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D&D General Old School DND talks if DND is racist.

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Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
Today, it is a similar moral panic. Many think that D&D will influence people (kids?) to be more okay with racism in real life or with treating others differently based on ethnicity/skin color. Which, well, again... why in the world would how a fake orc in a fake world that you play in a game of make believe have ANY affect on how someone views another person in real life?

Same concept. Same arguments. Same fallacies.
Again, you misunderstand. There is no concern that D&D will influence people (kids or adults) to be more ok wit racism in real life. There is, currently, an ongoing and widespread problem with institutionalized racism in real life. Currently, D&D is uncritically echoing those attitudes and perpetuating harmful stereotypes. It should stop that.
 

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HJFudge

Explorer
Again, you misunderstand. There is no concern that D&D will influence people (kids or adults) to be more ok wit racism in real life. There is, currently, an ongoing and widespread problem with institutionalized racism in real life. Currently, D&D is uncritically echoing those attitudes and perpetuating harmful stereotypes. It should stop that.

This concern is literally what Justice and Rule just expressed.

Perpetuating harmful stereotypes...the harm (it is argued) being that such stereotypes negatively influence the player to be more okay with such attitudes.
 

Scribe

Hero
This concern is literally what Justice and Rule just expressed.

Perpetuating harmful stereotypes...the harm (it is argued) being that such stereotypes negatively influence the player to be more okay with such attitudes.
That is the argument, yes. How much one chooses to accept of that argument, (I dont like CoS issues, I find issue with other things less so) is up to them.
 

HJFudge

Explorer
That is the argument, yes. How much one chooses to accept of that argument, (I dont like CoS issues, I find issue with other things less so) is up to them.

Indeed. The merits are in question, in my opinion. Again though, I am not a scientist. So, you know. Take that as you will!
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
Forgive me a bit of a hyperbolic example, but...they used to think the earth was flat. This was, as you say, well documented and well known.
This isn’t actually true. Ancient peoples from throughout the world were well aware that the earth was round, and many even figured out its size to an impressive degree of precision. Obviously there have always been (and depressingly, still are) uneducated people who believed the world to be flat, but among the people doing the studying and documenting, the shape of the earth has been known for at least as long as people have been writing things down.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
This concern is literally what Justice and Rule just expressed.

Perpetuating harmful stereotypes...the harm (it is argued) being that such stereotypes negatively influence the player to be more okay with such attitudes.
Yes. They and I are in agreement.
 

HJFudge

Explorer
Again, you misunderstand. There is no concern that D&D will influence people (kids or adults) to be more ok wit racism in real life. There is, currently, an ongoing and widespread problem with institutionalized racism in real life. Currently, D&D is uncritically echoing those attitudes and perpetuating harmful stereotypes. It should stop that.

But you just said there was no concern...

Yes. They and I are in agreement.

I do not mean to be obtuse, but I am confused. Is there or is there not a concern that D&D will influence people (kids or adults) to be more okay with racism in real life? Your first response would lead me to believe that NO, that is NOT the concern..

But your second response leads me to believe that YES, that IS your concern.
 

Wishbone

Paladin Radmaster
This concern is literally what Justice and Rule just expressed.

Perpetuating harmful stereotypes...the harm (it is argued) being that such stereotypes negatively influence the player to be more okay with such attitudes.

From a strictly self-interested perspective for WotC think of it this way:
  • Hypothesis: People are communicating through various means that the product you sell contains negative stereotypes.
  • Hypothesis: As a company WotC wants a player base that will last and continue to drive revenue through uncertainty (through diversity or drawing from a dedicated group or by having a new generation take up the game or better yet all of the above).
  • Hypothesis: Expressing negative stereotypes that members of certain populations might reasonably assume refer to people like themselves, friends, families, or recognized societal groups would be bad because you're cutting off a potential revenue stream in people turned off by expressing the negative stereotypes that might offend them even if we can somehow justify these stereotypes with lore given time.
  • Hypothesis: Media stories that "D&D is racist" creates bad buzz—negative word of mouth.
  • Hypothesis: Something must be done to avoid bad headlines and it would be good to continue to broaden the player base while doing so.
 

