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1  Organization and General Discussions / Non-Santharian Stuff: Life, the Universe & Everything / Re: A sensitive matter to discuss on: 09 November 2006, 06:02:16

Yes, I intentionally picked that name (and I was actually surprised to see that it's available). However I have no intention to blind the cyclops after telling him that my name is "Nobody" :) My purpose is not to accuse but just to hear your thoughts on this matter - as coming from a community dedicated to this genre, and a community that creates fantasy and not just consumes it. That's why I thank you for your lenghty reply - I wouldn't have expected any less :) - and I'm still curious about other members' opinions as well.

You bring up an interesting point, and the definition is correct indeed. However, the problem is that, biologically, Homo Sapiens is a species that has no races. That's why I was implying that the supposition of race is in fact connected to racism. And that's why I was mentioning that RTS game referring to different nations as races.

The "first step" would be indeed that acknowledgment of difference. But aren't we all different? "Race" provides a common identity based on (fake) biological features. From here to a postulate of superiority it's a very short walk, and my question about fantasy was if it makes this walk easier or not. Your point is that, after all, there are no more seeds of racism inherent to fantasy as there are seeds of racism inherent to anything. But isn't fantasy, by the very fact that it's a fictional genre akin to allegory and myth, and by it's use of metaphorical races, actually driving us in that "walk?"

As I said, just a matter to discuss, because I'm curious to hear your opinions, not because I want this matter to be solved right here, right now, in anyway :)


In that Guild Wars thread a lot of people offered this explanation, though they were ruled out by the fact that the game gives you the possibility of playing 4 characters from the start - and that still doesn't explain why they made all their 4 characters white, especially when the game gives you the "white" choice as just one out of many others (not to mention their "incentive" by providing a world filled with anything but "white" NPCs).
2  Organization and General Discussions / Non-Santharian Stuff: Life, the Universe & Everything / A sensitive matter to discuss on: 08 November 2006, 02:30:56
Hello Santharians  wave

I joined this forum with this name just in order to ask you something of a more sensitive matter. I would be really interested in your answers (so please do not flame me  peace ) and I think it is a question that needs to be addressed.

Ok... now let me see how can I frame this...  idea

I was doing a little bit of research on the web about issues of race (which is the reason for which I'm here now anyway) and I found this interesting topic in a Guild Wars (an online computer game) forum:
(you may need to register in order to view it, so I just post this for your reference)

The problem discussed there is that while the "Factions" campaign (with an Asian setting) had a lot of players comfortable with the idea of sporting and Asian looking character, in the "Nightfall" campaign (Middle East/African setting) something strange happened: while all the NPCs were designed to have darker complexions all the players were running around with white characters.

This is just one of the possible examples. Another one would be the single player computer game called Gothic 2, where all the savage evil orcs that the player needs to wipe out (which at some point makes you feel like you would be playing a genocidal maniac) have a distinct Native American looking garbs.

To go to the extremes, I recently read a review on GameSpot about a new RTS which "innocently" refers to ancient Egyptians, Greeks, or Romans, as "races."

This seems to be a bit of a problem. But then, thinking about it a bit further, I started to think about the fantasy genre in itself (that all these games adhere to). The question would be aren't these seeds of racism planted in the very (so to say) "bible" of the fantasy genre: Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings?"

And I'm not talking just about the movie, which can become dubious at some point, when you think about how Jackson presented the savage evil Uruk-hai so close to New Zealand's Maori people. I'm also talking about Tolkien's depiction of the "fair" elves, the "tainted" humans (that can only be redeemed through loving/seeking the white folk), or his description of the darker skinned orcs as "corrupted" white skinned elves.

Race exists as long as racism continues to support and construct it. I would also state the obvious by saying that nowadays computer games are an important cultural form, being able to propagate cultural habits and ideas. My question to you, a community not only consuming fantasy but also creating fantasy, doesn't this genre contain seeds of racism at its very core?
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