "Newfie - A Newfoundlander" Thats it. That happens to be the primary definition used today, most Newfoundlanders (and Canadians in general) use the term as a short hand for people from that province (cuz the name is fuckin' long!). That having been said some people, including the aforementioned older generation still take offense.
Notice how you didnt know shit all about this word until just now? Notice how you probably dont give a shit about that history lesson. This is the rest of the world looking at you.

If Newfie meant a kind of fish from vermont in America and that was your primary definiton because *everybody* knows about newfie fish, but up here it also meant what Ive written above, where would you be in this thread?
 
Oct 11, 2007
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I come home from the gym, feeling good, ready to try a few more words I thought of in scribble...and this is what I got. I fucking hate people. This isn't going to have any bearing on the game's future is it? It damn well shouldn't, seeing as its been addressed and explained.
 

IrishNinja

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May 12, 2009
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KHarvey16 said:
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.
seriously. im in one of the biggest cities in the US, have lived in a number of others, and originally grew up in a black neighborhood. but id not heard this particular word, so im ignorant/disingenuous/lying about this very important part of american history, as interpreted as a food by a game which clearly meant nothing by it.

i cant imagine anyone here's trying to argue there's intent, its mostly a handful of "wow, that shouldntve gotten through" and then quick sociological lessons. but we miss the OP point about how propagating shit like this, RE5 = racist, LBP shouldnt have cultural songs, etc work against some of the creativity we were lauding this game for trying.
 

Htown

STOP SHITTING ON MY MOTHER'S HEADSTONE
Feb 19, 2008
44,017
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EternalGamer said:
Your not a bad person, but you should not necessarily be proud that you don't know anything about your country's history. Sambo is not an obscure term. Not knowing it shows you don't know ANYTHING about early 20th century racist propaganda in the United States. And yes, ignorance is something that, in a lot of cases, if you should not be ashamed of, you should at least be humbled by.
Truth.

Unfortunately this is GAF, where bringing up racism is the only thing that's racist.

Again, this is not to say that Scribblenauts is racist; I don't believe it is. At all. But come ON people. Y'all really haven't heard "Sambo" as a racial term before?
 

EternalGamer

Banned
Nov 6, 2006
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KHarvey16 said:
Oh please.
Sorry, but it's true. It's a very common term and it was everywhere, not just a few minor places. I really don't know how to say this without coming off like a douche because I am completely sincere. Maybe put down the controller a bit more often and pick up a book. Many of you guys really should not automatically assume that because you don't know something then it must not be important/prominent.
 

cuyahoga

Dudebro, My Shit is Fucked Up So I Got to Shoot/Slice You II: It's Straight-Up Dawg Time
Apr 14, 2009
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sonicmj1 said:
There are a number of logical jumps that get you to that point. The game doesn't take "sambo" and give you a black man holding a watermelon.

In a world where typing the name of an object gives you the actual object, how does the word "sambo" producing a watermelon imply this stereotype? You literally have to bring your definition of the word and plop it down next to the produced object in order to make your analysis fit. A watermelon on its own says nothing about black people in general, at least not in the context shown here.

I can see how the Native American example mentioned could be seen as reinforcing a stereotype, but if the word "Native" summoned a headdress, I'd find it to be more confusing than racist.
http://postbourgie.com/2009/03/02/a-brief-cultural-history-of-blacks-and-watermelons/
 

gutshot

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Dec 20, 2007
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Htown said:
Truth.

Unfortunately this is GAF, where bringing up racism is the only thing that's racist.

Again, this is not to say that Scribblenauts is racist; I don't believe it is. At all. But come ON people. Y'all really haven't heard "Sambo" as a racial term before?
Alright, you got us. We've all heard the term used a LOT and we are just lying about it on an internet message board because we are Scribblenaut fanboys.
 

AkuMifune

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Dec 23, 2007
11,687
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0
Austin
lorddarkflare said:
WHYYYYYYY???????

Am i the only one that sees that this fucking thread should not exist?
And this isn't the end. With 30,000+ words in the game there will be one or two more that spark ridiculous debate as well.
 

KHarvey16

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Apr 24, 2008
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EternalGamer said:
Sorry, but it's true. It's a very common term and it was everywhere, not just a few minor places. I really don't know how to say this without coming off like a douche, and I really don't want to but you guys really should not automatically assume that because you don't know something then it must not be important/prominent.
Claiming it's integral to having an understanding of the history of race relations in the US is completely ridiculous.
 

gofreak

GAF's Bob Woodward
Jun 8, 2004
43,347
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Sambo means sandwich where I come from.

