I don't think there is an excuse for Capcom to put out something like that. I understand that the company is based in Japan, however they should have been able to look at their American branch and ask "Since your culture is racially sensitive, is there anything here we should be careful about when it comes to this trailer?" And in reply, the American branch should have replied "You have to be careful about how you represent blacks in marketing. Make sure the audience knows that they are zombies, not rabid Africans just starting a riot for no clear reason." Of course, one part of this easy plan fell through and we got an offensive trailer for people to rage on about through the internet.
Now I would've thought that Capcom would've learned their lesson and tried to make things a bit more appealing to a sensitive American audience. More sensitive to gamers like me who are already reminded every day about how race affects them. I was hopeful when I saw some game footage with a more diversified color scheme of enemies. At least Capcom was trying to do something to combat the earlier images of white guy fighting through seass of rabid Africans.
But then I hear of a sneak peek play of the first three chapters that was reviewed by Eurogamer. Apparently the game is good, but the racism is still there. And we're not talking undertones. You can read here on the last page of the article about a few images that harken back to the good old days of bigotry, including a blonde white woman being dragged away by a bunch of black men. Yes, that image is there. Why didn't anyone stop to think about how this might look to the target audience, I don't know.
Capcom, I'm disappointed in you.
The United States of America has an unfortunate history riddled with the violation of human rights and the refusal of dignity merely because someone is physically different than the majority. As a member of one of the many minorities in this country (a country I do love very much), I'm reminded every day about how white is the norm while everything non-white is abnormal or unusual or "exotic" if you want to be somewhat politically correct. I'm also reminded every day about how easy it is for those people who are "normal". It sucks to have to think about it every day. Do you think I want to encounter that in a game that doesn't seem to be approaching the debate with any kind of intelligence?
There are many things that offend me from these first looks, but lets talk about the one counter-point that Capcom could've utilized carefully. I'm talking about Sheva, the African who is supposed to help Chris Redfield throughout his mission. Yes, an African who is very light skinned with straight hair and speaks with a British accent. Is this the message we want to send, that the only black people that are useful are the ones that approach an anglo look and speech pattern? I'm not deny she's black. I'm just saying that the only good African is the most caucasian looking and english speaking African. That's not sending a good message to the rest of us black women, especially those who are more the coloring of the African zombies that Sheva helps Chris shoot down.
I was hoping that Capcom would have analyzed the situation and dealt with the previous concerns professionally. But they haven't. The Africans still are adhering to outdated stereotypes, the main hero is an educate white guy who's must kill the "savages" around him, and the "one good" African is the only African I've seen so far that has a british accent and could potentially pass for white on the street. Way to take back African Americans five to ten years back. Dammit.
I hope that when the game is finally released, there is actually a reason for all of this prejudiced imagery, and that I was wrong the entire time posting this. Wrong in the sense that Capcom actually thought things through instead of not thinking at all.