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D&D General "Red Orc" American Indians and "Yellow Orc" Mongolians in D&D

BookTenTiger

He / Him
I fully agree with this stance. Let the past be the past and focus ourselves on the here and now to build a better society. We have enough problems to solve on the here and now and that we can change so focusing on the past is a vital pointless. A simple warning note on the work should be enough.
Ah, I actually disagree with this. I think examining the past is a vital step in moving forward.
 

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billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him) 🇺🇦🇵🇸🏳️‍⚧️
Ah, I actually disagree with this. I think examining the past is a vital step in moving forward.
You can't fix something if you don't know how broken it is.
Preventing people from examining the past and how it affects the present and future is exactly what the blockheads opposing things like Critical Race Theory (as if they even know what it is) or banning the teaching of "stereotypical" treatments of people (really in this case targeting anything structural or even hinting at widely felt common experiences) are trying to do. It's because they don't want it fixed.
 

Ah, I actually disagree with this. I think examining the past is a vital step in moving forward.
I did not say to ignore the past, but to work on the here and now. This is a big difference. He who ignores the past is doomed to repeat it. The ones who scrutinize the past misses on present and gets lost in the past.

In other words, stay aware of what was but fight for the here and now so that the future will be better.
 

BookTenTiger

He / Him
You can't fix something if you don't know how broken it is.
Preventing people from examining the past and how it affects the present and future is exactly what the blockheads opposing things like Critical Race Theory (as if they even know what it is) or banning the teaching of "stereotypical" treatments of people (really in this case targeting anything structural or even hinting at widely felt common experiences) are trying to do. It's because they don't want it fixed.
Yep. Entrenched racism keeps people in power, so they need to convince people to maintain the institutions that continue the racist traditions.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
Hi Zardnaar; it's easy to speculate that "a few Greeks hated" Theros. Yet because your speculation seems to counter what I shared, it would be more helpful if you gave concrete evidence for that.

It's just what some posters were saying months ago.

Main point is most of the world isn't American and don't always like American takes on their culture.

My theory is long extinct cultures with no direct cultural successors (eg ancient Greece modern Greece or Rome to Modern Italy) are reasonably safe to respectfully use.

In your home games knock yourself out. I don't use RL cultures as inspiration beyond the basics eg architecture perhaps.

Mostly because of early exposure to Mystara which I though was a cheap clownified knock off. Same with OA circa 1993.
 

In the eyes of a current-day lawyer, the words of fray Bartolome de las Casas wouldn't be more than a compilation of "urban legends", without data about dates, places, and names of victims or criminals. There were "rotten apples", but that didn't mean it was the normal. If the news tells about a bad action by a Mexican, this doesn't mean all Mexicans to be bad people.

There were bad people among the Spanish conquerors, but the Spanish empire wasn't the "evil empire" if we compare with the actions by the rest. Why not to investigate the list of conflicts between the native Northamericans with Spanish and English-speakers? It is not only a offense against the Spanishs from Europe, but all the Hispanoamericans with Spanish ancestors. Even "pureblood" Iberoamericans will start to wonder if the black lenged is to convinced them they had been happier under the control of a no-Spanish power.

If today we need a consideration about how adding elements from no-Western cultures in a respectful way then we may start to think about a double standard when we talk about others. We should start to deliberate if the current rules of politically corrections really are just and helping for a better coexistence or being like a propaganda weapon.

Really do you want to preach about me needing self-criticism and humildity, or is it emotional manipulation appealing the shame and the guiling feeling? Napoleon's troops almost destroyed la Alhambra, a Muslim palace in Granada, but he is a hero for the French people. Francis Drake trafficed with slaves, but he is remembered like other hero. Spain defeated Otoman empire in the battle of Lepanto, helping for the end of the Otoman piracy, but we can't produce a movie about that because Turkey can be offended.

Why not a setting where vampires with French or Brittish accent invade an ersatz of Asian and/or African civiliations? Or a clone of Gengis Khan invading Middle-East lands and destroying mosques. Why a dark lord of Ravenloft can be an ersatz of the cardinal Richeleiu but not of John Calvin, HenryVIII + Elisabeth II of England, Martin Luther or Joseph Smith?

