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Race in roleplaying
cap, captain miss america
teaberryblue
I was thinking about posting this on bad_rpers_suck but I don't feel like stirring up a shitstorm, and it's not a rant about any given player, but more of a series of discussion questions, so it goes here instead.

I know quite a few of you roleplay or have roleplayed, and some of you roleplay with me. gildedage and I were talking yesterday about how since quizzicalsphinx's Faucon died, I've played the only black characters in our RPG.* There are a few characters of East Asian or South American descent in the game, and several fantasy races that are not white-- but who are not reflective of any real Earth ethnicity in looks. (To fill in those of you who are unfamiliar with the game setting, there are Earth characters who have been transported from another world, so the characters I'm talking about are actually half-French, half-African.)

*Oops, I realized this isn't exactly accurate. There are two black characters played by other people. I forgot about them because they don't get a ton of play.

I don't want to make this about me and my roleplaying characters, though, I'm more interested in starting up a discussion about this, but all I really have to go on are my own observations and experiences, so if this sounds too much like I'm trying to set an example, that's not my intent. There are very few non-white characters in internet roleplaying. In some games, this has to do with the fandom not being POC-friendly. In others, it just seems like everybody plays white people even when there is an opportunity to play characters of color. There is a weird subset of things like J-Rock games where people only play Japanese pop stars, and things like that, but in typical roleplaying games, and not just ones with Eurocentric fantasy settings, there are very rarely POC characters. There are so few, and the ones I see are so usually played by me, that I can't even make a judgment about whether they are played well-- I am sure I make mistakes, but I do try to read as much as I can when creating a character who isn't from the same culture that I am and not just play them as an exoticized stereotype. I feel like a lot of the time when I do see characters of color-- and this does not apply to the game I'm currently in, but ones I've seen elsewhere-- they are usually female and over-sexualized-- Arabic women who act like harem girls, East Asian women who act like Geisha, and so on.

I know that I have played characters who've come across as bad stereotypes in the past, and I blame part of that on the fact hat I was playing in a game world based on a series of books that were incredibly offensive in terms of the level of cultural appropriation, now that I look back on them, but that doesn't really excuse me not recognizing that.

I want to ask those of you who roleplay a few questions. I didn't do this as a poll because I felt like if you want to go in depth on one question and not answer the others, that is cool. Please feel free to keep your answers as long or as short as possible, and don't feel obliged to answer them all:

--Are you from a very ethnically diverse place, or a more homogeneous place? (That is, do you see a lot of people who all look ethnically very different on a daily basis?)
--Do you gravitate toward playing characters who look like you or look like the people you see every day?
--If you play in canon games with canonical characters of color, do you notice any trends in terms of how quickly or slowly those characters are picked up, or how they are played compared to the white characters?
--If you play in games that allow original characters in settings that allow for a diverse cast, do you notice any trends in characters creation in terms of people playing different ethnicities?
--Have you ever played in a game that included human or human-like characters in a game setting that absolutely left no freedom to play a character who was not white and of European or European-like descent?
--Have you ever had a character application turned down because the character was not white?
--Have you ever felt like people wanted to play with you less, or treated you or your character differently because your character was a person of color?

If you are a person of color, or a white person who considers yourself part of an underrepresented or poorly represented ethnic minority:
--Do you see people who look like you in roleplaying games where the setting allows it? (I mean ethnically, not in a Mary Sue type way)
--Do you frequently find that playing someone who looks like you is not possible in a game setting?
--Have you ever felt like people wanted to play with you less, or treated you or your character differently because your character looked like you?
--Have you ever been upset or frustrated by someone else's portrayal of a character from your ethnicity?
--If you were to give advice to someone not of your ethnicity thinking about playing someone of your ethnicity, what would it be? ("Don't do it" is an acceptable answer)

If any of these questions offend anybody or overlook something I'm totally missing because I'm coming at this from a white POV, I apologize and please let me know-- I'll add or edit if anyone has suggestions. And if you want to answer these questions for another minority group-- your religion, sexual orientation, health concern, or whatever, that is cool, too.

