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Diversity & Dungeons & Dragons

Jun 20, 2020 8:37 pm
Keleth says:
But it's very easy to see that western culture has ingrained components seeing non-white folks as lesser.
Westerns? White? or Americans? This sentence also bags a lot of cultures together. Would you say that current german culture has ingrained components seeing non-white folks as lesser? I mean, they keep taking all those refugees despite all the opposition and terrorist attacks they suffered and are pretty committed to not making the same mistake. Or estonian culture? Icelandics?

This goes back to that point I made earlier: I feel this is mostly an "american-centred" discussion with american-centred views on black vs white being projected into the game. Again, the way things are dealt with in the States are questionable at many levels and from various perspectives (like anywhere else I believe). And again, I agree that reducing discrimination makes perfect sense. Just focused on the relativity of all of this and how mapping things to reality is basically a personal exercise has you can see anything you want. Are dwarves an authoritarian regime? I always felt that fanatic focus on honour and family was very harmful to individuality. Maybe because authoritarianism is a greater fear and racisms where I'm from? (or not, just an example)
Last edited June 20, 2020 8:46 pm, a total of 4 times
Jun 20, 2020 8:43 pm
The thing that is so disturbing in this discussion is that it shouldn't have to come to a historical debate about whether or not white European colonial aspirations are greater than or less than whatever whataboutism others want to substitute.

People from non-white and other marginalized groups have categorically stated feeling excluded by the way published material portrays races and groups that are pretty obviously meant as analogs for non-white and other marginalized groups. That is, and should be, enough to prompt an action to make those people feel included, and heard.

Was the non-inclusive material intended to be hurtful? It doesn't actually matter, because it was, and they were told that it was. Just as there are people in this thread saying that it is.

The second salient point was already stated by Sassafras. Changing the published material to correct the stuff that is hurtful to non-white and marginalized groups hurts no one. It doesn't turn it around to make white European analogs inherently less intelligent or more "lacking a culture." It simply removes the stuff that non-white and marginalized people have been telling us they find insulting and demeaning.

I don't understand why anyone would find this controversial or be arguing against it.
Jun 20, 2020 8:44 pm
CESN says:
Keleth says:
But it's very easy to see that western culture has ingrained components seeing non-white folks as lesser.
Westerns? White? or Americans? This sentence also bags a lot of cultures together. Would you say that current german culture has ingrained components seeing non-white folks as lesser? I mean, they keep taking all those refugees despite all the opposition and terrorist attacks they suffered and are pretty committed to not making the same mistake. Or estonian culture? Icelandics?

This goes back to that point I made earlier: I feel this is mostly an "american-centred" discussion with american-centred views on black vs white being projected into the game. Again, the way things are dealt with in the States are questionable at many levels and from various perspectives (like anywhere else I believe). And again, I agree that reducing discrimination makes perfect sense. Just focused on the relativity of all of this
Perhaps the occurrence of "Black Lives Matter" demonstrations in countries all over the world can shed light on this.
Jun 20, 2020 8:54 pm
Curiously, I did not hear about Estonian or Icelandic demonstrations actually :D UK, Germany, France, New Zealand and Australian (I believe "black" here was more about Aboriginal peoples, not sure) and Japan (which I found weird... they are generally seen as pretty xenophobic but I did not see many "black people" there...). But different countries focus on different locations. Anyway, just listening to this "black people" and "white people" feels weird to me. It's just people. An American citizen was brutally killed by the police for no reason. To me, it doesn't matter what color. But I understand the tension and context is different there, unfortunately.
Last edited June 20, 2020 8:56 pm, a total of 4 times
Jun 20, 2020 8:56 pm
CESN says:
Anyway, just listening to this "black people" and "white people" feels weird. It's just people. An American citizen was brutally killed by the police for no reason.
Thank you. We can only move forward if we stop seeing ourselves as different races and start seeing ourselves as a singular species.
Jun 20, 2020 9:00 pm
WhtKnt says:
Thank you. We can only move forward if we stop seeing ourselves as different races and start seeing ourselves as a singular species.
And let history be history I'd add. A lesson to learn not to repeat or obsess about. "We" (were I'm from) were pretty bad as well, but it wasn't really "me". I can only hope "we" don't go as low as "we" went ever again. While checking for this discussion, I just found my place listed in the "16 Most Unbelievably Evil Empires In History" and the British empire wasn't even there!
Last edited June 20, 2020 9:02 pm, a total of 2 times
Jun 20, 2020 9:04 pm
It matters because of the proportions. Black people are killed by American police at many times the rate that white people are killed by them, and the way police treat black people is markedly more violent - and documented as such - than the way they treat white people. So that's why race matters, because the way black people in America are treated is immensely counter to the stated values of equality under the law that are enshrined in our constitution.