* Today evil orcs are imagined like the fantasy equivalent of desert-raiders with heavy-metal look (with a punk touch) from post-apocalypse movies.

* If we use creatures and monsters from no-Western folklore, how to avoid the accusation of cultural appropiation? Maybe coworking with a local company. Whasington Irving wrote about the legends of al-Alhambra. Should be he reported for this?

* The Iroquois weren't very loved by the rest of neighbours year before the arrival of the white man. Here their possible bad reputation is not our fault.

* Today Hasbro is the first one who wants a good relation with the Asian market, avoiding all possible tropes about "Yellow menace", but I am afraid the main Asian powers haven't got a good opinion about other neighbours.
 

A heavy set dark skinned woman with big lips and a bone. Similar to caricatures of savage Africans.

The sports team in vaguely Central American-ish attire proudly holding a severed head and leg. This is from the Oenkmar section which is explicitly pre-Columbian Central American themed.

Breakdancing and boomboxes, with spikes in their heads (in one ear out the other for one because there is nothing in between apparently). Looks like it can be taken as a depiction of stupid orcs as 80s American Black people.

I didn't think anyone would take these pictures as just depictions of general silliness without racial or ethno-national connotations.

Okay, I see what you're getting at Voadam. And I see the relevance.

I just don't want to make scattershot accusations where it's not certain. I try to focus on what is certain. And text is often more straightforward than imagery.

Ruin Explorer said:
Quite. It's extremely hard to read some of that art as anything but heavily racially-coded. I'm sure the artist thought it was "just good fun", but it's fun at the expense of specific ethnicities (ones which were not having a great time and still aren't). I think the out-and-out racial animus in the text is probably a lot more obvious, possible to research and easy-to-demonstrate though, what with the "Red" and "Yellow" Orcs being racist from the name down.

There's arguably more things going on with the art - the breakdancing one for example has elements of punk and hiphop cultures jammed together, but that doesn't really make it better when it's clearly trying to imply they're all literal morons (likewise the central American one is clearly shoving basketball and Central American culture together - but the fact that most basketball players are black is not lost on the viewer). Showing people the pictures, most people of today (including pretty much everyone in this thread) is going "Oh my god!" because it's obviously racist, but to break down and detail why it's racist on paper (as opposed to just knowing it) kind of takes a different skill-set to what the OP has, so I think it might be unfair for us to require him to do that too. You'd really want an art historian with a speciality in racial propaganda and stereotypes in the 20th century.

Ruin Explorer, I generally agree with how you characterize my approach and research limitations.

I can see that the first image Voadam shared could be interpreted as a parody of a Black woman. The modern-style spandex top contributes to that perception. Yet it's not as straightforward as the textual elements. If this illustration was for a "Black Orcs" section of the book, then it would be certain. I'm definitely willing to call TSR/WotC/Hasbro to the carpet; but analyzing stereotypical motifs within imagery is beyond my expertise, unless it's certainly obvious. Still, Voadam, you make a valid point.

As for the image of breakdancing and the boombox. As others have expressed, my initial impression is that it is a primarily a parody of punk culture (the mohawk and piercings), of boombox culture, and of breakdancing culture. I could see that the fact that breakdancing arose in an African American context could be problematic. I'm not sure of the nuances here though. If any of the humanoids were depicted with Black/African physiognomy (e.g. kinky hair or black skin), it would be more obviously problematic.

Yes, there's a parody of the Mesoamerican Ballgame. I acknowledge that the goofy depiction of the Mesoamerican Ballgame is an appropriation of Nahuatl / Indigenous Mexica culture. I wonder what parameters a professional Nahuatl cultural consultant would suggest in regard to fantasy depictions of the Mesoamerican Ballgame.

I've started to look more closely at the Oenkmar chapter. Yet another reason for my "skipping" over that chapter is that I have not seen a racial slur associated with the Oenkmarians, in the way that the term "red orcs" and "yellow orcs" are close to real-world racial slurs. My goal in the OP was not to document every real-world cultural motif which is found in GAZ10 (or Mystara as a whole!). I went into extra detail with "Red Orcland" and "Yellow Orkia" simply to nail down the fact that the racial terms "red" and "yellow" are definitely referring to "Indigenous American" and "East Asian" parodies.

