Roleplaying and Racism: The Game

"The chains are broken but are you truly free?"


This post contains spoilers. If you haven’t played any of the Dragon Age games, please turn back now (also, play them, they’re quite fun).

TRIGGER WARNING: rape, slavery, abuse

The most frustrating thing about roleplaying games is that there is always one or two races that are heavily oppressed and people (read: white people) will fawn and try to protect them and hope in the sequel, those races get the rights they deserve. On the flip side, they can’t fathom why black and other people of color are angry at the bigotry and down right abusive behavior from the government they help pay and vote for.

The elves in Dragon Age are pretty much black people. They have endured years of slavery, abuse, rape, lowly living conditions and have been shunned from society (if a Dalish) by humans.

In Dragon Age: Origins (DA:O), if you start off your game as a city elf, it’s the day of your wedding but it’s broken up by a human, the son of the lord who runs the city you live in because he feels entitled to do so. Depending on the gender you play as, the lord’s son locks up you and your wedding party, if you start the game as a female elf (never played with the male elf in Origins but will change that soon).  Also, the son takes away your cousin, Shianni, to rape her for hitting him upside the head with a jug.

This happens a lot to black women. White men feel entitled to womens’ bodies already, but for black women, white men tend to visualize them as easy, slutty people who will have sexual relations with anyone. Black women aren’t “allowed” to say no to their white dicks.  “If it wasn’t for my ancestors, you’d still be chucking spears”. Black women are asked if their pussies are pink, if they actually enjoy ni**er dick, if they want to do some slave play for massa, and other horrendous racist bullshit.

In Dragon Age 2, you meet Fenris. He is not from Ferelden, where DA:O takes place. He is from the Tevinter Imperium who, before he met Hawke, was a slave to a man called Danarius. Fenris hates mages and slavers because of what was done to him.

People feel for Fenris because no one should have to go through the years of torture and abuse that his former “owner” did to him. However, in reality, black people have been “marked” like Fenris to the point where the trauma from slavery is now ingrained into the DNA of black people. White people will look at you like a fish out of water when you tell them about this. They’ll say “Oh, well, that was so long ago!” “I had nothing to do with that!” and other subtle-but-not-really gaslighting statements, while clutching the confederate flag as a security blanket.

In Dragon Age: Inquisition, elves are still targeted in the civil war. An elf woman who recently lost her husband had her wedding ring confiscated because “it might have magic in it” by humans.

It’s not uncommon for black people to be hassled by slave patrollers, I mean cops, and to have their things taken because “probable cause”. However, if you point that out, white people will automatically assume that black people did something to warrant such things, when it’s usually just because they were walking down the street.

The fact that white people can sympathize with Shianni, Fenris, and that woman but not Korryn Gaines, Philando Castile, and a random black woman being hassled by cops just for GP, honestly, is bullshit. The fact that these pixels are humanized more than actual whole ass, real ass, living breath ass black people by white people is fucking disgusting.

They will write dissertations for evlen rights in fucking $60 games, but won’t drop $5 or even share a random black person’s GoFundMe or YouCaring.

White people can see “fake” racism, which is tied to actual racism, but they won’t see real racism, unless it’s reverse racism because white feelings will always, always, ALWAYS trump the very real lives of black people.

Until white people can actually see the very obvious parallels of their evlen or Quarian waifu’s to the struggles of black people and other people of color, white people will never see real people as humans, and that is fucking disgusting.