Oriental Adventures, was it really that racist?

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Yeah, and how is that happening with WOTC? Like, part of the brigading situation is that the individual is being attacked by a mass. I don't see that happening to WOTC here.

I never said it had. I think you've missed the context I brought it up in. It was a side issue that relates to the topic at hand, but is not about it.
 

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I never said it had. I think you've missed the context I brought it up in. It was a side issue that relates to the topic at hand, but is not about it.

Eh, maybe I did. In general I think we shouldn't bring up talk about canceling and brigading in these sorts of threads unless it's actually happening from the situation because it tends to occupy an outsized part of the discussion and ends up as a massive distraction.
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
Not wrong in the sense that your one number is wrong (I don't know what the number is, but I have no reason to not believe you.)
Right. I get that. I didn't think that's what you meant.

Wrong in the sense that it's not saying anything relevant to this discussion. I almost wrote, "not what you think it's saying" but realized you may not be trying to say what I think you're trying to say. But even if you're trying to say something else, your single datum has no useful relevance. It is totally not surprising that if you take increasingly small samples of demographic data eventually you will find anomalous clusters.
Now that's an actual criticism I would be happy to discuss.

I don't think I've ever heard the term anamolous cluster in relation to statistics. So I'll try to answer without being 100% certain of your intent. I'd suggest that the result I got was expected - some groups of whites will have greater poverty than some groups of blacks. It's not unusual, or an anomoly. It's a 100% expected result for a non-uniform distribution. I'd suggest the unusual anamoly would occur if the data didn't result in this.

In short calling it anamolous cluster seems to me more like a way to uncritically dismiss the data point. Ultimately though, no matter what you call it or whether you agree with the above answer - what matters is 'what does this fact mean, especially in regards to privilege?'

In fact, this is exactly what led to the "powerlines cause cancer" scare of the....70's? If you look long enough, you'll find clusters of cancer cases that happen to be near high tension power lines. You'll also find clusters of cancer cases near fishing ponds. Or near gaming stores! Or near just about anything else you care to search for.

It doesn't mean anything.
That sounds like a correlation vs causation issue and one that seems on the surface to have a fairly plausible explanation. People live around power lines. There's more powerlines around higher population areas. So all it's ultimately measuring would what areas have higher population. That is this is coorelation instead of causation. I'm not particularly sure how what i did falls into the coorelation vs causation issue. Maybe you can explain?
 

Hussar

Legend
Because it shows that many blacks are substantially more privileged (at least economically) than certain geographical groups of whites. Being in severe poverty affects pretty much everything in your life and is one of the hardest obstacles to overcome - as has been stated by others.
Define "many". Define "substantial".

Yeah, this is pointless. These questions are ridiculous.

@Dire Bare has the right of this. Continuing to engage is not going to go anywhere. This has to be one of the most bizarre bits of mental gymnastics I've seen in a while and that's saying something.
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
Near universal doesn't mean universal. Look, I'm an apologist for OA because I think it has a place in the history of the game and there's value in keeping it available for those who are interested in buying it, but even I wouldn't want to see WotC remake it without addressing the many valid criticisms that have been brought up in this and previous threads.
One problem with these discussions in general is that the things we disagree with are what gets brought up and discussed. I've seen very little mention of valid criticisms here. One did recently get brought up on another thread which was that the Japaneese named classes seemed to be the 'normal' ones while chineese named classes seemed to be the more unusual (like monk / barbarian if I remember correctly). I think that's a pretty clear problem. And I agree it's one I wouldn't want to see repeated in a new OA if that ever occured.
 

Voadam

Legend
Not at all. My point never depended on that. Which is part of why you see me freely acknowledging it. My point was that certain groups of white people are worse off than certain groups of black people. This fact is relevant in the discussion of white privilege. Why? Because it shows that many blacks are substantially more privileged (at least economically) than certain geographical groups of whites. Being in severe poverty affects pretty much everything in your life and is one of the hardest obstacles to overcome - as has been stated by others.
I think you have a misunderstanding of what white privilege is.

White privilege is not that White people are better off economically.

White privilege is the advantages of being White. A lot of that is White people not having to deal with the add on problems of not being White. It includes White being defined as normal and non-White as different from the normal or alien or threatening or other. It includes representation and identity issues. It includes an advantage of not dealing with the specific systemic disadvantages for Non-Whites.

