Shadowrun General > The Secret History

Ork Is The New Black

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Angel_Heart:
Has anyone else noticed that orks in Shadowrun seemed to have taken the place of black America? Check it out:
   (A) Ridiculously high birth-rates;
   (B) broken families often on account of
   (C) high crime and incarceration rates amongst the men of this species;
   (D) superior athletic prowess;
   (E) early development rates amongst teenagers;
   (F) record setting illiteracy rates and scholastic drop-out rates;
   (G) and every once in awhile ork men can be seen dating down-and-out human women
   Jordan Weisman and FASA crew, just exactly what's going on here? I don't know if I need to point an accusing finger at you guys for some closet bigotry or slap you congrats on the back for some unconscious but rather apropos observations.
   #OrkIsTheNewBlack

Ghost Rigger:
Congratulations. You're capable of basic pattern recognition. Now tomorrow, I'll make a more lengthy post about how the metatypes do and yet do not correspond to the various racial stereotypes; trust me, that post has been long in the making.

Stainless Steel Devil Rat:
I don't know what kind of a future this thread has.. but while it's still open I'll just opine in agreement with Ghost Rigger:

It's not meant to be subtle.  At all.  If you're not "woke" (to use a 21st century term for a game designed in the 1980s) you may not know what discrimination is like in the real world.  But through this fantasy, yes you just might realize what real world people have to deal with.

Also it's a way to incorporate some of humanity's worst aspects (racism) into a dystopian setting that's played by lets-face-it, mainly white dudes, without making the game itself be mistaken for a Klan recruiting tool by Convention and FLGS observers.

Ghost Rigger:
Okay, hockey night beers have worn off, time for serious, non-sarcastic posting.

Yes, Ork is indeed the new Black. In addition to the reasons you listed, 'trog' has roughly the same connotations as the n-word. The setting sometimes even treats them as direct analogues to blacks, what with orksploitation and that Ork and Mindy program from No Future that is clearly equivalent to Guess Who's Coming To Dinner. But most of what you said can also be said about Hispanics in America too and the setting doesn't shy away from having ork-Hispanic comparisons either, so 'trog' is also 'spic'. Orks and trolls are also into rock and roll and the heavy metal scene, as evidenced by all the setting fluff about 'trog rock', so they're pretty white too. In some respects, it's as if orks and trolls are poor people rather being an ethnic group.

Then look at elves and dwarves. At first glance, elves seem like white people plus, and the setting does treat them like that sometimes (again I point to Ork and Mindy). But they're a minority, if one of the better off ones, and they think they're better than everyone else. They're also seen as exotic and desirable, they stick together in the face of a majority and build their own part of town....elements of east Asians, perhaps? And dwarves might also seem like white people plus, but again they're a well-off minority. Well, they have a secret society, and in Chrome Flesh Haze made a remark about dwarves always having money.....my knee-jerk reaction is to say that Dwarf is the new Jew, but since nothing suggests they have heavy involvement in banks and the media it's nowhere near a perfect fit. Again, this might be about money rather than race, since elves and dwarves are both better-off minorities.

And all that is just looking at it from an American perspective. Go elsewhere and the stereotypes about metatypes are different. Go to Britain and you'll probably find that orks and trolls are into lad culture, which is as white as mountaintop snow, yet are also Pakis. Go to Scandinavia and you'll find that Trogs are the new Finns, getting drunk all the time and being mean, violent drunks by their nature. Go anywhere that is dominated by one race, and you'll find that race can be broken down into smaller ethnic groups, at least one of which is economically disadvantaged and has unpleasant stereotypes which are projected onto the local orks and trolls.

In short, orks and trolls are thought of as violent dumb brutes prone to criminal lifestyles and being poor that people are generally afraid of while elves and dwarves are the genetically and socio-economically privileged; whatever groups, be they ethnic or socio-economic, you'll see them as stand-ins for is reflective of the stereotypes of your cultural upbringing.

Wenlocke:
From the original first ed book regarding race being much more of an issue than ethnicity:

"Why worry about the tanned-looking guy on the subway when that thing over there has hands the size of your head."

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