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Subject: Uncomfortable with the racial stereotypes rss

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I know that I'm going to get a bevy of responses telling me to lighten up, but I'm going to go ahead and point out the elephant in the room by saying this: yesterday, I played my first games of Ca$h 'n Gun$ and thought it was a very enjoyable party game. However, I will never, ever buy it and will refuse to play it again because I find the racist stereotypes used for the characters are offensive. I have no doubt I'd pick up a copy of this game if it were re-printed to have more generic characters (perhaps even simple code names a la Reservoir Dogs with a silhouette of a face)--let the players come up with their own personalities and ideas for who they are!--but as it stands I'm surprised that this game seems so universally accepted with so little comment on this aspect.

Yes, I'm aware that these are supposed to be, to some extent, parodies of gangster stereotypes. However, I sincerely feel that a line was crossed. It's pretty well-known from a lot of post-modernist writing and research that humor is often used as a tactic by dominant cultures to oppress others while maintaining a defensible position of "It's all in good fun" (e.g. blackface comedy), so I don't think the fact that it's supposed to be funny makes it okay.

Anyhow, I guess I was posting this for a few reasons, instead of just keeping it to myself:
-I searched and didn't see ANY discussion of this at all in the forums for this game. I may have been using the wrong search terms, and if so I apologize for rehashing. But I think it's constructive to at least have this brought up, rather than leaving it as unspoken.

-I'd like to request to the publishers--who I doubt read these boards, but you never know--to make a version that doesn't contains these racist depictions of the characters. I'd certainly buy it, and I wouldn't be surprised to learn that there's others who might be more likely to buy the game.

-I wanted to provide a space where others who are bothered by this can say so.

I am -not- here to begin a giant flame war, and will avoid responding to any posts that seem to be pointed in that direction. I mostly wanted to just put my opinion and observations out there, so that others looking at this game can be aware and hopefully keep them in mind.
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Andy Cassola
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Just lighten up
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Paul DeStefano
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StatSig wrote:
and I wouldn't be surprised to learn that there's others who might be more likely to buy the game.


And just as many who DON'T buy it because they think the stereotypes are funny.
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Having never played Ca$h and Gun$, can you give examples of the stereotypes being portrayed?
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mark sellmeyer
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if you go to the cash n guns page, they have the player stand ups in the photo gallery.
 
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leroy43 wrote:
Having never played Ca$h and Gun$, can you give examples of the stereotypes being portrayed?


Good question! The only portrayal of race is on the characters' cards and stands, which contain the following art:



I could point out what things I find particularly troubling, but I think I'll just let people take what they want from the art.

Edit: Click on the image to see it in a larger size.
 
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Geosphere wrote:
StatSig wrote:
and I wouldn't be surprised to learn that there's others who might be more likely to buy the game.


And just as many who DON'T buy it because they think the stereotypes are funny.


No doubt. Stereotypes tend to sell quite well to select crowds.
 
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StatSig wrote:
I could point out what things I find particularly troubling, but I think I'll just let people take what they want from the art.


WOW.

This is about as un-upsetting and innocent as I could have imagined.

I really do have no clue what's bothering you on these, and I'm not kidding. They are each obviously modelled after famous movie archetypes.

In all seriousness, could you point out what anyone might find offensive in these?
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What is kind of funny is that this game is, I believe, imported from Belgium, and the only change that I am aware of being made is substituing "ORANGE" foam guns for "BLACK" foam guns (I have been told by Repos Production that this is a US requirement [I can import a "BLACK" real gun; but the Law comes down on those "BLACK" foam guns; they must not be covered by the Constitution]). shake

Anyhow, sorry your uncomfortable with your issues but you've chosen the appropriate course of action: don't play it, don't buy it.
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Don't own this one [I don't have 8 people in my life I'd like to point a foam gun at for fun--though, as I think about it, there are far more at whom I'd much prefer to point a real gun], so I'm looking at the cards posted in the image gallery here.

With 1 exception, what are the stereotypes do you see? Having actually known some low-rent "connected" Italians in south Philly [at least 1 of which I was related to by blood] and more than a few thug-lifers and cholos here in the DC area, if anything, those cards are caricatures that totally UNDER-represent the thugs they portray.

For example, a more accurate portrayal of "Tino"--presuming he's representing an Italian--would have his shirt unbuttoned to his navel, a pinky ring, some piece of ostentatious gold around his neck, and a white mid-80s Camaro with black deck stripes or Caddy Eldorado in the background. [Think I'm joking; go hang around the Italian Market in Philly some time...]

I have to agree that El Toro is a horrifically bad stereotype. I have to change the previous--El Toro is a straight ripoff of the El Mariachi character from the movie of the same name. Otherwise, for that true-to-life look, he should be bald, covered from head to toe in tats and, if he's supposed to properly "hardcore," he should have his gang set printed on his neck or forehead. [Nothing quite like seeing a guy on the street with "MS-13" or "MM" tatooed in gothic script above his eyebrows. I don't cross the street for many folks, but those cats are one of the few....