This is separate from say male privilege which is men not having to deal with the issues that women do and having certain advantages just from their sex.

Non-White men have male privilege.

There is privilege economically from being rich or even from just not being poor.

There is privilege with health.

There is privilege about being a not minority religion.

There is privilege and lack of privilege in many, many dimensions.

The vast majority of people are a varying mix of privilege and not privilege.

Poor white people have white privilege by definition. That is not a consolation for being poor that makes being poor any better or a reason to dismiss their problems, but their white privilege does not go away because of other problems.
 

I'm confused about why people think Oriental Adventures is particularly relevant to ongoing issues for D&D to do better?

It was written by writers who no longer work for a company that no longer exists, over a generation ago.

That doesn't mean that problems it may have no longer exist, but it does mean we can't assume they currently exist. The place to go to look at any continuing issues would be more recent works. Discussing 30 year old books, is if anything a distraction.
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
Define "many". Define "substantial".

Yeah, this is pointless. These questions are ridiculous.

@Dire Bare has the right of this. Continuing to engage is not going to go anywhere. This has to be one of the most bizarre bits of mental gymnastics I've seen in a while and that's saying something.
I've been kind and cordial to you this whole time. I've went out of my way to overlook the kinds of comments you constantly level toward me to foster discussion and maybe some understanding instead of the alternatives. I don't appreciate the tone or the insults. Though I doubt I've been perfect on that front either. So thank you for at least giving me a voice for this long. It's been much more pleasant than in times past. Feel free to exit now or rengage in the discussion at any point.
 

Right. I get that. I didn't think that's what you meant.


Now that's an actual criticism I would be happy to discuss.

I don't think I've ever heard the term anamolous cluster in relation to statistics. So I'll try to answer without being 100% certain of your intent. I'd suggest that the result I got was expected - some groups of whites will have greater poverty than some groups of blacks. It's not unusual, or an anomoly. It's a 100% expected result for a non-uniform distribution. I'd suggest the unusual anamoly would occur if the data didn't result in this.

In short calling it anamolous cluster seems to me more like a way to uncritically dismiss the data point. Ultimately though, no matter what you call it or whether you agree with the above answer - what matters is 'what does this fact mean, especially in regards to privilege?'

Um....ok. I assumed you meant there was something significant or meaningful about that conclusion. But if that's it, if you're really stopping there, then I take it back: you were right, you have demonstrated that some groups of whites will have greater poverty that some groups of blacks.

But OF COURSE THAT'S TRUE. I mean, wtf? Do you think it's surprising there's an overlap in the two distributions? Like, in order for systemic racism to be real, the richest blacks would have to be worse off than the poorest whites?

That sounds like a correlation vs causation issue and one that seems on the surface to have a fairly plausible explanation. People live around power lines. There's more powerlines around higher population areas. So all it's ultimately measuring would what areas have higher population. That is this is coorelation instead of causation. I'm not particularly sure how what i did falls into the coorelation vs causation issue. Maybe you can explain?

First of all, it has nothing to do with higher population areas, so I think you're missing the point. Cancer may not be actually random, but we can treat it as quasi-random. So pretend you are throwing darts at a map on the wall, and each hole is a cancer case. Although the dots are random, they aren't distributed evenly: some areas have more dots, some have fewer.

Now, what you want to "prove" (because you are a sleazy pseudo-journalist) is that high-tension powerlines cause cancer. So you mark all your high tension powerline towers on your map, and then you look for the ones that happen to end up inside your random clusters of dart holes. And some of them will be. Boom: there's your "evidence" that EM causes cancer. So you go to the town where that cluster is, and demonstrate that the cancer rate within 1/4 mile of that tower is 5.7 TIMES THE NATIONAL AVERAGE and the newspapers go nuts. (This is basically what happened in Long Island in the 80's.)

But, of course, there's no correlation OR causation. It's just that random distributions are not smoothly distributed. They are clumpy.

The same is true for any other demographic data. Such as poverty rates.
 

I think you have a misunderstanding of what white privilege is.

White privilege is not that White people are better off economically.

Yes. In my attempts to bring statistical enlightenment I have wanted to write, "By the way, we are just talking about income/net worth here, and ignoring all the challenges that blacks face in dealing with police, teachers, employers, real estate agents, etc. etc. etc."

But one thing at a time.
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
I think you have a misunderstanding of what white privilege is.

White privilege is not that White people are better off economically.

