The Borderlands 2 character Tiny Tina came under fire last night, as a Twitter discussion between the gameâEUTMs lead writer, Anthony Burch, and some of the gameâEUTMs players raised the question of whether her characterisation was racist. In the game, Tina - an explosives expert, and child - speaks using African American lingo, in a way that one Twitter user compared to âEUoeverbal blackfaceâEU.
It began when Mike Sacco, creative developer of Cryptozoic Entertainment - a creator of trading card and iOS games - sent Burch the tweet, âEUoeHey. I really like BL2âEU²s writing, but Tiny TinaâEUTMs trope of âEUoewhite girl talkinâEUTM like them urban folk!!âEU has got to go.âEU
Others agreed, tweeting responses like, âEUoeIts exaggerated stereotypical low class âEUoeblackâEU lingo that with Tina amounts to verbal blackface.âEU Another user pointed out that, âEUoeShe equates stereotyped ebonics with wacky.âEU To that, Burch conceded, âEUoeHrm - thatâEUTMs an interesting point. I meant to make her a mishmash of stuff (ebonics/fairytale/naivete) but I see what you meanâEU.
But many sprang to Tina, and BurchâEUTMs, defence. Gearbox head Randy Pitcford claimed, âEUoeTina is not racist because you are not racist. YouâEUTMre a pillar of tolerance and inclusion.âEU
Burch finished by saying, âEUoeThe last thing I want to be is exclusionary or prejudiced, so if Tina truly is problematic IâEUTMll change her,âEU but added, âEUoeIâEUTMm just not convinced that a character using lingo like badonkadonk/crunk is inherently racist. If IâEUTMm wrong I would like to know why.âEU
He also confirmed that any potential change to TinaâEUTMs character would only apply to future content. When asked if heâEUTMd re-do her sections, Burch replied, âEUoeThatâEUTMs not actually feasible within the technical constraints of the game, but IâEUTMd alter her dialog in any future BL stuff.âEU
Source: PC Gamer.
This makes the second time I've heard the term "verbal black-face" used lately (the other occasion being the VW Bug Commercial for the Superbowl where everyone is speaking Jamaican accents), but I don't quite get it. She's not making fun of any one individual or group of individuals in particular, she's doing what every other person on the face of this planet does; using popular slang terms. She's not even saying anything particularly offensive, here's a quick montage of the character for your consideration.
Am I missing something here?