Ok I got permission to publish this because I honestly do not know exactly where or why this started other than what I looked up on wikipedia.
Many fantasy stories and worlds refer to their main sapient humanoid species as “races” rather than species. The usage of the term in this context was popularized by J. R. R. Tolkien and was further adapted and spread by the use of races in Dungeons & Dragons role-playing games. Many fantasy settings use the terms “race” and “species” interchangeably, such as the World of Warcraft video game.
And ze asked me to attach this to this post:
“are we okay with calling humans a “race” and defining East Asian, West Asian, Desi, Black, African, and other groups we recognize as races in the real world “sub races” in a fantasy game with other groups (cat like beings, amorphous squidly beings, and floating interdimensional entities, for example) receiving the same treatment (i.e. classifications)?”
Or in my own words why are the fucking tentacle monsters from Cthulhu land getting better treatment than the Brown folks.
bolded for yes exactly
because language has meaning
that’s why it’s language
For instance, here’s what happened to me early this morning (cause I couldn’t sleep cause I just got home from LA and I’m stuck on west coast time)
I have been planning on playing Guild Wars 2 since it was announced and now I finally have the computer that can run it, and Thellady and I have been getting ready to play together.
I made my first character before I left to visit my brother a few weeks ago and was vastly disappointed. In a game that prides itself on customization there were no Black hairstyles available for Human women, Human men on the other hand have Dreadlocks and an Afro. I ended up rolling a Norn (a near-human race based off Norse mythology, think Nords from Skyrim) because their women were able to wear Dreadlocks.
Beyond the hair, I also had trouble building a character that looked like they were of African descent. Norns are based on Northern Europeans and most of the default faces look like that, Humans do have one face that looks like she’s part of the diaspora, but she looks almost like Rihanna.
So my thing is this
Why is it that
- That games that pride themselves on freedom and allowing their player base to customize their characters in anyway they want STILL have an issue with recognizing that POC exist and are a part of their player base and would also like characters that look like them.
- When POC features are available why is it that they are placed on groups defined as savage or primitive (Orcs and Nords in Skyrim, the Norn in GW2) or are displayed in an way that only show cases one type of POC that is more in line with white ideals (The Rihanna face of GW2) OR are displayed in away that is highly stereotypical and/or fetishizing (The way East Asians seem to be handled by GW2 is gross as hell, check out the Elementalist in the Human women’s character creation for examples).
Back at Thellady’s original point, Lord of the Rings Online did it slightly better by having you pick a race and then pick what culture your character came from. I would really love seeing more games do that instead of having the almighty whitey be the auto default and having POC have to dig through the CC to build characters that only vaguely look like us.
Yes, SERiously. I’m glad that Dungeons and Dragons have gotten better somewhat about their issues with representation in their rule books and guides. Even in just the last ten years, there’s been a shit-ton of changes.
For example, here’s a few snappies of a rulebook I have from 2001. Here are the drawing of the “races”:
Here is literally the only person of color i could find in 300+ pages:
In contrast, here is the Player’s Guide for within the last few years. Almost EVERY illustrated page has a person of color. Even the “example of something” pages have POC:
If Wizards of the fucking Coast can get their shit together, there is NO EXCUSE for fantasy video games, which PRIDE themselves on their character customizations, can’t give a Black woman a decent fucking hairstyle.
BUT IN SOME LIKE DRAGONLANCE, ALL SENTIENT “RACES” LIKE ELVES DWARVES HUMANS GNOMES WHATEVER ARE USUALLY DESCENDED FROM A SINGULAR COMMON ANCESTOR SPECIES.
IN THE DRAGONLANCE SETTING, THAT SPECIES WAS THE “IRDA”, AND THROUGH VARIOUS MAGICS AND CIRCUMSTANCES OF ISOLATED EVOLUTION, THEY OVER TIME BECAME ALL OF THE VARIOUS RACES.
MUCH LIKE THE “RACES” OF OUR MANKIND ARE DESCENDED FROM A SINGULAR HOMINID SPECIES, AND EVENTUALLY BECAME PHYSICALLY DISTINCT BASED ON REGION