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Racism is an Easter egg in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Grand Theft Auto IV, and Grand Theft Auto V.


Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

During the mission High Noon, taking place in an old west Ghost Town, Eddie Pulaski orders CJ, who is of African-American race, to dig a grave, while pointing a gun at him. It is a reference to the 19th century, during which African people were being enslaved by rich Europeans and Americans. Some of the rebellious slaves were put to dig in the earth and were shot in the head by their owner. However, the grave was meant for Officer Jimmy Hernandez, not for Carl.

Grand Theft Auto IV

Racism in GTA IV is highly debatable. There are many racial stereotypes and jokes found within the game, such as the Rich Rabbis, but these are to enhance the humor of the series.

In the early stages of GTA IV, Liberty City is under a Terrorism warning, due to a recent attack, and the police are wearier of a newly arrived immigrant rather than American citizens. If Niko passes any of the bridges, uses subway tunnels, or swims, before the appropriate borough segregation is lifted, he will receive a six star wanted level and will be considered a terrorist. It is interesting to note that in either The Lost and Damned and The Ballad Of Gay Tony, Luis and Johnny can cross the bridges without consequence, however, Luis' story line began after all borough segregations have been lifted. It is also interesting to note that in The Lost and Damned intro, Niko is seen in Alderney, while TLaD's storyline begins when Niko is still in Broker.

When hanging around Northwood, Algonquin, people living there may taunt Niko about him being eastern European.

Grand Theft Auto V

Racism in GTA V comes generally in the form of how white pedestrians react to different things that Franklin does. For example, there are countless videos on internet showing police officers attacking Franklin for no apparent reason, including when he just happens to be standing near them. This may be due to his ethnicity and skin color.

It must be noted that Rockstar denied any claims of racist behaviour in GTA V, when players claimed the police were more aggressive and/or responsive to Franklin than any other protagonist in the game. They claimed that This is absolutely false, the in-game police don't treat one lead character any differently from the others[1]

Also, when roaming around rural areas with Franklin and Trevor, two or three quads appear along the player. Then the people on quads start to taunt the protagonist, depending of the choice. For Franklin, the taunts are about him being black, and for Trevor, for being a Canadian. After few taunts are said, they begin to shoot the protagonist, killing him.


Players did tests at the different stations around the state. It is a well-known fact that rural Americans, who are Caucasian, tend to dislike African-Americans more than city folk, who would just be used to living side by side with them. The tests involved Franklin standing near the police and saying something to them five times at every station in the game. The reactions were then put into a table. The player then did the same with Michael and Trevor, to compare the reactions to African-American Franklin with Caucasian Michael and Trevor. The results showed that the police reacted aggressively to Franklin more times than they did with Michael and Trevor, mostly at the Davis sheriff Impound. This ranged from pointing at him with a gun and arresting him, to point blank shooting him, whereas Michael and Trevor were usually just acknowledged with little reply. Another thing to note is, that the police in the rural police stations reacted more aggressively to Franklin than the ones in the city.

It can be concluded that Franklin gains more wanted levels on average due to his significantly more superior Special Ability, as well as the ability to throw the ball, exclusive to him, which has the same melee properties as other thrown weapons, thus gaining a wanted level in strange circumstances.


  • Police dialogue when chasing Franklin is known to include some racism, such as one who says I will lynch you!

Video Investigation

Game Theory Are GTA V Cops Racist? (Grand Theft Auto V)

Game Theory Are GTA V Cops Racist? (Grand Theft Auto V)

See Also


  1. Kotaku Article: