Google Play has removed a game that allowed users to buy, sell and torture black characters from the platform. The game titled “Simulador de Escravidão” (Slavery Simulator) was released by Magnus Games on April 20. The app, which allowed users in Brazil to buy and sell black characters, was downloaded more than 1,000 times before it was removed from Google Play, writes BBC News.
The developer noted in the game’s description that users can “trade, buy or sell slaves” and inflict various forms of torture on black characters.
Screenshots from the game show that players had the option to free characters or take them as slaves. „Use the slaves for your own enrichment. Prevent the abolition of slavery and accumulate wealth”users were urged.
At the time of removal from Google Play, the game was rated 4 out of 5 stars. „A great game to kill time. But I think he lacks more torture options”one user wrote.
“Blatant racism,” tweeted Renata Souza, a black activist and regional politician from Rio de Janeiro. “The image that depicts the game consists of a white man surrounded by black men. It is absurd and violent. Google and the developer must be held accountable for this exposure of racism,” added Souza.
For her part, Denise Pessoa, an MP from the ruling PT political party, wrote on Twitter that “it is absurd that a game that spreads cruelty and hate speech against black people is available.”
“Our country was built with the blood of the black population. People were killed, tortured. a Slavery simulator it’s not a joke,” added Pessoa.
And federal deputy Orlando Silva denounced the game, calling it “grisly” and “an abomination hosted by Google.”
Several people in Brazil, a country that has yet to come to terms with its past of slavery, abolished in 1888, expressed their outrage at the game on social media, and politicians called for higher standards for tech companies, as well as prosecution.
Brazil’s Attorney General announced that it had opened an investigation into how the game was made available on Google Play, and Brazil’s Minister for Racial Equality said the developer would be held accountable.
Google said in a statement that „does not allow applications to promote violence or incite hatred against individuals or groups based on race or ethnic origin, depict or promote gratuitous violence or other dangerous activities”. „When violence is discovered, we take appropriate action”the American company added.
Magnus Games mentioned in the game description that this „was created for entertainment purposes”.
„Our studio condemns slavery in any form. All games are fictional and not related to specific historical events. Any coincidence is coincidental”states the game developer.
During the four centuries that the Portuguese were involved in the Atlantic slave trade, an estimated 10-15 million Africans were transported to the European colonies in the Americas. Of these, more than 3.5 million were taken to Brazil, many arriving there after the development of the coffee industry in the mid-19th century. Even after the Atlantic slave trade was outlawed in 1850, tens of thousands of slaves were still brought from Africa, according to Historia magazine.
The first Africans were brought to northeastern Brazil in 1538. The decision to import and exploit laborers from Africa was partly determined by the papal bull of 1537 by which the Holy See forbade the enslavement of Indians, but also by the fact that Africans were much more resistant both to physical labor in the tropics and to the diseases of the Europeans that were decimating the Indians. At the same time, the Portuguese were no strangers to the use of Africans as slaves: the slave trade and racial interbreeding between the Portuguese and black Africans had begun in Europe more than half a century before the discovery of Brazil (in 1500).
In fact, the mixing of the two populations had started centuries ago, with the Carthaginians, Romans and Moors, who brought a significant number of slaves, servants and mercenaries from sub-Saharan Africa to the Iberian peninsula. The systematic exploitation of African labor through enslavement by the Portuguese began, however, in the mid-15th century, when slaves from Guinea were brought to the Alentejo, Algarve and Madeira. Human traffic on this route reached such a scale that, by the beginning of the 16th century, one in ten inhabitants of cities such as Évora was of African origin, while Lisbon, the capital of the colonial empire, even had an African quarter .
Therefore, the importation of a sea of African slaves to Brazil did nothing more than continue an old Portuguese tradition. Compared to the Visigoths who preceded them as masters of the Iberian peninsula, the Moors – themselves of Afro-Asiatic origin – did not discriminate based on skin color, nor did they discriminate against other monotheists based on ethnic origin. Moreover, as a consequence of the five centuries of Arab rule in the peninsula, the Portuguese in Brazil were long familiar with the Islamic religion practiced by many of their slaves.
Editor : M.D.B.
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