Description: Movies and television still receive a lot of flak over their less-than-diverse portrayal of minorities, but videogames - the youngest and most immature of the three media - has got to be the worst offender. Need proof? Um...
These characters, though, are Japanese imports that may have been conceived out of cultural ignorance, not irresponsibility or malice. The Stereotypical Black Guy is a different matter. Evident in games from America, Europe and Japan, he is always a tough, trash-talkin', no-nonsense bruiser. Which sounds cool, until the lazy cliché gets repeated over and over with no variation or acknowledgement that many other types of "Black Guys" exist in the world... Then it becomes a big part of the problem.
- Bulging, almost inhuman arms with biceps the size of basketballs and veins the size of garden hoses.
- Absolutely no sleeves. Tear off by hand if necessary.
- Fists clenched and ready at all times.
- Deep bass voice that speaks primarily in slang or swear words.
- Tattoos, of course.
- Chains, of course.
How sad is this? A West Coast gangster from the projects is the best antidote to racial stereotyping we could come up with. Although he is surrounded by undeniable caricatures, however, CJ Johnson of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is somewhat unique and believable. He's smart, skinny, soft-spoken and - at the beginning, at least - more worried about family and friends than about guns or rap music. We'll take what we can get, we guess...