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Diaspora: But Not Without Dog Whistles!

November 21, 2009

Goddamn it. I almost was ready to completely enjoy and support this game.

And, while reading the “platoon combat” section, I come across the entry for “Primitives”, who have the following Aspect:

Crush the White Devil

Really?!? REALLY?!?

I was quite happy to have a game that didn’t mention any form of racial shit. After all, it’s god knows how many thousands or 10,000’s of years of humans across vastly different star systems and ecosystems and genetic drift – humans could look like anything after living under a blue sun and 1.3 G with 2 Celsius temperatures.

OH WAIT PRIMITIVE = NOT WHITE. And clearly the other tech capable cultures are assumed white. And the primitives are clearly violent, irrational, and racist, right?

GOD DAMN IT.

We’re not being irrational, you assholes keep putting this shit in your games, media, and movies.

This, right after I’m re-reading Battle Angel Alita- where we have the mixed bag culture of post-meteor survivors on earth, a mostly white eugenic society in a tower city, the high tech Indian society at the top of the Space Elevator, post-human cyborgs on Jupiter, post-human genesplicers on Venus, and an Arabic, N.African, and German nation on Mars…

You couldn’t have made a fucking sci-fi game without a nod to racism, could you? It was just too hard to let that many words pass by under your fingers without having to take it there.

White supremacy is primitive and irrational.

The rest of us are waiting for you to come join us in the future.

ETA: Looks like they removed the dogwhistle and owned up to it. Here’s to hoping more companies do the same in the future as well.

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10 comments

  1. WTF


    • I tell you, it’s either invisibility or stereotypes, that’s all they let us have.


  2. Pig fuckers.


  3. Part of the problem is that so much of the modern adventure/exploration/military narrative is based upon the tropes born out of the imperialist/colonialist age of Western Europe that it ends up infecting almost everything.

    When you’ve got a whole range of stories that, at their base, are really about how the world doesn’t exist until it enters the knowledge, and thus capacity to exploit, of the “real” people and how brave heroes must therefor go out and “discover” so that they can reap the financial benefits of that exploitation and control… well… you’re going to get this shit over and over.

    I mean, don’t get me wrong, in some ways I find the “colonize the stars” element of Sci-Fi a noble, inspiring thing. But other times I can’t get past the word “colonize” there, and the default assumption behind it being that we must always expand, control, and exploit in order to advance.


    • There’s two things to that.

      First, the game actually openly acknowledges that when you have a vast difference in power and an incentive to take resources, colonization is likely to happen and it’s not a noble thing. That’s a pretty refreshing look at the politics of colonization.

      The second thing, which is where I’m having a vast problem with it, is that trope isn’t really prevalent in a lot of hard sci-fi… which is why it’s so out of place. This isn’t a genre where you can point to the problematic source material as the influence- in fact, this thing goes against the source material, which is why it’s jarring on top of offensive.

      In other words, they had to reach to put it in there, and there’s no reason for it to be there at all.


  4. That was actually originally a Zulu uprising scenario (when the platoon combat system was external to Diaspora and was being tested with some historicals) that was badly (incompletely at least) generalised.

    I agree it remains a bad choice as written. I’m surprised it passed edit.


    • By which I mean it will be fixed in the corrected edition. It was a dumb choice/error.


      • I’ll look forward to the revised version.


  5. I really wish I’d seen this before I ordered the game a week ago.


    • Well, you can always pull it out as an example of a perfectly good game marred by the normalized acceptance of this stuff in gamer culture.



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