Monday, October 28, 2019

Stanford: Dungeons and Dragons is RACIST

by Professor Doom

     The "new thing" is often declared the problem for society's ills. Television and comic books, when they came out half a century or more ago, were blamed for why children were so disobedient, for example. A bit more recently, Dungeons and Dragons was targeted when it achieved some level of popularity in the 70s, with a "Satanic Panic" associating the game with suicide and devil worship.

      The "new thing" today is to declare something, darn near anything, as RACIST...I think the new fad is bad, of course, and a professor a while back naturally had the "clever" idea of declaring a game as racist:

Stanford Professor: Dungeons and Dragons Perpetuates Systems of White, Male Privilege

      What's interesting about this latest accusation is the double-ignorance. The professor making the claim is both ignorant in making the claim, and ignorant in not realizing there are some honest things one could say to support the claim.

       But let's get to the claim in more detail:

Garcia argues that Dungeons and Dragons encourages a distrust of the “other.”

      A big part of D&D is going to unpleasant places, finding unpleasant monsters, killing them, and taking their stuff. The "other" in this case is the monster. But...this is a game. Only a lunatic would claim chess encourages a distrust of the "other" because the white pieces invariably (albeit metaphorically) attack and kill the black pieces and vice-versa.

      Oh, crap, I just provided an argument that chess is RACIST now. I wonder if I'll start getting coverage.

      In any event, "distrust" is a strange and invalid word to use to describe what typically goes on in a game of D&D, as usually monsters just get hacked to death, trust isn't relevant at all.

He bemoans the fact that Dungeons & Dragons began as a “white man’s” hobby.

       As did chess. Or possibly did, not that it matters since facts aren't generally important in these types of arguments.

He argues that wargaming communities are “male-dominated,”

      As is war; many  of the game rule ideas in D&D can be traced to wargames from the 60s, of course.

      The article I'm quoting from mentions incidentally that Gary Gygax (one of the main creators of Dungeons and Dragons) initially played this fantasy game with his little daughter.

      The "research" here is utterly ridiculous, and the conclusion that D&D perpetuates a system of white privilege is simply insane. This game is typically played by "nerds" in school (including me), among the lowest of the social hierarchy there. I promise the gentle reader, I gained no particular privileges, acquired no position of power and influence, from the playing of this game. 

       To claim that playing D&D perpetuates anything beyond being associated with being in the lowest social class in school is ignorance on the professor's part.

       IF he had any knowledge of D&D, and wanted to claim there were some "white male" issues with the game, he could do so with ease, however. For example, while the game has elves and dwarves and such in it, the irredeemably evil versions of these creatures are...wait for it...wait for it...BLACK! There are even various colors of dragons, and black dragons are evil! White dragons are evil as well, but like all such arguments, it's important not to give the full story. In any event, if he knew even a little of D&D he could have mentioned such details, rather than say such broad and pointless generalizations like the above.

       To go further, an early version of D&D (there are many editions, variants, and knock-off clones) gave different ability score restrictions for males and females. Females, for example,  had lower maximum strength scores--something of a big deal in a game where hand-to-hand fighting was core. Nowadays we have "trans" athletes dominating "women's" sports because we don't dare suggest such a thing, whereas Gygax put in writing over 40 years ago that females tended to be weaker than men (he disavowed it soon afterward, saying such restrictions were a design mistake, and again it's normal to ignore such details in such arguments). At least if the professor had said such things, he'd have a (very weak) point, but he's so ignorant, simply playing the RACIST card knowing it'll work regardless of validity of the play.

Garcia’s ultimate wish is to see Dungeons & Dragons move beyond its problematic past into a more diverse and inclusive future.

       The above is the insidious part, and indeed, the designers of the game (and its clones) are becoming ever more "woke," including lines like "your fantasy character can have whatever sexuality you want them to have" in the main rules  and regularly engaging in all the virtue-signalling and lecturing that turned a multi-billion dollar franchise like Star Wars into a worthless smoking ruin.

       That's a shame, since destroying this game (if they can, which considering how thoroughly Star Wars has been obliterated cannot be ruled out) would remove one of the few refuges nerds in school have.


  1. Ah, but chess is "woke," you see, because the black pieces and white pieces are EQUAL... oh, that's not good enough, because white needs to make up for oppressing black, so white needs to sacrifice a few players to the black side to make up for all that white privilege.
    But then again, chess originates in Asia, so it was non-whites who created it! But then white Europeans culturally appropriated it, so we're back to row 1 again...
    One can never win the WokeLympics...
    Turning back to D&D:
    it seems to me that the professor in question is not telling the truth when he claims his "ultimate wish is to see Dungeons & Dragons move beyond its problematic past into a more diverse and inclusive future." What he really wants is for people to stop having wrong-fun and instead become more caring and woke like himself.
    I can't figure out Professor Garcia's social rank from high school -- was he lower than the nerds (and thus attacking them from that direction) or was he an elitist snob who couldn't fathom why people were playing that stupid game instead of attending spirit rallies and football games?

