Battlefield 1 ‘Black-Washing’ Controversy Shows Petty Racism is Alive and Well

Battlefield 1 ‘Black-Washing’ Controversy Shows Petty Racism is Alive and Well

Back when the initial announcement was made that Battlefield 1 would feature an African-American Harlem Hellfighter on the box art there was an outcry from some gamers that this just wasn’t ‘realistic’. It was largely forgotten (because it’s a stupid thing to complain about) but apparently, now that the game has seen full release, this silly controversy has reared it’s ugly head once more. Now, both EA and DICE are being accused of ‘black-washing’.

When this so called controversy began it was because some felt that an African-American soldier on the cover of a World War I game completely overlooked the fact that it was fought and won mostly by white soldiers. They labeled this as ‘black-washing’ due to the fact that apparently, black people didn’t play a huge part in the war so the portrayal was both inaccurate and a forced shove of race into a game that shouldn’t have it. First and foremost, shut up. Secondly, SHUT UP.

Battlefield 1

As pointed out by this article over on JStationX, choosing any single soldier for the cover whether they be black, white, yellow, brown, male or female could have been considered an oversight of the contributions of any other group that ever had a hand in fighting World War I. It’s a lose-lose situation for EA and DICE because they either pick one or go with a massive group shot that has them being hailed as pandering softies.

Of course, it can’t just stop at the box. Criticism is being leveled at Battlefield 1‘s multiplayer because it also allows people to play as an African-American character. Standard complaints of being forced to play a black character abound and some of the more ludicrous whining even suggests that due to their skin color the African-American characters have a camouflage advantage over the light skins. As a light skinned caucasian myself (like pastier than a nun’s whites on Sunday) I say two things; first, shut up and secondly, SHUT UP.


The outspoken people who are making these claims seem to feel that EA and DICE are using the game to make some sort of political statement about race. They’re yelling about SJW brainwashing forcing people of color into places they don’t belong in order to satisfy minorities. If you bother to read over this Reddit thread (although I’d advise against it if you’re a rational human being) you’ll find that most of them are complaining that the white man just can’t come second.

Battlefield 1

The sad fact is that this vocal minority is largely comprised of Caucasians who aren’t willing to face their own racism. One quote from the Reddit thread quite simply conveys the type of people we’re dealing with here, “sad that they have to bend history to appease a cesspool minority.” Let your racist flag fly! For every one commenter delivering perhaps a balanced look at who participated in WWI and where they came from you have a number of others continuing on with base racist blather. Of course, if you have the stones to stand up for the choice you’re nothing more than a ‘self-loathing white man’ who is nothing more than an ‘SJW cuck’. Again, to this I have two things to say; first, shut up and secondly, SHUT UP.

In the long run, this vocal minority thankfully isn’t hindering sales of Battlefield 1 which received nearly unanimous critical praise as one of the best games the Battlefield franchise has seen in years. Our very own Rory Wood covered the game for COGconnected and loved every second of it… regardless of who was on the cover or who he played as!

While claims such as this aren’t anything new it’s sad to see that in this day and age it’s something still so prevalent. You can label me a ‘white apologist’ or as a ‘brainwashed SJW’ if you like but the bottom line is that I don’t see the issue here. They chose a character and went with it. My white ego hasn’t taken a hit because of it. My great-grandfather who fought in WWI isn’t rolling in his grave. He was a great man who appreciated people of all ethnicities and I’d love to think that as a society we can move past such petty arguments but something tells me that we’re not quite out of the woods yet. Have any thoughts on this? We’d love to hear your comments down below.


  • suli559

    Why couldn’t they just put a character with his back towards us so we can’t tell his race? Or would ea and dice get accused of being rude? Kids these days

  • James McKenzie

    African American. Yes, having one on the cover of a WWI game is fucking stupid. MAYBE 38,000 of them saw combat . And the Americans were only in the last fucking year of the war. So yeah, us historical purists have reasons to complain.

    1. The Americans are in this game and the French aren’t yet. Same with the Russians. This is bullshit.
    2. There were like no black Germans fighting in Europe. Statistically irrelevant. And their colonials were all stuck in Africa. So having not only the Scout but also the Cavalryman be black for the Germans IS ACTUAL BLACKWASHING. Considering all the German maps are in Europe.
    3. Each front has a loading screen for it. So there are four. There’s British vs Germans, Americans vs Germans, Italian Front, and British vs Ottomans. Each one has two soldiers on it representing the armies fighting on the map. For three of these four loading screens, black men are used to represent the OVERWHELMINGLY WHITE armies of Britain and the U.S.

    Why? Why are the armies consistently represented by black men? Why TWICE for the British? This is an army with 2 minorities in it! They could have used an Indian guy! Why two black guys? Why? This makes no sense other than if it’s being used to pander to the currently VERY loud black community in the United States. (which is the biggest market probably)

    The fact is this was a white man’s war. out of around 60 million soldiers who fought, MAYBE 2 million were non white/non Ottoman. So yeah, this game SHOULD have a white guy on the cover. Because anything else doesn’t fit as perfectly.

    And considering the Hellfighters aren’t seen past ONE mission, this is extra stupid.

  • Bryce Levasseur

    First I’m a white male second my only complaint with the Harlem Hellfighter on the cover was we only got one mission the prolog and that was short. Maybe we could have seen more such as 2 or three more additions to their story. These guys were some of the best to take the field against a hardened enemy. Never gave an inch and only pushed forward pretty impressive I’d say and deserving more than just the cover and prolog

    • Shawn Petraschuk

      You know what we don’t see enough of in comment sections for video game sites, Bryce?

      Well thought out, balanced and mature responses.

      Thanks for bucking the trend! Appreciate the comment!

      • Bryce Levasseur

        Thank you