Back during the early 90's when the Dark Sun boxed set was released, our DM ran us through Freedom...he is a dear friend of mine who happens to be a person of color. He had no complaints other than the terrible artwork by Baxa.
Great. I've definitely had PoC I've played with comment on this sort of thing before and how it makes them feel weird. Not sure what else to say.
I know. True - but I also don't like PoC posting as if that is what everyone who is Non-white thinks.
Think of it like the OGL where we had posters telling us that their tables and others who weren't following the pulse of the hobby couldn't care less of the OGL issue.
Voices here are as anecdotal as voices at home.
I mean, I think having someone comment on how it is weird directly is different than someone communicating it through a third party. At any rate, I know there are people who probably have played games with sexual violence and had women be okay with it, but I'm fairly sure that it would not convince people to run it in their games, either. I think sometimes people are not as comfortable as you think to talk about such things, and especially with non-minorities.
I understand your position, I just have reached different conclusions here. I think it is a lot more complicated than this. I live in the world too and I ask people what they think. I game with a wide range of people as well. I am always going to respect the opinion of a person at my table. I just think the idea you are putting forth here is somewhat paternalistic and it doesn't account for the fact that many in these groups will want this content, will even feel like they are being treated like children if the default assumption is we can't include it because it will make them feel unwelcome. Obviously some will feel opposite as well, but that is what makes this more complex, and I think leaning in the direction of excluding interesting content, rather than trusting people to be resilient and intelligent enough to make sense of it, and understand distinctions like the difference between the US slavery system and the one in the ancient world (and also making the distinction between content and message), just leads us to a very stale place creatively (and one where people are going to be constantly second guessing themselves and concerned about optics rather than making gameable and exciting material).
You keep saying it's "paternalistic", but I find it to be the reverse: unempathetic. I think you miss that what you think you can handle is different from others, and that it is much easier to add that content to your game and make others feel welcome rather than have that sort of content in the game and force others to remove it or simply quietly endure it because they want to belong. It's much easier
to add that stuff in rather than take it away.
As I pointed out before, my group had a number Jewish players and players with Jewish ancestry in high school (for me it is on my father's side but it is still a very important part of my upbringing and who I am). We loved Falkovnia, which definitely tapped into things like the Holocaust (Vlad Drakov was basically a combination of Vlad Tepes and Hitler). But I am sure there were people who didn't like it, and found it offensive or off-putting. Given this is a creative hobby I would prefer we err on the side of openness.
I mean, sometimes people are the table also keep their opinions quiet because they want to belong and they don't want conflict with their friends. They bear that burden because they find it worth it, because they'd rather avoid being the squeaky wheel. And that's not to to say you are a bad person or a bad friend, but it absolutely happens and I know I've had to talk to someone about something similar in the past where they didn't raise objection because they didn't want to be perceived a certain way.
In this case, that setting sounds like a whole mess of things and I would probably have problems publishing it without taking extreme cares. I think gamifying genocide as a plot device is fraught and generally not something to be done outside of groups who are comfortable with dealing with such issues and know what they are getting into.
I experienced the same as I said with gangster cinema. My grandfather used to get the Italian American Magazine and it often would single out poor depiction of Italians in media (including games and movies that had lots of mafia elements). But me, my mom, my grandfather, we all loved gangster movies. And this was during the time when people still did make assumptions about that (I had a lot of friends ask me if my grandfather was in the mob after they met him). So I could see why it would touch a nerve with some people, but I still think we are much better off having had those kinds of movies made (and games as well). The reaction isn't going to be uniform. The conversation around this should be a lot more nuanced in my view.
No offense, but I don't really see this as being quite the same for most minority gamers. I get what you are trying to do here and that it's well-meaning, but at the same time it's ultimately not the same sort of thing being talked about.
Earlier editions of the same setting. Let's say I accept the argument that stuff like the MtG settings, Wildemount, and Radiant Citadel are new WotC settings. I can accept that. Why aren't they focused on expanding and developing those and related settings? Why either take an old setting ill-suited to their current mindset and force it into a modern sensibilities mold, or abandon it entirely so that no one can publish it? Why not at least try to thread the needle like they did with the Dragonlance stuff, which turned out better than I expected? That way it would at least be opened up on the DMsGuilld, where fans of the setting could make their own content, and WotC would get their (pretty big) cut of the profits?
What you're asking for it is that your personal opinion on the subject should be the law of the land. I guess I'm doing the same, but at least I'm not asking for things to be removed from the market because I don't think designers and/or consumers can handle it.
Who cares if it was in earlier editions, if it's a dumb thing then just take it out. Old settings are not time capsules, they are fiction that can change, evolve, and be improved. We're getting dangerously close to the Thermian Argument here with this. The Realms don't need slavery and never really did. If we can't come up with a reason to keep them other than it was there before, then there is truly no good reason to keep it.