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Zion, the Last Human City we see in the Matrix series, is remarkably multiracial for a city as shown as US fictional visual media. But despite the variety of races present in Zion, they do seem to all be invariably from the US. All of Zion's recruitment efforts seem to be concentrated in the US parts of the Matrix, and all Redpills we see also seem to be from the same general location in the world.

Now, the Doylist explanation is clear, in that The Matrix is a piece of fiction made by USians for a primarily USian audience, so the focus is as expected.

But is there an in-universe explanation for it? Are all the redpills in Matrix English-speaking/culturally American(ish)? Does Zion really recruit people primarily from US-Matrix or are there in fact people from elsewhere in Zion that we just never see? Are there culturally Chinese or Indian or Ethiopian equivalents of Zion elsewhere on Earth who are just as much in the dark about Zion as Zion is of them?

We see programs who affect the mannerisms of people from other cultures (the Merovingian and Persephone, Rama-Kendra and Sati, Seraph etc) but all these examples are in fact sentient programs who've voluntarily chosen and taken up human 'covers' to live in the Matrix. But what about actual humans who live in and identify with those other cultures in the Matrix?

Info from all canonical expanded universe sources in welcome :)

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    If I remember correctly not once in the movie was there a reference to location... Unless I missed some sign somewhere... Me having been in several places around the world I can tell you that The Matrix is NOT located in US. The city has wrong feel to be American (obviously, since was not shot in any) Furthermore: English is language of the computer age. Since all are either born in English speaking Zion or freed from Matrix (and can be taught languages in minutes) English only society is not unreasonable assumption. Especially with Matrix being... bland nationally-wise. – AcePL Feb 6 '15 at 10:08
  • We don't know the physical location of Zion in the real world, but we sure as hell know the locations the Zionists spend time in while in the Matrix. And English being the language of the computer age is not even true of we completely erase all of the massive Chinese, Japanese, Russian internets? – Shisa Feb 7 '15 at 0:15
  • ..."remarkably multiracial for a city as shown as US fictional visual media". I assume by "fictional visual media", you mean movies/TV - because in reality the US is one of the most multiracial places you'll find. But yes, on screen, it always seems to be 90% white or 90% black, depending on who makes it. – Omegacron Feb 9 '15 at 21:16
  • @omegacron yup, that is what I meant. – Shisa Feb 10 '15 at 2:35
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We do know that there are non-American regions in the Matrix (e.g. we see Japan in the Animatrix story Beyond, and Mount Everest is one of the locations for the short story System Freeze), so surely at least one red pill was recruited from one of these non-American locations (even if we don't see any such red pills).

I can't think of any red pills that are definitely not English speaking and/or culturally American, but we don't know if that's the case for all the red pills. Based on the list of Resistance characters on the Matrix Wiki (note that not all of these characters were born in the Matrix, and some aren't even human), the best candidates for examples of characters which might come from a non-American culture seem to be

  1. Sawayaka (real name Jayna Kiyomizu, possibly Japanese)
  2. Vashuo (real name Anatoli Ivanov, possibly Russian)

These characters would speak English to their fellow Zionites, but they may speak their native language as well. In addition to these characters, there are also better known characters which speak English but might come from a non-American cultural background (e.g. Jue, Vector, Binary, etc.).

It appears that Zion does recruit primarily from English-speaking, culturally American bluepills. Or, at least the films just focus on Zion's activities there. This is probably due to the fact that

  • it is easier for Zion to recruit from people who share the operatives' culture (which is predominately American)
  • the Machines appear to have concentrated the most important parts of the Matrix within culturally American parts of the Matrix (the Oracle lives there, the Agents took Morpheus there when they captured him, the nuclear power plant that was destroyed to help Neo travel to the Source is there, etc.)
  • Neo is American, and the story focuses on him. Although there are possibly other Zion ships operating in non-American parts of the Matrix, we the audience are following his ship in areas familiar to him.

The cultural dominance of the United States within the Matrix can in turn be explained by the fact that

  • the simulation is set to 1999, a time in which the United States was the sole superpower in the world.
  • Machine ambassadors in the real world met with human ambassadors at the United Nations, which is headquartered in New York City (seen in the Animatrix story The Second Renaissance). NYC was the seat of the humans' power in the real world, so the Machines used its cultural influence as the basis for most of the Matrix and especially its important parts.

We can probably rule out other, non-American Zions in the real world as that would counter the Machines' system of repeatedly destroying Zion -- they would have to destroy the other Zions, too, whereas it's easier to just destroy one. Also, in the 100 years of fighting the Machines, presumably the "American Zion" would have stumbled across the "non-American Zion(s)".

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  • In the opening sequence, we see that Morpheus has committed some kind of terrorist attack at Heathrow Airport. – Valorum Feb 6 '15 at 15:05
  • @Richard True, but they would speak English there, too. I thought Japan and Mount Everest were better examples. – Null Feb 6 '15 at 15:10
  • I take exception to the suggestion that Britain is culturally American. – Valorum Feb 6 '15 at 15:13
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    @Richard I didn't say that. It just seems like the asker is looking for people who are culturally different and who come from a culture that speaks a different language, like the Chinese or Indians. – Null Feb 6 '15 at 15:19
  • I expanded my comment above to include The Merovingian and Persephone. – Destroyer73 Feb 6 '15 at 15:25
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According to Matrix: Reloaded, Zion is populated from small number of individuals from within The Matrix, selected by The One(1). Since the simulation is apparently a single, vaguely North American mega-city (at least in the 2nd & 3rd movies(2)), so Zion is a single, vaguely North American society, with the maximum genetic diversity allowed by the stock in the power plant.

  1. Architect: After which you will be required to select from the matrix 23 individuals, 16 female, 7 male, to rebuild Zion.

  2. Considering only the first movie where the simulation appears to encompass the entire world ("Morpheus eludes police at Heathrow Airport") would be more problematic, but in the first movie there is no indication of what Zion is really like.

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It is my Theory that programming something as complex as what is essentially a fairytale existence to keep your power source alive and compliant is incredibly difficult as was mentioned by The Architect. He says the perfect environment of the first version of the Matrix was rejected by the human brain resulting in the loss of millions of lives.

Therefore in my mind at least, it's far easier to program an existence of just one culture. Programming every single social, regional, ethnic, economic and religious nuance for the thousands of cultures in existence would quickly overwhelm an already exceedingly complex program. Obviously sexual and racial identity are innate within the world of The Matrix which I think falls in line with the theory of "Residual Self Image" as described by Morpheus when he brings Neo into the Loading program for the first time.

We do know the The Merovingian is French as is his wife Persephone. He states that he has sampled all languages and he loves French the most. One could assume that he sampled the other cultural aspects as well and settled on French. He seems to be someone similar to the Architect in his ability to edit and modify the very code of the Matrix.

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