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Thread: Concern - Master Akira

  1. #1

    Concern - Master Akira

    I love the game but I'd like to strongly urge you to reconsider the character design for Master Akira. He's coming across as a pretty offensive Asian stereotype. At the very least, please change the way he speaks. Austin using the word "oriental" when that garden area is first opened is also offensive.

    I'm otherwise excited to see how the Asian-inspired garden area will turn out!

  2. #2
    Gold Member Obtuse's Avatar
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    Does this mean Occidental is also offensive?

  3. #3
    "Occidental" has never been used to insult a group of people, so no.

    While I realize that the Gardenscapes community is international and that American English doesn't apply to all English-speaking users of the game, I would hope that the game designers would want to minimize the risk of hurting any of their users in any way. As the dictionary.com usage note for its definitions of "oriental" and "Asian" states,

    "In American English, Oriental as a noun or adjective applied to people is outdated and has become a sensitive term to be avoided. It is associated with a bygone era in which Asians had subordinate status and their culture was perceived as strange and exotic."

    Obviously, not everyone everywhere finds this word offensive, but enough Asian-Americans would that it's better to use the alternative "Asian."

  4. #4
    Gold Member Obtuse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JuniperLlama View Post

    "In American English, Oriental as a noun or adjective applied to people is outdated and has become a sensitive term to be avoided. It is associated with a bygone era in which Asians had subordinate status and their culture was perceived as strange and exotic."

    Obviously, not everyone everywhere finds this word offensive, but enough Asian-Americans would that it's better to use the alternative "Asian."
    But this isn't applied to people, it's applied to a style of architecture more than anything. Master Akira isn't referred to as Oriental, he's referred to as Master Akira. Either way though, there's no way we'll all agree on matters of personal indignation.

  5. #5
    In general, Akira is a ridiculously offensive Asian stereotype. I get it that they're going for a Yoda thing with the backwards-sentence-structure-talking and the talk of the The Force, but that doesn't change the fact that he's racist as heck. He just is.

    Also, while we're talking offensive, it's also super offensive that the only young female character we meet starts off strong and then immediately becomes completely incompetent and needs to be rescued by men ("I'm a professional cleaner, but don't know how to clean without men bringing me tools! Please help me, I'm useless at my job! I just want to wear pretty dresses!!!!!"). Ick. Ick. Ick.

  6. #6
    And one more thing, for anyone who's like "hey it doesn't offend me" -- try to cool your jets, man. If you were with a friend who was allergic to a certain food and you weren't, you would try to find a food to share that you both can eat. If something offends a lot of people and doesn't happen to offend you, maybe the kindest and most mature thing to do would be to try to find a style of humor that doesn't offend those people. Also: it's boring? Racist and sexist stereotypes are boring and unfunny. Nothing that Akira has said has even made me crack a smile. It's just dumb and forced. Do something new, people. It's 2017, the world is a mess. Let's be the wave of the future and try to make new things that aren't offensive or cruel, new things that we've not already seen 8 million times.

  7. #7
    Gold Member Obtuse's Avatar
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    Okay, so is it that Master Akira looks Asian and is representing old school Asian culture that's the most offensive or would it be acceptable if he looked Asian but spoke like a Westerner? At what point in time does homogenization of culture destroy the very root of culture itself. I understand that in this day and age it's easy to be offended by everything. Everything that any one does or says is in some way offensive to some one else now. The pendulum has swung pretty far to one side here.

    I am however interested in the fact that Yoda himself is not offensive. Obviously because he doesn't look like any race or creed, we don't find the way he says things or does things offensive. But make him look Asian and suddenly the way he communicates is an offensive stereotype. What aspects of Master Akira would you like to see changed that would still convey an ancient Oriental master but make him no longer an offensive stereotype?

  8. #8
    If the Master Akira character is presented in the US version of the game as speaking English, then the character learned to speak English either growing up in the US, or the character learned to speak English as a second or third or fourth language. In neither of those cases would a character speak like Yoda. Yoda is a one-of character with a distinct speaking pattern. Making the character of Master Akira speak in English but like Yoda is basically making a joke about how some people who learn English as an alternate language may make grammar or pronunciation mistakes. It isn't funny at all.

  9. #9
    Gold Member Obtuse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dandelion View Post
    It isn't funny at all.
    I agree, I never found it funny either. Master Akira conveyed more of the 'elder full of wisdom and insight' to me. I never saw him as a point of comic relief.

    They should have just made him mute. He could speak using only his eyebrows.

  10. #10
    I wasn't suggesting that the decision to make an Asian character speak in what could be described as 'broken English' was for comic relief; I was suggesting a more derisive goal. Obtuse you asked what would make the character less stereotypical I suggested dropping the Yoda-speak. You asked what would convey that he is an ancient master and I meant to add that calling the character "Master" Akira does that fairly well. Also if we wanted to discuss other means of communication I might have given the example of telepathy not eyebrows. Just sayin'

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