Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
I don’t get that vibe from race as class necessarily, but I definitely get it from the level limits that you got once race and class split off from each other.Demihumans in pre-2nd Edition D&D always stuck me as a passive agressive way of saying "we give you this option because you're whining, but you're stupid for taking it and really should play human".
Personally, what I would love to see in an old school styled game is a situation where your choice of race determines what you roll to determine your abilities. Kind of a reversal of racial ability requirements - instead of being unable to play an elf because you only rolled 7 intelligence, you might choose to play an elf because you want to play a high-intelligence character and elves have a better chance of that.
For example, imagine if humans roll 4d6 drop lowest for each ability (in order), whereas demihumans roll 3d6 for most abilities and 2d6+6 for two of their abilities (also in order). So if you specifically want to play a certain class, picking a race that compliments it will give you a better chance of getting high stats in its prime requisites, at the risk of a greater standard deviation in other abilities. Whereas human becomes the go-to if you don’t have a specific class in mind and just want to play whatever you roll the stats for.