If Scribblenauts doesn't spawn a sandwich when I put in sambo, I'm going to take it as an affront to my sensibilities!
 

IrishNinja

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May 12, 2009
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EternalGamer said:
Sorry, but it's true. It's a very common term and it was everywhere, not just a few minor places. I really don't know how to say this without coming off like a douche, and I really don't want to but you guys really should not automatically assume that because you don't know something then it must not be important/prominent.
this is getting silly.
there's the famous, career-ending slang terms we all know. there's some more well known in certain areas (here in miami im fairly certain weve got at least a dozen someone from NY/jersey, for example, might notve heard).
you're citing a children's book ive never seen prior and characters weve all seen in bugs bunny/the like cartoons that i didnt know fell under this term (theyre obvious caricature, yeah, just didnt know the name), and acting like college-educated people on here are living on farms for not being privy to the exact same shit as you, then saying you dont mean to be condescending? cmon man. im sure there's shit i consider self-evident you'd find esoteric, ease up.
 

Margalis

Banned
Aug 7, 2008
2,954
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0
If you grant that there was no ill intent but are still offended what you're saying is that the actual syllables or the positioning of the letters is intrinsically offensive regardless of what the words are attempting to communicate. Which seems rather silly.
 

Alex Connolly

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May 12, 2008
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gofreak said:
Sambo means sandwich where I come from.

If Scribblenauts doesn't spawn a sandwich when I put in sambo, I'm going to take it as an affront to my sensibilities!
Yeah, I second that. So, every time my Old Man called out to us kids during weekend lunch time and asked if we wanted a ham or chicken sambo, he would have gotten his own Ashcraft-led vilification post? And this was an Australian childhood and Lord knows we've got our own shameful past with indigenous relations.
 

gutshot

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Dec 20, 2007
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EternalGamer said:
Sorry, but it's true. It's a very common term and it was everywhere, not just a few minor places. I really don't know how to say this without coming off like a douche because I am completely sincere. Maybe put down the controller a bit more often and pick up a book. Many of you guys really should not automatically assume that because you don't know something then it must not be important/prominent.
EternalGamer
I don’t know how much the rest of you know about American racial relations (I’m an expert)
(Today, 12:03 AM)
Reply | Quote
 

Kitschkraft

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Nov 5, 2007
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I've heard of Little Black Sambo, in a certain context, it is indeed a racist word. It's not one of the more "popular" racist terms so I can see how others may not have heard of it.

Be it as it may, their explanation seems about as clear as day, so I don't really see what the big deal is...from either side. People who have a heart attack over the mere questioning of racism are as annoying as racist, people who accuse others of racism when it's not justified, and everything in between. The so called "PC Police", who, apparently accuse everyone of racism around every corner, seem to have found a worthy opponent in the "Anti-PC Police", who accuse everyone of being PC around every corner. Nobody is writing congress to have this game taken off the shelf, so I don't see freedom of speech being in question.
 

Alex Connolly

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May 12, 2008
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EternalGamer said:
Sorry, but it's true. It's a very common term and it was everywhere, not just a few minor places. I really don't know how to say this without coming off like a douche because I am completely sincere. Maybe put down the controller a bit more often and pick up a book. Many of you guys really should not automatically assume that because you don't know something then it must not be important/prominent.
Do you buy self-assurance in bulk? Fair enough, you've a valid point on the importance of understanding inter-cultural relations both past and present, but I severely doubt you'd be able to state emphatically nuance and detail from said relations on more than the very basic outside of your area of interest/understanding.
 

cuyahoga

Dudebro, My Shit is Fucked Up So I Got to Shoot/Slice You II: It's Straight-Up Dawg Time
Apr 14, 2009
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gutshot said:
EternalGamer
I don’t know how much the rest of you know about American racial relations (I’m an expert)
(Today, 12:03 AM)
Reply | Quote
Um.
 