But again - this discussion is not about any of that. It's about what non-white and marginalized people say about the published D&D material and the efforts, however belated, by WotC to address the concerns. Why the continual effort to widen the discussion to matters not directly on point?
Jun 20, 2020 9:04 pm
WhtKnt says:
CESN says:
Anyway, just listening to this "black people" and "white people" feels weird. It's just people. An American citizen was brutally killed by the police for no reason.
Thank you. We can only move forward if we stop seeing ourselves as different races and start seeing ourselves as a singular species.
The problem there is it erases part of the problem. Yes, there's a problem with police killing Americans, but there's a bigger problem with police killing a particular group of Americans at a rate higher than another group. Yes, the goal is to see everyone as one, but you only get there by actively recognizing that's not the case right now.
Jun 20, 2020 9:10 pm
Moonbeam says:
But again - this discussion is not about any of that. It's about what non-white and marginalized people say about the published D&D material and the efforts, however belated, by WotC to address the concerns. Why the continual effort to widen the discussion to matters not directly on point?
This is a really good point. We should get back on track.
Jun 20, 2020 9:12 pm
Moonbeam says:
But again - this discussion is not about any of that. It's about what non-white and marginalized people say about the published D&D material and the efforts, however belated, by WotC to address the concerns. Why the continual effort to widen the discussion to matters not directly on point?
In my case, it was to ask why religious intolerance is still ok and where do we draw the line on not having predefined alignment? (which totally got lost) Why should sentient and highly intelligent creatures such as demons be strictly evil? I mean, all of them?
Jun 20, 2020 9:15 pm
CESN says:
In my case, it was to ask why religious intolerance is still ok and where do we draw the line on not having predefined alignment? (which totally got lost) Why should sentient and highly intelligent creatures such as demons be strictly evil? I mean, all of them?
I have no idea how this is relevant. Have you felt excluded or demonized (heh) by D&D published materials as a result of this? Have you registered this as a deeply felt bigoted exclusion with WotC? Or is this one of the whataboutisms I mentioned earlier?
Jun 20, 2020 9:19 pm
lenpelletier says:
The discussion has narrowed to distribution of ability score bonuses when making player characters, but I think important context is gets lost unless you look at the bigger picture.

The fact is that in some D&D settings there exists races of people that are born inherently dumb, irredeemably evil, or both, and that they are a plague upon the land coming to kill you, and it is virtuous to slaughter them and their children. "The only good Orc is a dead Orc." This matches really close with white supremacist beliefs and narratives, and how white supremacists describe Muslim and Black people and justify their hatred.

It is a reasonable thing to wonder why the Orc gets paired with dark skinned people. But that has been going on since Tolkien invented Orcs, which were dark-skinned. Since the publication of the Lord of the Rings, white supremacist groups have taken his work to be an allegory of the struggle of the aryan race*.
Quote:
"For years, Tolkien scholars have waged a fight on two fronts: against an academic establishment that for the most part refused to take the author's work seriously, and against white supremacists who have tried to claim the professor as one of their own."
― David Ibata, Chicago Tribune
To this day, I've seen white supremacy groups making memes about immigrants being depicted as the Orcs in the LotR movies.

Anyway, all of this isn't D&D's fault exactly, but the creators built the game and its fiction and its language on top of this mess. Sure, Orcs are green now and not black but the association remains. And it's bothered people for a long time, especially people of color.

I think it's worthwhile looking at this connection to our hobby and untangling it.
* Tolkien was very vocal about not taking his work as allegory.
My issue with this is that you don't use the word bigots or racists. The default for "bad people who were racist" is by default White. Anyone from any country I see talk about this issue, it automatically defaults to white people.
Jun 20, 2020 9:22 pm
Keleth says:
WhtKnt says:
CESN says:
Anyway, just listening to this "black people" and "white people" feels weird. It's just people. An American citizen was brutally killed by the police for no reason.
Thank you. We can only move forward if we stop seeing ourselves as different races and start seeing ourselves as a singular species.
The problem there is it erases part of the problem. Yes, there's a problem with police killing Americans, but there's a bigger problem with police killing a particular group of Americans at a rate higher than another group. Yes, the goal is to see everyone as one, but you only get there by actively recognizing that's not the case right now.
Deleted by Keleth.
Jun 20, 2020 9:25 pm
Naatkinson says:
Actually, if you take into account the number of violent crimes committed by said group, then they are actually statistically under-represented in police killings. not saying it's okay, I'm just making the point that there's more than one way to look at it
Since you insist on widening this thread beyond the stated scope, there is a wealth of evidence that the group in question appears to commit more crimes solely because they are considered the default suspects for crimes, because they are more heavily policed, because they are forced by poverty and the power structure into plea deals regardless of guilt, and because they are often framed by planted evidence.
Last edited June 20, 2020 9:25 pm, a total of 1 time
Jun 20, 2020 9:27 pm
Naatkinson says:
Deleted by Keleth
ooo fire here 😅 Though I understand this is not meant to be in favour of the "crimes" from either "side", others may not understand this that way (That "it's not okay" will be missed for some reason or another). I would support the context behind the numbers argument someone used earlier. Assuming those number are right, them I'd suggest they are confounded with social status and wealth, making it not directly interpretable. I mean, in a brutal statistical way :D
Last edited June 20, 2020 9:28 pm, a total of 3 times
Jun 20, 2020 9:32 pm
Moonbeam says:
I have no idea how this is relevant. Have you felt excluded or demonized (heh) by D&D published materials as a result of this? Have you registered this as a deeply felt bigoted exclusion with WotC? Or is this one of the whataboutisms I mentioned earlier?
So, just for teasing, you're saying that orcs and drow can't be evil because minorities or non-white think it is wrong to assume a race is evil as that is the permisse for racism which they are victims of... but it is ok to say another race is evil to the core because... bible I guess?

