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Author Topic: Racialist Propaganda RPGs are Always Stupid  (Read 3272 times)

Ratman_tf

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Re: Racialist Propaganda RPGs are Always Stupid
« Reply #165 on: April 07, 2021, 05:25:03 PM »
To a certain extent its just sad that Wakanda and stuff like it became such a massive racially charged cliche.

Like holy hell, this sort of story was a cliche in 1961 when Wakanda was first written:
Quote
Black Panther: 'To me he was more than a father, he was like a god!'
Ben: 'Look kiddo, why don't you save yourself the trouble? I know the rest of the story by heart! Everything was hunky-dory until the greedy ivory hunters made the scene!
Wakanda wasn't actually secreted away, hidden utopia through all of history. It was revolutionized by the Black Panther after foreign invaders were driven off by him and he reverse-engineered their technology (Klaw). Also, the black panther was a genius who revolutionized his nation by his very words 'For a lark'. And they made money by TRADING vibranium. Its not the core technology for everything in the friggin world. And then at the end of the story he becomes a superhero in the service of all mankind.

It was an anti-colonialism story to be sure, but it was one with a twist and a whole lot less bitterness that was attributed to it later to fit our more bitter times.

Do you really think that the 1960s had less bitterness around race in the U.S. than modern times? I find that kind of hard to fathom. It seems to me that the 1960s were a high point of racial violence and division within the U.S.

That's an interesting question. Watching the news nowadays, you'd think America in 2021 was full of roving bands of racists attacking asians while police gun down minorities in the streets.
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GeekyBugle

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Re: Racialist Propaganda RPGs are Always Stupid
« Reply #166 on: April 07, 2021, 05:27:41 PM »
To a certain extent its just sad that Wakanda and stuff like it became such a massive racially charged cliche.

Like holy hell, this sort of story was a cliche in 1961 when Wakanda was first written:
Quote
Black Panther: 'To me he was more than a father, he was like a god!'
Ben: 'Look kiddo, why don't you save yourself the trouble? I know the rest of the story by heart! Everything was hunky-dory until the greedy ivory hunters made the scene!
Wakanda wasn't actually secreted away, hidden utopia through all of history. It was revolutionized by the Black Panther after foreign invaders were driven off by him and he reverse-engineered their technology (Klaw). Also, the black panther was a genius who revolutionized his nation by his very words 'For a lark'. And they made money by TRADING vibranium. Its not the core technology for everything in the friggin world. And then at the end of the story he becomes a superhero in the service of all mankind.

It was an anti-colonialism story to be sure, but it was one with a twist and a whole lot less bitterness that was attributed to it later to fit our more bitter times.

Do you really think that the 1960s had less bitterness around race in the U.S. than modern times? I find that kind of hard to fathom. It seems to me that the 1960s were a high point of racial violence and division within the U.S.

That's an interesting question. Watching the news nowadays, you'd think America in 2021 was full of roving bands of racists attacking asians while police gun down minorities in the streets.

2021 America IS "full of roving bands of racists attacking asians", that those racists happen to be black isn't my fault.  8)
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Shrieking Banshee

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Re: Racialist Propaganda RPGs are Always Stupid
« Reply #167 on: April 07, 2021, 07:35:45 PM »
This mostly fits my points. That it's "made out of spite" seems like a subjective judgement of the author's emotions - which seems tricky to argue in any case.
Well its a subjective judgement of the author's statement of saying that only natives can make up pseudo-realistic mumbo jumbo about tribes, and if your not a native then know your place because your made-up tribe would be illegitimate. Which I feel is very rich considering the number of liberties they take to create their world.
Also that point they make that this is explicitly made to be a political work.

But spite exactly, no. I don't find the stated motivations the best for inspired fun, but I don't know if its spite 100%

Quote
Out of curiousity, are there any examples of similar concepts other than Fantastic Four #52 that you like - or specifically that you don't think are bitter/spiteful?
As I said: I find the baseline idea of the world fine enough. As I would with nords in space or a magic focused Africa.
But the general story of 'Spark against the oppressor' storylines I find incredibly played out even if it took place entirely with fantastical creatures unrelated to any direct parallel.
Something like Kingdom Come: Deliverance is purely an example of trying to convey historical fiction (though its wonky in places, but all historical fiction is to a degree).

I just think the power fantasy of 'World where my group is teh rules everybody else drulz' is just cringeworthy and embarrassing no matter the group that does it (doesn't have to be race-based). The nature of such a setup goal means that all story elements are only really in service of said power fantasy.

