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Some Smash Bros. Ultimate players are pointing out what they believe to be racist stereotypes in Spirits mode

There's a massive conversation going on with Smash Bros. Ultimate players right now concerning the three images above. The images come from Spirits mode in the game, and some players consider the Spirit pairings to be racist. By and large, those defending the Spirit choices do state that they believe the pairings to still be misguided at best. For those wondering about the explanations for the pairings, here's what users have come up with.

Diddy Kong and Dee Jay's fighting styles do share a couple of moves that are similar. There's also the fact that Dee Jay and Diddy Kong's initials, D.K., are similar sounding.

With Mr. Sandman and Donkey Kong, those who've played Punch-Out!! on Wii know that Donkey Kong appears as a final boss.

With Villager and Tac, a connection is drawn by the fact that Tac uses his sack to snag Kirby's copy ability, while Villager can use his net to capture items in a similar fashion. This doesn't explain the choice of skin tone for Villager, though.

Again, these are not official explanations of the Spirit pairings by Nintendo, but instead, fan theories as to why they were chosen. We'll have to see if Nintendo speaks up on this discussion to either explain the pairings, or remove them altogether.

Comments

Top Rated Comment
mereel
Mon Dec 24 18 04:17pm
Rating: 32

Snowflakes are so sensitive. Are our lives so charmed that we must go searching for things to be upset about in the most innocuous places?

mereel
Mon Dec 24 18 04:17pm
Rating: 32

Snowflakes are so sensitive. Are our lives so charmed that we must go searching for things to be upset about in the most innocuous places?

So what has to happen for you to consider it racist? Does someone have to literally say the n-word before you go “okay, that’s too much”? Or will that even phase you?

komicturtle
Mon Dec 24 18 06:02pm
Rating: 5

Nothing. Because it isn’t. A normal person who doesn’t care much about race or skin color wouldn’t see this as racist. Now, if you’re asserting that because you see someone with a darker skin tone put alongside a monkey equates to that person being a monkey because of their skin tone - maybe it isn’t everyone else being racist.

Maybe, it’s just you.

The choice for Diddy Kong is obvious if you’re familiar with the character. It’s not the skin color or anything what the bunch of losers believe. Go out and play the game. It’ll click.

I hope Resetera tanks in the same way as GAF. They are the poison in the gaming community as a whole.

amb
Mon Dec 24 18 06:25pm
Rating: 5

If he thinks that associating a monkey to a black person is being racist that's not him being racist. It's because it has been a racist stereotype to equate black people to primates, as if to say that they are primitive and not smart. This is a well known racist view.

I can't say for sure that there were ill intentions here but this is definitely in poor taste and I wouldn't be surprised if Nintendo rectifies that somehow and anybody getting mad at them for doing so would seriously need to get their heads checked.

komicturtle
Mon Dec 24 18 09:00pm
Rating: 4

People in general look like monkeys - some more than others regardless of race. Like I said - most people who see this won’t view it as racist as most people don’t see blacks as monkeys. It seems like these days people will interpret anything as racist. Also, people need to look at the context of the two characters and why they chose Diddy Kong. It’s not because of the stereotype you’re talking about. It’s the fighting style.

The people who needs their heads checked are the ones looking further into something that just isn’t there. Everyone wants to give themselves a pat on the back over nothing and faux outrage. There’s a reason this came from ResetERA and not just a rando on the internet. Those forums talk about race everyday and many are seen slagging off whites for the sake of being white while also whining about racism allegedly being everywhere. We’re talking about the mentally ill here and I think it’s best we just ignore their outrage.

lemon
Mon Dec 24 18 06:12pm
Rating: 13

Snowflake? Are you kidding me? They are literally pairing black fighters with monkeys and a thief with the ONLY black villager color.

Hurrrrr, "that's not offensive because I'm saying it's not' - white gamer dude, 2018.

Japan is known to be super insensitive in regards to race. This kind of shit does NOT belong in a Nintendo game - even if only unfortunate coincidences, three coincidences is just three too many.

You said it better than I ever would have. Thank you.

komicturtle
Mon Dec 24 18 08:54pm
Rating: 4

And how do you know they are white?

Also, it is incredibly ironic for someone like you to whine about racism and you make a remark like that. Listen - if you’re going to set a standard, please follow it. You sound incredibly foolish.

I don't think the term Snowflake is a good term to use. Have you ever looked up the reason why they call people snowflakes?

rikukh
Mon Dec 24 18 11:49pm
Rating: 4

It's not a coincidence he uses the term.

lokamp
Wed Dec 26 18 10:34am
Rating: 1 (Updated 2 times)

Check the source link- it's from NeoGA-erm, Resetera. Finding something to complain about for your average user there is as essential as water in a human being's molecular composition!

shut the eff up and enjoy the game

jayem
Mon Dec 24 18 04:26pm
Rating: 4

Just resetera being resetera. If it is anything like the game and watch fiasco I can see this comment section developing into quite something.

impurekind
Mon Dec 24 18 04:30pm
Rating: 1 (Updated 1 time)

Well, didn't they end up removing stuff from the Game & Watch character? So these people really are ruining everything they can get their stupid little hands on, because so many businesses are pandering to their utter absurdity.

