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KawasakiNinja
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 03, 2019 11:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There's a difference between a caricature (black face/red skins) and fantasy (drow/endrani/ogres).

If it does get changed, then you gotta change a number of things in Legacies that I also don't think are a problem. (If someone wants my hyperbolic example of things that aren't problems but could be I can list out a couple things)

Also, from Norse Mythology:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D%C3%B6kk%C3%A1lfar_and_Lj%C3%B3s%C3%A1lfar
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Svart%C3%A1lfar
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Dan H
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Plot - Plot

PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2019 4:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok, I felt I needed to do this as one of the few players who has played an Endrani from Doomstahdt.

Looking at the posts, and the idea of changing the racial makeup for the Endrani I feel isn't necessary. I have several reasons for this and several things I want people to take a look at. Most of which are a result of my reading what is going on and the various viewpoints, along with my own viewpoints and experiences.

From what I am seeing, there are a couple of reasons for this discussion. One of them, the makeup requirements are too much. That is a rather small crowd and can be set aside as if the endrani makeup is too much and must change, then all the races which have similar requirements need to be revisited. That is a discussion for a different thread.

The other reason, because people may mistake it for blackface. There is a growing trend out there to try to remove that from history and day to day life. I don't necessarily agree with it on the history side of things, for we need history, but making fun of another race to put them down, I agree, is wrong.

Now this may ramble a bit, I am sorry, but I will admit to an amount of emotion and passion about this subject, having played both an Endrani at game and a Drow at conventions.

I will start with the subject of the two papers which were posted by Faenaria. One, from what I got in skimming, was the viewpoint of a person being in the minority at game and the issues encountered with that. Being in the minority is hard. I work with mexicans in my occupation, especially during the summer months, as the company I work for participates in the H2B program for workers from Mexico. When it is just me, with ten Mexicans, I do feel a little lonely and outcast. Not because they are pushing me away, but because I don't understand the language and therefore can not participate with the conversations. As a result, I withdraw. So I do understand that viewpoint and the wish to be part of a group.

The other paper, "Why people should not cosplay Drow". I wanted to pull out my hair. From reading that paper, IMO, this is not a person that wants to eliminate blackface so much as eliminate Drow. Blackface is just the convenient excuse. The reason for this conclusion is the writing styles and the very evidence they present. Coupled with what I have experienced and seen with the LARP/Cosplay culture. The first picture of "what a POC sees" is true blackface. Making certain attributes stand out with various actions that highlight specific stereotypes of a race.

The second picture, "Actually what they probably really see", is a farce. That is not a cosplayer, but someone they either asked to apply makeup that way, or they looked long and hard for that picture. The paper was not written from an objective point of view, but to elicit a specific response from people. Anyone who is active in the cosplay scene, looks at that and thinks "what a dumbass". I say this because of the fact that Cosplayers have a hell of a lot more pride in their work. So, when you look deeper, this article is an affront to the people who cosplay and put that work into a costume, simply because, dare I say it, the writer themselves may be racist, or does not want to look past the end of their nose. This is what I got from the article.

Now, moving on. Why do people not like Drow? Looking back on the conversations, I have to take note of Andy Hartland and their responses. Especially about comfort level. I will put that on the back burner for now, but it makes a perfect intro.

Drow are consisdered evil, and for the most part, so are Endrani. The coloration is a result, in the gaming community, and tradition, of this. So, Why? Why that color. If you look at the mythological history of the world, and I am no expert, you notice a trend.

Good and evil, light and dark, white and black, summer and winter, seelie and unseelie, blessed and unblessed. These ideas are universal to culture. They are near inseparable. So, I would propose that it has nothing about a particular conception of any race, but, of a near universal concept of good and evil. If, in history, namely American history, there ever was a race associated with evil, and the devil, it would have to be the Native Americans. (my apologies to the Bird brothers) They were considered savages because they stood up for what they believed and to protect their own. Hrmmm. Sounds like pretty much every race on the planet when backed into a corner.

This covers the coloration. So, why evil? Why uncomfort? I will propose that it has less to do with the color and more the stereotype of the mythical race. Both Drow and Endrani. Namely Endrani from Doomstahdt.

