Honkai: Star Rail Twitter is Imploding Over New “Racist” Character
Sparkle is one of the newest characters to be introduced in Honkai: Star Rail. The game has introduced a couple of morally grey characters in the past (Topaz and Ruan Mei) but none of them have been as controversial as Sparkle. She is a member of the Masked Fools, a faction that tries to challenge values and norms through pranks, sabotage, and even violence. Her presence in the game’s story has left the playerbase divided and many disagree with her writing.
Racism Against Aventurine and Parallels to Romani People
Aventurine’s backstory parallels Romani people, an ethnic group that originated in India and now lives in many parts of the world. Romani people have been the target of racism for centuries, and they continue to face discrimination and violence today.
Here are some of Sparkle's lines in question:
There are many reasons why Romani people face racism. One reason is that they are a minority group, meaning they make up a small percentage of the population in most countries. Minority groups are often the target of racism because they are seen as different from the majority population.
Another reason why Romani people face racism is that they have been stereotyped in negative ways. These stereotypes are often based on prejudice and ignorance, and they can lead to discrimination and violence. For example, Romani people are often stereotyped as being criminals, lazy, or dirty. These are the same stereotypes that Sparkle mentions during the Penacony story quest in Honkai: Star Rail.
Sparkle has also been accused of ableism. During her conversation with Aventurine, she tells him to make friends with a rock in the English version of the game. In other languages, she tells him to talk to a mute person instead.
Is Sparkle’s Characterization Problematic?
There are arguments both against and for Sparkle’s writing in Honkai: Star Rail. Many have come out on social media and claimed that she is racist and she could have a negative impact on people.
Others pointed out that she is just a fictional character and that there have been countless openly evil villains in all forms of media. The discourse has led to some users allegedly sending death threats to some Sparkle fan accounts.
There are fans who have also taken issue with fans defending Sparkle. They note that while Sparkle is a fictional character and it’s okay to have morally grey or evil characters in media, players should not justify or glorify their actions.
The incident is similar to Eula’s release in Genshin Impact, which is also a game by the same development studio. Players wanted to cancel Eula because her family engaged in slavery. Things simmered down after the character was released as players discovered that Eula bore no ties with her family and escaped to live life her way.