It was a literal minor detail that took no effort to change and led in no harm doing so. Especially since they just swapped it with the GWGallery 4 version instead. It was hardly a thing to get worked up over changing

jayem
Mon Dec 24 18 04:49pm
Rating: 3

Yes, it was hardly a thing to get worked up over changing, thats why it should not have been a big deal to begin with and should have stayed in the game.
The only thing actually offensive about it wasn't even the feather, it was the context of the gesture and which minigame it referenced. And the gesture is still there referencing the "offensive" context it was used in.

These people need to God d*mn stop already!

I must be really stupid, cause I fail to see anything remotely racist.

They chose monkeys to represent black people, which honestly is quite bad if you ask me...

Glad no one is because is no big deal, and I say this as a black person. Which shouldn't even matter as it is a game and we know Nintendo meant no harm.

Just because someone meant no harm doesn’t mean it’s not harmful.

This is the stupidest thing to get offended over and if you are, grow a pair.

Oh? Do you happen to have the contact information of the person who did this and said this? Because it really appears to be more of the character’s fighting style in their respective game than it is their skin color. I mean, do YOU see black people as monkeys?

Nice try, bub. Brush up on your history regarding the views and treatment of black people sometime and you just might see why this COULD BE considered racist and offensive.

komicturtle
Mon Dec 24 18 08:53pm
Rating: 1

Right, because YOU think Black people look like monkeys. And because you’re so into “race” and care so much about someone’s skin color, of course you would view it that way. Interestingly, you did not even bother my main point as to why they chose Diddy Kong. Maybe you should brush up on the characters represented and the source material instead of kicking your moral outrage into high gear.

Where did I say that? All I've said is that this likeness has been made in the past (not by me, but by for example slave traders, slave owners, law-makers who don't want to give black people basic human rights etc) to marginalize and dehumanize people of colour. That is a FACT and cannot be denied, which is why I think this situation is in poor taste, whether intentional or not, and that it's a good thing that it's being brought up.
But sure, I'm the racist... you keep telling yourself that.

LOL, you’re such a clown. Yes, let me get you that contact information right away!! So weak. Who do you think you are anyway?

Excuse me - they are asserting that this was intentional with ZERO circumstantial evidence. Take to Twitter and cry there.

Will do, crying right away! LOL, thanks for the stellar advice.

Then you must not like DragonBall Z, like AT ALL. Because representing humans (or human like races) as monkeys or apes isn't new. In fact our human DNA is 98% comparable to that of an Orangutan. We are monkeys. Just with less hair.

It's not racist if it's factual correct.

Here's my skinny on this whole deal:

Notice how the match details make it clear that it prioritizes certain moves for donkey and diddy?

It's almost like... they picked the characters for their MOVES rather than racial status. whoa, who knew things aren't racist just because people say they are?

As a black man, I noticed these things while I was playing and winced. I’m sure the devs didn’t mean any harm, but that doesn’t mean it’s good that nobody thought about how this looked.

However, I can always count on this stupid comments section to marginalize other people, per usual. No, we will not “shut the eff up and enjoy the game” because these things, at the very least, need to be pointed out and discussed. But I guess that’s not allowed. If talking about monkeys being taken over by spirits of black people is being a snowflake, then so be it. I’m not even sure why I bother to come here.

I'm not really certain if comparing black people to monkeys is a thing in Japan, which could be a explanation as to how this passed. Issue or not, I don't think people should say that the devs have done this intentionally (unless someone can prove me wrong on what I said previously?) Other than that, they can just change it, which hopefully won't end up being a big deal.

Oh, I definitely don’t think any of this was intentional. Japan has somewhat of a history of racial insensitivity because they simply haven’t had to consider such things. I understand why these spirit pairings happened, whereas I think any American developer would be like “whoa, let’s pair that with someone else.”

I'm black and I agree. It's almost like people are offended that racism is being called out. Just because Nintendo isn't out right saying the n word or the KKK isn't lynching a black person doesn't mean there isn't racism involved. Racism, like most things in life, comes out in various degrees of seriousness. And some people just plain are not conscious of their racism whatsoever, so they get irrationally angry when racism like this is called out, because it causes them to reflect on their own lives on the times when they've been racist and cast micro aggressions upon marginalized folks.

Thank you. It’s always amazing how the people telling us to shut up are ten times louder than the people who are simply saying “hey, maybe we should be more mindful of this.” Don’t even want to face their own racism just a little bit.

Racism is a conscious decision to hate another race. If it’s not conscious, it’s not racism.

