Society evolves over time. It’s a fact of life. Things that were commonplace one day become unacceptable the next, normally for very good reasons. It’s what allowed us to leave behind such atrocities as witch trials, slavery, and Heelies.
It’s what has also opened the door for people of all walks of life to enter different realms of the world they normally felt excluded from and feel accepted. Obviously, we clearly have a lot of work to do, but sometimes when things feel desperate, it’s good to look back on the past and reflect on where we were so we can see how far we’ve moved.
A great company to review this with is Capcom. Though some of my favorite IPs come from Capcom, they’re constantly a decade or more behind on what we’ve moved past. In particular, their Street Fighter franchise. Sure, the Monster Hunter world is filled with a lot of sexist tropes, and the newest Mega Man mobile game’s biggest change is to add jiggly breasts to machines, but Street Fighter really tends to go above and beyond the concept of problematic.
So today we’re going to break down five of the biggest offenders.
T. Hawk was added to Street Fighter II in the 90s during a time when every single fighting game was adding a Native American to the cast. While most of these seemed to be terrible stereotypes, T. Hawk was easily the worst.
He’s big, strong, and stupid. How stupid? In the Alpha series, he was looking for a woman named Julia who was kidnapped by a group from Shadowloo. They were capturing women, brainwashing them and turning them into warriors. But on his quest to find Julia, he kept being thwarted by one of the aforementioned brainwashed women, Juli. If you put two and two together, congrats, you’re officially smarter than T. Hawk.
This character was actually going to be worse. Originally he was going to have a goofy “Elvis haircut” to further drive the point home he was an absolute himbo. But a person from Capcom who’s part Native American suggested going with something more accurate.
Oh, and before someone from the American studio rolled up a newspaper and slapped the main team in Japan, he was originally going to be named, and I’m not making this up, “Geronimo.”
And if you’re looking at the picture and wondering if T. Hawk says “How,” he does. And never at a time that makes sense as the actual word “Háu” meant “hello”. So T. Hawk saying that during a special move or during a winning animation makes no damn sense and is just racist.
Alright, let’s go to the next page and see what new challengers will appear.