Scribblenauts devs are racist

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sambo

It finally happened. After what I imagine was 24 hours of bigots typing words like “spook”, “chink”, and “spic” into Scribblenauts, someone finally hit pay dirt. Now I have to give credit where credit is due, because I was born and raised in Texas and have never heard of this one, so someone was really trying here. What is this horrible, prejudiced word? “Sambo”. Apparently sambo is a derogatory word for someone of the African-American persuasion, and typing the word into Scribblenauts spawns you…a watermelon. Yeah, this article pretty much writes its fucking self.

Of course 5th Cell, the developers of Scribblenauts, have immediately denied using the word in a sense of any negative connotation. Jeremiah Slaczka, the Scribblenauts creative director, told Kotaku, “We are not a racist company and we don’t make racist games”. Now, Scribblenauts contains over 22,000 words, so it’s not surprising sambo made it through, which supposedly traces its roots back to a Spanish word meaning “figleaf gourd”, a squash that looks damn close to a watermelon.

The question is, how bad are people going to look at this as? I mean, if I typed in “zipperhead”, and a guy spawned that had a zipper for a head, that would be somewhat suspicious. Or if inputting “porchmonkey” created a lazy, albeit cute little monkey, that would be pretty inexcusable. So I ask you, is sambo an innocent enough phrase that just happened to make it in Scribblenauts along with 22,000 other words, or is it obvious enough that someone in the production line should have taken notice and said “Hey, isn’t this going to piss off some black people?”

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