I just came across a post at Sociological Images about an outrageously racist flash video game called Border Patrol. They note that in the game, “you try to keep three types of Mexicans from crossing the border: drug dealers, Mexican nationalists, and ‘breeders.’” Video game site Kotaku — which thankfully also calls the video game racist — gives a highly similar description. As you’ll notice in the image above, which is of a heavily pregnant and barefoot caricatured woman crossing the border, she is also on her way to the welfare office.
But you may also notice something else. Looking at the image, there are bullet holes in the sign that says “Welcome to the United States” (with a picture of a flag that seems to indicate an anti-Semitic message that the country is run by Jews — am I missing something?). The woman in the game also looks like her head is in the cross hairs of a gun.
That’s right, in this game we’re not “stopping” Mexican immigrants from crossing the border without documentation by, oh, calling the police. Or by using another horrific and degrading option like catching them in a net to send them back over the border.
No, players are shooting them dead.
So, what we’ve got here is a game that is horribly racist and promoting the murder of undocumented immigrants. The game is also highly misogynistic, in calling women “breeders,” treating them like “welfare queens” (an equally racist and misogynistic stereotype), and encouraging their bloody demise. Of course, no attention is paid to the extreme violence that women crossing the border are already subjected to. Nor is there any attention paid to the fact that violence against women is committed at much higher rates against women who are pregnant. Or even that “we should just shoot ‘em” is not an uncommon utterance out of the mouths of anti-immigrant types.
Because the people portrayed in this game aren’t seen as people by those who play it.
The game was created in 2006, but is getting attention at the moment because yet another public official has decided to radically fuck up and show their true colors through a racist email message. Kennesaw, Georgia city councilman John Dowdy circulated a message promoting the video game as a fun away to pass the time and get out your anti-immigrant aggression:
Dowdy forwarded this game to [three Kennesaw employees] among other people, along with a message which read, “THIS IS WAY TOO MUCH FUN!!!!!!!!!!!! Makes you feel better anyway, I did my part today, I kept a few from coming over!!! GET READY — THEY ARE FAAAST! ! !”
Har har. Imagining that you’re murdering people from a group already at a high risk of violence is tons of fun.
Dowdy has resigned, and employees of color from the same town have sued, alleging mistreatment by white coworkers, supervisors and elected officials.
Of course, regardless of how relatively lowly Dowdy’s position in government may have been, it’s impossible to divorce the violent anti-immigrant sentiments of public officials from the actual violent and abusive treatment that undocumented immigrants face at the hands of our government. From what I can tell, it doesn’t sound like Dowdy was in a particular position to actually enact government-sanctioned violence against immigrants. But the fact that he was personally promoting it and the fact that government-sanctioned violence against immigrants is a reality are indeed related.
We’re talking about an overall culture of hatred, promotion of violence, and complicity. And in discussing this racist jackass, and this racist and misogynistic video game, we can’t forget that.