Mon Dec 24 18 10:10pm
(Updated 1 time)

True, but people often pretend to not be racist because it's "not allowed" (wink wink) in modern society, but subconsciously their true feelings show. Sometimes it manifests in their assumption that stereotypes about minorities are true and that anyone that doesn't fall in line with a stereotype is simply the exception to the rule.

The thing is, it's different when you're talking about stereotyping instead of racism. Racism is an active and conscious act/belief/conviction that stems from an actual idea of giving different values to different people based on racial appearance.

Stereotyping however can be subconscious behaviour where a person doesn't necessarily gives someone a different value based on racial appearance but does treat a person/group/situation in a stereotypical way.

Stereotyping is much more subtle and difficult to spot but it can be just as hurtful to someone who has been confronted with the same stereotype often. The problem is that stereotyping has some actual use for the human brain to categorise things so humans are quite naturals at it.. The problem arises however when there's a consistent incorrect general stereotype that doesn't get corrected.

People can behave very hurtful without realising it, and stereotypes are one of the sneakiest ways in which that definitely happens. And it's not necessarily the persons own fault. As it's the consistent confrontation that's hurtful. So whether something is hurtful to someone lies more with the person being hurt than the person that is part of the cause.

Now, whether or not someone chooses to be considerate or not about someone saying they're hurt by something is definitely a conscious decision. They told you, so now you know about it and can't stay ignorant if you were before. This doesn't mean that you need to go around on tiptoes trying not to offend anyone, but it also doesn't mean you can ignore anything people say. Especially when it comes to things that have such a horrible and hurtful history as racism, apartheid, racial stereotyping, etc.

If you care at all about those things you at least need to consider things and take people seriously. And be very careful not to be petty about it.

And no, you can't hide behind deflective arguments or twisting things around or attempting to avoid the main issue by making it a philosophical debate. Ignoring the main issue of people being hurt by a persistent stereotypes (whether intended or not) is not helpful. And acting like or even arguing that people shouldn't speak up about these issues is just continuing the problem and making it worse.

Some things are justified and others may not be as much. But regardless given the sensitivity of the topic, people deserve to be heard and the issue should be considered.

You being black doesn't make you an authority on racism. It's pretty freaking racist of you to think it does.

Show me where I said I’m the authority on racism because I’m black. I’ll wait.

You do realize that Donkey Kong was a secret boss in Punch-Out Wii, right?

Do I really have to explain to you the difference? Actually, no I don’t. Educate yourself elsewhere.

So the answer is you just want to be outraged. Maybe you should be angry that Zero Suit Samus whitewashed Shantae.

It sounds like you want to be outraged because now you’re making up shit that I didn’t say to be mad about. Good job on you.

I knew people would be outraged by this weeks ago when I saw it. But I, unlike you, understand the concept of function and design. You simply see red like Bald Bull and get angry over everything because you don't want to try and understand why things are the way they are. Until you start to learn design and understand why you wouldn't put the Spirit of a Boxer inside of an Electric Rat, then you will lose every single debate because you aren't prepared..

Wow, now you’re basically just arguing with yourself. Once again, I never said any of the above, and now you’re deciding that I’m seeing red? Okay, whatever you say. You’re better than me in every way possible and I can only hope to be as perfect as you someday. Are you satisfied?

You take everything literally. I was speaking metaphorically. If you understood that, you would have responded differently. But you didn't disappoint. You are incapable of deviating from the script I already laid out for this conversation before I typed a single letter.

LMAO, this is truly an all-time great response. Wow! Hey man, I already said I can only hope to be as perfect as you. How about you take it easy on a peasant like me and use words my pea brain can understand? Like “monkey”, and “racism.”

kingbroly
Mon Dec 24 18 09:42pm
Rating: 1 (Updated 1 time)

I've moved you from one absurdity to another and back again and you still don't realize it.

Oh? Please, Almighty One, let me see where I was once blind. Lead me to your bosom, for I am lost without your grace.

Man, thank you for your excellent comment. People are quick to jump into conclusions on what isn't offensive just because it doesn't offend them, and treat that as a fact.

If something offends a group it is 100% a issue and needs to be, as you said, at least discussed. But gaming has been such a traditional, white and mainly male medium for so long that any discussion about more sensitive stuff really makes people go ultra defensive fast.

gloop
Mon Dec 24 18 04:47pm
Rating: 2

If you look hard enough you can see racism in anything. This kind of stuff feels like some people don't really want to let certain stereotypes die.

Those who see racism in everything are the only real racists around. Only racists see race everywhere.

I hope you're not talking about those who try to call out racism or racially insensitive things.

Because neither actual racists nor those who call it out see racism in literally everything.

If it's actual racism, then yes, it absolutley should be called out. But this is merely interpreted as racism. Racism is about intention. And if the developers did not intend for this to mock black people, then it is not racism.