HJFudge

Explorer
From a strictly self-interested perspective for WotC think of it this way:
  • Hypothesis: People are communicating through various means that the product you sell contains negative stereotypes.
  • Hypothesis: As a company WotC wants a player base that will last and continue to drive revenue through uncertainty (through diversity or drawing from a dedicated group or by having a new generation take up the game or better yet all of the above).
  • Hypothesis: Expressing negative stereotypes that members of certain populations might reasonably assume refer to people like themselves, friends, families, or recognized societal groups would be bad because you're cutting off a potential revenue stream in people turned off by expressing the negative stereotypes that might offend them even if we can somehow justify these stereotypes with lore given time.
  • Hypothesis: Media stories that "D&D is racist" creates bad buzz—negative word of mouth.
  • Hypothesis: Something must be done to avoid bad headlines and it would be good to continue to broaden the player base while doing so.

Oh of course. It was 100% good business sense. It is the same reason that they made the changes they did in 2E. It was good business sense THEN too. Its all about perspective and presentation and the almighty dollar.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
But you just said there was no concern...
Correct.
I do not mean to be obtuse, but I am confused. Is there or is there not a concern that D&D will influence people (kids or adults) to be more okay with racism in real life?
There is not.
Your first response would lead me to believe that NO, that is NOT the concern..But your second response leads me to believe that YES, that IS your concern.
Which is why I say you misunderstand. Let me try as plainly as I can.

Not a concern: “D&D will influence people to be more racist than they currently are.”

A concern: “Racism is an ongoing systemic issue, and D&D is currently an uncritical participant in that system.”
 

Wishbone

Paladin Radmaster
Oh of course. It was 100% good business sense. It is the same reason that they made the changes they did in 2E. It was good business sense THEN too. Its all about perspective and presentation and the almighty dollar.

Consequentialism would say removing antisemitism, racism, and gender inequality is a net good regardless of specific intentions though. (Not that I subscribe to that philosophical school but to make a point.)
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Not a concern: “D&D will influence people to be more racist than they currently are.”

A concern: “Racism is an ongoing systemic issue, and D&D is currently an uncritical participant in that system.”

The point where you cause confusion is when you hit "harmful stereotype". You agreed that the harm is that such stereotypes negatively influence the player to be more okay with such attitudes.

So, you say it is not a concern that people will be influenced, but that the harm is that people are influenced. This appears to be a contradiction.
 

HJFudge

Explorer
Consequentialism would say removing antisemitism, racism, and gender inequality is a net good regardless of specific intentions though. (Not that I subscribe to that philosophical school but to make a point.)

I confess I am not that familiar with consequentialism.

Is the argument that "Because antisemitism/racism/gender inequality is removed in D&D lore, there will be a good done to (on?) society"?
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
The point where you cause confusion is when you hit "harmful stereotype". You agreed that the harm is that such stereotypes negatively influence the player to be more okay with such attitudes.
Did I agree to that? I don’t remember doing so. Some stereotypes are intrinsically harmful. Perpetuating them is generally not a good thing. This is a separate concern from “the contents of this book will make people more ok with these stereotypes.”
So, you say it is not a concern that people will be influenced, but that the harm is that people are influenced. This appears to be a contradiction.
Did I say it’s not a concern that D&D influences people? I don’t remember doing that either. I don’t think it’s a concern that D&D will make people more racist. Thats a tremendous oversimplification of a much more nuanced phenomenon of art influencing culture.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Yes, and stuff like that is being addressed, or I assume will be.
Oh no doubt it is lazy.

But is it harmful? He was not just claiming it was lazy. His statement was that this was doing actual harm. That it perpetuated stereotypes...I guess, I dont know, I dont have the adventure in front of me. Say that it does. In really weird ways. Okay.

Is his claim that because it did so, there is someone who of Romani descent who is suffering? Who has been belittled or talked down to or made fun of?

Shall, if we change it, we go to the Romani people and celebrate them that we have made a step in freeing them from the discrimination they now/once suffered?

That just seems foolish to me. At best. At worst, actively infantilizing.
There it is. That same old reversal.

I’ll give benefit of the doubt, though, and address this. A few points.

1. Being depicted in popular media via racist stereotypes, when one is part of a marginalized group, is harm. There are types and degrees of harm. Harm isn’t exclusively being physically attacked or denied service or whatever. This negative stereotyping in media is the same sort of thing as a person belittling me for being Queer or Hispanic or whatever. It is harm.