Ca1amity

Neo Member
Apr 16, 2007
169
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0
Toronto
EternalGamer said:
Sorry, but it's true. It's a very common term and it was everywhere, not just a few minor places. I really don't know how to say this without coming off like a douche because I am completely sincere. Maybe put down the controller a bit more often and pick up a book. Many of you guys really should not automatically assume that because you don't know something then it must not be important/prominent.
Past tense being key here. At this point you would have to be educated on the definition in some way by a third party to ever glean the definition. (Whether thats through exposure to racist epithets or formal education is beside the point)

Most people do know the caricatures, the blackface style animation and advertisements - those are all parts of American history you are exposed to through osmosis I'd imagine. When you get to college/university is where you have the opportunity to listen to someone who says "lets talk about racism in America" and then you get to deconstruct these images and learn the proper names for them.
My point is this is knowledge you have to seek out at this point, it not something everybody knows now.

Generational gap? Perhaps. However, like someone said Isn't that a good thing? Its not like anyone in this thread sees a blackface caricature child eating a giant watermelon and says "nothin wrong there!". There just happens to be *a* word with multiple meanings that people didnt know the approaching archaic racist terminology behind.

Oh, and whoever put up porchmonkey.jpg... I had no clue that term existed until I saw that scene. I guess that makes me some kind of ignorant blob too.
 

MetatronM

Unconfirmed Member
Jun 7, 2004
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EternalGamer said:
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.
EternalGamer said:
Your not a bad person, but you should not necessarily be proud that you don't know anything about your country's history. Sambo is not an obscure term. Not knowing it shows you don't know ANYTHING about early 20th century racist propaganda in the United States. And yes, ignorance is something that, in a lot of cases, if you should not be ashamed of, you should at least be humbled by.
You have an awful lot of balls talking about other people's opinions being narcissistic.
 

LiveFromKyoto

Member
Jul 19, 2006
25,252
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EternalGamer said:
Sorry, but if you have never heard this term, you are proving you DON'T really know very much about the history of racism in the United States. It is that simple. This term and the iconography associated with it was everywhere. Warner Bros (the company that publishes this game) even made "Little Sambo" cartoons and Sambo was even a character in Bugs Bunny cartoons.

And yes, there are a lot of people that don't know as much about American history as they should.

Hopefuly in your college career you'll get around to taking a course in American history. And I'm not trying to be condescending when I say that. You're young and still have a lot to learn. I wasn't exactly all that aware of history and culture when I was that age either.
By your own explanation the word is obscure if you didn't even know about it until you took a college course. It's a stretch to say somebody doesn't understand much about the history of racism in the states without knowing it, this is a relatively obscure slur and isn't even particularly relevant to the history of bigotry in America. I can't imagine most American history courses, even those on the black struggle for civil rights, would bother to bring it up. Sambo was a black cartoon character and some people used his name as a pejorative, that's it. There were a ton of epithets that were more common, and an uncountable number of facts more relevant to understanding the history of racial oppression in America.

People don't know the term because it hasn't been in common usage in that context for generations; once the cartoon faded from collective memory it lost meaning as a cultural reference. Can anybody here honestly say they've heard a racist use the word in their own lives? Like yourself, I've only seen the word written, and even then only in a historical context.
 

louis89

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Dec 5, 2008
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825
Tokyo, Japan
Topic aside, regarding the OP's rant about Americans, it's an offensive word here in the UK as well. Wouldn't be surprised if the entire English speaking world (i.e., the only place this game exists in) was the same.
 

Log4Girlz

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May 23, 2006
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I've never heard of that term. Considering how zealous the developers were in getting words into their game, with one story of how someone tried using plumbob and was seen by a dev and he tried getting it added in, it wouldn't surprise me if someone said hey, what about sambo its a kind of fruit...and they just didn't catch on.
 

Ca1amity

Neo Member
Apr 16, 2007
169
0
0
Toronto
louis89 said:
Topic aside, regarding the OP's rant about Americans, it's an offensive word here in the UK as well. Wouldn't be surprised if the entire English speaking world (i.e., the only place this game exists in) was the same.
Rant? My OP coverage of the topic was literally 2 sentences among like 3 other points and not even the main point I was trying to make. But, thanks for reading for content.
 

whatevermort

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Dec 5, 2008
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I knew about the word when I was a kid. My grandmother had some of her mother's children's books in a box, and amongst them was a tome titled 'The Little Black Sambo'. I never read it, clearly, but the illustrations weren't far off stereotypical 'Gollywog' drawings of the time. FWIW, perhaps the word is better known outside the US, therefore?

This has all been blown out of proportion, clearly; people can argue that the devs are racist until they're blue in the face, but they clearly aren't. They're not idiots, and anybody putting a racial term into the game would know that somebody would discover it. They don't want their careers in tatters, so it wouldn't happen. Even if everybody at the dev was a card-carrying KKK member, the game still wouldn't have racial terms embedded in it.

