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9-03-2011 @ 6:46PM
what? you think Trolls racial character is offensive, and yet you love the Native americanism of the Tauren?Either have a standard and stick to it, or just admit you are not offended by things you like and are offeneded by things that dont tickle your fancy? Double standards much?
9-03-2011 @ 7:59PM
I actually can't agree more. My attraction to Tauren had always been awesomely large cow people who were less aggressive than the rest of the Horde.I realized walking home from the Starbucks that I used to put this article in our blogging platform on Thursday how culturally appropriative tauren are...and also, shaman themselves are possibly even more problematic as appropriation of First Nations People. Unfortunately, since I don't have internet at home I couldn't edit this post, but a critique of the class/race design from an appropriation standpoint might be a post for a later date.
9-03-2011 @ 8:11PM
I don't see either of them offensive. I think of it as flavor. I love accents and cultures. I think the more you can throw in there the better. I'm a glass half full kind of guy so maybe I am not looking for it.
9-03-2011 @ 8:21PM
The problem is when that flavor is misused. For the trolls, it's using humor that's playing into the stereotypes people hold of Pygmies/African tribes people for humor. For trolls/tauren/shaman in general, it's appropriating the religious rituals and practices of other peoples without treating them with the same respect that mainstream, majority religions are treated.There are other issues with it too, but that's all I have time to post while on break at work.
9-03-2011 @ 9:19PM
As a big troll fan, for me, the characteristics of trolls in-game (voodoo-practicing, cannibalistic tribal islanders) are so cartoonish that I feel the imagery comes from the silly fears of those kinds of humans in the Western cultural mindset, instead of drawing from the actual culture of a specific human nation/civilization in the Pacific or the Caribbean or wherever. I admit I might be splitting the tiniest of hairs, but it's enough of a distinction for me.The underlying problem is that we still approach fantasy races in the same way early anthropologists approached studying other human societies: "We have found the X people, and they are all Y." And we end up having debates talking about whether the attribution of "nature-loving" or "tribally organized" or "battle-obsessed" to a specific race is racist or not, but that discussion is not a truly fruitful one. In other words, the problem is NOT, for example, calling orcish society "warlike". I mean, you could say American society is "consumerist", but that doesn't stop Upton Sinclair or Ralph Nader from being American, too.Races aren't monoliths; there's no reason we should expect all members to act the same, even for important things like religion and culture. And I think to some extent (perhaps not even by design), the game facilitates individuals - our characters - to break those molds. Tauren may be worship the natural order, but that doesn't stop YOUR tauren from being an engineer. Goblins may come from a society that sees everything as a deal, but YOUR goblin priest can learn her spells from a Light-worshipping Aldor trainer instead.Basically, I think if the game showed more INTRAracial variation, there'd be fewer problems in terms of INTERracial comparisons on which race got the attributes of humanity's "civilized" peoples, and its "primitive" peoples.
9-03-2011 @ 9:45PM
@Terrant:I can't upvote your comment enough. While I have found Blizzard's use of stereotypes, including for trolls, uncomfortable at times (see: pygmies), it often seems like there isn't a satisfactory way around it. Since fantasy races must be differentiated from humans, and there are no real trolls, for example, to draw from, it is hard to avoid assigning them the perceived characteristics of certain types of real people. This could in theory be fine, except that, as Josh points out, the difficulty, in practice, of handling such things in a way that is not exoticizing or even outright insulting is basically prohibitive. I agree with you that it would go a long way toward alleviating this if the members of various races in-game displayed more individuality. It seems to me that it really wouldn't take very many mold-breaking quest and other NPCs to get the point across that trolls (again, for example) are individuals first, and voodoo-practicing, laid-back African/Jamaican/Creole cultural amalgamations second.Having read what I just wrote, I'm forced to admit that it still wouldn't be ideal, but it would be a lot better.
9-03-2011 @ 11:11PM
Sorry for the incoming wall o text.@Josh: First off, as a PoC who is at least partially Muscogee (Creek), can I just thank you for not being a Privilege Denying Asshat for being called out on the double standard? It's kind of lulzy to want to give out cookies for being a decent human being but I have had way too many awful conversations with gamers and geeks in general about these issues.The problem I generally have with the usual fantasy approach to race, and WC is no exception, is that because humans are usually the default, they're almost always portrayed as white, specifically WASP (white being the default in society and PoC being Othered), and then you get the non-human races as the "ethnic" and "exotic" ones. The implications are a little...troubling, but that's what happens when you get a genre whose popular works are dominated by white dudes who think they're only writing for other white dudes.People who are marginalized in some way (especially those of us who are double and triple minorities) have to make "bargains" with our entertainment a lot, almost by necessity. Some people have different lines/thresholds for their dealbreakers. To me, even though I side-eye a number of things, I still love Trolls just because of Rule of Funny (and they've always read much more like Latin Caribbean to me despite the Jamaican accent, but that may be because I have Dominican relatives and I'm biased). I might feel very differently about it were I a black person of Caribbean descent rather than just a black US-ian that grew up and lives in a very heavily Caribbean immigrant neighborhood. I know people who won't touch WoW for this very reason, and I respect that. But, weirdly enough, one of the reasons I gravitated so much to the Horde even in the RTS games is *because* they feel coded as PoCs. I suppose that's why I can forgive some of the questionable stereotyping. I relate a lot more to the Horde as the statistical minority trying to carve out a place in a world that despises them than I do the Alliance for the most part. So I have to say I'm less bothered by that than by, say, the playerbase's tendency to create toons as white-looking as possible, regardless of the toon's race, and despite the plethora of skin tons available for most races. (When I was still Alliance, I swore I was the only player on my server that had Draenei and Night Elves that were actually purple. And let's not talk about the lack of dark-skinned humans.) Cataclysm's been...not good in this regard though. The sand pygmies are probably the most offensive thing to me in this game as race goes, I won't even lie. It's one of the reasons I loathe Uldum. And I won't even get into Metzen's "little brown babies" comment at Blizzcon re: Thrall/Aggra and the racial implications behind his jossing of the Thrall/Jaina ship. That actually bothers me way more than the noble savage stuff.
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