Mafia II takes place during a time when segregation was a norm in American Society. The developers of Mafia II use that time to exploit many racist views and ideas throughout the story. I felt uneasy as I was asked to steal a car from what Vito Scaletta refers to as a "moolie" neighborhood. I was uncomfortable listening to Joe describe how all blacks do is smoke dope and kill each other as I drove around Empire City. I had to tell myself "It's the 40's" to rationalize the insensitivity. When I found myself repeating that phrase over and over I knew there was a problem.
One of the more offensive moments happened when I was shooting my way through a restaurant in Chinatown. After successfully killing every last Chinese person in the place I received the achievement "Chop Chop!" I was disgusted. The name "Chop Chop" is a reference to a comic book character from the 40's and 50's. His image was that of a stereotypical Chinese caricature as you can see in the picture on the right. It's just insulting to for a game to take pride in killing a bunch of characters then rewarding the player with a shout out to an offensive character.
The racism in Mafia II is not necessary. Red Dead Redemption focuses on an earlier time in American History and manages to do it without being offensive. The game brings us to Mexico and embraces the culture as it tells us a story. If we let a game like Mafia II slide it's only going to open the door for more offensive games. What's going to stop the next game that's set in the 40's and 50's from being offensive? Before we know it we could end up with another Ethnic Cleansing on our hands.