But racism (or more specifically racial insensitivity) isn't so cut-and-dry. Some bits are too blatant to deny. But the tricky thing about especially negative stereotypes is that their origins tend to be blurred or written out over time, practically normalizing them. So while the intention may not be to mock or insult, those who take offense shouldn't be outright written off either.

I don't think for a moment that any of the folks who saw this game through the pipeline was intentionally being racist. BUT I will say that someone in the PR department definitely dropped the ball, and that anyone else who's in the creative industry needs to be wary of these things as to avoid (or be prepared to address) such PR issues.

For example, if I was part of PR, I'd have suggested using Isabelle's alternate costume, who actually has dark clothes like TAC, as opposed to a dark skinned villager. Mr. Sandman? Why not a larger Little Mac with some Spirit buffs or a Spring-Man assist? DeeJay? How about Mii Brawler with all kick specials?

But the tricky thing about especially negative stereotypes is that their origins tend to be blurred or written out over time, practically normalizing them.

Wait. Wouldn't that be a good thing? That the racist insult of comparing black people to apes and monkeys is so forgotten that it is dead and burried. That using Spirits like this isn't even seen as racist by most because no one remembers that horrible racist insult. Does that not mean we are making progress?

Afterall, that is the goal isn't it? That the racist insult is dead, and practically no one uses it. And we can have Spirit Battles with DK and Diddy using black people just like we can with white people. Because there are already DK and Diddy Spirit Battles that use white people as Spirits, and this would just be equality in the works.

The problem is that we aren't there yet man.. This historical stereotype runs deep and you can't wash away the hurt it still causes people. I too am eager to ban racist thought on the levels you are speaking about, but the world can't just unhurt itself. You understand? You can't change the situation just because you want to.. People are still hurt by things that resemble stereotypical imagery even though they aren't meant that way. It's because of that that we all should be considerate about things like this. Even though we personally don't see or maybe even recognise why it's a big deal.

It's difficult to show empathy for a situation that's almost completely foreign to you. Something that spans generations while you hardly know anything about what it's like..

The period where these things fade into the background is the hardest one you know? It's the period where many people are still hurt by things but are less and less understood. And we're still at the beginning of that part..

These things take generations to heal. It's not something we can wave away even though we want to.
It's not something we did, or something we're directly responsible for. But we're all responsible for working towards mending the wounds. No matter the colour of your skin. You can't enforce equality. But you can work towards it.

"Ban racist thought"? I never said anything like that. I do not want to control how people think or feel. Even if its racist thoughts.

That being said, I think the best way to overcome racism is to, well, overcome it. By continuing to bring up nearly forgotten racist ideas and act like they are still powerful things, you empower actual racists to continue to weaponize those things. Bigots now know people will still be outraged by this, and now will continue to dig up the past and use it more than ever.

Basically I'm saying this. The more we treat it like it's hurtful, the more it will continue to be hurtful. If you really want to empower people, then you need to help them identify real racists and focus on dismantling them, instead of being hurt by things that may or may not be construed as racism. Because if you show that you are afraid of something that was just accidental, then you are showing the real bigots how weak you are.

This may sound insensitive but in order to solve the real, horrible, life threatening problems that plague our world and our own country then you need to be strong and focus on the real issues and not be sidetracked. And more importantly, not empowering racists by showing them that you are incapable of overcoming nearly dead insults. Even done by accident. And you are right, these wounds take generations to heal. But it won't heal if you don't let it. And I don't think your idea of how to heal wounds will actually do it. It will forever be a an ugly scar if you let it be one.

I think you misunderstood my intention with the words "ban racist thought".. I didn't mean the social enforcement of it, but just the progression of society to a point where we don't relate certain things with racism or racial stereotyping anymore. It was about progression, not control.

There's a balance we must strike in, on one hand, overcoming racist ideas by treating them like things of the past and, on the other, recognising and being considerate about actual hurt some still cause. It's a good point that people who are intentionally racist can maliciously use things they know are still hurtful, and that we shouldn't give them those tools. However, we must also be considerate of the true hurt some things may still cause.

The challenge is to avoid fabricated mass outrage just because we assume something is hurtful, while still being considerate when someone actually feels hurt by something.

The challenge is to separate the "nearly forgotten" insults from those that are still very alive in the minds of people. To recognise that even that is different from individual to individual. And to be careful of brushing things off as not hurtful anymore. While also challenging and motivating people to try to move past what they remember.

Because it also takes effort from people who have been hurt in the past, to separate their interpretation of new things from the things they've been confronted with in the past. To recognise when they're just remembered of a hurtful insult by something that isn't intended as such, and when something is actually meant to be hurtful.

