D&D General RA Salvatore Wants To Correct Drizzt’s Racist Tropes

In an interview with Polygon, the author talks about how the drow are currently being redefined...

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In an interview with Polygon, the author talks about how the drow are currently being redefined in D&D, and how he wants to be part of that process.
”But on the other hand, if the drow are being portrayed as evil, that’s a trope that has to go away, be buried under the deepest pit, and never brought out again. I was unaware of that. I admit it. I was oblivious.

Drow are now split into (at least) three types — the familiar Udadrow of Menzoberranzan, the arctic-themed Aevendrow, and the jungle-themed Lorendrow. Salvatore's new novel, Starlight Enclave, helps to expand the drows' role in the narrative.
In 2020 WotC made a public statement about how they would be treating drow and orcs going forward -- "Throughout the 50-year history of D&D, some of the peoples in the game—orcs and drow being two of the prime examples—have been characterized as monstrous and evil, using descriptions that are painfully reminiscent of how real-world ethnic groups have been and continue to be denigrated. That’s just not right, and it’s not something we believe in. "


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You can see the complete and utter hypocrisy of making this statement, right?

Everyone of us here hasn't directly experienced what I described unless you come from certain parts of the world.

Some are from states it happened in the past.

If you are American for example flawed as it may be you have more legal recourse available to you than someone with no citizenship has in Ancient Rome.

Your not going to get nailed to a cross for example.

I'm not claiming there's no problems but in relative terms it's easier now. Bad things happen but you can't legally murder your family with no legal protection. In Rome the patriarch could at certain times.

Bad things still happen of course.

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No modern state any of us live in sends in the legions to salt the earth, destroy the city and sell the inhabitants into slavery.
Are you not familiar with the conflicts in South America during the 80s, or the wars happening in the Middle East right now?
The Romans outright destroyed various cultures. Most of us haven't experienced anything remotely equivalent.
Indigenous Americans living in the USA, Brazil, and Colombia, to name but a few countries, would very much dispute that. So would many other ethnic minorities across the globe that we don't often hear about in English language news but are still being persecuted by the governments of their colonizers.
Over here on social media everyone is convinced everything is terrible. They don't realize everywhere else is worse with very similar problems.
Well some of us know that things are terrible everywhere, and just because they were a different kind of terrible 2000 years ago doesn't mean things aren't bad right now. It's just that we tend to focus on what's going on in our own countries because that is what most immediately affects us, and what we can most effectively help to change.


Rules Tinkerer and Freelance Writer
That's circular though. People now want to define racism as a particular modern ideology.

If we do that, then of course, by definition it wasn't present in the ancient world.

But the average person would almost certainly look at the interaction between Severus and the Ethiopian soldier and recognise it as racist (and not just because they don't know the context - even then with context explained, it would still meet most people's understanding of racism).

Personally, while I think it's important to recognise there are particular modern ideologies at work, treating racism as if it were just that is flawed and dangerous. Dangerous because it fails to account for the basic tendency of people to stereotype people who they consider other, and because skin colour is always going to be one obvious way of marking people as other. We can't defeat racism just by undoing an ideology and reparing ongoing systematic effects. We also have to guard against it arising anew.
It has to do with an understanding and differentiation of levels of Bias in a society. To quantify and understand power dynamics you kinda need to do that.

Basically Tier 1 Bias is "this one guy is a jerk to a specific group" which leads to Tier 2 being "People in this one town are jerks" and then Tier 3 "People in this region are jerks" and Tier 4 at the National level with Tier 5 being Systemic Racism and Tier 6 being Genocide. Racism with a capital R is somewhere in the 4-5 range.

It's why there's no Racism against white people in the US. The level of social and systemic bias against white people barely qualifies as Tier 2 in the US. There is no city where a white guy will lose his rights or be denied housing or medical care or even -service- at a restaraunt.

The bias level in Rome was pretty much "Everyone who isn't like me kinda sucks, but at least they're -Romans-." Africans were made into senators, plebeians, pretty much every level of government except Emperor... and they got that in the 190s, AD.

The idea that they dealt with systemic racism is revisionism largely pushed by white supremacists to cement their beliefs in the classical period. There's growing pushback along interdisciplinary lines showing how that revisionism happened.

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