The Race Problem in Gaming

A new post on the excellent Postmortem Studios blog and the post at Tor to which it linked have me hopping mad.

I am sick of everyone lamenting about gaming’s ‘race problem’.  The biggest race problem in gaming is all of the hand-wringing and subsequent pandering.  No, I’m not talking about the moral quandary of killing fey-aligned greenskins.  I’m talking about the constant cry for more diversity in gaming.

To get diversity, people from diverse backgrounds need to jump in and become content creators.  To demand that existing content creators cater to diverse groups, you end up with the sort of shallow and patronizing crap that everyone whines about as being appropriation.

And since everyone has to play their ethnic minority cards these days when talking about gaming, I couldn’t give two craps about what’s going on in latin game design.  I’m not really looking for any Man of LaMancha  B/X modules to run, and I’m sure as hell not going to write one just because I’m latino.  Then again, maybe if we all rallied together and called the RuneQuest people racists, they would’ve had to give in and let a spanish publisher release the 25th anniversary edition of HeroQuest, because calling people racist is the fastest way to get anything done these days.

If someone comes up with a good product, I don’t care what race they are.  Just so long as no one is talking about making more “Oriental Adventures”, because God, just no!

Also, it’s like white people aren’t allowed to do or write anything that’s not ‘white’ because they’re going to be accused of cultural appropriation.  So if you don’t like what white people are doing, don’t demand that they appropriate your culture and then complain when they do it badly.  Do it better!  Do it yourself!  But don’t whine about how white people have this stranglehold on gaming, because they don’t.  If kickstarter or indie-gogo blocked projects by non-white designers or fulfillment companies check to make sure that you’re white before they publish your board-games and game books, then come back to me and I’ll pat you on the back and commiserate with you about how bad we non-whities have it.

Yes, yes, Hollywood is more racist than mainstream America (Americans made people of color millionaire actors for decades before Hollywood would recognize people of color with their self-congratulatory garbage awards).  If Gencon can’t implement its own harassment policies, that’s a problem with Gencon, not gaming.  Last I checked, Gencon was a convention, not the abstract concept of gaming.  I’m sorry that Nazis apparently show up at your convention, but again, that’s a convention problem.  When Nazis show up at gaming tables in people’s homes and flip the tables if there’s a person of color sitting there, you still don’t have a problem with race in gaming, you have a problem with Nazis, and you should probably buy a gun and lock your doors.  Hell, there are probably some gaming companies and publishers out there that ARE REALLY RACIST.  But that’s a problem with publishers, not with gaming.  Gaming is what you make it.  Gaming is you and your friends at your table playing a GAME.  Don’t support publishers you think are racist.  Don’t play games with people who are racist.  Don’t go to cons that can’t enforce their policies.  If this isn’t enough, publish your own game.  There is literally nothing stopping you.  Even if you’re just running your own homebrew of “Dungeons & Dragons but Without the Racisms”, if you think the game is racist, there are other games.  I’m pretty sure you can find people who aren’t racist to play games with.  And hell, you can start your own local cons, just talk to your local library about event space.  It’ll be small, but all cons have to start somewhere.  But most of all know that complaining does nothing; action does everything.

3659884(Cuz, uh… this isn’t a real thing…)

 

(Of course PMS went and announced they were making a Gor RPG right after I write this ::facepalm::)

2 responses to “The Race Problem in Gaming

  1. It’s not quite that simple though. You can say why don’t they just create their own, but that’s not going to make the opportunities to do so appear for them. Even if they get to that point, it’s not going to make the publishers choose it over something else. It’s a lot more complicated than that.

    • It really is, though. The barrier for entry into the game and gaming market is lower than it has ever been. While creating traditional board games might be a bit more challenging, given the cost of manufacturing, tabletop RPGs are incredibly easy to produce and publish, especially with numerous online outlets catering specifically to the gaming niche, such as RPGNow and DriveThruRPG.

      These days, thankfully, one does not have to worry about publishers choosing something, because the writers are the publishers now. If someone is unhappy about something going on at Wizards of the Coast or Paizo, there are many other places to turn to or one can write their own game. The community has more access and more resources than any time in history, and Name Brand D&D hasn’t been the only game in town for some time.

      The opportunities are there, people need only take them.

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