The game is called “King Philip’s War” and according to AP reporter Eric Tucker, the Massachusetts Wampanoag tribe is all up in arms about it. The game is based upon a battle between 17th century New England colonists and Native Americans in the area. The game, although designed initially to be an educational tool of an actual historic event, although the objective of the game is to defeat as many Indians as possible, it perpetuates the usual stereotype of them as bloodthirsty, uncivilized savages. Instead of bringing to light the scant attention this little ‘war’ has been ignored in most textbooks and is beneath the public radar, still, it has for a growing number of Indian tribes been a source of irritation and racial insensitivity. The game’s designer, John Poniske, a Middle School Social Studies and English teacher in Hagerstown, MD said that he was surprised that this “incident” was not better known.
This is not the first time controversy has been generated in association with a game because several years ago “Ghettopoly” developer David Chang caused outrage among many African-Americans and the NAACP because of the negative depictions of drugs, guns, 40 oz. beer, buying stolen goods, prostitution and pimping, crack houses, getting car jacked, etc., contained in it. No matter what the intention of the inventor or creator of a product is, its success depends upon how well it is received by the public-at-large and it all comes down to “ethnic branding.” How would Jews feel about a board game depicting the ‘HOLOCAUST’ from the perspective of a former German Nazi soldier or what about a Civil War game from the perspective of a former rebel soldier from the South; better still, from the perspective of a slave living below the Mason-Dickson Line?
It must be remembered in politically-correct American society that traditional values or appropriateness are not so clearly defined and it is prudent to consider how someone else might perceive differently the thing that you take for granted.
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April 16, 2010
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