Wednesday, December 25, 2013

RPing different ethnicities, cultures, and genders; Fear of Being Offensive

Leslie Chow from the Hangover is a legitimate character and I don't find it a disparaging archetype. Stereo types are tricky and for me, I'd just rather play them than Not Play them out of fear of being offensive. I just realized the huge gap that Fear of Being offensive can create in the awareness of the world and things around myself. I mean, if I ask certain questions I'm bound to offend someone's belief... what offensive compared to mis-informing people. If there is an ethical fault Mis-information is one, being offensive cannot be helped because our medium of communication is not telepathy with complete empathy of the situation.

I'm a big lover of freedom of expression, and in interactions and relationships we really don't know the boundaries until we cross it. but when we do Good-Faith is there to catch us and repair and strengthen these relationships. Good Faith is such a necessary element in society that the recent controversy regarding spying underlines how much Good-Faith has been so absent that it marks a breakdown in the ability of society to communicate empathically.

Back to being able to RP the variety of Beings and Conditions some of us would like to explore and contemplate. I know people enjoy RPGs for various reasons, so this post is definitely not for everybody and may fall in the lower tiers of nerdiness in the heirarchies of geek elitism. "Role-playing Different Peoples and Nationalities: How Boring!" comes to mind when I was much younger. But then again, these are real people and there is an inherent complexity to their problems and personal trials that even a glimpse of this can leave one speechless and doubting many long held beliefs. But yeah, philosophy nerds are pretty low tier in geek society so its not something people will want to talk about... hence the freedom of being a blog with no real audience Lolz. 

This is a Topic Covered in Happy Jacks that brought out a lot of discussion: Accents are Regionial, and not Racist (Damn it!). In fact its so taken for-granted it gets annoying if you want to be elitist about it, I mean you gotta be consciously a eugenics believer to believe that manner of speech has to do with race instead of linguistic culture. 

Having played in Online with various peoples of various nationalities there are a ton of accents one can be experiencing. If I'm trying to be clear and emphasize with who I'm talking to I'd eventually speak the words in their tone or accent. Speaking different accents is pretty fun, so fun that the wife and I have a bad habit of mispronouncing words as a way to test how far one can interpret the sound and spelling.

My wife and I have this little quirk where we mispronounce words. Like consider the sentence and try pronouncing everything differently and try to make it as alien sounding as possible. Basically thats a nasty habit I got from trying to learn other languages and exploring the accents and pronounciations of the many peoples we deal with. She's in an international Company in Finanace and I'm dealing with Internationals that deal with BPOs, so exercising the ability to fathom various pronounciations become a funny game we play almost unconsciously.

If you tried to learn a language like Mandarin and had to learn the 4 tones you begin to realize how you cannot hear the difference of these tones as a born english speaker. As a Tagalog speaker and Otaku, some japanese we deal with are amazed by how authentically we can capture their accent when we talk about the words and how close the sylabalic nature of Japanese is to Tagalog.

Its a world where accents is a trivial matter and we need to learn languages with very different alphabets and organization of speech... more than ever. If your a futurist or sci-fi geek, learning a Non-Romance language becomes an important experience when understanding how amazing and limited it is as a medium of communication. Again the nerdy topic, not for those who want to complicate their lives with complicated hobbies lolz.

Enter the GURPS Modern Fantasy game I'm running which is in an African Setting. One of the reasons behind it is because of how insignificant in the grand scheme of things It can feel like growing up from a country far from being the G7-20. To have no world policy leverage or attractive market to have any influence or protect one's self kinda sucks balls. Being one of the easiest to be bullied or made into a Pariah by more powerful countries really gives you another level of Disempowerment (if you think Cthuluh is scary; trying growing up in Syria as it is NOW; where girls are being sold off to for $300USD to have a chance to survive).

Growing up in the Philippines during the 80s onward, being the 3rd world upbringing has an interesting perspective in my socio-economic studies, the narrative I want to tell, and the current events as economies are slowing down. Listening to my “Kuya's (older male relative) generation talk about how it was in martial law growing (contrasting with the Marcos propaganda online at the present) gives an interesting perspective worth telling in a world that is experience record levels of unemployment (especially the youth) and conservative economic units (the extended families as a single household).

I don't have any African friends, is it racist if I run a game that has a large African population while being Asian? I mean I've felt my share of racism, at the same time I also feel like my ethnicity did not matter to the friends and interactions I've made. I think failing to explore those gray areas of human nature is worse than the “fear to offend” maybe finding it un-interesting or worth knowing... their real and human suffering maybe be a more worthy thing to be afraid off... if the argument holds any merit. 

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