Notice that this means different efforts from all people: if you're speaking or creating, be considerate of the impact of your words; if you're listening or watching, be mindful of the true intention and do your best to separate your experience and interpretation of something from how it is intended. Help each other by both being considerate of hurt and challenging people and ourselves to overcome that hurt. Recognise and acknowledge both the hurtful history a particular thing/situation reminds us of and the true intention behind it. Being considerate of both and, only after that, make an effort to separate history from actuality and then, if possible, make a conscious choice to judge things on their actual intention.

Currently we see some people being polarised and moving further and further away into their own little camps, being very quick to blame each other. But what this takes is for everyone to move in the opposite direction of that: being considerate towards each other (both in terms of hurt and intention), being strong towards ourselves and helping and challenging others to be strong too.

It's good that, even through all the debate here you can see individuals starting to do that. Saying things like "I can see how this could be interpreted the wrong way, but I'm not personally hurt by it". And then still showing consideration for people who have a harder time to move past it like that.

P.S. I think you misinterpreted my comment if you think I gave "my idea of how to heal wounds". Maybe you made an assumption about that, but I never mentioned the "how" wound should heal. My comment advocated to be considerate of real hurt something can accidentally cause, and pointed out the fact that healing these wounds takes a lot of time and that we can't force it. This was regardless of how exactly we should move forward as a society.

I think we largely agree here. But I think we disagree on the balance. For example I was all for the removal of of the racist imagery of Mr. Game & Watch towards Native Americans. But I think in this case, with these Spirits, removing it may potentially do more harm than good. While the Mr. Game & Watch Fire attack will always be racist no matter what, the Spirits with DK and Mr. Sandman etc are a case that I feel absolutely needs to be met with understanding and eventually overcome. Because cartoon animals are often paired, associated, or voiced by real humans. Rafiki from the Lion King was voiced by a black man, and Rafiki was called a monkey by Timon. Does that mean Rafiki should be removed from the Lion King? Point is you are going to run into a lot of scenarios like this one and it's going to be really really hard to try to dance around it. And yes there will always be a few people who are hurt by something but honestly, everyone is hurt by something. It's impossible to not hurt someone by accident. I'm sure there are war vets who would be greatly traumatized by seeing a war video game.

I don't think we disagree about what they should do in this case.. I don't think I mentioned that either.. Ultimately it's up to Nintendo, but I don't think they have to change it. I don't think they definitely shouldn't, but I agree it'll probably do more harm than good for the reasons we discussed.

Mon Dec 24 18 09:59pm
Rating: 1 (Updated 1 time)

This colorblind argument is dumb. Only white people can afford to be "colorblind" because they're the ones largely unaffected by systemic racism. Seeing race is perfectly natural, there's no reason to ignore someone's race. What is important is to be aware of how to not be racist. Which isn't nearly as hard as people make it out to be:

Just don't be racist. Expand your horizons and social groups. Learn a little bit about other cultures from actual people within that culture versus your white peers.

And yes, I know you're going to call me a racist because I assumed you were white. 🙄

arod79
Sat Dec 29 18 08:36am
(Updated 1 time)

I think Koopaul's point is how much can someone really be expanding their horizons and social groups when all it takes is Smash to be distracted from that position of positive expansion. My guess is, logically, not much.

Do you know who else can afford to be colorblind? Every single non-white man and woman that became successful through hard work and determination. This, however, is possible only through conquering one's ego; the very enemy we all have within us.

Please note that I do not ignore the obvious systemic racism at large but fortunately for all, real change starts within each individual first and foremost.

thedreaminghawk
Mon Dec 24 18 04:48pm
Rating: 2 (Updated 1 time)

Yeah, when I encountered Dee Jay I pretty much took a moment to go “why”. It seemed a bit stupid of a pairing if you ask me.

The others are fine though. Sandman’s literally referencing the secret battle in PO Wii (he’s also the final boss of the main mode so it fits) and Tac isn’t anything out of the ordinary. (in fact folks pointed out in the thread that it was someone trying to bait ERA into making a thread on it, based on the twitter posts)

No sane person can really say to me with a straight face though that Dee Jay’s battle could not be taken as potentially offensive/questionable though. There’s literally tons of other characters that would fit the fight well (I honestly thought it would be a Falcon Kicking Captain Falcon) so it’s odd at best.

Still, like with the GW spirit (which was piss easy to change and still remain historically accurate to the GW Gallery 4 version) I hardly think this should br worth a super long comment section and it seems folks upset at the people upset/just as confused as I am are the ones being sensitive. People have a right to question the thought process behind this stuff.

Or maybe, just maybe DJ and Diddy Kong have similar fighting styles. What a mystery.

Mon Dec 24 18 04:50pm
Rating: 2 (Updated 4 times)

Seriously this comments section. While it was likely an accident on Nintendo's part, there's really no reason for this kind of stuff to stay given it's likely pretty easy to change and Nintendo didn't intend it that way. This kind of stuff has happened for years, because you'd rather not offend anyone with accidental racial stereotypes even if that wasn't your intention. OOT having chants removed b/c of possibly seeming religious (sounded Islamic), Pokemon Jynx made to have purple skin in localization, etc.

