Barret

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Barret from Final Fantasy VII [Gameswalls]
Barret Wallace is one of the main playable character in Final Fantasy VII. He is the very first Black character throughout the series. This was over 10 years after the first Final Fantasy game was developed. This is sort of not a surprise though because “minority ethnic groups, such as Black and Hispanic, appear less frequently in video games (Mou 924).”

Judging by his appearance, you can tell he is indeed Black. He is very tall, 6’5″, and very muscular. He has a buzzed haircut and is equipped with strange metal bands on his left arm and abdomen. It is hard to notice in the image above but Barret also has an earring on his left ear.  He also has a tattoo on his left shoulder. You will also observe that his right arm is replaced with some mechanical device called a gun-arm in the game. This gun-arm allows him to interchangeable equip various weapon attachments (“Barret Wallace.”).

Barret is the prime example of a stereotypical character from the Final Fantasy series. His appearance displays many stereotypes of a Black man in the real world. Buzzed hair cuts, tall, always angry, violent, dressed ghetto, and wears “bling bling.” Though these features are not true for every Black man, it is how Barret is being portrayed. His appearance was designed to make him represent a black thug or criminal from a bad neighborhood.

 

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Cloud Strife from Final Fantasy VII [Final Fantasy Wikia]
With these features children may view Barret as a monster. He has a huge figure, mean looking, and has a non-human body part that looks creepy. In comparison to his comrade, Cloud Strife looks rather normal. He is 5’7″which is pretty average height for a White American Male. His build is toned and not super buff like Barret. He does not have any mechanical parts and does not look mean.

 

 

 

 

 

In the conversations within the game, Barret noticeably speaks differently compared to everyone else. His grammar is improper and sometimes his sentences do not make sense. He also has the tendency to use profanity.  For example, in the first image below labeled “Barret Chat Log 1”, Barret says “Don’t give a damn ’bout none of that! This place’s goin’ up with a big BANG soon! Serves y’all right!” Square Enix seems to have made Barret’s language Ebonics, a variety of English spoken by African-Americans. Ebonics can commonly be referred to as slang (Rickford 1). This was Square Enix’s way of furthering Barret’s distinction as a “typical” Black male in the real world.

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Barret Chat Log 1 [Well-Rendered]
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Barret Chat Log 2 [Well-Rendered]
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Barret Chat Log 3 [Well-Rendered]
 

Barret’s weapon of choice is also rather stereotypical. Somehow Square Enix found it appropriate to make Barret use a gun. Why give the black man the gun to battle against evil when everyone else is using a sword or magic? Is it because Square Enix is trying to best represent their Black character with a real Black man in society.

 

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