at some point after I returned from Taiwan last year I heard about an iPhone game called Rasta Monkey. It was selling for $1.99 and you guessed it! you play the game as a Rastafarian Monkey. At the time I looked at the title of the game and I thought “Wow what a racist title!” Since The NAACP will complain about a garbled word on a Hallmark card (here if you’re curious), I assumed that someone would quickly complain about this title and it would be modified. So I mentioned to the people near me at the time that I felt that it was quite offensive and beyond that I was quite happy to let someone else complain about it to Apple.
But recently I was talking to a friend about the Hallmark card I linked to earlier and this game jumped into my brain. I thought surely someone has done something about this offensive title. I went over to my Girlfriend’s iPhone to see if it was still on the market and it is! it is now $.99 instead of $1.99. I think this is quite ridiculous, and I don’t understand why more people are not complaining about this offensive game title.
I thought that maybe I was over-thinking or being too easily offended with this so I embarked upon an enlightening Google search. In 2008 Linda Ramirez-Sliwinski was forced to resign as a delegate for Obama because she referred to some African American kids swinging around in a tree as monkeys (check it out here). her exact words were something like “quit playing around in that tree like a bunch of monkeys.” In my humble opinion the usage of the term, in this context, was not racist. Monkey’s do swing in trees. It seems to me that she was showing genuine concern for the welfare of the children. She didn’t want them to fall out of the tree and crack their heads open. But she was encouraged to resign anyways. It is also worthwhile to mention that she received a $75 dollar fine for disorderly conduct which shows that the government (her city’s government) perceived her actions as being wrong and against the law.
Here we have a game where a group that is largely African-American (I consider Jamaica to be part of the Americas) being likened to monkeys swinging through trees. This is especially offensive because as aforementioned monkey can be used as a derogatory term for people of African descent. Furthermore, to my knowledge, Rastafarians are not known for swinging around in trees like monkeys. So I really doubt that this game title would be acceptable under any context.
I am shocked that Apple allowed this application to get onto the app store with this title, and even more surprised that it has stayed in the app store for this length of time. It is a well known fact that Apple actively filters the content of the app store so I must wonder what this says about their priorities.
If you want to read an actual review of this game go here. If you think I am being uptight about it then let me know. My mind is not set on anything ever so if I am wrong I will admit it. But for now, in my opinion, Nitako’s Rasta Monkey game is quite offensive. I really wonder why this has not been a bigger deal!