Like seriously, how many of you even know who Sandman, Tac, and DJ even are? Probably not a whole lot. I didn't before this game. There's really no reason to be mad that folks are just trying to be more considerate of others and letting Nintendo know "hey. I'm sure this wasn't intentional, but people might take having african american spirits presented as Diddy/DK the wrong way given historical context)."

I wonder how extreme it honestly would have to get for people online to actually agree. Because even at least the villager should be raising some red flags right now, but I guess that isn't obvious enough.

hinph
Mon Dec 24 18 05:28pm
(Updated 1 time)

I don't understand why the Villager one is offensive, but I'm also unfamiliar with who or what a Tac is. The other two, however... even if the original developers didn't mean it like that, somebody at a localization team should have caught it and asked for it to be changed. I can understand Sandman being represented by Donkey Kong based on it being that both characters are super strong and punchy, but the Diddy Kong one is puzzling.

Edit: Oh, because both characters do flippy moves. Okay, I'm going to give the developers the benefit of the doubt that they weren't trying to be racist, but they should still be more careful.

Yeah the DK and Diddy ones were likely unintentional but they do not come off good at all, there are so many spirits I bet that NoA just went through them quickly and hoped ERSB would catch anything bad, and clearly this is not a territory ERSB worries about, but I wouldn't be shocked if at least those 2 change in a future update.

Only racists like you see a black guy representing a thief and consider it racist. Only racists see shit like this.

Villager was chosen because he can pocket objects. And this particular variation was chosen because he's got the darkest color palette (not only in skin, but in clothes) and that's the best way to represent a character that is dressed in black.

But please, do keep calling everything racist. I'm sure if you scream long enough someone will give you what you want, if only to make you shut up.

Mon Dec 24 18 07:00pm
(Updated 7 times)

Apologies for length, I just want to clear things up in the first place so there isn't anyone trying to make a 10 long comment chain out of this, if this is too long than sorry, I don't have any desire to start commenting past this, not a great use of either of our times.
First of all let me preface this by saying after further inspection it is less of a red flag than I originally thought, I will admit that. I was on my phone and I had just woken up so I honestly just didn't see Tac's image properly and didn't know the character ahead of time. After relooking, it is less extreme than I thought. And I did read the comment later about it being used to bait people and I fully don't support that at all. With that said, with all of that, I can still see where it could be seen to fall into a stereotype, and I am just looking at this objectively in response to people saying its not racist, I do not want to have any stake discussing how racist it is, I don't feel qualified to take part in that discussion.

Racism isn't always intention. I am most certainly not trying to say that Nintendo is being racist on purpose, the chances they were is low. It is inherently just perception, and they had many pallet options for villager, and they chose the one with the darkest color, for anything, when either of the other 7 would have worked just as well, the one they chose could lead to the perception of purposeful racism, which again, its a Japanese studio, I doubt they know most of these stereotypes in the first place. I 100% can see what you mean with the clothes, that was probably right, I don't disagree with you on that point at all. NCL and Bandai Namco likely had 0 idea of any percievable issues with the skin color and DK. But the effects of it are the issue being debated here.

I was in fact very very explicit in only picking that as an example, so no I was not "calling everything racist", as stated earlier I perceived it a lot differently earlier, Im on my PC now and I can see it in far better resolution, I don't know where you got me saying one thing should raise a red flag to be that. People react to things in different ways, don't assume everyone who leans to one direction in a reaction is automatically leaning to the extreme, most people don't do that, in fact I normally avoid issues like this because of comment sections like this, and because if I make any point it will automatically be assumed I am saying one thing or another, nothing in between. I personally don't own Smash, and if I did and I had seen this spirit, I would have likely had passed on and not noticed a thing. Whether and why someone did notice it is another issue, and honestly not one I should or need to be involved in. I am solely commenting on the observation and the comparison, and my point is, once explained to me, objectively, yes, there is some inherently racism to it, clearly not intentional, but still present in perception, and while it doesn't affect me, it would affect someone else. Is it the worst thing ever? No. Would I have noticed it in game, probably not, and if so I probably would have shrugged it off. Is it racist, it can be seen as such, yes, (again whether it is is not something I feel inclined to argue), my point wasn't this is horrible it needs to be taken out, though I doubt Nintendo would have qualms with doing so and it wouldn't hurt anyone to just change the pallet in the next update, my point was that whether people in this comment section think it is an issue or not, it is still racism, and people denying that is what I was referring to, since it does meet the definition of racism, even if it wasn't on purpose. Again, initially it came off far more extreme than it is, hence my comment.

