Monthly Archives: January 2014

Missing the Point part 1

POCGamer GrenadeSo, as I’ve explored the internets in my quest to rapidly expand my breadth and depth of knowledge on the subject of racism and SF&F culture, I’ve come across a disturbing, but sadly predictable trend within the tabletop gaming culture towards POC asking for increased recognition and inclusion in gaming materials. The trend is “Missing the Point”. Tabletop roleplaying is all about several things. Wish fulfilment. Escapism. Imagination. Power fantasies. Story telling. POC want these things too, but are currently, largely, denied it in official materials and canon resources. When a POC or supportive non-POC brings up the subject of racism in tabletop gaming, or of lack of inclusion of POC or other minorities in gaming materials, the result is the same. The POC or commenter is immediately attacked, the discussion hijacked or derailed, and the point they were trying to raise is utterly and completely missed by the attackers or the non-commenting population. Where did this attitude come from?
Read more

Mired in the Past

A continuous plague, not just in gaming, but in real life, is the continued use and belief in non-Mendelian genetic inheritance. This can be particularly hurtful towards, and irritating to, POC who identify as “Mixed-race” individuals. This is because non-Mendelian ideas of inheritance come loaded with social stigmas and pervasive stereotypes that we still labour under to this day, despite serious science’s rejection of them. This affects gaming by reinforcing negative impressions of the “half-breed” player races and by extension, actual people of mixed ethnicity. When Gregor Mendel did his work on peas, he immediately disproved the existing ideas about what we now know as genetic inheritance. If you need a quick crash course in Mendel’s work, and Punnett Squares, check out this video. Unfortunately, the more common sense sounding “Blending” inheritance model and the disastrous aftermath of the laws designed to classify ethnicity via blood quantum and one-drop laws continue to affect us both in reality and in game.[1][2] So buckle up, this one is going to be a bit science-y, and then I’m going to look at how fantasy races (species?) act as the other, and reinforce real world prejudices and beliefs. As previous, D&D will the fantasy gaming world I’m examining, as it is the most prominent and popular.
Read more