ETA, because I just thought of this-- if anyone has particularly positive or negative stories about playing a character of color, or just playing a character of a different ethnicity from yourself and would be willing to share them, even if they don't answer one of the questions above, I would love to hear them and I am sure other people would, too.

If you are a tabletop, live action, or otherwise Real Life roleplayer and don't mind adjusting the questions to fit your roleplaying experiences, or want to compare anything you've seen in those games to what you've seen online, that would be awesome, too.

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The one thing I have to say is that skin color makes no difference at all, as anyone of any skin color can act/hold themselves as any particular culture. So if I understand what you're getting at, it's really the culture you're wanting to represent and not so much the color, though I know in video gaming the color is the first thing one sees.

I also think that people tend to play something that's close to them first. Men tend to play men, women women and so on. Even when picking so called exotics, in general I've seen people picking something that's still somewhat close to them. Few people I've seen really take role playing as a challenge, as would an actor and set their sights far beyond their ranges. Though I've RPed since high school (table top), it took me a long while to develop the courage just to use a different accent when playing.

I'll answer your questions as best I can.

Currently I am in a very homogenous place, though I'm from Boston which is very diverse.

I've been playing the same character for the last 22 years and he is of white European descent. I've also happily played giant lizards and people of undetermined races in the past. Honestly, it depends on what's offered in the game as to what interests me.

I've not played in a canonical game.

As far as trends in ethnicity, I'd have to say that, again, I tend to see people play true to their own form. Black folks tended to have black characters, males males and so on. Occasionally a male would play female (and not very well) but that's the trend I saw.

I've never been in a racially undiverse game, no.

No, never been turned down based on race.

No, I've not felt prejudice based on color. Annoyance level, yes. :"D

You might be talking more about stuff like WoW for all I know. I prefer tabletop and have done a lot of that. Since that's where my experience is, you can disregard all of this if it doesn't fit what you're after. Good luck!

Thanks!

I think the issue is that some of these things relate specifically to race, while others relate to culture-- as much as anyone can take a role in a given culture, the lone black kid in a white town is still going to have a different experience in that culture than his or her white friends.

No, I'm not talking about MMOs-- I'm talking about play-by-email or play-by-post roleplaying. So it's very much like tabletop, but written. A lot of them are less stats-driven and have more of a dramatic-improv feel, more like LARP, but that comes and goes depending on who's playing and whether they want stats or not.

I think the biggest difference online is that because people can't see you, people have a lot more freedom to play people who look nothing like them. It's part of why I prefer online roleplaying-- in live roleplaying, especially being the lone girl in many groups, I usually felt pigeonholed, like I had no choice in terms of what I could play. In online roleplaying, it's usually considered a negative to stick to playing people who are the same gender, age, etc., that you are after you understand the ropes.

(Deleted comment)
I typed it up and put it in my journal to save you space.

http://yamiko.livejournal.com/281175.html

Aww. Is it locked? I'm not prepared to respond to this post at the moment (at work, for one)--but I am interested in reading the responses of others. *especially* those who I don't know (I've already talked about this a bit with most of my own RP friends).

Would you be willing to unlock or summarize your response in a comment here?

I've done roleplay in a variety of forms (online MUSH/MUCK/forum/chat, MMOs, tabletop), and I might be in a minority in more ways than one in that I'm of mixed heritage (half-white/half-Thai) and I sometimes take on a character that's non-white. Then again, it also helps to be from an area that's quite diverse (San Jose, CA, part of the San Francisco Bay Area). I don't deliberately go out of my way to play a character of a different race for it's own sake, but more along the lines of whether it fits the character's concept or not.

This is part of what I am wondering about, and why I asked if people are from diverse communities-- I never sit down and say, okay, I need a character to fit X-racial quota or anything like that, but I am wondering if people from more diverse places are more likely to end up with a diverse cast of characters because they're reflecting their ordinary life.