Now of course you can disagree. But my comment was pretty mild, and therefor I see no reason to go out of your way to call me racist when I wasn't the one who made the comparison in the first place, which is what you were claiming was racist (which again it isn't, but either way I wouldn't have noticed it unless it was explained to me) and I was just commenting on it, and either way, its also, based on the definition, I'm trying to be objective here, not racist to find said comparison in the first place. I can kind of see how maybe if you read the actual definition maybe you could see it that way, but you've really got to warp that definition to make the perception of something as racist into racism. Based on the clear definition, it really isn't.

I agree and think everyone here is overreacting to why people see the other spirits as a “maybe don’t do that” but Tac is literally the only one that doesn’t relate to anything offensive at all. I’m dead serious when I say I cannot see anything questionable about the pairing at all since the Villager is the only character next to kirby who can do what Tac would. (steal items/abilities from the player like Tac does in Super Star)

Considering the thread pointed out how that Tac tweet was made by someone wanting to bait people on the site to begin with (likely to start fake outrage and get another awful OneAngryGamer article made since that site loves to harass people) I’m gonna say that the Tac spirit has nothing that could make it offensive unless there’s something about the combo I don’t know due to being in the US/not another country where it might have a bad resemblance

Thanks for the context on the second paragraph, I can see how it could be a little shaky then based on that. I do see some stereotype there still but its a lot weaker than I first thought after further inspection. With that said, I can definitely understand why people would be upset about the others.

I don’t expect anyone not from the US, UK or Canada to get this, but that DeeJay imagery next to Diddy is problematic, period. Looking at the ResetEra and even some responses here, it’s clear that people lack a sense of history or sensitivity.

Not everything is because of some “SJW” agenda. Some things are just common decency. I’m actually shocked that this got through Q&A at NOA.

And to be clear, Nintendo opened this door when they willingly edited Mr. Game & Watch.

What you and the rest of the thought police need to understand is that your opinions are not facts. Just because you don't like something doesn't mean it is a problem. Maybe you're just oversensitive and your mind is infected with the need to contextualize everything in your life in terms of race.

Have you considered this? That maybe the problem lies in you, and not in the things you find "problematic"?

Or maybe, in the case of Dee Jay, it’s more or less a case of being courteous for the future to not do something like this? Nobody’s gonna call for the game to be banned because of wanting them to be a bit mindful. Nobody’s really going to lose sleep if they keep it in either, as long as they don’t do it over and over again with future spirits or a future game. (Then it would just be deliberate and sad)

Have you considered the possibility that neither is the case? That the problem doen't lie with the person being offended neither the thing or person that offends them, but rather the historical context of these racial stereotypes some people have been confronted with all their lives.

You are trying to put blame on the people being offended and you seem very confident in the justification to do so, but maybe you should consider that there are more than two perspectives from which to look at the situation.

We all live in environments which have been affected by racial stereotyping with various degrees. However, on a global scale each of these environments have to be considered. Especially when it comes to a topic as historically sensitive as this.

It's easy to place the blame in others, to deflect towards the person raising an issue. It's far harder to really dig and find the actual root of the problem. Harder still to figure out how to deal with the situation when you do. Unless of course you're completely insensitive (or for that matter hypersensitive) to the general issue yourself in which case you just fall towards either of the extreme polarised positions. But then in either case you'd be part of perpetuating the problem.

sinders
Mon Dec 24 18 05:30pm
(Updated 1 time)

But the fighter for the Sumo Brothers is also Donkey Kong.

lylatroid
Mon Dec 24 18 05:34pm
Rating: 1

These people need to stfu! There’s no signs of racism in Spirit Mode! Jeez! It’s getting on my nerves that people are bellyaching over little things!

I think the Villager's thing is less the skin tone and more so the clothing. His clothing is darker than the other variations if I recall, making it the most fitting. I think his skin tone is pure coincidence in this case.

Nintendo: "Let's picks these characters because of their moves being similar to the originals."
ResetEra: "They chose monkeys, it must be because of their race."

And somehow the racists in this situation are Nintendo.

Mon Dec 24 18 06:13pm
Rating: 2 (Updated 1 time)

People aren't arguing that Nintendo are racists. They are arguing that they accidentally left something in that could easily be misconstrued as racist and it might be a good idea to fix it. A Japanese developer would likely have very little knowledge about the history of slavery in the US, etc. so they wouldn't have even realized the issue. It's just like how things that seem like accidental Nazi symbols are cracked down on in Germany. It's not a big deal either way for you get so angry about and speak about "thought polices" or something.

More than a fair amount of people are arguing it.

seansneachta
Mon Dec 24 18 06:01pm
(Updated 2 times)

I understand that comparing black people to monkeys and apes has been a thing, a horrible thing that is inexcusable and definitely racist.

I don’t think that is the intention here. But I can see how that could be inferred.