No, what happened here is, somebody knew a definition for a word, put it in, and didn't check it properly. As hard as it might be, what should have happened, to prevent this, is that every word should have been checked for double meanings. As somebody has no doubt pointed out, google 'Sambo' and the second result is a wiki link about the racial term, the first picture on image search a watermelon-chomping stereotype. They didn't check their database of words as thoroughly as they should have, and, yes, that probably needs addressing in future games (and should probably be tinkered with in future pressings of this game).

But to say that they're racist? It's just going astonishingly ott. Just wait until the Daily Mail gets hold of this!
 

cuyahoga

Dudebro, My Shit is Fucked Up So I Got to Shoot/Slice You II: It's Straight-Up Dawg Time
Apr 14, 2009
3,563
0
0
LiveFromKyoto said:
By your own explanation the word is obscure if you didn't even know about it until you took a college course. It's a stretch to say somebody doesn't understand much about the history of racism in the states without knowing it, this is a relatively obscure slur and isn't even particularly relevant to the history of bigotry in America. I can't imagine most American history courses, even those on the black struggle for civil rights, would bother to bring it up.
All of the ones I encountered from tenth grade up did, actually.

LiveFromKyoto said:
Sambo was a black cartoon character and some people used his name as a pejorative, that's it. There were a ton of epithets that were more common, and an uncountable number of facts more relevant to understanding the history of racial oppression in America.
It was an extremely common caricature.

LiveFromKyoto said:
People don't know the term because it hasn't been in common usage in that context for generations; once the cartoon faded from collective memory it lost meaning as a cultural reference. Can anybody here honestly say they've heard a racist use the word in their own lives? Like yourself, I've only seen the word written, and even then only in a historical context.
Yes, I have.
 

Zep

Banned
Sep 28, 2004
19,623
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0
Log4Girlz said:
it wouldn't surprise me if someone said hey, what about sambo its a kind of fruit...and they just didn't catch on.
:lol Coooooooome on man.

I can totally understand a lot of people not knowing about the word but don't use it as a defense for the company. I can't imagine how this got through when they went double checking the word and creating a drawing for it.

And I don't give a fuck how old the word is, or it's usage in this day in age. It still holds a place in our country's history and can't be ignored.
 

whatevermort

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Dec 5, 2008
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Zep said:
I can totally understand a lot of people not knowing about the word but don't use it as a defense for the company. I can't imagine how this got through when they went double checking the word and creating a drawing for it.
But I think that's the issue; they weren't being racist, they were being slack. They had thousands of words to check, and whoever was responsible for doing it was shoddy at their job, messed up, whatever. They missed it. They're idiots, yes, sure, but that's very different from being called racist.
 

Zep

Banned
Sep 28, 2004
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I just see it as a terrible oversight.. Confused with the responses of, "Well shit, LOL I never heard it before and I live in NY!!" Motherfucker so what? What does that tell me?

That's all.
 

Night_Trekker

Member
Jan 27, 2005
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EternalGamer said:
It' is NOT a deliberate attack. But that doesn't excuse it. As I said, intentionality isn't everything. I know some of the posters here may be younger and therefore not know the connection between this word and a watermelon, but it absolutely exists. And not only does it exists I can guarantee you that ALOT more people know of "Sambo" as a racist term and know of the sterotypes of watermelons and blacks than know about this "gourd." It's not a minor secondardy meaning, it is the most well known meaning of the word.
It sure does. You, and everybody who thinks the way you do, need to get over it.

The devs are human. They tried to foresee anything that could upset people and damage their sales (no developer would ever do otherwise), but they had the audacity not to foresee a single connection that a paranoid person with a persecution complex might perceive.

Can you come up with an explanation, based in rationality, of why you think this inclusion in the game was motivated by racism? I doubt it. And if you can't, you must admit your reaction is completely irrational.

Nobody has the right to remain unoffended. Facts trump feelings.

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.
Racial slurs--especially offensive when people don't know and therefore don't use them, apparently.

Korey said:
That's the weird part. I was somewhat peeved by the sensationalism from the blogosphere, so I checked the online dictionaries.

Dictionary.com defines "sambo" with the racist definition.

Webster.com defines it as "an international style of wrestling employing judo techniques".

