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General Netflix pulls Community's Dungeons & Dragons episode over blackface concerns

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True, but also most people are pretty comfortable with their friends. Generally taboo stuff is accepted between friends.
Sure, but I think that is a pretty strong indicator that when that internal alarm goes off, something is amiss. I certainly wouldn't want to show up dressed as a drow at my black friend's house. It would be very awkward, even if she was totally into larp.
 

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Orcslayer78

Explorer
So, over here in the Netherlands we have one of the greatest themeparks in the world, called The Efteling (and I highly recommend everyone to visit it some time in your life). But one particular attraction has been a bit of a hot issue for a while now. It concerns the attraction Carnival Festival, which is a sort of Its a small world, but with stereotypes of people from around the world. People were very divided on it. On one hand the attraction is a classic, and maybe not such a big deal. But on the other, some of the puppets are a little bit offensive. I should note that minor changes were made to it recently to make it less offensive, but still.

Even among my close circle of friends, some of them got angry at the notion that it was offensive. But as I explained to them, if you take your black or asian girlfriend into that attraction, and you feel a little bit uncomfortable... maybe thats a sign that changes should be made.

I think drow costumes are not that different. If you get a tiny bit uncomfortable wearing full drow face paint in front of your black friend, maybe that is a sign.

Orcslayer, you call it hypocrisy. But could it be that the line of offensiveness is simply a bit blurry?
A person in a drow costume is not imitating a black person like with blackface, they're cosplaying or larping a fantasy race with a skintone (total black) which doesn't exist in nature, it's the same thing that cosplaying fantasy or alien races with green, purple or blue skintones.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
Sure, but I think that is a pretty strong indicator that when that internal alarm goes off, something is amiss. I certainly wouldn't want to show up dressed as a drow at my black friend's house. It would be very awkward, even if she was totally into larp.
You an idiot if you use blackface these days. There's a very few narrow places I think it's fine. Historical period shows/movies/documentaries etc.

The episode of Community would be another one IMHO. Context, nuance etc.
 

So I am not a fan of the show and had to look at the article about this episode and I did not realize it was an Asian actor doing the drow blackface, not a white actor. I am not sure if that makes it not as bad or even worse, since there is a lot of bad history between black and Asian people in the US too.
 

Sadras

Hero
So I am not a fan of the show and had to look at the article about this episode and I did not realize it was an Asian actor doing the drow blackface, not a white actor. I am not sure if that makes it not as bad or even worse, since there is a lot of bad history between black and Asian people in the US too.
I DO strongly recommend you watch that specific episode as a D&D fan. It is hilarious and the blackface is not at all offensive IMO. They actually address it at the table in the show. Draw your own conclusion then from that.
 

A person in a drow costume is not imitating a black person like with blackface, they're cosplaying or larping a fantasy race with a skintone (total black) which doesn't exist in nature, it's the same thing that cosplaying fantasy or alien races with green, purple or blue skintones.
I think you are missing the essence of my post.



When people criticized Carnaval Festival, those on the other side of the debate came with much of the same arguments. It's not racist, because these are exaggerations, caricatures of countries. Plus they mock all countries equally. They are not literally that thing that people are upset about.

But it all boils down to one question: can you think of situations where it makes you uncomfortable? If it does, then maybe those complainers have a point.
 

It's unfortunate that they pulled it, because it's otherwise an extremely strong episode, and kind of important for the changing (Chang-ing?) relationships with Chang and er... Chevy Chase (can't remember the character name). I too saw it fairly recently in lockdown.

I feel like rather than pulling it, they should have put a non-skippable health warning on it. The problem is the normalization of blackface as "funny" thing. If it's pointed out that it's not actually okay, in words, then even the dimmest frat-boy who might otherwise see this episode as an excuse will have to face up to what he's doing.

With all the blackface episodes of various shows being pulled it is interesting though that the vast majority were just worthless uses of it for low-brow comedic effect, or even worse, just so a white actor could imitate a black character in a rather stereotyped and gross way (esp. in the cases with British shows). This at least was making a point slightly beyond that - that even if you had an "excuse" - i.e. "I'm cosplaying!", it's not really okay. It also introduced the most unfortunate thing about Drow to a broader audience, which honestly is probably a good thing.

A person in a drow costume is not imitating a black person like with blackface, they're cosplaying or larping a fantasy race with a skintone (total black) which doesn't exist in nature, it's the same thing that cosplaying fantasy or alien races with green, purple or blue skintones.
Yeah, but the entire point of the episode, the entire joke, the entire reason it's in there is that it looks inappropriate-as-hell, and unless you're familiar with the material, appears to be crude and bizarre blackface.

Also note that a lot of RL blackface used unnatural skintones, so the "Oh it's not natural!" isn't really a compelling argument here, at all. It looks like blackface, and it's going to be pretty shocking/offensive to people. Again that's literally the joke in the show - the character has no taste, no decorum, no manners, and generally a reprobate, so thinks it's fine.