I would like to ask the question to the black members of the GN community, because I don’t feel like I could draw a correct conclusion myself; is associating a monkey or ape with a black person or character like how Smash has done it a racist depiction? When the intention isn’t to compare the black characters to monkeys or apes. It didn’t actually register with me when I battled these spirits the association that was being made, because I’ve been more focused on the conditions of the fight an making sure my spirit powers are advantageous rather than who I was fighting. There would have been easy alternative fighters to avoid controversy too. Little Mac would have been the obvious choice. Would some people then have seen that as “whitewashing”?

Similarly, I remember a story about some clothing company that had a black child model a sweater that said something like “little monkey” and it was called racist.

Like almost everyone else has been saying, it's not that anyone is saying that Nintendo is being racist. They accidentally left something in that could be construed as racist. Nintendo has fixed stuff that could accidentally get people angry because why would you want people annoyed by something that you didn't intend in the first place. Just like the G&W (where they just replaced it with another appropriate G&W image), they can easily put Mac in or w/e and suddenly there's no problem at all.

Little Mac would have been a much more appropriate character for it, yes. I wouldn’t have considered that whitewashing and I don’t think any other level-headed person would have either. That’s just my own black man take, though.

And like most people have said, I don’t think anyone thinks Nintendo is a racist company or was trying to be racist. But the choice of character/spirit combo was definitely eyebrow-raising. I don’t expect a Japanese company to be sensitive to such a thing anyway.

Hate to break it to you, but if you see anything racist in this, YOU are the racist.

I've always hated this line of thinking, because it's just such a lazy attempt to ride in on a high horse with little actual conviction or substance...

The biggest problem with it is really that it ignores any part where people have been hurt by something.

Though it might be right that that people interpreting things as racist is a sign they've been affected by racism and their thinking has been influenced by it. It completely flies past the more important issue of people being hurt and severely affected by racial stereotypes.

Ironically it both recognises the fact that racial stereotyping has a big effect on people's lives, particularly their mindset, but fails to notice or be empathetic about the severe negative impact that has on their lives. It's ignoring the actual problem while being so shortsighted to go so far to suggest it's people's own fault for being hurt by negative stereotypes or things that can be interpreted as such.

No one is saying don’t have fun with the game. We’re just pointing out some things that get lost when dealing with media across cultures. This is one of those things.

It clearly wasn’t intentional — it’s a game developed within Japan, still a mostly homogeneous culture. I really have more questions for the localization side.

Yikes...I was gonna post a joke/meme to lighten the mood. Cause as soon as I saw this story on facebook I knew the comments section would be huge...but I dont want to offend anyone. That being said...as an african american male myself honestly it doesnt bother me that much (probably because DK is my favorite Nintendo series so I love when the characters are used and I didnt know about this until just now because I didn't bother with the drawn out lame excuse for a story mode slog that is Spirits mode).

I'm not offended by this because I know Nintendo/Sakurai didnt mean to come off as racist and I feel these spirit battles can easily be changed/removed. That being said if you're offended by this then I think it's fair but to me it doesn't.

"some people"

no, a dozen perpetually offended idiots on gaf. oh, I'm sorry, resetera, which is the worst part of gaf distilled into an even stupider incarnation.

I just have to add that both have issues with sexualization threads. And while GAF doesn't corncern much, it's mainly about bouncing several points (some kind of childish or misguided, but others kind of fair). Resetera bans anyone who tries to put an opposite view and most of the posts are about citing examples of "bad" female character designs, like some sort of witch hunt.

Donkey Kong is white though.

As many have said, the Sandman one seems mainly to tie DK with his inclusion in Wii's Punch Out!.

Dee Jay is complicated. Since it's not as clear as some other spirits on why Diddy represents him. Similar names? Tropical setting? Dee Jay's Forward Jump looking similar to Diddy's Monkey Flip? Seems like a stretch. I don't think it was intended to be offensive as much as some people will like to believe it. But it can be misinterpreted easily.

The Tac one I find it like a sad association since it's sad their's that stygma, any race steals, but we have that added connotation here. More conjecture and cultural than the hystorical baggage the Dee Jay one has.

Still I wonder, if we can ever move on from these connotations or are these perpetuated by history and culture? I mean these type of scenarios have also been seen with white men.

Anyway we're not gonna find the answer here or now, and Nintendo would likely change them if they see it problematic. That's also the advantage of the spirit system.

I don't get the Diddy Kong or Villager one, but the donkey Kong one is obvious. He's literally the only huge character in the game who prioritizes punching. I mean you could have had Mac instead but it wouldn't have portrayed the same size difference between Mr. Sandman and the player.

Diddy Kong uses rolling kicks like Dee Jay.

Could have used a Giant Little Mac I guess.

You could have but it wouldn't have portrayed the same difference between the player and "Mr. Sandman." Similarly IIRC Doc Louis uses Little Mac for his battle and it would be repetitive to have several characters from Punch Out all be represented by Mac.

Where did the holiday spirit go, guy?

Merry Christmas or just happy day, everybody.

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