Wakanda, at least the way it was executed in FF, wasn't that as much as a neat pulp location like hollow earth or atlantis. Im pretty sure DC has the same sort of idea with magical sentient gorilaz. Thats why it didn't come off as bitter to me.

I generally dislike stories about some species with all the money in the world or super science or magic or whatever passing judgement on humans for being greedy or warlike or whatever.

BoxCrayonTales

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Re: Racialist Propaganda RPGs are Always Stupid
« Reply #168 on: April 08, 2021, 01:43:47 PM »
Also that point they make that this is explicitly made to be a political work.
All art is political, but this is specifically partisan.

jhkim

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Re: Racialist Propaganda RPGs are Always Stupid
« Reply #169 on: April 08, 2021, 04:06:03 PM »
Out of curiousity, are there any examples of similar concepts other than Fantastic Four #52 that you like - or specifically that you don't think are bitter/spiteful?

As I said: I find the baseline idea of the world fine enough. As I would with nords in space or a magic focused Africa.
But the general story of 'Spark against the oppressor' storylines I find incredibly played out even if it took place entirely with fantastical creatures unrelated to any direct parallel.
Something like Kingdom Come: Deliverance is purely an example of trying to convey historical fiction (though its wonky in places, but all historical fiction is to a degree).

I just think the power fantasy of 'World where my group is teh rules everybody else drulz' is just cringeworthy and embarrassing no matter the group that does it (doesn't have to be race-based). The nature of such a setup goal means that all story elements are only really in service of said power fantasy.

I can't think of any examples other than Myfarog where the fantasy is "everybody else drulz". In general, there are (1) broad multi-cultural / global games where there is cool stuff from cultures of different continents, like Torg or Numenera or most modern games, or (2) more limited-culture games, like Pendragon or Sengoku or Legend of the Five Rings or the original 7th Sea where only one region is represented.

A game like Torg explicitly covers multiple cultures in the same game. So you can be a monk hacker in the Cyberpapacy, or a super-science whiz in the Nile Empire, or a magician in Aysle, and so forth. Each of those are cool in different ways - so it's explicit that multiple cultures are cool. Still, there is potential for stereotyping or problems in the comparisons.

In the original 7th Sea, though, the focus was on making Europeans cool (or at least faux-Europeans). Germans got to have magic armor, Italians got to have mysticism, etc. There wasn't anything in the game to say that Native Americans or Africans are uncool - they just weren't covered in the original game. I learned there was a 2017 expansion that covered their version of the New World - but I haven't read it yet. I found some parts of 7th Sea cringe-worthy, but I don't think the concept was inherently cringe-worthy or racist.

It's certainly possible to expand 7th Sea to include Native American characters and African characters, along with other continents - as was done for the 2nd edition. That would make the game more like Torg and other global games. However, I don't think those are necessary. Not every game has to cover every culture.


As for Coyote & Crow... It seems to me that the concept isn't different in principle from other limited-culture games. On the one hand, someone could have created a general non-colonial science fantasy RPG. Perhaps psychic fault lines divided the world and held back colonization, and each region developed their own unique technologies using their new psychic powers. But I don't think every game has to be global in that way. It's fine for someone to just have a game about Australia, for example, or just a game about the Americas, or just a game about Europe.

I think limited-culture games are good in having a definite focus. It's tough to do all cultures well, so an author can just focus and do one culture right.


Wakanda, at least the way it was executed in FF, wasn't that as much as a neat pulp location like hollow earth or atlantis. Im pretty sure DC has the same sort of idea with magical sentient gorilaz. Thats why it didn't come off as bitter to me.

I generally dislike stories about some species with all the money in the world or super science or magic or whatever passing judgement on humans for being greedy or warlike or whatever.

I agree about the latter. Art always has judgment, but it's better for the judgment to be implicit from the characters / setting itself rather than from an external mouthpiece for the author. As far as Wakanda, I don't think it was a neat pulp location that just happened to be in Africa. It was very specifically about anti-colonialism and Afro-futurism. The original was for kids and was very disconnected from any sort of reality and sense. Once you have material for adults set in something closer to the real world, I think there is inherently going to be more darkness and bitterness - but that's not a bad thing.

That said - I think it's much better to have stories about what's positive rather than focusing on wrongs done or oppression.

jhkim

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Re: Racialist Propaganda RPGs are Always Stupid
« Reply #170 on: April 08, 2021, 04:06:39 PM »
Also that point they make that this is explicitly made to be a political work.
All art is political, but this is specifically partisan.

I could do without the political commentary in general in RPGs, but if there is political commentary - I'd prefer it to be genuine rather than bloodless "no one is wrong, everybody is right" nonsense.