BioShock Is Making Us Racist

After an endless amount of hype, and several frustrating delays, BioShock Infinite finally took over retailer shelves this week. Well, it might actually be more accurate to say that BioShock Infinite took over the entire video game industry this week.

Given that my job is to write about video games, it probably doesn't surprise you to know that most of my friends are gamers of one form or another. So, I've been having an inordinate number of conversations about floating cities and murderous crows.

It's been an enjoyable week.

The weird part, though, is that I've noticed people humorously co-opting the racism from BioShock Infinite into their conversations about the game. I don't think that they're actually becoming more racist, but the fact that BioShock is such a pervasive phenomenon at the moment seems to have cleared the way for this kind of humor. Several bathroom-cleaning-negro jokes and drunk Irishman jokes have been tossed around in conversation, and I probably giggled at them in the moment.

But now I can't decide how I feel about the whole thing. Obviously, I don't think that BioShock is actually making us more racist, but this behavior forces me to question the way that way that we think about entertainment.

I'm typically happy to laugh at nearly any joke that's funny, no matter how politically incorrect it might be, but when such a large group of people simultaneously adopts a behavior, even humorously, that we've been spent the last 50 years unseating, it makes me wonder if someone should say something.


I certainly don't have the answer, and I would never tell people to stop telling jokes. But the question is valid: Is this behavior cool?



Josh Engen
News Director
Date: March 29, 2013


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