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  #241  
Old 15 September 2015, 10:38 PM
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NobleHunter NobleHunter is offline
 
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I wish the article had included more details about that bit. Any idea where to go look? I tried googling and found Perry's blog, but apparently it's recently been moved and there isn't actually much on it right now.
One thing I'm familiar with is that people were a lot more concerned with religion than race in the medieval period. The problem with Moors is that they were Muslim rather than their skin color. Not to mention there wasn't a "white" category that applied to everyone from north-western Europe.
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  #242  
Old 15 September 2015, 11:58 PM
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ganzfeld ganzfeld is offline
 
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I know this has been pointed out before but it cracks me up that they complain diverse races don't belong because they didn't exist in the middle ages but monsters, demigods, dragons, elves, and orcs did?? (I don't know if any of those are in that particular game but I know a whole bunch of imaginary stuff definitely is.) The thing is - people with various skin colors and so forth exist today whereas (not surprisingly) monsters, demigods, dragons, elves, and orcs still do not and so they can't actually play the game.
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  #243  
Old 16 September 2015, 12:00 AM
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Originally Posted by NobleHunter View Post
The problem with Moors is that they were Muslim rather than their skin color.
Do you mean there were white muslims?? Who knew?!! They don't fit my narrow-minded definitions of whiteness. [/sarcasm]
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  #244  
Old 16 September 2015, 12:46 AM
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Originally Posted by ganzfeld View Post
I know this has been pointed out before but it cracks me up that they complain diverse races don't belong because they didn't exist in the middle ages but monsters, demigods, dragons, elves, and orcs did??
I think other races are commonly accepted in fantasy as long as they look white.

Or unless they come from the distant Exotic Isles: the land of spice, sand and stereotypes. People from the Exotic Isles are never the heroes, of course. Generally they're swarthy merchants, sultry whores or grunting barbarians with big curved blades and an aversion to wearing shirts.

Actually, a really good way to introduce the reader to a fantasy setting would be to have your protagonist be a traveler from a distant land. I'd love to read a fantasy in which a a pseudo-Islamic Golden Age person travels a pseudo-Middle Age Europe going 'What the hell is wrong with you people?!'

ETA: I don't want fantasy fiction to get the brunt of the stick here. One of my pet peeves is when a sci-fi story uses alien species to represent a particular racial stereotype. Like the planet of the Chinese stereotypes in the Doctor Who episode Turn Left...

Last edited by Blatherskite; 16 September 2015 at 12:52 AM.
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  #245  
Old 16 September 2015, 11:11 AM
Singing in the Drizzle Singing in the Drizzle is offline
 
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I was listening to Bill Nye talk about race and what he had to say. If we can interbreed and produce humans then we are not different races. It might be better to say we are of different tribes.
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  #246  
Old 16 September 2015, 11:28 AM
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We aren't of any different races. Race was invented by humans and has no scientific basis whatsoever. However, since this unscientific concept has been used for many many centuries to subjugate billions, we have no choice but to use it to talk about the problems it has caused, to offer solutions, and to evaluate how much trouble it is still causing both from that history and from current ongoing racism, both latent and explicit. Making a scientifically based concept for an idea that had no (scientific) reason to exist in the first place is, frankly, stupid. I don't care if you call it tribes or whatever. Every time we talk about race in science it should be in the context of other dangerous non-science information such as Creationism, anti vaccination, etc. Unfortunately, unlike them, we are left with only it to deal with its legacy so, socially and legally, we have to use it. We know for a fact that simply trying to ignore it does not work.
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  #247  
Old 16 September 2015, 02:43 PM
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Yup. Racial categories are entirely socially invented. Not only can we all interbreed (and we do it with considerable frequency -- humans are an outcrossing species); but populations which share, for instance, the common trait of black skin vary widely from each other in other physical characteristics.

The characteristics by which we divide people are different from one society and time to another. (Which is why I'd be interested in learning, in more detail, about how the categories were considered in, say, 14th century France -- though I can't do so on Twitter, at least unless I start using it.)

But socially invented things have real effects. Money is socially invented -- and it affects every moment of every modern person's life. And, as ganzfeld says, it's not possible to consider modern society without considering the current effects of the socially invented categories of "race"; and it's not possible to properly consider the current effects without considering the historical ones; because we didn't get here ten minutes ago out of nowhere, we got to this particular place by following particular paths, and those paths affect where we are now.

And so it's necessary to learn about and pay attention to both current and previous culture -- and to pay attention to people pointing out if you've missed something. It wouldn't be racist to draw a cartoon of President Obama showing him with big ears and eating a pizza. It would be racist to draw such a cartoon showing him with big lips and eating a watermelon. There are historical reasons for that. If one ignores the historical reasons -- and I expect there are people on the planet who genuinely don't know about them -- it would be easy to make people complaining about the second cartoon sound silly. But they wouldn't be being silly.

If there were no history behind us -- if we had all just arrived here ten minutes ago -- then a specific book/movie/whatever in which all the good guys have light skin and all the brown people are bad guys, or in which there are no dark-skinned people, would be no problem at all. But not only is it because of the history that it's a problem, it's also because of the history that it's so common. Who would write a book in which every adult was between 5' 11" and 6' 2" tall, unless there was a specific reason given for the people being so selected? But people routinely write books in which it's clear that everyone's part of the same narrow range of skin color, and/or of gender; even though this is in no way essential to the story.
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  #248  
Old 16 September 2015, 02:52 PM
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Aimee Evilpixie Aimee Evilpixie is offline
 
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In short, race doesn't exist, but racism certainly does.
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  #249  
Old 16 September 2015, 03:04 PM
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ganzfeld ganzfeld is offline
 
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Beautifully put.
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