I’m reminded of all the high school and college cafeterias I’ve sat in over the years in the US. There was always a great deal of self-segragation, with whites mostly on one side and blacks on the other with a few asian tables here and there. Nobody forced any of these students to segregate, it was something they chose to do. There were always a few social butterflies who flitted across the line to sit with friends of the other racial group with no negative consequences, but most seemed more comfortable associating with those who looked like themselves.
I believe this sort of preference for self-segregation tends to promote segregation on the story level too, as out of sight is out of mind. This is why integration is so important as people tend to stick with that which makes them most comfortable. People need to make an active effort to make friends with those unlike themselves. Without an active and voluntary push for integration, integration will never truly feel comfortable and the status quo will simply perpetuate itself indefinitely. Separate but equal isn’t really equal when the opportunities aren’t the same on both sides of the divide.
I have to say, as an American of mixed-race myself I have noticed that 1 of the biggest problems is that many people seem to think that your race = culture and you have to act a certain way because of that. I have even had people tell me that they were mixed-race because they were French-Swedish-German or some other combination yet still 100% white because a lot of people here are taught to think that people act a certain way based on how they look. Growing up everyone told me I was white even though I don’t even look it but because I acted a certain way I had to be white because if I wasn’t then that would’ve changed there preconceived notions on how I was supposed to be. I have always found that to be the biggest problem in regards to race. Many have trouble realizing that how you are raised and how people treat you is not the same as the color of your skin but may be affected by it due to the cultural around you. Meaning that a person born of any color will still turn out to be the same person as long as they are treated the same regardless of that color.
It is nice to see some games on here as well as W.I.P.s that don’t use that process and I think that is a very nice start.
I understand that, and there are tons of mixed people whose ancestry is from all over, so it can be hard to include every single ethnicity. If not impossible since there are so many cultures and more than 100 countries. In my opinion I’m okay if a game asks for my race and not my ethnicity. As for historical settings, I understand that as well. But what about fantasy settings? You can easily make things up so it’s more inclusive.
That’s how I see it too. Furthermore, I don’t think it’s necessary if a game doesn’t discuss racism or have implications about race. But if you want to add race options anyway, I’m totally down for that so long as you include every racial group (different from ethnicity) and options for mixed-race people. Maybe an author can be vague about the PC’s family’s appearances so that way it’s more inclusive and they’re not perceived as one race over the other, given features that aren’t exactly present in another race.
I’m actually okay with that too. In historical games that don’t offer race, I’m okay with playing a character who is a monoracial member of that particular group. 99% of the time my PC’s are completely different from how I picture them. A lot of them are white (setting) or Asian (setting usually isn’t the case, but I imagine them as East Asian for some reason) and one of my PC’s in Seven Heirs of Ophaesia is actually (as I picture her) Latina.
I’d love to see more race options for Indigenous peoples. In America there isn’t a lot of representation for them and they’re a minority which can often lead to unintentional erasure. This includes people who are Melanesian and Aboriginal. Haven’t seen many options for that, if I’m being honest.
PoC is a term that is inexplicably considered politically correct despite being an acronym for People of Color… Which is almost identical to “Colored People”. And of course it’s almost always said as an acronym that sounds like some kind of racist epithet when you say it out loud just to make sure it seems especially disingenuous. In my opinion it’s an excellent example of how Political Correctness is just another excuse to try to control people.
Shoelip, I ain’t gonna stop you, but you have a habit of running your mouth in a sensitive topic when minorities are speaking.
I know you probably don’t mean to sound as harsh as you do, I have that problem as well, but you’re really… gonna get yourself in a mess if you continue that train of thinking out loud in this topic.
EDIT: Let me clarify. PoC, please feel free to correct me, I am only a humble mayonnaise jar acting on what I know from my non-white friends.
“People of Colour”, puts people before colour.
“Coloured people” does not.
“Coloured” was coined by white people in order to segregate and oppress and differentiate, while “People of Colour” was coined by people who are not white in order to take back this slur, and change it into something that they feel helps them resist this oppression.
My own epic fantasy WiP, Choice of Rebels, has a Euro-esque early modern cultural setting – surprise surprise. It could have been quite different; it was based in part on a years-long D&D campaign I ran in the late '90s/early '00s which ranged through fantasy versions of China, India, and Tibet.
