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Borderlands 2 writer responds to allegations of racism

Is thinking about altering dialogue in future DLC.

A Borderlands 2 writer has responded to allegations of racism surrounding the African American lingo of white game character Tiny Tina.

Tiny Tina is one of the game's many wacky quest givers. A thirteen-year-old explosives expert, Tina's dialogue is written by Gearbox's Anthony Burch, who admitted that while "a lot of people love her, some find her irritating as hell".

But a number of fans took to Twitter to question her speech, Kotaku reported. They picked out use of words like "badonkadonk" and "crunk", and claimed Burch had opted for "stereotypical low-class black lingo".

"Have you never met white people who use that kind of language?" Burch responded. "Tina is based on several I know personally."

"The last thing I want to be is exclusionary or prejudiced," he continued, "so if Tina truly is problematic I'll change her. I'm just not convinced that a character using lingo like badonkadonk/crunk is inherently racist. If I'm wrong I would like to know why."

Another person suggested Tina equated "stereotyped ebonics" with "wacky".

"Hrm - that's an interesting point," Burch replied. "I meant to make her a mishmash of stuff (ebonics/fairytale/naivete) but I see what you mean."

Tina's existing dialogue won't be altered because it can't be, for technical reasons. But Burch said he'd alter future dialogue if he was convinced it was a problem.

"[Changing existing dialogue is] not actually feasible within the technical constraints of the game," he said, "but I'd alter her dialogue in any future BL stuff."

Randy Pitchford, boss of Borderlands 2 developer Gearbox, took to Twitter to defend his staff member.

"Tina is not racist because you are not racist," Pitchford told Burch. "You're a pillar of tolerance and inclusion."

At least one more Borderlands 2 expansion is due to be released, the last to be covered by the game's Season Pass.

Examples of Tiny Tina in action lie below.

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About the Author

Tom Phillips avatar

Tom Phillips

Deputy Editor

Tom is Eurogamer's deputy editor. He writes lots of news, some of the puns and makes sure we put the accent on Pokémon.


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