I agree with the OP's original analysis, and I think it is important to critique the past.
That said, I strongly disagree with the [...] OP's labeling anyone who disagrees with him as "fearmongering."
Snarf Zagyg, I only used the term "fearmongering" once (in post #298
) in regard to Zardnaar's repeated assertion that if I raise a fuss, Wizards will just take GAZ10 away.
(However, having experienced some of the unsavory undercurrents in the D&D fan community, I'm beginning to think that would not be such a bad thing after all!)
Yet I've never suggested just sweeping GAZ10 into the closet. I suggested a fully positive, doable, healing course of action.
Furthermore, Zardnaar would intertwine that with dishonest recaps of my proposal, falsely stating that I was asking Wizards to rewrite the book, and to expurgate passages from the book, and thus portray me as a "censor."
DriveThruRPG does not list specific sales numbers, but we know that B/X and BECMI aren't widely played now in general from overall market numbers, and I would be shocked if a specific issue of the Gazetteer sells more than 10 copies a month. This barely qualifies as peanuts.
Presently, sales of Mystaran Gazetteers may be peanuts. Yet Hasbro has devoted precious ink and page-space to keeping Mystara in the consciousness of the present generation: through Mystara's mention in the 5E Basic Rules and DMG, through the Goodman Games' reprints of Mystaran modules, and through the suggested placements of 5E modules in Mystara (e.g. Ghosts of Saltmarsh).
I am glad for the day when Mystara receives the full 5e treatment. Yet, as another poster stated, there are some landmines which need to be cleared. That's what amends are for.
Otherwise, the peanut may turn out to be a boulder.
More importantly, the OP doesn't specify what the specific issue is that he has with the product - no, I'm not being facetious here. I understand the analysis and I agree with it.
I'm astounded. Between my research post (which is very specific!), and my asking for a specific course of direct amends, how can the specific issues be unapparent to you?
Yet I'll take the opportunity to recap the two main issues:
1) A Wizards product features real-world racial slurs: "yellow orcs", based on the slur "yellow man", who have "ugly [...] pekingese faces"; and "red orcs" with "red hides", based on the slurs "redman" and "redskins." These epithets are as serious as the n-word.
2) While my research is not generally opposed to fantastic adaptations of real-world cultures, when those adaptations are intertwined with racial epithets, this cannot help but be disrespectful misappropriation. Furthermore, even without the "yellow" and "red" epithets, this product contains egregiously buffoonish and insensitive portayals, for example Red Orc "scalping." This wronghood is intensified when the culture is a marginalized / indigenous culture.
And I'll try to address your questions:
But is the issue that this legacy product is still available, and people can still be exposed to it? Or that it ever existed and caused harm?
The issues are that:
1) Wizards has made money, and continues to make money, off a product that features real-world racial slurs.
2) Wizards is hiding behind a blandly worded boilerplate disclaimer. Wizards itself admits that "ethic, racial, and gender prejudice" is "wrong." Yet the genericness of the disclaimer is not commensurate with the specificity of the "wrongfulness."
3) And so I find the current remedies* to be insufficient and not commensurate with the ugliness which Wizards has been profiting from.
*(Namely, a generic disclaimer on legacy products, Crawford and Perkin's statements that legacy products are not part of the 5E canonical story, and an increasingly sensitive and culturally informed approach when designing new products. These are steps, yet I perceive they are not commensurate or sufficient.)
4) It's a matter of rightness that a significant portion of the proceeds of this product go to charities which represent the specific cultures who are slandered in the product.
5) GAZ10 is only the tip of the iceberg. Yet an amends process centered on GAZ10 could serve as a template for addressing other problematic legacy products which contain "ethnic, racial, or gender prejudice." With fans empowered to flag products in a crowdsourced way, and a standing team of Wizards cultural consultants working their way through each flagged text, and presenting periodic amends articles on DRAGON+, ideally with beautiful, healing words of amends from a member of the original product's design team.
6) Like Wizards says: "this work will never end." Which is true in regard to future products. But, in regard to making amends for prejudiced legacy products, that is untrue; because there are only so many instances of prejudice in legacy products. Even if there are several hundred products which contain prejudice, the specifics can be intelligently gathered and admitted, and amends can be made through an educational DRAGON+article, along with perpetual donations to specific charities.
7) It's a matter of education and healing for Wizards to undertake a course of amends. I laid out a reasonable, doable pathway. I seek to help make Wizards' words come true: "D&D teaches that diversity is strength."
And now it's personal. Since I've been "roughed up" and dogpiled and dishonestly misquoted by some D&D fans for voicing this. I'm tired of bumping up against a co-dependent fannish desire to "keep up appearances."
That's what I am getting to- it is entirely possible to agree with the OP's analysis, and still, in good faith, disagree that action must be done to rectify this.
You could say the same to the persons who brought forth the original concerns which led to Wizards taking the action to rectify the mischaracterization of Romani culture. You could likewise proclaim: "Its entirely possible to agree with their analysis that the Romani culture has been misportrayed, and still, in good faith, disagree that action must be done to rectify this."
This extrapolation of current beliefs on to the past, while great for sharpening our critical thinking and helping us appreciate where we are now, does little good.
What you say is a contradiction: critical thinking and appreciation are not "good"?
The past should remain a mirror that we hold up to help us realize where we are today- not a place we keep returning to so that we can improve it.
I'm not seeking to textually "improve" or "redo" or "rewrite" GAZ10. I am seeking to improve the present (and the future!) of the D&D community through a conscious and beautiful amends process, which will heal 40 years of "ethnic, racial, and gender prejudice."