Huggy is a straight rip-off [though toned down] of Huggy Bear, the pimp from the old Starsky & Hutch TV show. I'm actually surprised they chose the 1982 "Crack War" look [and that ain't a caricature on that card; the only mistake was in giving the dude an Afro instead of long jerri-curl] instead of going with the chincilla hat and coat that 70s pimps loved so. They didn't make that shit up for the movie "Superfly"--that caddy 'Fly drove was actually borrowed from a real NYC pimp/dealer.

Mr. Black should have been called "Average Midwestern Crank Dealer"--but he has way too many teeth to be that accurate a portrayal.

I'm sorry it made you uncomfortable and that's reason enough to give it up. But to try to fall back on pseudo-intellectualism as your defense is strikes me as a gutless attempt to shut down any opposing views. Gutless because instead of standing on your OWN belief, you trot out a vague reference to a line of scholarship and present it like it's some sort of moral authority upon which you can stand [a strangely non-postmodernist approach, I'd have to say.]

It's just as "well-known" that an awful lot of post-modernist writing and research is unbelievable intellectual masturbation. [Yea, I've read all the greats and a huge number of the not-so-greats; half of my doctoral studies were in postmodern intellectual history and my 1 of BAs was in philosophy.]

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Edward Kendrick
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Wait a minute. Modern is now, right? So how can anything be post-modern?
 
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Geosphere wrote:
StatSig wrote:
I could point out what things I find particularly troubling, but I think I'll just let people take what they want from the art.


WOW.

This is about as un-upsetting and innocent as I could have imagined.

I really do have no clue what's bothering you on these, and I'm not kidding. They are each obviously modelled after famous movie archetypes.

In all seriousness, could you point out what anyone might find offensive in these?


I can mention a couple things, but I will keep it short and probably not reply too much because I don't want this to turn into a solely back-and-forth about my views and opinions. Again, I brought this up mostly just so that the discussion was opened rather than to foist my opinion upon others.

EDIT:

Evidently my response of what I found troubling is seen as inflammatory, so I'm removing it. Again, a flame war was and is not my intent. I wanted to bring the topic up for discussion and have done so. I have the feeling any further responses on my part will only be seen as attempting to start a fight, and so I'll leave the thread for others to discuss as they will without any response from myself.
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Paul DeStefano
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StatSig wrote:
That said, I find "Huggy," the black gangster, the most offensive of the group; thuggish "gangsta" apparel aside, the main thing that I notice about him is the greatly over-emphasized lips, which are a common element of offensive caricatures of black people,


Considering Igor has forearms thicker than his biceps and Mr. Black has an angular overbite, I have to say this is just a character exaggeration through style.

I'm sorry, I have to stop posting here now, because in truth I think you are trying to cause trouble and be inflammatory by claiming any of these pictures can even be remotely offensive and I am not going to play your game.
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Barbarossa wrote:
Wait a minute. Modern is now, right? So how can anything be post-modern?


You're confusing the term "modern" with the term "contemporary", although the media often confuses thses as well so it's understandable.
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StatSig wrote:
leroy43 wrote:
Having never played Ca$h and Gun$, can you give examples of the stereotypes being portrayed?


Good question! The only portrayal of race is on the characters' cards and stands, which contain the following art:

[image]

I could point out what things I find particularly troubling, but I think I'll just let people take what they want from the art.


Perhaps I'm just a representative of the hegemonic tyranny, but I don't see anything particularly problematic with this artwork. At worst they're caricatured stereotypes, but mostly they're comic book art.

There's no particular ethnicity that comes off any worse than another, they're all equally bland/harmless/humorous. In fact, I'm even hard pressed to say that any one of them is of any particular ethnicity, save the one with the really good tan. laugh

On the whole, I opine that you're brewing a tempest in a teapot.
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I'm gonna have to agree with Paul on this one. Please, people, do not feed the troll.
 
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John Brady
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wow...just wow.

So how many mpg does your hybrid get?
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Mr.Baggins wrote:
I'm gonna have to agree with Paul on this one. Please, people, do not feed the troll.


He's not a troll; I'd bet anything that he's a grad student [or perhaps a particularly precocious undergrad upperclassman]in a U.S. university humanities program who has been a little too thoroughly indoctrinated into the "race, class, gender" troika of postmodern social sciences. The original post stinks of it. It's a weird sort of groupthink that seminar courses instill in the bulk of students because points are earned through expressing righteous indignation.

They're trained to find offense and oppression in everything; frankly, it's how you earn points with your instructors in those courses and, if you apply the proper level of "intergender sensitivity," the most efficient means for chasing english lit grad student skirt. It was highly effective [both for "points" in class and scoring with the pale chicks in black carrying around dogeared copies of The Rape of Clarissa] when I was doing my grad studies between 1994 and 2002 and I can't imagine it's changed that much in the last half-decade--I've kept up with the literature and, if anything, it's become even more narrowly focused on minutae because the grand-level studies have already been written and achieved "canon" status.

It's also why I got out of academia [oh, that and I actually wanted to earn a living that provided for better than Cup o' Noodles every night]. I got a little tired of the hypersensitivity and weird sort of "hegemonic guilt" one was required to express lest you face excoriation at the hands of other [mostly upper-middle class white] students.
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A few points:

1. It's as good a topic as any and worthy of discussion.

2. I don't understand the the lack of kindness displayed by some on the
thread. The question was raised respectfully and seemed sincere.

