COMING THURSDAY: "Gilded Rails," NEW AUTHOR INTERVIEW, TRAILER, and DEMO

Well, I just hope no one comes away from this thinking it’s a good idea to say “negro” in front of black people. :grimacing::grimacing::grimacing:

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That’s completely fair and I’d want the same thing, but I also didn’t want to be silent about something that seemed off to me. It shouldn’t be solely on the potentially targeted person’s shoulders. I know I’d rather have to tell a straight ally that something’s okay than to have that ally be silent. But I get what you’re saying.

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And I’d hoped there was wider awareness of the cultural and political history of people of color in the United States, but apparently not.

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This was the first time I heard that CoG is now going to include nonbinary options as a minimum, and I’m very happy and excited that you’ve done this! This is a great step :smile:

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What I mean is that history is strewn with hurtful relics. Generally CoG isn’t shy about tossing those hurtful relics of the past, no matter how realistic, in order to facilitate a more inconclusive and more enjoyable experience for its players. Therefore it seems strange that CoG chose to stick by the word “negro” which was used as a way of disparaging black folk for a not insignificant period of time in the US’s history, and still has negative connotations to this day.

EDIT: Accidentally overwrote my original post here with my reply to Mary. :frowning:

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I don’t know what you mean by realism, but the “historical accuracy” argument has been done to death. You can find another thread to rehash it, I think there are several. Our games will always be inclusive, no matter what period of history they are set in.

What does this have to do with history? I’m not talking about the 1800s, I’m talking about modern society. I live in south Kansas City, where the majority of people are black. Anyone who thinks you can replace “black” with “negro” in a casual sentence has probably never seen a black person in real life.

It’s essentially a less severe version of the N word. I actually have no problem with it being in the story because it’s set in the 1870s. I just disagree that it’s not a slur, because coming out of the mouth of a white person, it is like 95% of the time.

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What I mean is that history is strewn with hurtful relics. Generally CoG isn’t shy about tossing those hurtful relics of the past, no matter how realistic, in order to facilitate a more inconclusive and more enjoyable experience for its players. Therefore it seems strange that a decision was made to stick by the word “negro” which was used as a way of disparaging black folk for a not insignificant period of time in the US’s history, and still has negative connotations to this day.

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No one said, least of all me, that today you can or should refer to a black person as a negro. That is because people generally prefer “black,” and “African-American.” However, it is also not a racial slur. It could be wielded that way by someone who intends it that way, yes, but only today, and only because the person you call a “negro” doesn’t want to be called that.

It is not being wielded that way in this game.

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Go and read The Souls of Black Folk, and listen to Martin Luther King’s speeches. Do a minimum amount of research before you claim “negro” has been used as a disparaging term.

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I would argue this is directly contradicted by leaving the language as it is. You are saying inclusivity is more important than historical accuracy (as it should always be!), yet in this instance you are leaving potentially hurtful, racist (within modern context) language for history’s sake.

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You appear to be saying that since Black folk use a term to reference themselves that somehow makes it impossible for white people to use the same word to disparage them. I hope I don’t need to point out that this same line of reasoning has been used to excuse usage of the n-word

Just because people at times take ownership of a slur as a form of self-empowerment doesn’t take away its painful baggage.

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That’s an interesting take. I’m not aware of how the alt-right may use this term today; but I’m not wrong about one thing. If W.E.B. DuBois was a character in GIlded Rails, he would use the term negro. It was not a disparaging term.

I think, actually, people are shocked and unclear about what to do with a game where you can play a black PC, period.

However, given the feedback we’ve received here we’re going to reach out to our sensitivity reader and share what people have said. It’s midnight here, so I’m also going to close this thread for now, because I can’t engage on the issue overnight.

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Nope, I didn’t say that. I said the opposite, in fact, above, to @Samuel_H_Young. How you wield a word is what matters.

That is not the history of the word negro.

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I hope you’re right, and not me.

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I cannot speak for everyone, but i personally liked the option that playing as a black mc has a effect in this, and i’m saying this as a black person, not from EUA, i cannot say about the use of the word negro since from where i’m from negro means black and is not a insult since well yo’re black, the reason that i liked is because many cgs seem like they where written with a white protag in mind, not intentionally, but still, it does seem odd sexuality being not noted while your skin color is, but i do remember a cg where being LGBTQ didn’t matter and the mc had friends who had a darker skin color and it was noted and comented, but the mc was just fine, sorry if this makes no sense, i was just happy to see the option to be black, like in Tin star playing as a native gives you different dialogue, but you still can romance people rtegardless of gender, and as far as i remember your sexuallity is not frowed upoon too, soo this is not the 1st cg to do this

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To begin, let me point out that there is an essay in the stats file of the game about the setting. It does not address race, but it does address both queer marriage and the role of women in society.

My point being, I assert that this claim is false:

An entire alternate universe was created, yes, but it’s not one-sided between its treatment of women, queerness, and race. The perception in this thread of a significant privileging (“modernization”) of gender and queerness in the game over race is, I would argue, erroneous. I understand that it may seem like gay marriage or a woman being the head of a railroad might be a big deal, but the rewriting of history to allow a black person to not only show up at white society’s social events and walk through the front door, but also to marry a white person, is a much bigger change. (Even the orthography of “Negro” instead of “negro” is an example of this stretching; that didn’t start happening until the 1910s and 20s.)

Despite these changes, there are still power imbalances in this game. Women, blacks, Irish, and queer folks are all at different levels of power in this society. In my opinion, the game does an admirable job of balancing power fantasy—and the stretching of history to make that inclusionary—with the acknowledgement of those systemic power differentials.

As for the specific use of the word “Negro,” it appears seven times in the game. Two of them in a parallel moment of the first chapter when dealing with the player’s education. Two of them occur in the context of Lessing and the discussion of the discrimination they’ve faced in being/becoming a journalist. The other three are the player calling out racist subtext in other characters’ statements. It’s not used casually, and it’s certainly never used against the player.

Now, I’m sensitive to the argument that those first two instances—regarding the player’s education—are the closest thing to the term being used against the player. This is an expression of the power differentials of the world: only a certain segment of the world, the Radical Republicans, would embrace the education of blacks. But in this context, the Radical Republicans are calling the black folks what they wanted to be called. If anything, the difficulty in these two instances is thus not in the use of the term—because it’s the term that is being used to respect the subject—but instead what it tells us about the world: that there is a significant portion of the world that would not consent to equal education for blacks. So, in conclusion, I don’t think the use of the word here is inappropriate in the context of it being used against the player.

Lastly, there is the question of whether a modern black reader would take offense at the use of the term. And, to be perfectly frank, I think all us white folks should shut up about it and let some black folks talk.

(And, since I’ve started this post, @flocktrops has been kind enough to offer their opinion, which I read as broadly positive.)

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I’m going to say this very clearly:

If you’re not a black North American, I’m not interested in hearing your opinion on this. I will delete any further comments on this thread.

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