2. Media influences how people think, especially about things they have no prior knowledge of.

3. Being made to feel unwelcome in a community because of your race/religion/sex/identity is harm. Full stop.

4. Defending the desires of marginalized people to not have the bad guys of our game portrayed using the same language as their people, or whatever other specific issue we argue about on here, doesn’t infantilize anyone. In this thread, folks have referenced the activism of marginalized creators in the TTRPG community. They aren’t infantilizing themselves.
4a. The type of argument you’re making is generally called concern trolling, but it is also used frequently by extremist agitators as a form of aggressive rhetorical absurdity designed to make a mockery of the entire topic being discussed, and make it more difficult for their target to engage in a sensible discussion. I’m telling you this because I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt that you aren’t doing this intentionally, here.
 


Except one is based purely on emotional and religious grounds, while the other is actually based in psychological studies and science. The Satanic Panic doesn't work because it's entirely fueled by emotion. Could something influence you to second-guess church or that drugs might be alright? Absolutely. Was there any reason to this D&D would do that? No. That's the thing: there are things that D&D could influence you to do, like look up more fantasy fiction or get interested in magic or medieval history or creative fiction. D&D influences you! The problem with the Satanic Panic is that they illogically jumped to all these things they thought were bad.
There were child psychologists and mental health experts in the 80s contributing to the alarmism around D&D and fantasy. Parents were being warned that young people (let's be honest - young men) were detaching from normal, healthy society and becoming obsessed with immersing themselves in lurid, violent fantasy worlds.

It wasn't just fundamentalist preachers arrayed against sword and sorcery, heavy metal, etc. A lot of well-intentioned, educated people believed young men were falling prey to their worst instincts of morbid fantasy and self-indulgence, and that adults in authority had a responsibility to save them from themselves. The producers of D&D, fantasy novels, heavy metal music, etc were seen to be polluting vulnerable minds with unhealthy fictions and imagery that contributing to anti-social behaviour. There were suicides linked to both D&D and heavy metal. So child welfare advocates certainly had (or felt they had) proof of the real consequences of the media they were against. Terrible and real harm.
 
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Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
I confess I am not that familiar with consequentialism.

Is the argument that "Because antisemitism/racism/gender inequality is removed in D&D lore, there will be a good done to (on?) society"?
In short, consequentialism is a school of thought that says outcomes matter more than intent. A bad thing done for good reasons is bad. A good thing done for bad reasons is good. The consequentialist argument here is, if WotC makes changes to D&D for the purpose of financial gain, and those changes have positive outcomes, it doesn’t really matter that they were motivated by financial gain. Outcomes over intent.
 

HJFudge

Explorer
In short, consequentialism is a school of thought that says outcomes matter more than intent. A bad thing done for good reasons is bad. A good thing done for bad reasons is good. The consequentialist argument here is, if WotC makes changes to D&D for the purpose of financial gain, and those changes have positive outcomes, it doesn’t really matter that they were motivated by financial gain. Outcomes over intent.

Okay. Thank you for the explanation (and the other poster for the link). I understand a bit better now the argument.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
There were child psychologists and mental health experts in the 80s contributing to the alarmism around D&D and fantasy. Parents were being warned that young people (let's be honest - young men) were detaching from normal, healthy society and becoming obsessed with immersing themselves in lurid, violent fantasy worlds.

It wasn't just fundamentalist preachers arrayed against sword and sorcery, heavy metal, etc. A lot well-intentioned, educated people believed young men were falling prey to their worst instincts of morbid fantasy and self-indulgence, and that adults in authority had a responsibility to save them from themselves. The producers of D&D, fantasy novels, heavy metal music, etc were seen to be polluting vulnerable minds with unhealthy fictions and imagery that contributing to anti-social behaviour. There were suicides linked to both D&D and heavy metal. So child welfare advocates certainly had (or felt they had) proof of the real consequences of the media they were against. Terrible and real harm.

To be fair a lot if people listening to metal in the 80s went on to grunge etc in the 90's with that F you attitude.

And NWA type rap as well same era.

Wonder if anyone did long term studies in that.
I remember a female player in the 90's getting very pissed at a couple of players playing gangsta rap in the back ground.
 

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