Also, I think religious intolerance is an issue as serious as racism nowadays, so if one is raised, why not the other? Hell! I could even question the social rules and how they apparently tend to end with male PCs harassing female NPCs! The question is, if they are going for this and are truly worried, are they going far enough?
Last edited June 20, 2020 9:34 pm, a total of 3 times
Jun 20, 2020 9:51 pm
CESN says:
So, just for teasing, you're saying that orcs and drow can't be evil because minorities or non-white think it is wrong to assume a race is evil as that is the permisse for racism which they are victims of... but it is ok to say another race is evil to the core because... bible I guess?

Also, I think religious intolerance is an issue as serious as racism nowadays, so if one is raised, why not the other? Hell! I could even question the social rules and how they apparently tend to end with male PCs harassing female NPCs! The question is, if they are going for this and are truly worried, are they going far enough?
No, I'm not saying any of what you just said. I also am not interested in engaging in "just for teasing" arguments. This is clearly sport for you, but for the people who've been hurt by the bigotries entrenched in the gaming materials, it's a serious impediment to their ability to feel equal.
Last edited June 20, 2020 9:52 pm, a total of 2 times
Jun 20, 2020 9:55 pm
CESN says:
Naatkinson says:
Deleted by Keleth
ooo fire here 😅 Though I understand this is not meant to be in favour of the "crimes" from either "side", others may not understand this that way (That "it's not okay" will be missed for some reason or another). I would support the context behind the numbers argument someone used earlier. Assuming those number are right, them I'd suggest they are confounded with social status and wealth, making it not directly interpretable. I mean, in a brutal statistical way :D
Honestly, I don't much care anymore how anyone understands it, because if it's read without predetermined intent, it's pretty clear what I meant 😝
Jun 20, 2020 10:23 pm
Qralloq says:
How dare you say this is a white thing. Look at the major genocided in the 20th century, few of them were white on black violence. Rwanda, Cambodia, the current anti Muslim pogroms in China. I'm deeply offended. Not as a white supremacist, but singling out the one race it's fine to do so to. This is a human problem, and truth be told, the white plague has been toward more freedom and equality not less.
Naatkinson says:
My issue with this is that you don't use the word bigots or racists. The default for "bad people who were racist" is by default White. Anyone from any country I see talk about this issue, it automatically defaults to white people.
Fair point. I am wrong, and I apologize. I would like to amend my statement to "This matches really close with beliefs and narratives of extremist racist groups, and how racists describe minorities and justify their hatred." I won't edit my post, I want to leave it up there for the discussion to make sense. I apologize for offending anybody, especially two people I admire and enjoy playing games with.

Just for some context, my wife's mom, a 70-year-old Chinese lady who is very lovely, says totally racist things all the time. You don't have to convince me that people of color can be racist!

I do think that, in the context of Dungeons and Dragons, examining how these ideas are playing out in white supremacist narratives is more relevant than Chinese or African or Muslim supremacy. D&D wasn't designed by Hutu or Muslim creators, it was made by white creators. It wasn't inspired by Cambodian novels or a Muslim literary tradition, appendix N is large (exclusively?) white authors. Chinese supremacists aren't holing up the Orc as a symbol of what they think of Muslim people, but white supremacists are. Only yesterday did 5e even get released in a non-English language.

Every culture needs to examine their own racism. I'm white, so I examine racism in my culture. I'm sure Chinese games have Chinese bigotry and Muslim games have Muslim bigotry, but I don't play those games and I'm not them.
Jun 20, 2020 10:42 pm
have you seen this?

https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/314622/Ancestry--Culture-An-Alternative-to-Race-in-5e
Last edited June 20, 2020 10:42 pm, a total of 2 times
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