A wikipedia search doesn't yield the gourd definition as a search result.

So, the gourd definition is apparently pretty obscure.
I guess that proves there's a card-carrying member of the KKK working at 5th Cell, huh?
 
Mar 22, 2009
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I hope a sequel to Scribblenauts is released where plugging in the word "context" returns this thread with a big red X over it. And then a little black kid walks in and shakes his head disapprovingly. In fact I hope that's the only way to beat the end boss.
 

zenbot

Member
Apr 11, 2007
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Given how many landmines of this sort are in the English language, the Scribblenauts guys will have done well if this is the most upsetting thing people find in the game.
 

HMC

Member
Aug 5, 2008
224
3
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Ca1amity said:
Notice how you didnt know shit all about this word until just now? Notice how you probably dont give a shit about that history lesson. This is the rest of the world looking at you.
Nah dude..thats just you trying damn hard to pretend that everyone shares your lack of sensitivity, lol.

Using your little scenario, if I were visiting a Canadian friend's home, and knew he had relatives that felt that way about the word newfie...no, I would not use it. WUT? If I didn't know what it meant, and I happened to say it...(and with it being so obscure a word, wouldn't that be a pretty strange coincidence?) and they got upset and explained why...no, I wouldn't tell them to stuff themselves and stop being so oversensitive cuz I just like the way newfie rolls off the toungue, so Im gonna say it as much as I please!

I don't understand how or whay the term "Jap", as being short for Japanese is offensive, but I've read on here that some do feel that way. Even without knowing the history, I would never use that word in reference to anyone of Japanese descent. Yknow why? Take this one slow, its a big concept...because my limited knowledge of a given slurs history doesn't supercede what other people feel, and I have enough restraint, enough tolerance, and ENOUGH FUCKING RESPECT for the next man to censor my words. How hard is that?

Lets say the word Sambo wasn't in the game. Would you enjoy it any less? You act as if somone elses values are so unimportant they are beneath consideration. Thats the very foundation of intolerance and racism.

Love the sambo avy, BTW. Nice.
 
Aug 6, 2006
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Zep said:
:lol Coooooooome on man.

I can totally understand a lot of people not knowing about the word but don't use it as a defense for the company. I can't imagine how this got through when they went double checking the word and creating a drawing for it.

And I don't give a fuck how old the word is, or it's usage in this day in age. It still holds a place in our country's history and can't be ignored.
Really, the entire question of whether any one individual person knows the term is entirely irrelevant. As has been said, many millions of people DO know the word 'Sambo', and the only definition that almost all of them would know is the racist one that came from a book that in itself wasn't necessarily racist but was used that way. How well any one person on here learned about America's racial history, and present, is a completely different question from whether they should have found this and removed it from the game. Yes, this is something learned in high school, not college. And if not then, it's prominently seen in any history of America's black-white relations at just about any level, school, television documentary, or what have you. But again, that's not the point here...

The point is that the definition of the word is that it is racist. Dictionary.com gives several definitions, and all but one are solely devoted to explaining the extensive racial meanings of the word. The last mentions the Russian wrestling style. This gourd is not mentioned. Other online dictionaries are similar. You shouldn't need checking a dictionary to know this, but they certainly should have done so with the words they were including. And that's the point: To give the most positive explanation for what happened, they were obviously sloppy about which words they included and did not check the definitions of all the words, they just included them from technical documents or something as is. Because if they had checked the definition, they'd have found this for sure, no question. Of course they should have known about it already... but even if they didn't, even the most cursory search would immediately turn up the word's main definition, and that certainly should have been cause for removing it. That for some reason that didn't happen here, that's the point.
 

boiled goose

good with gravy
Oct 30, 2007
12,848
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These things are extremely tasty btw.

The old packaging used to have a dark skinned person wearing a straw hat.
it was changed about 8 years ago.
 

Fredescu

Member
Jan 30, 2007
15,388
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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.
That's ridiculous. The law is a set of hard and fast rules and if ignorance of it were a defence, it would have no use. Language is fluid, ever changing and highly regional. I'll bet I could come up with half a dozen racial, sexual or otherwise obscene terms from my region that have innocent meanings elsewhere, pop them into Scribblenauts and find that some of the results are rather coincidentally connected in some way. I won't be writing any articles cryptically suggesting that this was a deliberate act of racism though, because I'd be realistic enough to realise that perhaps those terms just aren't all that important on the world scale.
 
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