    1. A game which originated in India, where cast system and Aryanism where born, isn't racist?

  2. I think their real problem with dnd is that players and dungeon masters end up understanding average values and how those relate to race. One does afterall roll 3 6-sided dice and then sometimes add or subtract for race.

    And sure there can be a orc with intelligence 16 and a elf with intelligence 5 ...but... they also rather quickly figure out averages lie at 8,5 nd 12,5. And such insight into statistics just cannot be tolerated. Students are schooled to be ignorant, not insightful.

    1. Subtract? Wow, you're old school. Modern iterations of D&D only allow for addition to scores.

    2. Averaging everything down to the lowest common denominator, eh? Yup. That is how they all hope to win in the end: everyone equally ignorant or weak.

  3. My late Libertarian friend Gygax developed D & D to help young people develop in math, logic/strategy, concepts of rights and property agreements, creative imagination, teamwork, proactive autonomy, writing skills, and Libertarian multi-culturalism. It intentionally led to the many valuable learning e-games today. At one time it was praised for its beneficial effects for low-income youth. And it is easy to underestimate that it did help many isolated 'nerds' to find each other and move from a future where the intelligent were derogated to many leadership positions in scholarship, the Arts, business, computers, democracy, and science--which is what Garcia hates and sees as mysteriously 'privileged' and unfair. The far-left is trying to re-write history and turn libertarian tolerance into their call for intolerance (just as they're trying to do with LBGT+ and civil rights), so therefore the libertarianish game has to go. Totalitarian collectivists have determined 'white privilege oppression,' by which they mean white liberal-libertarian liberation of humanity, and a problematic past by which they mean a past solution that worked well, to be passed on by discriminatory narratives such as logic and math. These must go.

    The US has unwisely let in unpeaceful US-hating Latin Communists fresh from their defeats by liberal-libertarian centrists in Latin America to then spread through US media and Universities, and now public offices. In so doing they were following the teachings of Mao to over-populate over liberal and anti-extremist Europeans and invade. I coined a term for this false free immigration by the unpeaceful in the 1970's: Immivasion.

    1. Interesting; I spoke with and interviewed Gygax several times, he never even mentioned Libertarianism to me (or perhaps I just forgot). If he had, I would have discovered those ideas earlier. I wonder if perhaps any hint of this is in his original DMG.

    2. If I remember right, the first actual DMG was published as part of the rules for Advanced D&D. I have one of those on a shelf (1979 edition), so let me look...
      There is a foreword by Mike Carr, a TSR Games and Rules editor, and the general tenor of it is that the book is a compendium of charts and matrices and suggestions for the game, and he invites readers to "use the written material as [their] foundation and inspiration, then explore the creative possibilities [they] have in [their] own minds."

      The Preface to the book is written by Gygax himself. At the start he wrote that the game, to grow, must have some degree of "uniformity" in method and procedure, a set of boundaries (so that people could basically play the same game when they met at conventions, for example). But after that, he in essence stated it was a sandbox in which others were welcome to play and build.

      The book was basically intended not as a standardized book, of the way the game MUST be played, but it did do that (especially allowing groups of players at tournaments to have a standard set of rules as a baseline).
      So at the beginning, there was a libertarian flair to the nascent game, but I think that as time went by (and the industry began to explode, with 3rd edition and 4th edition), it lost that. (Gygax left TSR in 1985, Wikipedia reports, after disagreements with the people who purchased controlling shares of it.)

      Perhaps there may be other evidence that Gygax himself had some libertarian qualities, but the earlier editions of the game show some notion of individual liberty and freedom over conforming to a controlling body (the rule books).

  4. Dungeons and Dragons grew out of the California Tolkien Societies in high schools. I founded one of those way back in 1965. We called fellow students, the brutish ones, 'orcs' and we did play fighting which, in many cases, developed into mastering real sword fighting and medieval warfare events that were quite violent fun. Eventually, more 'outsiders' wanted to join in the fun.
    Now the communists who hated us back in 1965, are trying desperately to kill this and all other things we do for fun, this is 'fun' for them, after all. Wrecking people's fun, that is.

    1. The SCA's birthing in Berkeley, CA in 1965 may be a parallel to your experience here. But in the SCA's case, the rot may have been there at beginning (For example, Marion Zimmer Bradley, one of the founders, was married to the pedophile Walter Breen, and even enabled his "habit.")

  5. The SCA's worst thing they ever did was when the East Kingdom let a man who MURDERED HIS WIFE, be 'king'. I loudly protested that after the sister of the dead wife came to my camp to beg me to help her. This led to a huge split in the SCA and I resigned in a big rage. The guy shot her dead in the kitchen as he 'cleaned his gun',

  6. Are you suggesting a male pretending to be female beats real females in sporting events for women? Shock, horror!

    1. I think it's more fair to say Gygax suggested such a thing.