Use of name Brahmin is religiously offensive

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#1 Edited by Laxite (29 posts) -

Brahmin is what a priest is called in Hinduism. I am one. It is very offensive for me to see Brahmin as a two headed cow-pack mule hybrid which people kill for meat and hide. If you think this is a game, enjoys free speech etc., that is true, but then substitute the Redstag, the Brahmin, the Radroach etc with the priest of your religion and see if you feel the discomfort. It is not my intention to hurt any religion or individual's feeling. I request a civilized and on-topic discussion.

Bethesda has had trouble with this issue with previous version of fallout when Microsoft did not release the game in India. Recently made a detailed request through and got the usual computerized response. I posted on their forums and the topic was locked because 'it was religious' even though that is precisely what I was trying to get thrown out of the game.

I got a few responses on that post which I never got the chance to response to. They were along the lines of:

Get over it: I think it is our duty as citizens to make things fair and non offensive instead of turning a blind eye to them.

There is no reference linking it in the lore: That is true, but if you were to substitute the name with that of a priest of any other religion, there will be no reference to that either, but does that make it right, especially from the point of view of that religion?

It has been there since fallout, Brahma is the name of bull etc.: Fallout series started in 1997, which gives it a legacy of 18 years. Brahmin and Brahma are in use in Hinduism for over 5000 years. On the practical side, in the best case, changing the name will involve small edits in a few (may be 5-6) XML files, in the worst case, one can run the 'grep' command change it. It will take probably 8 hours to fix and 2 weeks to test. It will probably take a little longer to change the references in the lore, depending upon how many places has references to it, but the lore site can just contain an single line that says Brahmin is renamed to bla-bla because as the radiation levels went down people remembered what they were originally called.

and the most creative one:

I am a scorpio but not Rad so should they remove radscorpian also: The analogy does not quite hold. Scorpio is a sign of the Zodiac, a scorpio is not expected to look like a scorpian or a cancer not expected to be a crab, but 'only behave like one'. Brahmin is a Brahmin, it is not just a figurative name. Besides scorpians and insects and are portrayed as one in Fallout 4. Brahmins are human beings and are portrayed as animals in Fallout 4.

I believe it is never in a company's interest to alienate a group of users and never too late to correct a wrong. Come on Bethesda, leave existing religions out of your games and rename the 'Brahmin'.

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#2 Edited by MacDaddy0511 (14 posts) -

So first off I want to clarify that I am speaking in the most respectful way possible, just assertive, I don't want the "tone" of my voice to be misconstrued for being rude or disrespectful.

Ok so I understand that you find this name of a fictional animal in a virtual world to be disrespectful and unfair to your religion, but I have to ask if it's possible to just let it go? I myself have grown up in religious settings but currently I don't have an organized religion. I find most organized religion to be distasteful and often hypocritical. I believe that spiritual beliefs are a private matter not a social statement and what not, but my past has helped me to understand that most religions teach a lot understanding, patience, and forgiveness correct? Shouldn't that extend to a commodity that has to appeal to a massive customer base? I believe that in this day in age we as a race are just too darn easily offended by things that when you look at them as a whole really mean nothing in the grand scheme of things and all this does is hinder everyone from speaking openly for fear of being called insensitive or a bigot.

So a video game animal is commonly called what you are in reference to your religion. I have to ask, does it adversely effect how you view your beliefs? Did you question your spirituality or did anyone outside come up to you and call you an irradiated, two-headed cow? Did you find that the Church of Atom (which by the way could be considered blasphemous to Christians for the fact that it sounds like Adam, and the leap could be made that they're worshiping not god but his creation instead? Also that the followers of that "Church" are a bunch of lunatic fanatics and that could be thought as offensive just as a whole?) to be a better outlet for your beliefs? I wouldn't think so, and honestly I doubt I'm wrong in this aspect.

So my point is that if everyone everywhere had to go around making sure that no one is offended by anything at all, we are doing nothing but hindering our creative process and will fear pushing the bounds of advancement because we are too afraid that someone will be offended or get their feelings hurt. Shouldn't we as individuals make the effort to further our understanding and practice patience to be able to overlook small things that really aren't a big deal? Take things in hindsight, it's a video game. A very far-fetched one at that. In a world that does not exist and never will, so how does it really effect you? I personally had no idea that the word Brahmin was a religious reference, and I know that I'm not the only person to not make any connection like it. As a matter of fact I'd have to say that that consensus would be the majority.