But while it was a lot of fun to tell, that particular rebellion-against-the-empire story was in retrospect so shot through with D&D tropes (dakini as vengeful desert elves, yeti as orcs) and orientalist cliches that the world would have been too much work to rescue.
So I retreated to what I knew I could write. As a white guy of European descent, I’m comfortable treating my own heritage with a much freer hand than I would non-European heritage. For example, the dominant religion in my gameworld is a nightmare version of my own Christianity; I’d be hesitant to write a similar nightmare fantasy Hinduism or Islam (illuminating as such a project could be in the right hands), lest I just slip into the ways that those religions have been demonized by too many past English writers.
But of course the cultural matrix and skin color don’t have to correspond. The game takes place in a sunny bit of the gameworld where you’d expect people to have rather more melanin than your average English knight. So far I’ve not made the skin tone of the MC and their friends explicit – except through reference to other more northerly bits of the world where people are pale.
I’d like to leave their particular shade of brown to the reader’s imagination, as I don’t think it would add anything necessary to a story where there’s already rather a lot going on. I just want to make sure I don’t write the story with a “white” cast – not only would that be slightly incongruous with the context, it would gratuitously add a barrier to immersion for a lot of readers.
It’s been a slight challenge for this lily-white, fantasy-steeped author to write without reference to blushing, flushing, or other white-skinned stuff, and I’m not entirely sure I’ve pulled it off. For those who can stomach the genre and setting, comment is welcome over on the XoR thread.
Speaking for myself, I think you do it as well as can be expected. It’s nice to hear that even though you avoid describing skintones, you do try and keep the language neutral to avoid implying everyone is white.
For me personally, it’s not my favorite compromise but I think it’s better than nothing. Sometimes though it can be difficult when someone thinks a character is white and accuses someone who thinks a character is otherwise of being “politically correct” when the skintone has never been mentioned)
In reference to the blushing thing, many people of color do indeed blush Though it can be harder to see depending on how dark the skin is. I’m olive, so my blushing is easy to see, but I have friends with darker skin whose blush is harder to see in certain lightings. If you wanted to reference a character turning red, it won’t be as jarring as a character’s skin being pale. It’s still a reasonable thing to say, no worries
I’m also glad you’re aware of the “white slaves rebelling” trope. That always makes me so uncomfortable.
(I actually am a fan of Choice of Rebels–the thread intimidates me though )
You did succeed in bringing one of the main flaws of old Hinduism into the light within your game and that’s the utterly barbaric and inhumane way the lower castes are treated within a stiflingly oppressive caste-system.
In fact I’m rather hoping that letting other religions into the rebellion might see some (mass) conversions of lower caste people like many lower case Hindu’s on occasion tried to mass-convert to Islam or Buddhism.
The European and even ancient Chinese caste systems always had at least a theoretical way out for exceptional cases that didn’t require waiting to judged in some sort of afterlife, whereas the Xthonic system, just like the strictest interpretations of Hinduism doesn’t seem to allow any way out of it, in this world.
Just like @Cataphrak’s infinity series, eh?
I did always imagine the Shayardene MC’s as more Medditeranean than northern European however in part due to the sunny setting and in part, I guess, due to the dominant Greek/Byzantine inspired culture.
Well said! I hope this helps clear things up for people who might be confused.
@Havenstone I don’t have any complaints about your game on this topic. Thank you for commenting and explaining your thought process on why you made the game the way you did. While playing XoR, it felt easy and natural to picture my MC as dark skinned.
Language isn’t some rigid, immutable thing. It changes constantly. The evolution of the word “queer” is not dissimilar.
You should check out some articles and/or history of civil rights movements, you might see then that it isn’t all so “inexplicable”.
There are actually people who are not white who don’t like the term, just like there are people of color who like the term or do not like being referred to as nonwhite people. All the options we have to refer to ourselves are not perfect but what is important is that white people respect them and that we respect each other
It’s the same in the trans community. Constantly developing, constant debating. Some people take offense to the word “queer” and some gay people reclaim “f*ggot” as non-gay, non-straight people reclaim “gay”! Some non-binary folks don’t even see themselves as trans!
Most people can decide by general consensus what is okay or not, and that will have to be politically correct for the masses for now.
I think a lot of my black friends took offense to being called “blacks” not “black people”, too. Seeing that in this thread, not a lot of people are reaching that badly here! So, what matters the most is we learn together and work towards a more equal world, or just a safe space here, where we can, as small as it may be.
