We Need to Talk about how Mario is a Harmful Italian Stereotype



It’s 2018. We’ve taken a step away from harmful stereotypes like Apu and Jim Crow. Mario needs to be replaced, or to be re-imagined in a way that doesn’t make a caricature of Italian men.

A plumber from Italy may have made sense in a story-lacking platformer and arcade game in the 80’s, but as canon increasingly describes him as a resident of an other-worldly Mushroom Kingdom, his background as someone from the very real country of Italy makes less and less sense. It's no different than Nintendo's gaff that described Mew from Pokemon as being sighted in “South America”. Older, less culturally sensitive media has always had a problem looking at foreign areas and foreign people as anything beyond fantasy. In Peter Pan's magic world of Neverland, there just happen to be some random Native Americans there. In the magic chocolate factory of Willy Wonka, Oompa Loompas are described in the original text as black-skinned Pygmies. While Africa and unexplored American lands may have seemed as fantastical and foreign to English writers as Italy seemed to Japanese ones- we know now that they are real places, their people are very real, and their stereotypes are very problematic.

Me-mes such as the one tweeted by Mario Ballotelli in his controversy back in 2014- the tweet considered so offensive he needed to apologize and take it down- illuminate how problematic Mario’s caricature is… but is he wrong? Is this not the persona that Nintendo perpetuates through this character?

Mario needs a rework- shave his mustache, change his costume, give him a different profession, and give him some backstory about being born in the Mushroom Kingdom. It’s not retcon, it’s tolerance.

Lmao this is a joke article. Congrats on reading this far. Don’t tell people in the comments so that they can get upset.