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D&D 5E Don't play "stupid" characters. It is ableist.

ad_hoc

(he/they)
I don't see why it would be okay fictionally. There's no good reason to use "foreigner" as a substitute for "stupid". And even if I get why you made the comparison, it's still REALLY offensive. I've studied english for almost a decade, been fluent in it for another decade, but I'm still extremelly insecure about my English, both when writing and when speaking it, because on numerous ocasions I've been treated as stupid because of either my latino accent or typos (or using portuguese grammar rules when writing in English).

It's not.
 

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ad_hoc

(he/they)
Thank you! That's the point I was trying to make. PLaying a foreigner should never even be in the same conversation as playing a stupid character. But it is, because a lot of people equate foreigner with stupid. By bringing "foreigner" to this conversation, even if the OP doesn't believe it, reinforces the harmfull steryotype.

Or it explores it and demonstrates why it is wrong.
 

Azzy

KMF DM
I don't see why it would be okay fictionally. There's no good reason to use "foreigner" as a substitute for "stupid". And even if I get why you made the comparison, it's still REALLY offensive. I've studied english for almost a decade, been fluent in it for another decade, but I'm still extremelly insecure about my English, both when writing and when speaking it, because on numerous ocasions I've been treated as stupid because of either my latino accent or typos (or using portuguese grammar rules when writing in English).
Dude, you write English better than most native speakers. Don't be insecure there.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/They)
I'd say it is part, but a big part is also not.

Mental acuity, analytical skill, ability to reason, logic, deductive reasoning, and investigation all seem like significant aspects that are not memorizing facts. Also education is arguably more about issues other than specific memorized facts (critical analysis being a big one).
Yes, deductive reasoning is the other aspect, which I did mention. I would argue critical thinking and analytical skill follow under the same umbrella.
 




doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I don't see why it would be okay fictionally. There's no good reason to use "foreigner" as a substitute for "stupid". And even if I get why you made the comparison, it's still REALLY offensive. I've studied english for almost a decade, been fluent in it for another decade, but I'm still extremelly insecure about my English, both when writing and when speaking it, because on numerous ocasions I've been treated as stupid because of either my latino accent or typos (or using portuguese grammar rules when writing in English).
Growing up in a area that is more than half native Spanish speakers, and working a job where I have had to learn broken Spanish to do my job, I’ve seen both sides of this, and you’re absolutely spot on.
 

Bolares

Hero
I didn't assume I needed to make a thorough argument for why foreigners aren't stupid.

I just assumed people would accept it.
I know. I'm not trying to put you in the spolight, and either call you a bigot. But what I'm saying is yes, if you are going to use foreigner as an example you need to make a thorough argument. Because (as I'm trying to tell you from my personal experience) a lot of people do think foreigner = stupid.
 

BRayne

Adventurer
Yep, explicitly. And I’ve only ever seen it used as gender inclusive. Nearly all discussion I’ve seen of the new She-Ra, for instance, talks about Adora being a himbo.

Herbo is fairly common in my experience and I think it was coined for that reason, that is recent Adora being a woman who fulfills the himbo archetype.
 

TheAlkaizer

Game Designer
I think the statement that some ways of roleplaying a character with a low intelligence could absolutely help perpetuate some stereotype. Just like when I was in high school jerks would imitate someone with conditions like Stephen Hawkins to communicate the idea of someone that's not very intelligent.

However, reading some of the pages of the thread raised a question for me. For a little bit more context, I wrote some Game of Thrones fan fiction with others. And in that setting, there's some groups that dislike each other, the Stormlanders and the Dornish. They have a history of never-ending war and raiding and it grew to a point where many nobles just outright dislike everything that represents the other culture.

I wrote some plain out racist characters and it was enlightening, fun and challenging to write. The books by George RR Martin are filled with distasteful characters that are still very interesting. I don't think that many people have fundamental issues with the presence of racist, homophobes, ableist, sexist characters in fiction, as long as it doesn't put these things in a good light or promote them.

When it comes to TTRPGs and roleplaying, a previous post in this thread asked the question "would you accept your players roleplaying a racist character at your table?" . If I had the absolute certaintly that it would be done in good taste and that everyone else at the table was OK, I would love to have a PC that's racist. It would make an interesting character, create interesting drama and tension. But my first thought to that question was no; because I would trust very few people to roleplay that and not make it very cringe or just plain wrong.

I think I feel the same way with a character that's stereotypically dumb? If I knew I had a very astute roleplaying at my table and a certainty and that he could pull it off, it could make for an interesting character. But I'd think about it five times before saying yes... there's too much risk of things being icky.