Yet I'll state again that my research is not inherently opposed to fantasy adaptations of Mesoamerican, Indigenous North American, or East Asian cultural elements. My research is opposed to racial slurs of any sort, and to disrespectful adaptations of real world cultures, especially marginalized / indigenous cultures.
 

bedir than

Full Moon Storyteller
The famous pirate Redbeard wan't English, but Otoman, with Greek blood. Why Otomans corsairs (who attacked villages in the coasts to catch slaves) can't be the bad guys in a XXI century movie? Is not that a double standar?
Some of the greatest works of fiction are based on the Pirates of the Barbary Coast. Some are written by POC and others are written by Spaniards. Several of those works have appeared in modern film.


As for the Conquistadors
We could ask the people of Tenochtitlan how good the Spanish were, but they're nearly entirely and completely dead after their city was razed
 

BookTenTiger

He / Him
In the eyes of a current-day lawyer, the words of fray Bartolome de las Casas wouldn't be more than a compilation of "urban legends", without data about dates, places, and names of victims or criminals. There were "rotten apples", but that didn't mean it was the normal. If the news tells about a bad action by a Mexican, this doesn't mean all Mexicans to be bad people.

There were bad people among the Spanish conquerors, but the Spanish empire wasn't the "evil empire" if we compare with the actions by the rest. Why not to investigate the list of conflicts between the native Northamericans with Spanish and English-speakers? It is not only a offense against the Spanishs from Europe, but all the Hispanoamericans with Spanish ancestors. Even "pureblood" Iberoamericans will start to wonder if the black lenged is to convinced them they had been happier under the control of a no-Spanish power.

If today we need a consideration about how adding elements from no-Western cultures in a respectful way then we may start to think about a double standard when we talk about others. We should start to deliberate if the current rules of politically corrections really are just and helping for a better coexistence or being like a propaganda weapon.

Really do you want to preach about me needing self-criticism and humildity, or is it emotional manipulation appealing the shame and the guiling feeling? Napoleon's troops almost destroyed la Alhambra, a Muslim palace in Granada, but he is a hero for the French people. Francis Drake trafficed with slaves, but he is remembered like other hero. Spain defeated Otoman empire in the battle of Lepanto, helping for the end of the Otoman piracy, but we can't produce a movie about that because Turkey can be offended.

Why not a setting where vampires with French or Brittish accent invade an ersatz of Asian and/or African civiliations? Or a clone of Gengis Khan invading Middle-East lands and destroying mosques. Why a dark lord of Ravenloft can be an ersatz of the cardinal Richeleiu but not of John Calvin, HenryVIII + Elisabeth II of England, Martin Luther or Joseph Smith?

* Today evil orcs are imagined like the fantasy equivalent of desert-raiders with heavy-metal look (with a punk touch) from post-apocalypse movies.

* If we use creatures and monsters from no-Western folklore, how to avoid the accusation of cultural appropiation? Maybe coworking with a local company. Whasington Irving wrote about the legends of al-Alhambra. Should be he reported for this?

* The Iroquois weren't very loved by the rest of neighbours year before the arrival of the white man. Here their possible bad reputation is not our fault.

* Today Hasbro is the first one who wants a good relation with the Asian market, avoiding all possible tropes about "Yellow menace", but I am afraid the main Asian powers haven't got a good opinion about other neighbours.
This reads as if you are saying it's okay to be racist towards Native Americans because people vilify Conquistadors?
 

MGibster

Legend
In the eyes of a current-day lawyer, the words of fray Bartolome de las Casas wouldn't be more than a compilation of "urban legends", without data about dates, places, and names of victims or criminals. There were "rotten apples", but that didn't mean it was the normal. If the news tells about a bad action by a Mexican, this doesn't mean all Mexicans to be bad people.
The above seems like an attack on the idea of history itself.
We could ask the people of Tenochtitlan how good the Spanish were, but they're nearly entirely and completely dead after their city was razed
Or we could ask their neighbors the Tlaxcala who helped the Spanish, in part, because they were tired of being victimized by those in Tenochtitlan.
 

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