Politic365

 
 


Culture

12:20pm November 29, 2012

Assassin’s Creed 3 Liberation: A Political and Racial Review Part 2

cre

The following is a political and racial review of the record breaking new video game Assassin’s Creed 3 Liberation. The first part of the review can be found here. This is the second half. 

I had hoped that Assassin’s Creed 3: Liberation would break some new ground in the world of video games and representation of minority characters. The insanely popular series had already featured a main character that was middle eastern/muslim and the new games touted a Native American lead and an African American woman. Unlike comic books, movies and books, which have slowly improved the diversity and representation of lead characters video games thus far have remained dominated by white males, in all positions of power and authority. As I started to go through Assassin’s Creed 3, I saw nothing had really changed beneath the surface.

All of the characters of ‘color’ in both Assassin’s Creed and ASC Liberation are mixed race. This isn’t inherently a problem, it’s not as if bi-racial people are a new phenomenon in America, but the manner and type of bi-raciality in the characters is especially problematic. All too often bi-racial characters are used in science fiction not so much to show diversity but as a way to infuse and express sympathy to white dominance within the fictional world itself (consider Spock’s perpetual ‘battle’ with his Vulcan v.s. Human half was really his de-facto Asian/ Eastern versus his White Western worldview and Worf’s ‘mixed heritage always made him side with the federation). It’s Science Fiction’s tragic mulatto syndrome. Conner (initially Ratonhnhaké:ton ) Conner’s mentor Achilles in the main AC3 game, as well as Aveline and her mentor Agate are all bi-racial and each of them have white fathers. Not only does this establish white men as dominant sexually in each of these characters lives, it maintains the white male patrimony and hegemony that permeates most video games as well. When you add in the importance of male lineages in fantasy in general (mantles are handed from father to son/ daugther) this becomes even more insidious. However the game is not finished with it’s bizarre and disappointing racial politics. The ‘triple role’ that Aveline plays in the game are almost laughable if they were not so laden in perverse racial politics.

The background identity alone would be problematic but tolerable if the gameplay itself was not a cruel mockery of the complexities of race, gender, class and social mobility. When you play Aveline you are initially required to play her in three different roles. Sometimes she is the Assassin, where she has a full complement of weapons and can leap from building to building, and scale walls to seek out her targets. Of course as the Assassin she is noticeable and draws enemies. Aveline is sometimes the ‘Slave’ where she is limited in the weapons she can carry (since slaves were whipped for carrying arms) but can slide in and out of white society unnoticed (tip of the hat to Ralph Ellison). And finally sometimes she is the “Lady” where she wears the high end dress of a woman empowered by her white father’s status. As a lady she can mix and mingle with Southern whites but her physical powers are mostly reserved to “charming” men with her looks which will make them bend to her will.

It was almost as if the game developers couldn’t help but reinforce their own hegemonic views of black women when creating the character. First, despite the “powers” associated with all of these roles Aveline (and thus the game player) usually does not have a CHOICE in which role she takes on. The game forces you to be slave, or lady or assassin, it is never in the control of the person of color themselves. Our role is pre-determined by outside forces (just like in real life).

 
 


About the Author

Jason Johnson
Jason Johnson





 
 

 
deRay1

#BlackLivesMatter Activist Deray Mckesson Running for Mayor of Baltimore

Top #BlackLivesMatter activist Deray McKesson, popularly known as an activist against police brutality, is running for mayor of Baltimore. Late on Wednesday night, Mckesson filed to run for mayor and submitted paperwork right b...
by Lauren Victoria Burke
1

 
 
google-cultural-institute

Google Cultural Institute Heralds Achievements of Black Americans

Ninety years ago, Black scholar and historian Carter G. Woodson spearheaded the creation of “Negro History Week” to celebrate the lives and legacies of African Americans. “If a race has no history, it has no w...
by Kristal High
1

 
 
trump92

After Millions in Free Media, Loudmouth Rallies and Loads of Hype: Trump Lost

Trump Lost.  Never has a man so “ahead” and “in the lead” lost so badly.  Every poll and almost every political prognosticator predicted that Donald Trump, reality TV show star and billionaire real est...
by Lauren Victoria Burke
1

 

Advertisement
 

Effective Civic Engagement Requires Balanced Viable Plan and Intentionality

Evidence based civic engagement is a fairly nascent field. In fact, up until 20 years ago, what people now think of as civic engagement for “people of color” was characterized naively as just minority outreach. Therefore, i...
by Kirk Clay
3

 
 
oscar-mlk

Nomination Black Out: Spike Lee, Jada Pinkett Smith to Boycott Oscars After

“We must stand in our power,” wrote actress Jada Pinkett Smith on her facebook page.  The line has received over 7.5 million likes. This morning, director Spike Lee posted the following on his Instagram account nex...
by Lauren Victoria Burke
7

 




3 Comments


  1. [...] article originally appeared online at Politic365.com. Share this:FacebookTwitterEmailPrintLike this:LikeBe the first to like this. from → Jason [...]


  2. Politically speaking, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas was more of a problem than Assassin’s Creed 3: Liberation in the way black people are portrayed. However, I STILL ENJOYED BOTH GAMES!


  3. Billy

    Maybe this negro “Jason Johnson” should become a programmer and make his own game. He can make the main character whatever race he wants and make all the enemies white. Why is this negro telling the white programmers to make the main character black? No one wants to be a negro, negro.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>