Racial features: Ogres

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Celebolwa

Scholar
Hey all,

with the playtesting in full swing and a few racial changes happening I.E. Sulinari vs. The G word. Barbarians becoming oathsworn etc.

Could I make a few additional suggestions- dark elves changed to grey skin, and Ogres changed to bluish/ corpselike blue.

Both would be done as to avoid Blackface/yellowface. This could be helpful as often players will run into real town with makeup on or forget. Also, for player's whom are nonwhite these may be offensive in some ways. Reaching out to local communities an having to explain why we have yellow people and black skines people is a bit touchy.

Just asking.

Your friend
Ray
 

MaxIrons

Squire
Oregon Staff
Marshal
Before anyone says anything about this, let's all take a deep breath and remember that we are all here to make the game better and more accessible. No one here is your enemy. Conversations about these kinds of topics can get real ugly, real fast, and the only way we can handle this civilly (a requirement for posting in this sub forum) is to be as charitable as possible to the motives/tone of those you vehemently disagree with.
 
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MaxIrons

Squire
Oregon Staff
Marshal
I personally would have no issue with changing the coloration of any of the races in Alliance. It is a small concession to reduce negative perceptions. Whether the perceptions are accurate or not is irrelevant to the cost/benefit analysis of the idea on the floor.
 
About the only real objection I have is I foresee possible confusion with Stone Elves. If I am a new player and I saw a gray (slate colored) elf walking around, I would probably associate that with a Stone Elf before I associated it with a Dark Elf. Maybe I am the exception, but stone colored = gray in my mind.

Just something to think about.

-MS
 

MaxIrons

Squire
Oregon Staff
Marshal
Yeah, from that perspective I'd go with purple for dark elves and orange for ogres.
 
My only issue with using purple is that on some skin tones it ends up looking black, which unintentionally steps back into the blackface issue, and blue might be a slightly better choice?

Outside of that, I don't currently play either race so I'm fine with whatever color change gets agreed upon.
 

Samyania

Scholar
Seattle Staff
My first dark elves were the Teir'dal, so blue or purple dark elves would be pretty familiar, and half the time the drow of the Forgotten Realms get painted purple in covers anyway.

Grey for ogres would, I think, also be appropriate with other material, but I think might cause confusion with other racial updates in 2.0?

I'm not gonna lie, I'm going to have trouble taking ogres seriously if they all acquire terrible spray tans, but then again, I have trouble taking ogres seriously to begin with. So like. All upsides for orange. :|
 

Eldor

Artisan
While I understand the concerns of people being offended by a portrayal of an Alliance race bearing a resemblance to Blackface or Yellowface, I think we need to also realize that Dark Elves and Ogres have existed in stories long before there was Blackface or Yellowface.

Just because the appearance of a Dark Elf may share a color in common with Blackface, does not mean it has anything to do with it, and just because Ogres have yellow skin, does not mean they have anything to do with Yellowface.

Lets start with some definitions.

black·face
ˈblakfās/
noun
  1. 1.
    the makeup used by a nonblack performer playing a black role.
    "he appeared in blackface"
  2. 2.
    a sheep of a breed with a black face.

yel·low·face
ˈyelōˌfās/
noun
noun: yellowface; noun: yellow-face
  1. makeup used by a non-East Asian performer playing the role of an East Asian person.
    "that particular Chinese detective was invariably played by a white actor in yellowface

Neither Dark elf or Ogre makeup is an attempt to portray a black or Asian person. Also neither has all the characteristics of portraying either. While a dark elf may have their face covered in black makeup, they do not have the white lips that traditionally are associated with Blackface, nor are they trying to portray a black person. Also they have pointed ears and white hair, traits uncommon to black people.

Nothing about an Ogre is portraying an East Asian person. Just because they have yellow face paint, does not mean they are in yellow face. They do not have slanted eyes, or thin dark facial hair, they have tusks.

So while I appreciate the concern that some people may be offended by any degree of similarity, this is a fantasy game, portraying races and creatures that have existed in folklore for as long as there has been recorded history. The similarities are just that, and they have no connection to Blackface of Yellowface beyond that. So lets accept that something should be allowed to be similar to that which offends us, so long as its intention is not to offend or demean us.
 