Are you from a very ethnically diverse place, or a more homogeneous place? (That is, do you see a lot of people who all look ethnically very different on a daily basis?)

I am currently living in a somewhat homogeneous area of the US, but have lived in more ethnically diverse places.

Do you gravitate toward playing characters who look like you or look like the people you see every day?

This is kind of a trick question, because I am a female who tends to play dudes, so my characters are fundamentally not going to look like me :P While I have played characters from different ethnic backgrounds, my major characters have mostly been from European or analogous backgrounds.

If you play in canon games with canonical characters of color, do you notice any trends in terms of how quickly or slowly those characters are picked up, or how they are played compared to the white characters?

This REALLY depends on the fandom involved in my experience-- using Firefly as an example, the character of Zoe is popular amongst fans, and is also a frequently used character (although not necessarily THE most popular since there's usually more of a rush to play a character like River Tam) in canon/multi-fandom games involving Firefly characters.

In my brief experiences with Harry Potter games, characters like Lee Jordan were very much neglected, but again, some of that is due to the source material-- Lee Jordan is a minor background character, while Zoe has a much more prominent role in her canon.

If you play in games that allow original characters in settings that allow for a diverse cast, do you notice any trends in characters creation in terms of people playing different ethnicities?

Games like this that I have observed can be very homogeneous. If a character of a different ethnicity is created, there is a very strong tendency for that character to fill a "exotic and hot" space for other characters.

Have you ever played in a game that included human or human-like characters in a game setting that absolutely left no freedom to play a character who was not white and of European or European-like descent?

The only encounter I've had with a similar game situation to the one you're describing here was DOTG, and that I remember mostly because in-universe constraints meant you guys discouraged the creation of Yamani characters. I know we had characters from a wide variety of other in-universe backgrounds, though.

Have you ever had a character application turned down because the character was not white? Have you ever felt like people wanted to play with you less, or treated you or your character differently because your character was a person of color?

No and no.

The bits about different fandoms treating POCs differently is interesting-- I wonder if people in an original-character Firefly game would be more likely to pick up characters of color than in an original-character Harry Potter game.

We did discourage some ethnicities in Shiver, as well, but that included things like "French" moreso than some non-white ethnicities. It was a really hard thing to try to find the right way to handle, because we didn't want a homogeneous game, but we also didn't want players to be left out of things because their character, due to the intense racism of the time, would have been. We took a lot of historical liberties, like having the Governor ban slavery, just to open things up a bit more.

--Are you from a very ethnically diverse place, or a more homogeneous place? (That is, do you see a lot of people who all look ethnically very different on a daily basis?)

I do now, but not when I was growing up.

--Do you gravitate toward playing characters who look like you or look like the people you see every day?

I gravitate towards female characters that look like me in general. It's very very rare for me to like a blond character.

--If you play in canon games with canonical characters of color, do you notice any trends in terms of how quickly or slowly those characters are picked up, or how they are played compared to the white characters?

I don't know if transformers counts. XD

--If you play in games that allow original characters in settings that allow for a diverse cast, do you notice any trends in characters creation in terms of people playing different ethnicities?

don't really play them...

--Have you ever played in a game that included human or human-like characters in a game setting that absolutely left no freedom to play a character who was not white and of European or European-like descent?

Nope

--Have you ever had a character application turned down because the character was not white?

I've never really played On-line rpg, it's all been face to face pen and paper.

--Have you ever felt like people wanted to play with you less, or treated you or your character differently because your character was a person of color?

If you are a person of color, or a white person who considers yourself part of an underrepresented or poorly represented ethnic minority:

--Do you see people who look like you in roleplaying games where the setting allows it? (I mean ethnically, not in a Mary Sue type way)

I cheer when there is a biracial person who doesn't seem like a Mary sue no matter if it's in a movie, a comic, or an rpg.

--Do you frequently find that playing someone who looks like you is not possible in a game setting?

Not really...

--Have you ever felt like people wanted to play with you less, or treated you or your character differently because your character looked like you?