White privilege is the advantages of being White. A lot of that is White people not having to deal with the add on problems of not being White. It includes White being defined as normal and non-White as different from the normal or alien or threatening or other. It includes representation and identity issues. It includes an advantage of not dealing with the specific systemic disadvantages for Non-Whites.

This is separate from say male privilege which is men not having to deal with the issues that women do and having certain advantages just from their sex.

Non-White men have male privilege.

There is privilege economically from being rich or even from just not being poor.

There is privilege with health.

There is privilege about being a not minority religion.

There is privilege and lack of privilege in many, many dimensions.

The vast majority of people are a varying mix of privilege and not privilege.

Poor white people have white privilege by definition. That is not a consolation for being poor that makes being poor any better or a reason to dismiss their problems, but their white privilege does not go away because of other problems.
That's fair. I may have a misunderstanding there. Let's say I accept your definition. How insulting is it to the white people in poverty to tell them they have privilege in relation to Lebron James, when any bit of white privilege they have is miniscule in comparison to his 500 million dollar net worth privilege. I mean it's obvious that they technically have white privilege by your definition but still incredibly insulting. IMO.
 

By the way, for anybody who truly interested in some perspective on race, Isabel Wilkerson's book "Caste" is amazing.

Her basic thesis is that it's not just pointless but counterproductive to try to identify and shame bad apple racists. They aren't the problem. The problem is that our society has long-held, deeply-seated beliefs that are both reflected and propagated by our social systems. I couldn't put the book down, and honestly I don't spend much time reading about social issues.

She doesn't use this particular analogy, but one way of thinking about it is that a lot of the problems with police violence toward black men isn't because the individual cops are "racist" in the traditional sense, but that our society has instilled in them an idea that black men are dangerous. They don't intend to resort to violence more readily with black men, but they are primed to more quickly interpret danger signals. Thus, the solution isn't to root out the blatant racists from our police departments, but to address the sources/causes of this fear. That biased fear is racism, but not the sort that is usually invoked by that word. (Which is why Wilkerson's use of the word "caste" in place of "racism" can be helpful.)
 

That's fair. I may have a misunderstanding there. Let's say I accept your definition. How insulting is it to the white people in poverty to tell them they have privilege in relation to Lebron James. Any bit of white privilege they have is miniscule in comparison to his 500 million dollar net worth privilege. I mean it's obvious that they technically have white privilege by your definition but still incredibly insulting. IMO.

Once again you have left me speechless.
 

Voadam

Legend
One problem with these discussions in general is that the things we disagree with are what gets brought up and discussed. I've seen very little mention of valid criticisms here. One did recently get brought up on another thread which was that the Japaneese named classes seemed to be the 'normal' ones while chineese named classes seemed to be the more unusual (like monk / barbarian if I remember correctly). I think that's a pretty clear problem. And I agree it's one I wouldn't want to see repeated in a new OA if that ever occured.
Close.

Most every class is Japanese and the Japanese ones fit in with the feudal Japanese society portrayed in OA.

Exceptions are the Chinese Monks and Wu Jen and the Barbarians who are Mongols for the steppe barbarians and I am not sure for the cold forest and jungle barbarians (possibly a bunch of more South Asian ethnicities).

The Chinese monks are outside of the feudal Japanese honor system entirely and Wu-Jen are said to rarely be found living with the rest of human society. For barbarians it says:

Barbarians are automatically considered outsiders and thus occupy the lowest levels of the caste system. Barbarian characters never roll on Table 38: Character Birth. When dealing with people from the settled lands, the birth of the barbarian has little importance. The military and financial power of the barbarian is a far more important factor. The barbarian's clan is very important to him and other barbarians, and all barbarians must belong to a particular clan.

So the non-Japanese ones are all fairly outside of the society of OA.

This can work for a specific fantasy feudal Japanese centered setting but can get to be a bad fit quick if taking any other perspective on an Asian setting.
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest (he/him)
I think you have a misunderstanding of what white privilege is.

White privilege is not that White people are better off economically.

White privilege is the advantages of being White. A lot of that is White people not having to deal with the add on problems of not being White. It includes White being defined as normal and non-White as different from the normal or alien or threatening or other. It includes representation and identity issues. It includes an advantage of not dealing with the specific systemic disadvantages for Non-Whites.

This is separate from say male privilege which is men not having to deal with the issues that women do and having certain advantages just from their sex.

Non-White men have male privilege.