Samyania

Scholar
Seattle Staff
While I agree that they're different things (if not necessarily with your timeline), the fact is that some people are still hurt by it, and I can't see any harm in changing to avoid that hurt. Not all dark elves across all stories have coal-black skin, and not all ogres across all stories have yellow skin. No real people are hurt by changing it, while leaving it as-is does hurt some people and alienate others.
Me, I love the dark elf aesthetic across the board, but my opinion doesn't really matter, because I'm not in a population that's been hurt or alienated by similar imagery.
 

Tantarus

Squire
the fact is that some people are still hurt by it
I haven't seen any evidence of people being offended by people playing fantasy races in alliance using make up to achieve a certain look. Thought I am open to being wrong if some evidence is provided. So going to say Citation needed.

Yellow face almost never includes actual yellow make up, and never to the extent of ogres in alliance. It generally refers to a white actor playing an Asian character such as John Wayne playing Genghis Khan.

While I agree that black face was/is pretty appalling in its use. As Kyle said Dark Elves have many different features making it pretty clear to anyone looking that they are not trying to portray black people such as was traditional black face as seen in the past.

This is black face: https://i.ytimg.com/vi/3Y_Hsxg-CFY/hqdefault.jpg

This is a Dark Elf in Alliance : https://i.pinimg.com/236x/87/89/a8/8789a8c6f3a9327d16d2c6a8b0f2122d--how-to-drow-elf-makeup.jpg

They feel pretty different to me looking at them. Black face was used to mock and portray racist stereotypes. It also generally included wearing woolly wigs, gloves, tailcoats, or ragged clothes. None of which Dark elves generally do. Dark elves also aren't used to mock anyone or push any racist agenda.

The Gyspy thing is different then these in my view. That was a real world people and a racial slur against them. I was pro removing that (Especially as it mocked their accent as well). This is a lot different to me. These are fantasy races being simulated not a real world people.
 

Samyania

Scholar
Seattle Staff
Sure. We're a white bunch of people (you, me and Kyle, and of course I only get whiter [stone elf joke]), and this is a super white hobby, so other perspectives can be hard to find, something I think is not unrelated to discussions like the whole drow one (and misguided "historical accuracy" arguments that aren't pertinent here). It's kind of a cyclical issue, where an environment is unwelcoming, so people who feel unwelcome don't come, so you don't hear a lot from people who feel unwelcome, so it seems like they're not there, so the environment stays unwelcoming, etc. When you've read the Drizzt books growing up in Utah, where you know more people who play dark elves than you do black people (...to use myself as an example...), it's easy to separate the makeup in your head because it doesn't affect you, but if people are showing up to LARP for the first time without that fantasy background, they might see something that resonates negatively with their own experience, and decide this isn't for them.

I don't think it's blackface, no, but I don't think it's up to me, either.

Citations:

https://afrofantasy.net/2014/08/22/elves-of-color-the-color-of-elves/ (second half of the article addresses Faerun-specific "always CE" issues, less relevant)

http://blackroleplayersorganization.blogspot.com/2014/08/cosplaying-drow.html

http://reappropriate.blogspot.com/2006/09/cosplay-with-caution.html

http://groupthink.kinja.com/holy-blackface-batman-1568257140


(Trying to focus on perspectives of people of color, rather than on white people telling other white people what they should be upset about, but see previous cyclical problem)

And of course there are nerds of all kinds who don't think there's anything wrong with the traditional drow makeup, but even if it's a small minority who is offended, changing to suit them doesn't hurt the people who aren't offended. Dark elves aren't real, and no real people will be hurt if they become grey or purple or blue, and changing their skin color to avoid hurting or driving away even one real person is worth it to me.

(For a hilarious alternative perspective, look at the username on OP of this nine-year-old post: http://www.cosplay.com/archive/index.php?t-144682.html ahahahaha I don't know, man, I've clearly been neutral-concerned about this for a while now)
 

Tantarus

Squire
First of all, I dont accept the notion that I cant have an opinion on a subject just because the color of my skin. I feel like there is a word for that. I guess we can just agree to disagree on that.

Some interesting links (Still reading them). Initial thoughts, I find it strange that Klingons are okay but not drow. There are clearly examples of good drow in books, so I dont really agree they are all evil therefore it is a negative stereotype of black people. Drow have about as much in common with black people as Surface Elves do with white people. Which is to say basically nothing. Dark elves are not the equivalent of black people in alliance. There is no real world equivalent of the Dark elves. because they're entirely fictional.

Following the line of logic that dark elves are a problem because they all evil and that is a negative stereotype of black people, should we remove or change the make up for stone elves, as they stereotype white people as unfeeling and emotionless? I guess that is the crux of my issue with this line of logic. Where does end? Should we all just play humans so no one is possibly offended, just to be safe?