Political correctness costs no one anything. Politeness is free! If you feel it costs too much energy to treat a person with decent, human respect, that’s your problem. If you feel you don’t agree, tough luck, minorities decide how minorities should be treated, not you.
If you feel your terrible animated comedy shows (you know the ones), games, movies, and fun will get dumbed down by the "SJW"s; that’s your problem. A show shouldn’t survive on offensive jokes, stereotypes and shock factor to live; that just tells you it’s bad. Satire is supposed to make fun of the oppressor; when it ridicules the oppressed, it serves no purpose. And don’t pull the free speech/opinion card.
Satire targeting the oppressed has no meaning? I have to respectfully disagree. Sometimes laughing at our sorry lot is what keeps us going. We laugh at ourselves among ourselves because it builds camaraderie. It reminds us that we are not alone. Live another day, drag yourself ever forward and work yourself to the bone so that things can get better. Nobody is going to wave a magic wand and sing a happy song to transform our pumpkins in carriages after all.
i̶ ̶k̶n̶o̶ ̶r̶i̶t̶e̶?̶?̶?̶[quote=“Gary, post:91, topic:15997”]
We laugh at ourselves among ourselves because it builds camaraderie. It reminds us that we are not alone.
I agree! I suppose I should have been more clear: I meant satirical works made by the oppressor, depicting minorities. Minorities’ own jokes about minorities are often very hilarious and quite true and yes, do, in my own experience, bring a community together!
A quick few tip on how to remain polite: Address what someone says, not the individual.
i.e. Saying “you said x therefore you’re racist” is not going to go over well, while saying something like “that statement does have racist connotations” is probably better. Remember, even if you disagree with someone, it’s better to remain at least somewhat polite, if just because it’s easier to bring them over to your way of thinking.
Okay that out of the way, in scanning, I’ve seen little talk of the concept of omitting race altogether (other than from @Havenstone). While obviously not possible in some other media, we’re mostly talking about written media here. We can have games that entirely omit the mention of any racially identifying features. I am curious as to why this isn’t more central to the conversation at times. Thoughts?
I would love if more games on here refrained from describing the MC or the MC’s family unless if the game is centered around race but most of the games on here are not.
It really irritates me when I’m picturing my MC as being Black yet the author will randomly throw in a line about how pale the MC skin is or how bright the MC mom’s blue eyes are. It does nothing for the story and is unneeded. I want to be able to create my own visual of them.
If I had to choose between having no mention of race at all vs. having everyone in a game automatically be coded as white then I would prefer the former. Without a doubt.
But obviously I would prefer if someone is willing to put in the thought and effort to create world in which characters are diverse, even if we as a reader don’t have the option to customize our MC’s race.
The issue with omitting race all together is that often, there are still implications that the characters are meant to be white. “She had beautiful blonde hair and blue eyes” will typically be ascribed to a white woman. “His face turned pale” will describe a white man. As far as I know, most games on this site, WIP or finished, that try to leave race ambiguous tend to have very little room to read the characters as people of color.
It can also risk implying that a person’s default is white, through how the author writes the setting and the character’s treatment by others. I’d name examples in the COG or Hosted line, but I really don’t want to call out specific authors who read the forum and may feel hurt or something if I mention them.
I’m actually a writer myself (I don’t write CoG, though)! I do my best to represent people of different races, ethnicities, and sexualities as well. If my friends find a lack of representation in the media, I’ll try my best to represent them fairly. Not everyone is a writer, and not everyone has the time to write.
EDIT: To give some background info, I’m currently working on different projects for my writing. All of them are in the works and I’m trying to work on one at a time.
-In one of my stories, the heroine is primarily Puerto Rican and a quarter Filipina.
-In another, the heroine is of Asian descent and hails from a fantasy kingdom similar to China.
-One of my other stories is about asexuality and the LGBTQ+ community, which features: a gay asexual woman who is a quarter Chilean, a quarter Colombian, and half Mexican; a black biromantic asexual man; a gay Malaysian Muslim man and his sister who is Nepali (they’re adopted)… I could go on. That story is still in the works and I plan on writing more characters and making it widely diverse so I can illustrate that everyone has a different experience.
Again, if I find that there is a lacking in representation, I’ll do my best to shed light on certain topics and represent people fairly.