3. As a member of the hispanic "minority", whatever that means, I'm not
offended in the least by Cash n' Guns' figures. My experience has
been that most minorities acknowledge those stereotypes and laugh at
them as long as white folk don't do the same. It's hypocrisy at its
worst, really, and the mother of all racial double standards.

4. Just because some post modern authors say it's so doesn't make it
so.

5. Anglos are far too sensitive about this stuff.

6. Anglos are far too easily bullied about this stuff.

7. I appreciate, though, the sensitivity shown on author's part. His
heart is in the right place and he shouldn't be criticized for it.
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Well, now that he brings it up...I do see the point about stereotypes.

It's actually pretty offensive, now that I think of it, to assume that both "cash" and "guns" are criminal objects. And I find it highly prejudiced that anyone would assume the purpose of an ampersand (&) would be to connect two words together.

Boy, the nerve of some designers!
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Let's re-theme! Each player is now one of the sensitive, ethnically diverse kids from Captain Planet. Instead of pointing guns, you now, on the count of three, must look at someone and spread your arms wide, offering to embrace your fellow player. The other player may accept your hug or turn away and take a shame token. If s/he accepts, you reveal whether you had a "Hug" card or a "Just Kidding" card. If you were just kidding, you take a shame token.

Once there have been three successful hugs, everyone wins.
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Geosphere wrote:
Considering Igor has forearms thicker than his biceps and Mr. Black has an angular overbite, I have to say this is just a character exaggeration through style.
I agree. Wander down to any craft market and have your characture portrait drawn, and they'll exaggerate both personal AND racial characteristics against a sort-of backdrop of median human features.

It's not always "accurate", but it's certainly the style.

Geosphere wrote:
I'm sorry, I have to stop posting here now, because in truth I think you are trying to cause trouble and be inflammatory by claiming any of these pictures can even be remotely offensive and I am not going to play your game.
I think Ben is clearly being honest in his concern. And his response to your assertion is in keeping with that honesty.

Don't be mean.
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I agree with many others that I think the stereotypes are unoffensive, and am decidedly in the camp that thinks political correctness has damaged a lot of important discussions and opinions over the last decade+.

That said,I also think that the caricatures can be taken as offensive and a re-themed version (similar to what is happening with Poison and Baker's Dozen) would get the audience that would never pick up Ca$h 'n Gun$ as it currently appears to take a look at it.

My guess as to why there hasn't been an uproar over the stereotypes here before now is likely due to the fact that most people who would be offended by that already ignore the game due to the gun pointing in the first place. I can honestly say that that reasoning is more likely why we don't see it in more mainstream stores before you even get to the stereotypes (which are quite mild to me after seeing much worse in NYC from the very groups that should be offended, but would not be true in other places).

A re-theme to cartoon animals pointing big foam fingers at each other to divide up the carrots and lettuce from a garden would probably work, though it might never have gotten to the party game crowd beyond the kid crowd with that theme. I would buy that theme myself, but I'm probably in the minority.
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StatSig wrote:
I know that I'm going to get a bevy of responses telling me to lighten up, but I'm going to go ahead and point out the elephant in the room by saying this: yesterday, I played my first games of Ca$h 'n Gun$ and thought it was a very enjoyable party game. However, I will never, ever buy it and will refuse to play it again because I find the racist stereotypes used for the characters are offensive. I have no doubt I'd pick up a copy of this game if it were re-printed to have more generic characters (perhaps even simple code names a la Reservoir Dogs with a silhouette of a face)--let the players come up with their own personalities and ideas for who they are!--but as it stands I'm surprised that this game seems so universally accepted with so little comment on this aspect.

Yes, I'm aware that these are supposed to be, to some extent, parodies of gangster stereotypes. However, I sincerely feel that a line was crossed. It's pretty well-known from a lot of post-modernist writing and research that humor is often used as a tactic by dominant cultures to oppress others while maintaining a defensible position of "It's all in good fun" (e.g. blackface comedy), so I don't think the fact that it's supposed to be funny makes it okay.

Anyhow, I guess I was posting this for a few reasons, instead of just keeping it to myself:
-I searched and didn't see ANY discussion of this at all in the forums for this game. I may have been using the wrong search terms, and if so I apologize for rehashing. But I think it's constructive to at least have this brought up, rather than leaving it as unspoken.

-I'd like to request to the publishers--who I doubt read these boards, but you never know--to make a version that doesn't contains these racist depictions of the characters. I'd certainly buy it, and I wouldn't be surprised to learn that there's others who might be more likely to buy the game.

-I wanted to provide a space where others who are bothered by this can say so.

I am -not- here to begin a giant flame war, and will avoid responding to any posts that seem to be pointed in that direction. I mostly wanted to just put my opinion and observations out there, so that others looking at this game can be aware and hopefully keep them in mind.



Don't play it.
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As a man of middle eastern background I am upset that I have not been represented in this game.
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