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The validity of stories

September 14, 2010

Julie has a great post up about Steal Away Jordan:

Anyway so one day, I decided to write a role playing game, and the voices in those slave narratives are the voices of my heroes. So voila! A role playing game set in the Ante-bellum South. I wanted to share that sense of heroism with people I play with, and with people who like to role play in the same way I do.

To be clear, I didn’t design a game to generate white guilt, or a game where you can passive aggressively beat up or victimize your friends. I don’t play victims in roleplaying. Toussaint L’Ouverture, Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Lilith in Book of Night Women are not victims. They are heroes whose lives make for great story telling.

The fact that these things need to be said says a lot about how people frame the issues of history…

For example, no one has to write an explanation about how their game about the Wild West isn’t about genocide, or that a game about Spartans isn’t about child soldiers and pedophelia.

And that’s not to say that there isn’t real issues about white folks and pain porn and misery tourism, at the same point, there has to be a place where people of color can produce games, media, and art with our own communities in mind, being mindful that even being the president these days isn’t worthy enough to be treated with respect.

Anyway, it’s really worth reading, and is a good beginning for conversations we want to have.

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