Do orcs in gaming display parallels to colonialist propaganda? - Page 27
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  1. #261
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    I'm sorry @Dannyalcatraz I didn't notice that line of Lychee of the Exch.'s post when I XP'd it.

  2. #262
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bedrockgames View Post
    And since the Lord of the Rings, orcs have developed further so now they are just green skinned monsters with no real strong associations to any one group of people
    Yes, they've been largely deracinated in D&D. I couldn't find any reference to skin colour in the 5e entry.

    1e - Brown skin, tribes, witch doctors, half-orcs = mongrels.
    2e - Grey-green skin, tribes, witch doctors and shamans, half-orcs = mongrels (plus the term "racial stock", which is straight out of early 20th century race "science").
    3e - Grey skin, tribes, half-orcs = crossbreeds.
    4e - Tribes, no half-orcs.
    5e - Tribes, half-orcs = crossbreeds.

    "Tribe" is probably less clearly connected with particular peoples now than it would have been for Tolkien, other early Appendix N authors, or the late 19th century authors they'd have read such as H Rider Haggard, but I think it still has connotations of Africa.
    Last edited by Doug McCrae; Sunday, 10th March, 2019 at 01:05 AM.

  3. #263
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bedrockgames View Post
    But we are talking about a fictional race, that seems to hold a lot of different cultural influence. I am just saying I don't think this is so cut and dry as people are making it. If it isn't even clear if that is a reference to Siberians or Turks (or perhaps not even to people at all) I don't see that it is an obvious racist trope. It is one thing to buy into early 20th century racialist theories (which are awful) but another for an author to borrow cultural and physical features from different groups in order to create a new race of creatures. Like I said before, I do think it is on the cusp. But on the cusp, not blatant. And I can definitely see room for disagreement on the issue. And since the Lord of the Rings, orcs have developed further so now they are just green skinned monsters with no real strong associations to any one group of people (any culture that has a history of skillfully waging war, seems fair game for using as inspiration for orcs).
    Again, though, relying on a descriptive term for your fictional antagonists that is exactly the same as one used perjorstively in the real world is, at best lazy and at worst, the exact kind of racist projection that people are criticizing that it may be.

    What if, instead of lazily and reflexively using “slant-eyed”, the writer had flexed one more creative muscle and said “slit-irised, like a goat”? It conveys otherness without being an actual pejorative applied to humans. It echoes some of the lore about Satan and his allies.

    Hell, even the now-cliched “glowing (color) eyes) is better than “slant-eyed”.

  4. #264
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dannyalcatraz View Post
    Sgain, though, relying on a descriptive term for your fictional antagonists that is exactly the same as one used perjorstively in the real world is, at best lazy and at worst, the exact kind of racist projection that people are criticizing that it may be.

    What if, instead of lazily and reflexively using “slant-eyed”, the writer had flexed one more creative muscle and said “slit-irised, like a goat”? It conveys otherness without being an actual pejorative applied to humans. It echoes some of the lore about Satan and his allies.

    Hell, even the now-cliched “glowing (color) eyes) is better than “slant-eyed”.
    I am not defending the use of that term. That isn't a term I would ever use. I am saying I don't know that it is clear what it is meant to indicate in this case.

  5. #265
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aebir-Toril View Post
    I'm sorry @Dannyalcatraz I didn't notice that line of Lychee of the Exch.'s post when I XP'd it.
    ‘S’ok- I missed it until it got reported.

  6. #266
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bedrockgames View Post
    I am not defending the use of that term. That isn't a term I would ever use. I am saying I don't know that it is clear what it is meant to indicate in this case.
    It doesn’t matter who the pejorative is aimed at. It’s offensive to REAL human beings. Using it risks alienating people. There’s a reason why it’s getting harder to find “Wop Salad” under its original name in NOLA.

    As the saying goes, why borrow trouble?

    As I have been saying, be more creative and find other descriptors.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dannyalcatraz View Post
    It doesn’t matter who the pejorative is aimed at. It’s offensive to REAL human beings. Using it risks alienating people.

    As the saying goes, why borrow trouble?

    As I have been saying, be more creative and find other descriptors.
    Again, I said I don't support the use of the term. I don't advocate its use and I don't use it personally or in works myself. I think it is an insulting slur. But we are trying to figure out what JRR Tolkien had in mind when he used it in the 40s* because the assertion here is that orcs are based on a racial stereotype. Without knowing what he meant by that term, we don't know whether they were meant to depict a particular race or ethnicity. I can't find a history of the slur itself, so I am not 100% sure what it would have meant to him at that time when he used the word to describe orcs. I know in present day use it is a slur. I don't know how common it was then, or if it was in use at that time. I can't tell if it was used to indicate Asian people, or if it was simply used as a descriptor (epicanthic folds are not limited to Asian people by any stretch (heck even some English people have them). That matters because it tells us how much racism is present at the inception of the orc. And who it is directed at matters because that tells us whether this is indeed a racial stereotype or just a mixture of different random cultural and ethnic traits to create flavor.

    *I know it was published in the 50s

  8. #268
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dannyalcatraz View Post
    There’s a reason why it’s getting harder to find “Wop Salad” under its original name in NOLA.
    I don' know what that is. But I am not advocating the use of Ethnic slurs. I don't know how much more clear I can be about this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bedrockgames View Post
    Again, I said I don't support the use of the term. I don't advocate its use and I don't use it personally or in works myself. I think it is an insulting slur. But we are trying to figure out what JRR Tolkien had in mind when he used it in the 40s* because the assertion here is that orcs are based on a racial stereotype. Without knowing what he meant by that term, we don't know whether they were meant to depict a particular race or ethnicity. I can't find a history of the slur itself, so I am not 100% sure what it would have meant to him at that time when he used the word to describe orcs. I know in present day use it is a slur. I don't know how common it was then, or if it was in use at that time. I can't tell if it was used to indicate Asian people, or if it was simply used as a descriptor (epicanthic folds are not limited to Asian people by any stretch (heck even some English people have them). That matters because it tells us how much racism is present at the inception of the orc. And who it is directed at matters because that tells us whether this is indeed a racial stereotype or just a mixture of different random cultural and ethnic traits to create flavor.

    *I know it was published in the 50s
    The pejorative “slant eye” dates back to the 1850s. It has been applied to a wide variety of Asians.

    It is extremely difficult for me to accept that- whether he was racist or not- a person as educated as JRRT was would be unaware of its offensive nature. He probably chose that word KNOWING it would reverberate with his (presumptively predominantly white) audience in a particular way, even if he didn’t feel that way himself. He likely assumed readers of other ethnicities were either few in number or non-existent, or- like many caucasians of the day- didn’t realize how hurtful it was.

    When you’re at the top of the social pyramid, it’s hard to see the problems at the bottom. In my lifetime, I’ve encountered people who didn’t realize “darkie” was an insult. DC comics had an Asian character called “Pieface” into the 1980s-90s, until he told the comic’s main character off one day. You know, kinda like we’re still teaching people about “redskin” and blackface.

  10. #270
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    Orcs are experience points for my players. Period. Never saw them as SJW meat. Can't be "dark-people substitute" because players ran Kushite (Black) PCs.

    Orcs are monsters, not races.

    Great. You might want to reconsider future usage of “SJW” and similarly loaded terminology, though.

    (And in a thread about the use of language, sheesh!)
    Last edited by Dannyalcatraz; Sunday, 10th March, 2019 at 03:55 AM.

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