Now I'm pondering why I'm more prone to trust people to write about these things then to act them.
 

Bolares

Hero
I think the statement that some ways of roleplaying a character with a low intelligence could absolutely help perpetuate some stereotype. Just like when I was in high school jerks would imitate someone with conditions like Stephen Hawkins to communicate the idea of someone that's not very intelligent.

However, reading some of the pages of the thread raised a question for me. For a little bit more context, I wrote some Game of Thrones fan fiction with others. And in that setting, there's some groups that dislike each other, the Stormlanders and the Dornish. They have a history of never-ending war and raiding and it grew to a point where many nobles just outright dislike everything that represents the other culture.

I wrote some plain out racist characters and it was enlightening, fun and challenging to write. The books by George RR Martin are filled with distasteful characters that are still very interesting. I don't think that many people have fundamental issues with the presence of racist, homophobes, ableist, sexist characters in fiction, as long as it doesn't put these things in a good light or promote them.

When it comes to TTRPGs and roleplaying, a previous post in this thread asked the question "would you accept your players roleplaying a racist character at your table?" . If I had the absolute certaintly that it would be done in good taste and that everyone else at the table was OK, I would love to have a PC that's racist. It would make an interesting character, create interesting drama and tension. But my first thought to that question was no; because I would trust very few people to roleplay that and not make it very cringe or just plain wrong.

I think I feel the same way with a character that's stereotypically dumb? If I knew I had a very astute roleplaying at my table and a certainty and that he could pull it off, it could make for an interesting character. But I'd think about it five times before saying yes... there's too much risk of things being icky.

Now I'm pondering why I'm more prone to trust people to write about these things then to act them.
I think a main difference is that normally a PC is a protagonist in an heroic story. A racist PC is kind of tought to make heroic (maybe if you plan out a redemption story). I could see a racist PC in another game entirelly, but in D&D I'd never accept it.
 

Are you playing the character with actual reasons to be like this, or are you basically making fun of real people like this? I know people who would honestly play a character like this. I've also known people who would play these characters as jokes.
Well, like I said, I have never seen a player actually play something like this. But I have seen a DM. Mostly, they are highlighting a character trait. They also highlight other traits. I have honestly never seen it done maliciously. It's always been here is a character with a specific trait.
 

ad_hoc

(he/they)
I know. I'm not trying to put you in the spolight, and either call you a bigot. But what I'm saying is yes, if you are going to use foreigner as an example you need to make a thorough argument. Because (as I'm trying to tell you from my personal experience) a lot of people do think foreigner = stupid.

There is no argument. Anyone is welcome to stand up and say that they are in fact stupid and they will then be quickly ostracized.

No argument is going to take place here about it.

As I said earlier in the thread I'm also not going to argue that ableism is wrong. Even if I brought it up.

It's ridiculous of you to expect people to make thorough arguments about anything they talk about.
 


doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Herbo is fairly common in my experience and I think it was coined for that reason, that is recent Adora being a woman who fulfills the himbo archetype.
Yeah I guess the circles I run in don’t tend toward special words for the female version of a thing, bc like I said, today was the first time I’ve ever seen that.
 


ad_hoc

(he/they)
The problem is that the argument you made, made it look like you were saying foreigners are stupid.

The whole post is about not playing stupid characters and here are some things you can play instead of doing that depending on what your actual goal is.

If you want to play a character who lacks knowledge relevant to the world they find themselves in and has trouble communicating you could play a foreign character.

I say 'don't play a stupid character' and then say you could do this instead and that means that I said foreigners are stupid?
 

So after finally breaking down and actually clicking on this thread I found I more or less agreed with most things in the original post, but had spent the last couple days eying the thread title with resentment and dread as the number of posts steadily increased. So my criticism would be that:

"Don't do X. It is [some sort of "-ist" nobody wants to be]."

... is a problematic format for a thread title. It manages to be divisive by being overbroad, accuses anyone who has fallen within its overbroad ambit of a moral failing, when you use a more recently identified -ism practically begs a culture wars battle, and starts the conversation with a bunch of folks already called out and on the defensive for behavior you didn't necessarily mean to call out.

If this issue has been litigated in the proceeding 400+ posts I apologize. I did not read far.
 

Mordhau

Adventurer
I say 'don't play a stupid character' and then say you could do this instead and that means that I said foreigners are stupid?
Discussion around here would work a lot better if upon skimming a post and deciding it appears to be saying something objectionable or stupid, posters didn't just rush to be the first to point out wrongness, but instead asked themselves "Have I actually read this correctly? Is my initial impression a correct one? If I read this post without the assumption that the poster is an idiot or immoral do I come to a different conclusion?".
 
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