An internet game called ‘Slave Tetris’ in which players stack as many Africans as they can into a ship’s hold has been pulled after it caused a furious reaction online.
It was a segment of a wider game called Playing History: Slave Trade aimed at educating people about the horrors of slavery.
The different shaped blocks of classic title Tetris were replaced with emaciated black figures wearing only different coloured shorts.
That really wasn’t going to work out well, was it?
But then here on mainland Europe people aren’t quite as, shall we say sensitive, to the prevailing ethos on such matters. I recently edited a translation from Czech into English of a game script. Had been done by a native Czech speaker and needed a bit of cleaning up. And I had to remove a reference to “negro rap music”. The producer asked, well, what word should we use instead? Nigger maybe?
Err, no, that probably wouldn’t be appropriate really……and then everyone got entirely mystified as I tried to explain how Cumberbatch had been shouted at for using the word “coloured”. People of color is the correct term these days: something which was really very difficult to get across, the stylistic differences between these alternative words for melanin enhancement.
And as to why NWA can use a word which we can’t absolutely no one could understand that. So I can understand why the Danes might be a little mystified. It’s entirely obvious to any native English speaker why Tetris with slaves might not be looked upon kindly. But actually explaining why is a little more difficult. Sometimes it’s a great deal easier to just say, well, no, we don’t do that.