Also just a side note, are you also going to propose a ban on panther sarr? What about lion and cheetah sarr that use yellow as the base of them face make up? What about fire elementals in red face make up? Again where does it end?


That said I dont really have any skin in the game on this one. If alliance wants to change the look of fantasy races to signal virtue, go for it.
 
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Samyania

Scholar
Seattle Staff
To be fair, I also feel like my own opinions don't count for much in this, which is why I have such a wishy-washy argument. The only reason I'm a stone elf earth scholar and not a dark elf celestialist is that Vellis fit Calliphestus better than Elem'miire does.

I don't ascribe to slippery-slope arguments in general, as I find them unproductive and regressive. I suspect we have a lot to agree to disagree on, which is fine. That's gonna happen.

Essentially, for me, it boils down to: Who is harmed if dark elves become blue or purple? Maybe the former sea elves get salty (HAHAHAHA) from having to swap back and forth, but it's essentially not going to harm anyone or drive anyone away.

Ogres as yellowface is less of a pop culture presence, as it's less of a pervasive image in fantasy than dark elves (oh man, Tolkien's descriptions of orcs though, now there's a problem), so I haven't really heard a lot about it.
 

Tantarus

Squire
Okay one last counter point and I swear I am done.

I don't ascribe to slippery-slope arguments in general
I also am not a fan of the slippery slope argument, but it apples here in that we changed gypsy for legit reasons. And less then a year later we are having a discussion what else we should change cause of possible offense. So I am okay with making it here. Also you didnt answer what we do about Sarr of the yellow or black type of cats? What is the fix there?

Who is harmed if dark elves become blue or purple?
How about people of Norse descent and belief? Dark elves are a part of their religion and cultural background. They might find it offensive to have them changed/warped in a game implying they have a racist aspect to them. Maybe they find this aspect of their past super interesting and would want to larp to partake of RPing a race from their culture?
 

Avaran

Baron
We should just disallow racism in the game too. It might offend someone.

Oh, theft shouldn't be allowed either.

And while we're at it, let's just stop all of the indiscriminate killing and violence. We could have victims of domestic abuse, or other physical violence who might get offended.

We should also stop killing fake animals because it might convey that we dislike the environment.
 
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Samyania

Scholar
Seattle Staff
Also you didnt answer what we do about Sarr of the yellow or black type of cats? What is the fix there?



How about people of Norse descent and belief? Dark elves are a part of their religion and cultural background. They might find it offensive to have them changed in a game implying they have a racist aspect to them. Maybe they find this aspect of their past super interesting and would want to larp to partake of RPing a race from their culture?
These would be slippery-slope arguments that I prefer to avoid. There are no real svartaelfir who are going to be offended by an inaccurate portrayal, and anyone who digs into the Prose Edda to find specific physical descriptions to be offended by has my dumbfounded respect, honestly.

And yes, racism based on real-world things is indeed discouraged by the rules already.
 

Tantarus

Squire
There are no real svartaelfir who are going to be offended by an inaccurate portrayal,
You do see how you saying svartaelfir are not real could be considered offensive to someone of Norse descent right?

anyone who digs into the Prose Edda to find specific physical descriptions to be offended by has my dumbfounded respect, honestly.
In the Prose Edda, the Dökkálfar and the Ljósálfar are attested in chapter 17 of the book Gylfaginning. In the chapter, Gangleri (the king Gylfi in disguise) asks the enthroned figure of High what other "chief centres" there are in the heavens outside of the spring Urðarbrunnr. Gangleri responds that there are many fine places in heaven, including a place called Álfheimr (Old Norse 'Elf Home' or 'Elf World'). High says that the Ljósálfar live in Álfheimr, while the Dökkálfar dwell underground and look—and particularly behave—quite unlike the Ljósálfar. High describes the Ljósálfar as "fairer than the sun to look at", while the Dökkálfar are "blacker than pitch".
 

Samyania

Scholar
Seattle Staff
You do see how you saying svcartaelfir are not real could be considered offensive to someone of Norse descent right?

".
I think you're creating a false equivalency with an unrealistic scenario that has nothing to do with present systemic and cultural oppression.

So Racism is okay as long as it's pretend?
Sure, as long as it's there as a character or national flaw. Orcs are not a systemically oppressed people, as they do not exist, and real orcs will not be hurt by in-game oppression.
 
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