Comments

1
I question your use of the word "should".
2
Shut up you stupid Half-Orc!
3
I always thought of it as being pro-Lapp, in its pro-Elven stances.
4
Why isn't this under Nerd?
5
As if the whole burglary aspect of the game wasn't bad enough.
6
Still one of my all time favs, Chomsky and Zinn on LOTR
Zinn: And observe the map device here — how the map is itself completely Gondor-centric....
7
That was pretty feeble.

Here's D&D (and all the subsequent editions, most of which greatly IMPROVED the playability of the game) and race: The Good humaniods represents the universal Us, the bad humaniods represent the big scary Them. The world is Us vs. Them. If you are racist, then it's very easy to see the evil humaniods as proxies for Blacks, Jews, Asians, whatever...

The evil humaniod societies do not make sense, generally. There's no way Goblins, Hobgoblins, Orcs, Gnolls, Bullywogs, Kobolds etc... could survive without a more nuanced society. (Plus Kobolds have a 50/50 chance of defeating a housecat in a fight to the death) Being EVIL all the time doesn't lead to survival of the species. These beings aren't just there to be EVIL for the good people to come along and slaughter and feel great about being powerful and good.

And it's great fun. It's not a very good model for the real world, but I'm glad my DM never presented me with and Orcish preschool to slaughter.
8
@5 - think of it as "right-sizing" or the "free market".
9
In our game, we all make fun of our Dragonborn Paladin by calling him Raptor Jesus.
10
I got about an inch down the scroll bar before I gave up on the nerd rage. This is not a *should read,* but a *should avoid.*

@9 I wish I had thought of that before ours turned on us and we had to kill him.
11
The reason for the anger and the rage is that the truth hurts. Fantasy in general is racist: it is all about genetic determinism. As Mudede points out, fantasy is about the myth of genetics, and sci-fi is about the myth of utopia. If this were simply wrong, you'd laugh or ignore it. If it reveals a painful truth, you feel anger.
12
That was weird how he seems to intend to argue that D&D is not racist, yet he totally makes D&D sound like an expression of subconscious cultural yearning to return to a time/place where racism is valid and socially acceptable....like, "gee, I know you can't predetermine a person's attributes and potentialities based on their race anymore, but WOULDN'T IT BE GREAT IF YOU COULD????"

Top 5 stupidest statements in that article:

"Racism is not objectively bad. Racism is only a real-world evil because people discriminate against each other on the false premise of racial superiority."

"In a fictional world, that often isn’t the case....Good and Evil exist as objective forces, and certain races are predisposed to a certain moral outlook."

"So I suggested getting rid of all the humanoids and demi-humans and just replacing them with humans that are genetically hard-coded to be better or worse in ways and have racial (in the real-world sense) [??!!?] behavior."

"A D&D player group consisting of white supremacists and a D&D player group consisting of strict medieval reconstructionists might well have identical-looking game worlds."

"That it might not seem welcoming because the faces in the books don't look like them, well, there isn't much I can do about that."
13
We all know the black elves are both the sexiest and most evil of elves.
14
the nerd rage is pretty stupid. the most honest part of the article is when the author says, "It’s all good and well to say this is all imaginary, especially coming from Mr. White Privilege Living Way Up North over here." from there, he just tumbles on into defensive-land, where he does a very good job of proving that he has a very poor understanding of what racism is and how it operates in america & europe after the civil rights era and the removal of jim crow laws. the article that Helsinki Nerd Rage Man is reacting against is much more interesting & better-argued.

http://raceindnd.wordpress.com/2008/11/1…

having said all that, any imaginary world created by humans will obviously reflect the subconscious, real-life prejudices of its creators. d&d is clearly written with racist/sexist/oppressive slants, because it's written mostly (entirely?) by white straight men who are privileged enough that they don't have to think about their biases. but it doesn't HAVE to be played that way, because the group you play with can interpret those rules differently. playing the game as if you're color-blind to race is a stupid, impossible goal, but you can acknowledge race and racism in such a way that it runs against stereotypes, and any person with a reasonable imagination can play a brown-skinned character that isn't a thuggish/primitive/tribal caricature, or a female character that isn't reduced to her secondary sexual characteristics, or what have you. it helps to actually play with people who, in real life, aren't 100% straight white dudes, or who have at least stopped to think about that sort of thing a few times in their lives.
15
also: 11 & 12 ftw.
16
I can't read the article from work, but I do have a few comments about racism in gaming.