No, we all pretty much played people who looked like us unless it was a guy playing a girl or vice versa. Except the people who insisted on playing Drow.

--Have you ever been upset or frustrated by someone else's portrayal of a character from your ethnicity?

Yes, many times. People playing stereotyped asian people really bug me. I MEAN REALLY BUG ME.

--If you were to give advice to someone not of your ethnicity thinking about playing someone of your ethnicity, what would it be? ("Don't do it" is an acceptable answer)

Play them like you would anyone else. Just because you're asian it doesn't mean you know martial arts, like sushi, are a ninja, short, ect... Just like if you're white that doesn't mean you're a knight, have a sense of chivalry, listen to country music or own a truck. Even in a historical setting, each person is an individual. Also, get your countries right. Do some research into the individual cultures.

I was thinking about things like Transformers and other worlds where all the characters have no human racial counterparts: how do those fit in? I was wondering, in a world that might have people of color AND monsters/robots/etc that don't map to a human racial group, are white roleplayers normally more likely to play the non-human thing than a POC? I'm not asking because I expect you to know the answer; it's just one of the questions I've been pondering.

The character I mentioned in my original post as being my own personal fail on this part was an Asian character. Looking back on it, and I don't mean this to shrug off the blame, the problem was that I was playing a character from a culture in a fictional book series. The culture in that series was so horribly stereotyped that playing that fictional culture to the best of my ability meant playing a stereotype of a real culture. I am hoping at this point in my life, I'm better educated about noticing those in the books I read, and would avoid that kind of mistake. I hope.

I'm not going to say Georgia is as ethnically diverse as NYC, but it's fairly diverse. (Would say Austin is quite similar, though I no longer live there anymore)

I do tend to play Caucasian characters in panfandom RP, though in my last case, they were all men. Though in the last panfandom RP, the vast majority of characters were from anime. I'm assuming Bigby Wolf is Caucasian, though his dad is the North Wind (good ol blond hair and blue eyes), and his mom is wolf. His appearance is "shaggy European" for a vast majority of the comic. Crowley is tricksy like that, too, as he's not exactly human, but the description is of a Caucasian person.

In Harry Potter games, the more ethnically-diverse characters were the last to be picked, though I'm sure that says something about canon.

I don't know anime, so I can't speak on the anime characters. No one had any trouble interacting with a werewolf (in fact, teenage Remus, Bigby, and the werewolf character from One Piece, I think, bonded over being werewolves), but that's the closest I can think of to a character being "diverse" from the others.

I've only done HP games and the one panfandom, so my experience isn't super huge. Next time I apply for a panfandom, I'll probably apply for Marquis de Carabas, because hello, badass, but right now, I don't have any PoC rp experience.

Also, are you going link this on fandom_lounge on JF? You'd probably get some good responses that way.

Edited at 2009-03-19 06:13 pm (UTC)

I didn't think of linking it elsewhere, really-- I hate being all self-promotional for this kind of thing, because I don't want to make it come across like I am telling people how to roleplay or anything. If you want to link it somewhere, that is fine with me!

I thought that deutscheami's point above was a really good one-- about how in some fandoms, the issue you mention with Harry Potter characters doesn't come up, and that that probably speaks more to the strength of the characters in canon than what they look like.

I have to admit, in my experience with Harry Potter RP, the characters I've had the most difficulty portraying were the ones who were minorities in some sense and whose background I didn't share. With the POC character, I don't think his race was the issue, though; he was just a pureblood elitist jerk. We did have other canon characters of non-European descent (admittedly, not all of them well researched) in fairly prominent roles, but in terms of characters whose background wasn't specified in canon, I'd agree with deutscheami that people were much less likely to make those characters POC.

One thing that is funny to me that happens a lot, is I assume everyone makes up images of what they think fictional characters or people they meet on the internet look like in their head? And unless a character is described, I think my ratio is pretty much similar to the make-up of people I see on an everyday basis. I am recalling the huge huge blowup in fandom when people found out the character you mention was black, and meanwhile, I remember myself being surprised when I found out Lavender Brown was white, because I had always pictured her as a black girl.