There is privilege economically from being rich or even from just not being poor.

There is privilege with health.

There is privilege about being a not minority religion.

There is privilege and lack of privilege in many, many dimensions.

The vast majority of people are a varying mix of privilege and not privilege.

Poor white people have white privilege by definition. That is not a consolation for being poor that makes being poor any better or a reason to dismiss their problems, but their white privilege does not go away because of other problems.
And the thing is, it's not surprising that people misunderstand this. There's a lot of nuance in the topic and people tend to not be very good at nuance. People hear they have <various, but particularly white> privilege, they look at their crappy lives, high bills, and stress, and return with "I don't feel privileged" and reflexively get defensive on it.

And it's easy for politicians, particularly of the populist but not very subtle variety, to rally people around that defensiveness. It's a lot harder to effectively communicate nuanced ideas.
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
Close.

Most every class is Japanese and the Japanese ones fit in with the feudal Japanese society portrayed in OA.

Exceptions are the Chinese Monks and Wu Jen and the Barbarians who are Mongols for the steppe barbarians and I am not sure for the cold forest and jungle barbarians (possibly a bunch of more South Asian ethnicities).

The Chinese monks are outside of the feudal Japanese honor system entirely and Wu-Jen are said to rarely be found living with the rest of human society. For barbarians it says:

Barbarians are automatically considered outsiders and thus occupy the lowest levels of the caste system. Barbarian characters never roll on Table 38: Character Birth. When dealing with people from the settled lands, the birth of the barbarian has little importance. The military and financial power of the barbarian is a far more important factor. The barbarian's clan is very important to him and other barbarians, and all barbarians must belong to a particular clan.

So the non-Japanese ones are all fairly outside of the society of OA.

This can work for a specific fantasy feudal Japanese centered setting but can get to be a bad fit quick if taking any other perspective on an Asian setting.
Thanks and apologies as well. You say here what I was trying to say without messing up the race/nationality of classes in question.
 

Was 'Oriental' considered racist when the book was written?
Yes.

Certainly, words change meanings and connotations. Including the word "oriental". But back in 1988? Yes. Awareness of that wasn't as widespread as it is today, and it's not on the same level as some other slurs. But again, do we need to determine the relative offensiveness of the term to agree it is offensive?

No.

Oriental Adventures was first published in 1985. At that time "Oriental" was not considered a racist term by default. Many universities still had "Oriental Studies" as a field of study into the 90s. University of Pennsylvania changed their department name to remove "Oriental" in 1991, University of Arizona in 1990, and that's just what I could find with a quick google search. TSR may not have been on the cutting edge of terminology, but you can't fault them for their usage of it at the time.
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
I'm confused about why people think Oriental Adventures is particularly relevant to ongoing issues for D&D to do better?

It was written by writers who no longer work for a company that no longer exists, over a generation ago.

That doesn't mean that problems it may have no longer exist, but it does mean we can't assume they currently exist. The place to go to look at any continuing issues would be more recent works. Discussing 30 year old books, is if anything a distraction.
IMO, it's a bit of a microcosm.
 

Close.

Most every class is Japanese and the Japanese ones fit in with the feudal Japanese society portrayed in OA.

Exceptions are the Chinese Monks and Wu Jen and the Barbarians who are Mongols for the steppe barbarians and I am not sure for the cold forest and jungle barbarians (possibly a bunch of more South Asian ethnicities).

The Chinese monks are outside of the feudal Japanese honor system entirely and Wu-Jen are said to rarely be found living with the rest of human society. For barbarians it says:

Barbarians are automatically considered outsiders and thus occupy the lowest levels of the caste system. Barbarian characters never roll on Table 38: Character Birth. When dealing with people from the settled lands, the birth of the barbarian has little importance. The military and financial power of the barbarian is a far more important factor. The barbarian's clan is very important to him and other barbarians, and all barbarians must belong to a particular clan.

So the non-Japanese ones are all fairly outside of the society of OA.

This can work for a specific fantasy feudal Japanese centered setting but can get to be a bad fit quick if taking any other perspective on an Asian setting.
From memory there's some very odd design there. IIRC just about all of the non-human races are also outside of society.

Which means the average party would not fit into the society at all.
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
From memory there's some very odd design there. IIRC just about all of the non-human races are also outside of society.

Which means the average party would not fit into the society at all.
lol, that's just D&D for ya ;)
 

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