That it is the joke makes maintaining a position that it's "fine" in this situation pretty impossible. It's obviously not okay to run around looking like a black-and-white minstrel who forgot his super-extra-racist lipstick just because you're "cosplaying". That's the point even the show was making.
 

Orcslayer78

Explorer
I
I think you are missing the essence of my post.



When people criticized Carnaval Festival, those on the other side of the debate came with much of the same argument. Its not racist, because these are exaggerations, caricatures of countries. Plus they mock all countries equally. They are not literally that thing that people are upset about.

But it all boils down to one question: can you think of situations where it makes you uncomfortable? If it does, then maybe those complainers have a point.
I'm Italian and I love italian stereotypes , they're funny, and everyone must be free to cosplay a mafioso if they want, mafia it's a sad reality of my country, but it's useless to hide it by forbidding people to cosplay a mobster.
 

Sadras

Hero
When people criticized Carnaval Festival, those on the other side of the debate came with much of the same arguments. It's not racist, because these are exaggerations, caricatures of countries. Plus they mock all countries equally. They are not literally that thing that people are upset about.

But it all boils down to one question: can you think of situations where it makes you uncomfortable? If it does, then maybe those complainers have a point.
I'd have to see the puppets of the other countries. Presenting the puppets of 1 nation would reflect a bias view.
 

Raduin711

Adventurer
But it all boils down to one question: can you think of situations where it makes you uncomfortable? If it does, then maybe those complainers have a point.
Unfortunately I think there is a problem with that yardstick: an unabashed racist will not be made uncomfortable in these situations. In many cases this is the goal of having such edifices or defending them from being removed.
 

A few years ago a big debate arose about the Dutch Saint Nicholas celebration and its depiction of Black Pete. Black Pete is played by white people, in blackface, with the red lipstick, golden earrings, and a medieval page outfit. People from outside the Netherlands thought it was racist. So in response (or perhaps panic) one of our officials (it may have been a mayor or a minister) simply changed the lore of Black Pete. They are not black slaves, they are people covered in soot. Problem solved, right? Not really. Regardless of the fact that both sides were wrong regarding the lore of Black Pete (he is neither a slave or covered in soot), the real issue is that the imagery makes lots of people deeply uncomfortable. I could see the same being true of drow, regardless of what they are supposed to depict.
 

Playing a drow at a larp is sure going to be awkward now.
To be fair it has always been awkward 😀. Like all the Jack Sparrows at a Renaissance Faire.
Drow Larpers are either old Drizzt fanboys, or S&M enthusiasts 🧝🏿‍♀️
I personally would rather have it out in the open at least you can keep an eye on it. Deutschland Uber Alles types marching down the street are an improvement over the one you can't see.
It really isn’t.

I think every person with a functioning brain can tell the difference between a black face ( brown make up with white lipstick) and a drow costume (black make up with pointy ears and white wig)
Orcslayer78, if you have no clue about D&D all one would see is just another weird example of people mocking dark skin.
You are familiar with the visual language of D&D....calling people stupid that do not have the same cultural knowledge as oneself is frankly stupid.

Assuming, that others should a priori, know the same things that those of us here on this board, in many cases spent decades learning.....is a very sheltered view of the world, and frankly unrealistic.

Again, if the episode is so great..buy the DVDs and be the ambassador of it. Explain it to people without the same knowledge you actively spent time acquiring.

Netflix nor any other streaming services, or the internet in general, is not going to keep anything removed currently, permanently non viewable.

I am player in a starter set campaign. No one else knows anything about the Forgotten Realms, including the DM.

A shadowy villain called “The Black Spider” is referenced. I pointed out that has to be a drow.
The DM thought I had read the module. I explained, I have not, however, calling someone “The Black Spider” in a Forgotten Realms context signals “drow”, just as much as a red lightsaber signals “Sith” in Star Wars.

Contextual Iconography is learned.
 
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Unfortunately I think there is a problem with that yardstick: an unabashed racist will not be made uncomfortable in these situations. In many cases this is the goal of having such edifices or defending them from being removed.
I by no means think this is the ultimate yardstick to end all disagreement. But I'm going to assume neither one of us on this forum is a raging racist. And as such, I hope this method at least helps people understand where these feelings of discomfort come from.
 

Sadras

Hero
A few years ago a big debate arose about the Dutch Saint Nicholas celebration and its depiction of Black Pete. Black Pete is played by white people, in blackface, with the red lipstick, golden earrings, and a medieval page outfit. People from outside the Netherlands thought it was racist. So in response (or perhaps panic) one of our officials (it may have been a mayor or a minister) simply changed the lore of Black Pete. They are not black slaves, they are people covered in soot. Problem solved, right? Not really. Regardless of the fact that both sides were wrong regarding the lore of Black Pete (he is neither a slave or covered in soot), the real issue is that the imagery makes lots of people deeply uncomfortable. I could see the same being true of drow, regardless of what they are supposed to depict.
They pulled an episode of the The Office (US) which dealt with Black Pete.
Dwight I believe wanted to celebrate Pensylvannia Dutch Christmas and did blackface, offending everyone (as he usually does).
 