Hi,

I'm primarily a tabletop roleplayer. My first 2 game groups were all people of color, and my third was about half people of color, half white folks. This was pretty much the first 10 years of my gaming life.

Since then, it's bounced around but always at least half POC in most groups.

Granted, I've lived most of my life along various places on the West Coast of the US, which is generally diverse.

The biggest hurdles I've found is this: if you don't have friends of color, you probably don't have folks in your games of color.

Folks who have monochromatic social circles tend to default to that as the "norm", even in games where it might not make so much sense (such as all white characters in LA or New York). Tied into that, the less social interaction, the more often the characters tend to be portrayed as stereotypes.

I generally see at least in the tabletop sector two things that narrow things down: on the publishers' side, a lack of representation or stereotypical representation, and on the gamers' side, the narrow social circles and lack of recognition how certain activities might drive people away (for example, a good number of my friends will never attend GenCon because of the Drow Cosplayers).

Hi there! Thanks for responding!

I very much agree about the lack of characters of color in tabletop source materials, at least when I was playing. The "human" default tends to be white and POCs are replaced with "fantasy" races or even monsters.

How about characters? Are the players of color in your games more likely to play POC characters than the white players?

Are you from a very ethnically diverse place, or a more homogeneous place? (That is, do you see a lot of people who all look ethnically very different on a daily basis?)

**Well, living in the area I do, most of my neighbours are from the middle east, and there's quite a few africans as well. But still, sweden as a whole is kinda white I guess.

Do you gravitate toward playing characters who look like you or look like the people you see every day?

** No. I have huge problem playing white women. However, you made me think about this, and most of my characters are white simply because the game worlds where they came from where filled with white people being based on medieval europe.

If you play in canon games with canonical characters of color, do you notice any trends in terms of how quickly or slowly those characters are picked up, or how they are played compared to the white characters?

** Don't play canonical games.

If you play in games that allow original characters in settings that allow for a diverse cast, do you notice any trends in characters creation in terms of people playing different ethnicities?

** The women are the different ethnicities, rarely the men. The one exception being the BuffyMud I was on, where there was a lot of different minorities of both sexes.

Have you ever played in a game that included human or human-like characters in a game setting that absolutely left no freedom to play a character who was not white and of European or European-like descent?

** Yes. OH hell yes. Most of them it seems.

Have you ever had a character application turned down because the character was not white?

** I never applies to games.

Have you ever felt like people wanted to play with you less, or treated you or your character differently because your character was a person of color?

** Funny thing really. One of my favorite characters ever was my british/hispanic evil watcher Reg on BuffyMUD. His father was a british union activist, and the mother was a refugee from chile. He was described as quite hispanic in his looks and description. However, after having played for a few months with a girl, she suddenly said 'huh, I never knew Reg was hispanic'. And this was despite the 'race' being listed in the character presentation. Of course the reason was that I played him as a brit since that was where he was born and bred. And she had never thought that british people could be anything but white...

I've never played any black main characters (is that pc? I have no idea), but I guess a fair share have been from other ethnicities, mainly one indian/pakistani (Maalech), one hispanic (Reg) and one arabic (Jamail).

Rattsu here

(Anonymous)
Are you from a very ethnically diverse place, or a more homogeneous place? (That is, do you see a lot of people who all look ethnically very different on a daily basis?)

**Well, living in the area I do, most of my neighbours are from the middle east, and there's quite a few africans as well. But still, sweden as a whole is kinda white I guess.

Do you gravitate toward playing characters who look like you or look like the people you see every day?

** No. I have huge problem playing white women. However, you made me think about this, and most of my characters are white simply because the game worlds where they came from where filled with white people being based on medieval europe.

If you play in canon games with canonical characters of color, do you notice any trends in terms of how quickly or slowly those characters are picked up, or how they are played compared to the white characters?

** Don't play canonical games.

If you play in games that allow original characters in settings that allow for a diverse cast, do you notice any trends in characters creation in terms of people playing different ethnicities?

