At 11/3/10 07:47 PM, Aigis wrote:
A lot of the gym leaders are caricatures. Lt. Surge is a stereotypical 'American'.
I can't dispute this one, since I've played the Japanese version of HeartGold and read the dialogue. There is still a negative stereotype in Japan of Americans being barbarians bent on destroying everything in their path using military power. In the US version, this was redirected slightly to make him look like a Midwestern roughneck not unlike the Soldier from Team Fortress 2.
It should also be noted that Fantina from Diamond, Pearl and Platinum was an American stereotype in the Japanese version. (Her original name was Melissa.) She did not depict the same notion of violence as Mathis/Lt. Surge, yet she still had the same broken Japanese. In the English version, she is a semi-stereotypical French character. (Her name even comes from a character in the novel Les Misérables.)
Giovanni is a stereotypical Italian gangster (and as far as I know, there aren't any other Italians in the games. Why not complain about their racism towards Italians?)
He wasn't Italian in the Japanese version. (His original name is Sakaki.) He was just a mysterious yet diabolical entity like a real-life yakuza boss. The Italian part was probably just tacked on so Americans would be familiarized with the level of evil he represented, while at the same time making references to pop culture icons most people would recognize. I seem to recall there being a couple of Scarface and Godfather references being thrown into his dialogue; please correct me if I'm wrong.
Yakon is a stereotypical Cowboy.
What most of the world (and even most of America) perceives as a cowboy is largely an image invented by Hollywood. It has rarely if ever been used as a negative stereotype against anyone. In fact, some people see it as a symbol of pride. I'm from Texas and here you see people walking around dressed like John Wayne and most of us think nothing of it.
The fact is, the people that make these characters just suck at characterisation so they draw on stereotypes rather than developing the characters themselves.
Again, I can't disagree with you on this. In fact, they're so obviously bad at it that they sometimes get their stereotypes mixed up, as they did with Juan. In the English version, he sometimes utters French phrases, though his name suggests he should be speaking Spanish instead.
Jynx I can understand because not only did she look like a blackface character, she also looked like a goober.
A goober? Sorry, but I don't get this one. I tried Wikipedia and Urban Dictionary, but they were no help. The only Goober I know of is from The Andy Griffith Show, but that's obviously not relevant.
With this character I can't see any actual racist intent, even if it is drawing on an out-of-date racial caricature. To take issue with this character is to keep old racism alive, even when that stereotype should have long since turned to dust.
Sad, but true. The roots of racism run deep.