Jay and I didn't choose to play Endrani at random. It was a carefully thought out decision. The more we looked into the historical material the owners at the time pointed us at, the more excited we became to play them. We poured our creative souls into them to show them to be a playable race that were real. Not the bi-polar powder kegs of the past. Yes, Endrani are ruthless. Very ruthless, and that can make the terrifying. That is a part of the discomfort. We succeeded a little too well, I think. The world team created another Endrani country for people to be able to play Endrani from elsewhere without having to play the absolute ruthlessness, and I know it made people uncomfortable. Yes, Conner was a good character and fun to play, I have to admit, some of the comments sent my way, even as good natured ribbings, have hurt.

We also played the concepts in order to fill a power vacuum that was left behind when the Orcs left.

Now, the nuts and bolts of playing a Drow. Playing a Drow, correctly, is not easy, but if you do, you know it. People get out of your way, and they have just a little bit of fear. Not play fear, but real fear. Getting that response is not easy. That response comes from a genuine fear for one's safety on an instinctual level.

So, why is that fear there? It comes from what we fear of the Drow. Death, torture, and enslavement. It was said, by Andie Hartland I think, that they were afraid of coming off as a Nazi. I will say, if a person playing a Drow or Doomstahdter comes off as a Nazi, you most likely are doing it right, because that is the attitude you have to start with. "I am better and superior to the rest of you. The Gods made me this way".

I say this not so much as an opinion, than as experience. In my high school, we had some white supremacists. I got the chance to talk to them, as it was a small high school, and to study their viewpoint and actions. They do not fear POC. They do not consider POC as a threat. To them, POC are simply not people. They are something to be owned, abused, used, and tossed way as they see fit. If POC complain, then they should be put down. That is the white supremacist view. Deep down.

Given that point of view, then I would put both Drow and Endrani, closer to the white supremacist end of the spectrum then the blackface, making fun of POC end of the spectrum.

That attitude, that way of thinking is what causes the fear. To be able to project that. That makes people uncomfortable. On the same note, working with that and trying it can be a valuable learning experience, and in many ways, it is that subtle point, that I had playing Conner, is what people are missing. IMO

Playing a character concept that goes against the norm is hard. It is hard because a person has to embrace not only something that is foreign to them, but uncomfortable. It is not comfortable to do something as a character that you know your character would do, but goes against what is considered the "normal grain" of society.

But! Before we jump on that train, it is the different societies that make the world, even our game world a rich place.

I may have sunk my own boat here, but if I sunk it because people now have a clearer picture of this issue, I can live with it. I may not like it, but I can live with it. I feel, changing the makeup of the Endrani, because it might offend someone, is wrong. Offense of a people is wrong, but you have to ask, what is offense? And in my opinion, the people screaming the loudest about this because it might offend a POC, are simply looking for a reason to be offended.

Sorry about the length of the post, but I needed to put this to words, because I do feel this way and that we, as a people, are trying to erase history to appease a small part of the population that won't let things go, as well as not wanting to see a lot of creative work be thrown away.
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"I'm gonna go ahead and resist charm on that one.. " .. .. Plazz
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Meg
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2019 5:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The following are my thoughts as a person and a player and not indicative of the position held by the Executive Officers:

The only people in game thus far who have publicly complained about the Endrani Makeup have been white. We've had players (past and present) reach out to staff members and contact them on the issue, and said individuals fall in the poc category.

They think the change is unnecessary and borderline ridiculous and would prefer that people who want to be allies to minorities get involved more immediately in other ways, such as volunteering, donating and participating at BLM events, and so much more. Otherwise it looks more like White Knighting for the sake of appearing to be an ally without actually putting the leg work in to be an ally.

My personal opinion as Meg the individual, is that we should listen to the pocs and other ethnic minorities in the community and not make change for the sake of making change. If we genuinely care about what they think, I'd prefer to heed their advice.

The issue I see with making the change - is that it leads to a slippery slope that discourages players from exploring cultures and concepts that are different from there own. As a linguist, as a student of numerous cultures whom has lived in and visited other countries, and as a person who plays a character from Nippon - I'm not at all okay with this. There needs to be an established give and take between cultural exchange and learning.

Oddly enough, this very concern was also brought to me by people who've already commented on this thread.

--

The current socio-political climate in North America has created more of a pendulum swing on issues like these. One end of the spectrum (change all makeup colors, don't explore cultures to which you don't have a rl counterpart ethnic ties, etc) and then the other (ignore all of this, and indulge in these things badly/poorly). It has taken root in the greater LARP community.

And I feel like there has to be a middle ground.