** The women are the different ethnicities, rarely the men. The one exception being the BuffyMud I was on, where there was a lot of different minorities of both sexes.

Have you ever played in a game that included human or human-like characters in a game setting that absolutely left no freedom to play a character who was not white and of European or European-like descent?

** Yes. OH hell yes. Most of them it seems.

Have you ever had a character application turned down because the character was not white?

** I never applies to games.

Have you ever felt like people wanted to play with you less, or treated you or your character differently because your character was a person of color?

** Funny thing really. One of my favorite characters ever was my british/hispanic evil watcher Reg on BuffyMUD. His father was a british union activist, and the mother was a refugee from chile. He was described as quite hispanic in his looks and description. However, after having played for a few months with a girl, she suddenly said 'huh, I never knew Reg was hispanic'. And this was despite the 'race' being listed in the character presentation. Of course the reason was that I played him as a brit since that was where he was born and bred. And she had never thought that british people could be anything but white...

I've never played any black main characters (is that pc? I have no idea), but I guess a fair share have been from other ethnicities, mainly one indian/pakistani (Maalech), one hispanic (Reg) and one arabic (Jamail).

--Are you from a very ethnically diverse place, or a more homogeneous place?

I am from White Midwestern America. I'm not kidding. As a kid, I only knew of a single black family until I got to high school... at which point I knew two... in our general vicinity. When a preacher with a Korean wife and biracial children took over a church in town there was a controversy over whether or not that was okay with God. So you can probably guess where I'm going with that.

--Do you gravitate toward playing characters who look like you or look like the people you see every day? I don't particularly make characters that look like me all the time. In LARP, I find it easier to make characters that at least look similar to me, but I don't exclusively make white characters in tabletop games.


--If you play in canon games with canonical characters of color, do you notice any trends in terms of how quickly or slowly those characters are picked up, or how they are played compared to the white characters?

I don't really do canon characters, I like OCs.

--If you play in games that allow original characters in settings that allow for a diverse cast, do you notice any trends in characters creation in terms of people playing different ethnicities? Most people I know play mainly white characters.

--Have you ever played in a game that included human or human-like characters in a game setting that absolutely left no freedom to play a character who was not white and of European or European-like descent? Absolutely no freedom?

Nope, not really.

--Have you ever had a character application turned down because the character was not white?

Nope.

--Have you ever felt like people wanted to play with you less, or treated you or your character differently because your character was a person of color?

Nope. I play with friends, mostly, and that's never been something that came up.




As a sidenote: I am a white girl, raised in the aforementioned white-bread area. When I play POCs in RP games, I feel most comfortable with characters who are of Plains Native descent or Quechua/Inca or, sometimes, Mayan. Those are the groups I've done the most research on, know most clearly, and feel I'm most able to portray without 'defaulting' to stereotypical behavior or whitewashing. Even so, I know they're not perfect, and I'm always open to criticism on charries like that... becasue I think there is inherently a fine line one walks when one plays POC as a white person.

Ok, thinking about this

-I have to say that I play white/Euro based people. That being said, I've never actually played anyone in my own ethnic group (Irish). I play fake-French and Bavarian and fake-ScotsIrish elves.

-When I played in DOTG I played a mixed race person (half Euro/half fake Arabic). Now I wish I could play him again. Because, um, he wouldn't be an ARSONIST AND CHEMICAL EXPLOSIONS EXPERT. B/c he lived in magical medieval Europe with feminism and no racism (except with villans), he never had to deal with racism, I don't think.

-I feel like I tend to try and play privilege to an extent. I have a white, rich, educated, heterosexual-most-of-the-time male, and I try and play him like he's boneheaded about the experiences of other people ("Of course I had a tutor- didn't you!?"), and in general being a "Colonization is awesome! We'll give you civilization!" idiot.

-What else? I admit tend to add in some stereotypes to my characters. My German gal is very critical and highly organized, but it's also her personality.