In most fantasy worlds, as @7 points out above, the "evil races" are inherently evil. They are born evil to evil families and there are evil gods who make a living by keeping them that way. (I'm quoting someone but I don't remember whom.) If you accept that premise, then slaughtering orcs is no more racist than putting down a rabid pit bull. (Someone tell Savage!) A Drizzt-type character is a real aberration.

This sort of thing works in D&D, where good and evil, law and chaos are such tangible elements of a person's soul that certain spells may or may not affect you accordingly.

As soon as you start bringing moral relativism into the game, though, everything goes out the window. Suddenly the orcs aren't evil, just "tribal", and you have to respect them the same way one medieval country respected the next one (which is to say, not very much, but one at least paid lip service to the idea unless one was prepared for war.) Humans and orcs can argue over land and each is, theoretically, equally entitled to a reasonable chunk thereof.

IMNSHO, though, that's just not as much fun! It can be intellectually interesting, and of course it makes it a lot easier to justify playing a "monster" PC, but sometimes it's easier to just know that Orcs Are Evil and you can just nuke the bastards without remorse.

At some level a politically-aware player has to acknowledge that this is a departure from real-world racial politics. You can't translate your elf ranger's hatred of goblins into any kind of real-world attitude. I understand there is a fear of some kind of psychological cross-leakage, where somehow your orc-slaughterin' is going to eventually translate into being mean to that nice Afghan couple next door ("DIE, SERVANTS OF SAURON!" - "What? I work for Ms. Johnson!") but frankly, I call bullshit.
17
@11, everyone is laughing and ignoring it, and you. I guess you were right.
18
Dang, I failed my Intelligence roll while trying to read this scroll.

Did I miss anything?
19
Also: re. gaming art. It remains a disappointment that women and nonwhite folks get such short shrift when it comes to gaming book illustrations. Women keep getting depicted as huge-breasted and scantily-clad, and nonwhite folks rarely get depicted at all. It isn't okay, and there's no excuse. When I go to local gaming cons there are people of all genders and colours, and these people are all spending money on games. Why shouldn't they be depicted?

In the World of Greyhawk and the Forgotten Realms, there are a number of human sub-races who correspond more-or-less to real-world racial and/or cultural groups. Even so, all of the iconic characters seem to be basically white, and the iconic female characters spend some time in plate armour... and some time in sheer nightgowns or wenching garb.

The argument I've most often heard presented is that "white males 18-25 are buying the books, so we need to appeal to them". Does it really make that much of a difference to sales if you have some extra cheesecake in your book? And I've read the odd complaint by white males who claim to be offended by the use of alternating gender and female iconic characters, as if this somehow takes the game away from them (the eternal cry of the empowered when the underclass starts to get a leg up, alas) but I really believe those jerks are in the minority.

I think greater diversity in game art and iconic characters would be a Good Thing, and not just from the perspective of "giving diverse players diverse characters with whom to identify". Fantasy role-playing games are cool precisely because of the diverse roles they offer to players, and reflecting that in the art can only help.
20
I only play female characters exclusively clad in rhino hide g strings.
21
"Genocide looks so fun. If only--. It's that darn moral relativism! If only there were some way to get all the fun of wholesale racial slaughter, without those killjoy nuanced complexities."
22
I'm playing a bisexual female hero in Fable II, and I notice that a) there is no option for "protected sex" between two women, and b) there are no male prostitutes. On one hand, it saves me a couple of gold on condoms, but it's not very responsible to assume that females can't pass STDs to each other. There are also dark-skinned gypsies in this game, who have been renamed "Romany" on the official website (I guess somebody complained).
23
I never thought I'd see the Stranger link to that rag/blog, Lamentations of the Flame Princess. I used to help the main editor distribute his magazine to the metal scene in Vegas. I dunno, I wouldn't really cite anything coming from it it as a source. Sure, there's plenty of racism to be had in Tolkien, but sill... Jeeze

Please wait...

and remember to be decent to everyone
all of the time.

Comments are closed.

Commenting on this item is available only to members of the site. You can sign in here or create an account here.


Add a comment
Preview

By posting this comment, you are agreeing to our Terms of Use.