My question is: What would that middle ground be? Offer color options for Endrani? (Black included, Dark Blue is used in other fantasy based Larps, etc)

Dark Purple - as well as red for Ogres?

Those colors are easily available online through retailers, and with proper sponges and techniques, it is doable to make those colors look -good-.

*Puts staff hat back on*

Thank you everyone for maintaining a civil discussion on the matter.
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Casstifer
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2019 6:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the survey, Reilley. I actually filled it out before I saw this thread.

I don't pretend to know what is right and wrong here. I think actual blackface is disrespectful and inappropriate, but that the issue may be blown out of proportion lately. I am under the impression that public outrage has grown recently, where blackface is concerned. And I'd prefer to not be on the wrong side of a cosmetic decision that has negative social consequences. So it might be best to avoid makeup that resembles blackface as a general policy, unless it does more harm by avoiding it. And perhaps it does. I don't know. That seems to be a good point for debate, fitting some of what Meg was last saying. I just like to avoid things (like my homework, right now).
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t-ster
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2019 8:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My two cents on this:

I feel like the reaction of "Black face paint is Blackface!" is a bit over the line. Historically, total face covering was mainly used for (controversial) social experiments for racial divides and segregation. "Blackface" as a slur against African Americans was a caricature of their social image, with exagerated lips, reddened nose and cheeks, and little color around the eyes, everywhere else was colored dark brown or black.

That does not sound like our Endrani makeup. At all. Except for the black makeup.

I am all for changing the makeup, especially if that is what the org decides. But I do not think that black face paint is automatically Blackface.

P.S. An option to help with social image and to ease concerns related to this, would be more of a focus on enforcement of the racial makeup rules.
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Dan H
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Plot - Plot

PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2019 8:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A little extra thought here on the subject. I just got home from picking up my daughter, and I talked with her mother, Jess at length about this, as she is in the cosplay circuit.

The conversation took a while, but what I got from it was this. This very issue hit the cosplay community hard recently. As in, if I am correct, the last few months. As Jess describes it, the minorities had to step up, come out of the woodwork as it were to tell people to stop.

They had to tell people to stop "yelling" at people that were trying to represent another race. Basically, it is the exact thing that Meg described. The impression that I got was that the minorities were actually insulted that people were accusing others of "blackface", making fun of other races, or of being racist because of the costume they wore.

Just a little food for thought that I thought I would share.
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"Well, this could be inconvenient" -Conner Borisova

These ritual symbols brought to you by: Endrani Ritual Services, "Die Happy" Smile

"I'm gonna go ahead and resist charm on that one.. " .. .. Plazz
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Meg
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 06, 2019 12:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So people are aware, the survey results will be available to HoS/XO's in the upcoming days. We will be discussing the matter further at that time and move forward with a decision from there.
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Faenaria
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 07, 2019 6:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just wanted to pop back in and say thank you.
I knew when I posted this conversation, that it was going to spark strong opinions on both sides and I appreciate that for the most part people have remained civil to each other and been willing to listen to each other.
It can be tough to have these kinds of conversations with each other and I'm just really grateful to see that people were willing to discuss it.
Even if the decision is made not to change the makeup at this time, it is proof that this game is able to reach out and interact with each other on hard subjects without it tearing everything apart and that's always really nice to see.
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wytenyte
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 08, 2019 11:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I appreciate everyone's input as well, and was thinking warm fuzzes about how wonderful you (WE) all are about discussing difficult topics.

Apologies now, and at any other time, if my very direct wording comes across as over forceful or arrogant. In reality it just reflects that I am a lazy typist trying to get to the point as soon as I can, so I frequently sound kurt wen that is not my intention.

I wanted to add another dimension to this wonderful discussion: I think Legacies has done an excellent job of avoiding deliberate and even inadvertent racial slurs. IMO, the real issue here is one of perception.

Some people want to present Legacies characters so that they are unambiguously non-racist to outside observers. Others don't care so much about what outsiders think. As Dan inadvertently pointed out, people rarely give you a chance to explain yourself before they make first impressions. IF we agree to the extent to which we care about what outsiders think about our colour palette, I think there will be much less disagreement about what is appropriate for ourselves.

That we are having this discussion, and taking it seriously, is all the evidence that we don't need, to support that we already knew that this tribe of people is generally very respectful of each other and of outsiders. I think that is why some people are sensitive about incorrect negative perceptions.

That's my 2 cents.
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