-I think I would want my next person to be a POC. Just because I'm more aware of it now.





I don't roleplay very often, but when I do WoW, I play a character that looks like me. And I don't play that often, so she's the only character I play often enough to level up. I have a few other human characters and they are POC.

I grew up in a town that's pretty diverse, but the neighborhoods around me are mostly black, hispanic, Middle Eastern, and east European. When I roleplay, I usually go it alone because playing in groups takes too damn long. And I don't know how many video games are like this, but almost every fantasy movie I've seen has the human race is almost entirely white, except for the token black guy. Usually Morgan Freeman.

As far as roleplaying and fantasy goes, I've noticed people tend to make a Big Deal of thing if a character isn't white, because it gives them a chance to talk about their opinion of racism. Except 9 times out of 10 they sound like my hillbilly uncle, so I could give a crap about what they say. And yeah, there is a preference for J-Rock style stuff because it's trendy right now. And while I can understand loving Gackt because he's hot (and he is), it's a little annoying to always read about how somebody loves everything about Japan.

Summing up real quick, I think the reason why there's a dominance of white characters in fantasy and roleplaying is because a lot of the stories are set in European-style countries. I'd really like it if an effort was made to include more POC. It's a little surprising to see how many people don't know there were black people in Europe before the 20th century and Spain was under Arab rule for centuries. Read yer history, people! It's interesting stuff!

--Birmingham is actually predominantly black, but there are definitely areas of town that are considered "black" and "white" sides of town, and I live in one of the whiter ones. Just recently there has been an influx of Hispanics, which occupy a large but very definite neighbourhood not too far down the road, but they, too, tend to stay in their own small side of town.


--With the exception of Serendipity, I don't think I've ever played a character who looked like me. The trouble here is that the characters you know mostly--the Tuatha--I don't consider "white." They're intended to be a separate, albeit fictional, race. In my head, at least, they're skewed toward Asiatic features and bone structure. Even Faucon was a hard draw, because in my head, he's not black. He's a Gali. It's sort of like referring to a Dominican or Haitan as "black": it's the word they'd put on his driver's license, but he would think of himself as something quite distinct and different.


Most of my characters "show up" as whatever they are. Faucon showed up a Gali; the Blue Aspect showed up black; Sheys showed up as a Qa'ad, and Spider showed up albino. I've never understood or questioned what makes them what they are, and it's one of those aspects of character creation that I've always seen as out of my hands. Faucon could no more have been white than he could have been female. It's just what he was supposed to be.


--I have never played in a canon game.


--I think most people in an original game are going to play what they know. There's something intimidating about taking on a character of a different race; suddenly there's the sense that you have to represent them. No one likes to be the guy carrying the banner for someone else's whole culture.


--I think the closest I ever came to this was Shiver. Due to the time period, WASPs were the norm. If you were going to pick up a character of another race, it came attached with the idea that, in this era, you were going to be a second-class citizen. And it didn't even stop there: poor Tuck Willington still had to deny he was Irish.


--I've never been turned down for a character of colour (oh man, "character of colour"--what a terrible term!). I've never turned anyone down in my own games for wanting to play a person of colour, although I have pointed out, on a couple of occasions, that a lot of race-relations were different in my game-world.


--In Shiver, there was a slight problem when it came to my playing Lucia, but I think that was more an OOC problem--the game was on the verge of dissolving--than an IC one or a problem between players.


Yeah,I don't consider the Tuatha white, either...but I felt like because they're a completely different physical race with none of the cultural associations we have to any real race of people, they don't really count as characters of color, either. I didn't count them at all when I was counting mine.

I also didn't realize Faucon was Gali-- I totally thought he was our-world French-African!

And yeah, I think in some ways, it was actually easier to play a black character in Shiver than to play an Irish or French or Spanish one-- the Shiver characters were so used to weird stuff that people from cultures that seemed exotic or savage to them were no different than fairies, while most of them would not get over the actual real, historical prejudices based on politics and religious fallout. Ambrose being Welsh I think came out later than him being Damned.

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