Opinions, information and comment from a palaeontologist, educator and wordsmith.
The author likes dinosaurs, superheroes and museums. Sometimes at the same time
“Oh, dear,” I thought, when reading the top link, “this might hit a little close to home…” In my defence, I still read it! Mostly it was stuff I agree with already, so maybe not as challenging as it might have been. But it did give me something else to look out for in reading fantasy and, more importantly, in writing fantasy. (It is bad to uncritically accept racist/classist tropes. It is worse to uncritically further racist/classist tropes. At least that’s how I see it.)
There are bits of the drow that I like – mostly dorky things like powers and weaponry, insert bits about using Cloud of Darkness with a crossbow-wielding rogue here – but I’ve made a promise to myself not to use them in D&D unless I’m actively challenging just about everything.
The most repulsive thing, for me, is that you can take the Epic Destiny “Redeemed Drow”. And, see, in so doing, you openly ditch your nasty, evil racial powers (because that part of your BASIC RACIAL MAKEUP makes you EVIL), and are later reborn as a proper elf! That’s right, if you’re good enough, in your next life you’ll be white! …Vomit.
It is bad to uncritically accept racist/classist tropes. It is worse to uncritically further racist/classist tropes. At least that’s how I see it.
I agree wholeheartedly, to the point at which the difference between accepting and perpetrating are astronomical. It’s causing me to pause a lot and thinnk, as I have ideas for a fantasy world that does include species-as-metaphors for human experience and I’m deepply worried this is going to be harmful appropriation.
That’s right, if you’re good enough, in your next life you’ll be white! …Vomit.
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