Social media is a wonderful thing. Not only does it let users serve up banalities on a platter, but it sometimes produces something much more exceptional. Just the other day, a stand-off in tweet form occurred when Anthony Burch, lead writer for Borderlands 2, began to ardently defend Tiny Tina after a handful of disgruntled gamers labeled her as racist.
After a brief foray and in a moment of weakness, not unlike the developers of a certain sci-fi franchise, Burch said he’d consider changing her for future content. To this, I say no, don’t cave in.
@mikesacco Well, it’s not going to.— Anthony Burch (@reverendanthony) February 3, 2013
The last thing I want to be is exclusionary or prejudiced, so if Tina truly is problematic I’ll change her.— Anthony Burch (@reverendanthony) February 3, 2013
Note: Kotaku have the full Twitter thread on their report.
So, is Tiny Tina racist? If so, that’d make Anthony Burch a racist too. Randy Pitchford, Gearbox’s passionate president, says no. Burch isn’t a racist because he’s too busy being a “pillar of tolerance and inclusion.” I don’t know the guy, but I sort of have to agree with Randy.
I’ll be the first to stand up and shout that this overbearing sense of political correctness that hangs over day-to-day life these days is a hindrance. It often serves a valid purpose, but more often than not, it exists to burden and is wielded as a weapon by those who simply do not understand. Has Burch penned unadulterated “verbal blackface” by using lingo like ‘crunk’ and ‘badonkadonk’?
Slang is not something that is exclusive. It’s not limited to one race, one culture, one religion or even one person. Would the world have been an infinitely better place had “you only live once” died nine years ago, when it was coined by Adam Mesh? Absolutely, but it wouldn’t be the world we endure.
Tiny Tina isn’t a poster child for Pandora; she’s a rebel, not a saint.
At its core, slang is a form of protest. It’s a way of rebelling against convention and society’s gold standard. It’s paramount to self-expression and if there’s one thing Tina has falling gracefully out of her butt, it’s that. Is it racist, though? I feel it’s more racist to suggest, like @mikesacco did when airing his grievances, that the jargon used by Tina is reserved for “urban folk.”
If Tina is racist, are Volition, Inc. not guilty of the same indignities? Saints Row is one brand not afraid of pushing boundaries, but perhaps its most innocent crime, in the eyes of those labeling Burch a racist, was bunching together a heap of white guys pretending to be gangsters?
Of course, this is absurd, because there’s nothing overtly offensive about it. I mean, Paul Walker got away with acting like a black guy for years in those awful Fast and Furious films.
Tiny Tina is perceived as racist by those who no longer understand what racism is; ain’t nobody got time for that.
But what do you think? Is Tiny Tina Racist? Not racist? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!