Yesterday I was reading a post by Ari on the ConTessa blog titled, Why the Hood Matters, when something Ari wrote struck me as getting the debate completely wrong - at least as far as it applies to people like me. Ari wrote:
'I don’t want to be PC during my games!'
'I don’t see why race is an issue in games, it’s FANTASY!'
Those two awful things come from the mouths of role players along with list of other things that I will not mention because I don’t want to depress myself or the reader. As a person of color, it is kind of disheartening when people say things like that that. We can play in a world where werewolves, fae and goblins exist, but if I want to play a black person or a queer character, then, I am just being a social justice warrior, feminist killjoy.
As someone who is adamantly against being politically correct in my role-playing games, or making race/gender/sexuality an issue, I would like to address why I am that way, and why not agreeing with me doesn't mean you're being a social justice warrior or feminist killjoy. For me, being politically correct does not mean that I am going to be exploring some controversial topic, instead it means that I'm not going to be talking about some things or using certain words because they might offend other people. So being politically correct means that I am limiting my games away from things that might bother someone. Now that isn't to say that I go out of my way to find things that make my friends uncomfortable either. We don't do child molestation or rape at my table because those are things that none of us want to discuss or are comfortable exploring (if you are, that's great for you, but I'm not going to join you). Other than those two 'third rails' my campaign is pretty much open to whatever the players want to discuss or explore and I don't place artificial limits on where they can go.
Let's talk about making the race/gender/sexuality an issue at the table.
I've had Black, Asian, Hispanic, White, and Mixed players at my tables. I've had gay, straight, and bi-sexual players at my table. I've had men, women, women who look like men, and men who look like women (though no transvestites) at my table. Not surprisingly we've had all those types of people, including transvestites, represented as characters in the game. It's never an issue and it's not going to be because no one at my table want's it to be. I have no problem with anyone wanting to play any race or sexual preference that tickles their fancy as long as everyone involved in the sexual side of the discussion is an adult and consenting. The people I play with are the same way. At the table such things don't define you as a person and aren't how we judge you. If Stacy wants to play a gay, transvestite, gnome thief who likes to dress flamboyantly and call everyone "Darling" no one cares. But is she forgets her god-damned thieves tools then there will be hell to pay. At my table, on this blog, and in my life I don't care about your race or sexuality - I care about what you do.