Also if we're talking about fairness here, I want to know how having to change the game for one small group of users is fair to the rest as a whole? And I want to disclaim (even though just having to do this circles my point earlier) I personally don't care if it did get changed. That beast would still be "Brahmin" in my head every time I saw one while playing the game and would be to everyone else who's ever played the game. I'm sure even you would look at the creature on your screen and subconsciously think "That used to be called a Brahmin" So ask to that observation, what's the point at this point? I want to stress not the points of "how easy it would be to change this or that" but instead ask why? Why is it that something like that has to be changed for everyone as a whole just to appease a select few? Why is that fair? And more importantly Why is that offensive? and really ask "Is it truly offensive?" Someone persecuting you or demeaning you intentionally for your beliefs is offensive and should not be tolerated, but saying that the name of something that doesn't exist is? We have a limited language vocabulary, words from all walks of life are going to end up being used for anything and everything. Getting offended is a personal decision that shouldn't be forced on everyone else. Educated on? Absolutely, but not shamed.

I hope you can take all this for what it is, one man's honestly given and thoughtfully explained opinion.

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#3 Edited by Laxite (29 posts) -

@macdaddy0511: That's so far the best answer I got. I haven't discovered the Church of Atom yet and thought being singled out. My religion does teach tolerance, it has co-existed well with all but one religion as a result, and even then it wasn't by our choice. I am not a particularly religious person. I have a Christmas tree in my home right now even though I am Hindu. I guess I was expecting some reciprocal understanding. I do believe now that this decision was made without any spite. It will be nice to have an official position from Bethesda on this somewhere on their website.

While I agree on the message in your argument and the impracticality of accommodating everyone, on the ideological level I disagree with the basic tenant there that numbers make something right. Right is an ethical argument. I like very much your points about 'How does it affect my personal beliefs?' and 'You will always think it used to be called Brahmin'. To that I am going to forgive and forget so that the hate does not grow on me and continue to enjoy the game.

If Bethesda has an official position statement on this and the Church of Atom, that will be great.


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#4 Posted by MacDaddy0511 (14 posts) -

@Laxite: Thank you for being understanding and being receptive! This is probably the first time I've been able to express an opinion like that and not get attacked.

As for the Church of Atom in Fallout. I don't recall any mentions of this group in Fallout New Vegas but in Fallout 3 and 4 you encounter them periodically. Basically they are an almost cultish group that worship the splitting of the atom and the power of the atom bomb. Hence the Church of Atom, in Fallout 4 they are a fanatical group that are as violent and crazy as the Raiders save for a small group living in the glowing sea but I won't spoil that aspect of the game for you or anyone reading this. But Basically I would take the Church of Atom like anything else with the game, a story aspect that creates more depth and allows for a more real "lifelike" feel to the game.

Ok so with that out of the way I can say that I too would be interested in what Bethesda would have to say in response. I agree that I don't think the decision of the name had any malicious intent behind it.

I am glad you agreed with some of what I said and I can definitely agree with your views too. The only thing I can say is that I think we as a whole need to practice understanding. Like myself for example, now that I know what a Brahmin really is I can fully respect the true meaning of the word. And this understanding and respect was made possible through education. So I am very happy that you're deciding to forgive but I don't think that forgetting is necessary, for if you forget you don't learn. For me this is not something I will forget because it's been a great learning experience. So my suggestion is/was just enjoy the game for what it is, for what all games are really, visual stories. If there is something that makes you feel uncomfortable by all means let the makers know. I just wouldn't let things like it disrupt my happiness by dwelling on it. Life is too darn short to always be upset over things that, like I said before, are actually miniscule in the grand scheme of things.

With much respect, Thank you!

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#5 Edited by u1849ka (1 posts) -

Brahmin have been in Fallout since the original isometric games made by Obsidian. So, Bethesda isn't the company that decided on the name; they're just stuck using it because they'd have to retcon the lore of the 7 previous games to change it, now.

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#6 Posted by bhudspat (1359 posts) -

Wow, get over yourself already. You can spend your life being "Offended" by stupid shit. And yes being offended that a made up game used the same word as in your made up religion is Stupid. Or you can be a stuck up Asshole and take offense at every little thing in life. Grow a pair.

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#7 Posted by maxikyd (27 posts) -

In the US there is an actual cattle breed called brahman or brama, but the name is generally pronounced the same as brahmin. (As a youngster, I was confused that a religion and a cow had the same name. It wasn't until later that I learned the spelling was different. (Face palm self)) These cattle were crossbred from cattle originally imported to the US from India. According to Wikipedia, the brahman is one of the more popular breeds for meat in the US, Central, and South America.