Orcslayer78

Explorer
Orcslayer78, if you have no clue about D&D all one would see is just another weird example of people mocking dark skin.
You are familiar with the visual language of D&D....calling people stupid that do not have the same cultural knowledge as oneself stupid is frankly stupid.

Assuming, that others should a priori, know the same things that those of us here on this board, in many cases spent decades learning.....is a very sheltered view of the world, and frankly unrealistic.

Again, if the episode is so great..buy the DVDs and be the ambassador of it. Explain it to people without the same knowledge you actively spent time acquiring.

Netflix nor any other streaming services, or the internet in general, is not going to keep anything removed currently, permanently non viewable.

I am player in a starter set campaign. No one else knows anything about the Forgotten Realms, including the DM.

A shadowy villain called “The Black Spider” is referenced. I pointed out that has to be a drow.
The DM thought I had read the module. I explained, I have not, however, calling someone “The Black Spider” in a Forgotten Realms context signals “drow”, just as much as a red lightsaber signals “Sith” in Star Wars.

Contextual Iconography is learned.
DROW and African american have two completely different skin tones, the make up used is based on two entirely different colors, it's not a matter of being a player or not, it's obvious to everyone that is a completely different thing!
 

Zardnaar

Legend
Well we'll never get that Drizzt live action movie/show. Animated maybe but I doubt it.

Why I argue that you need to tolerate a certain amount of whatever is in a few years physical media is going to be hard to get/expensive.

It's easy to remove digital content and they seem to be phasing out Blu Ray etc.

At my university they had private rooms for viewing objectionable material you may need to watch for certain courses. Uncensored news footage, crime scenes, war footage etc that passers by may not want to see.

Another example is when they started excavating Pompei in the 18th Century. The King of Naples got a private tour while the ladies if the court weren't allowed to view what they found. There's a famous statue involving a god and a goat iirc. They also found graffiti advertising prices in brothels.

Some Roman material was also quite explicit. It spent decades locked away in university's as it was judged the hoi polloi weren't educated enough to read it. To this day it's not as famous as say Suetonious or Plutarch.

That's more my concern. The more things change huh?
 

Orcslayer, most derogatory representations are not concerned with fidelity.
In fact, extreme, non realistic parody of the target group is the point.

One is not aiming to be accurate.

That is true for anti-Catholic rhetoric and it is especially true for American depictions of “blackface”.

Many Italian posters, recently, have made statements like this as well:
not a matter of being a player or not, it's obvious to everyone that is a completely different thing!
Clearly there is a cultural difference between the slice of the USA I live in and Italy.
I would like to understand this difference, better. Why do you think, the fidelity argument you proffered resonates in Italy, yet not so much for some in Los Angeles?
 

I'd have to see the puppets of the other countries. Presenting the puppets of 1 nation would reflect a bias view.
Ok, here is Africa.



I'm Italian and I love italian stereotypes , they're funny, and everyone must be free to cosplay a mafioso if they want, mafia it's a sad reality of my country, but it's useless to hide it by forbidding people to cosplay a mobster.
It is true that not every stereotype is going to be offensive to everyone. But does this mean that those that ARE offended are in the wrong? And are all stereotypes equal?
 

Mercurius

Legend
Mercurius, that is a gross oversimplification of reality.

Firstly, Satire, and humor preferences are not universal across cultures. Irony and Satire rules the funny bones of Americans of a certain age, not everyone.

I have Jewish ancestry, (amongst others), so while I have never listened to a Father Coughlin radio broadcast, my not listening to it does not protect me.

The parishioners of the Emanuel AME church in SO Carolina, likely do not read 4Chan, but did that protect them from Dylann Roof?

Humans, when they feel entitled to act without having to justify or explain their behaviors do horrible things.

If you were ordering pizza for your D&D group, and someone was deathly allergic to pepperonis would you just tell them to “Eat around it” ?

I’m not say the show Community is equivalent to 4Chan, but the problem with the policy of:
“ You do You”........
........Is that quite a few people have no problem with Others suffering or dying, for their irony or their view of how the world should be.
As far as I know, there's no linkage from comedy to shootings. If there is, well, those shooters probably would have found a reason regardless.

I wasn't talking about 4Chan. I was talking about comedy, as well as art in general.

Comedy is not the problem. Satire is not the problem. Art is not the problem.
 
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Orcslayer78

Explorer
Ok, here is Africa.





It is true that not every stereotype is going to be offensive to everyone. But does this mean that those that ARE offended are in the wrong? And are all stereotypes equal?
YES and SHOULD BE.
But it's not always like that, people go upset because Apu from the Simpsons was believed to be an insenstive stereotypes of Indians, but nobody give a damn about Cletus and his stereotype of people from the South.
As you can se, all stereotypes should be equal but in reality there is a double standard.
 

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