Monday, May 15, 2017

"No speaka the Taco"

A great little article where the title says most of what you need to know -- "Dragons Are for White Kids with Money: On the Friction of Geekdom and Race."  The point is basically that the heady mixture of toxic masculinity and straight-up racism in geek culture is possibly even worse than that of jock / sports culture:
"In high school in Los Angeles, I had a hard time creating a network of geeks simply because the price of entry into the geek world was too high, or my friends simply did not want to associate themselves with something so clearly 'white.'  The insults that my small band of geeks endured while we played Magic: The Gathering or discussed Dragon Ball Z were pretty inventive.  Even now, some of my students snicker or laugh derisively when I make fantasy or science-fiction references, simply for the fact that, and I quote: 'Dragons be for white kids with money.' It’s hard to argue against this reasoning when the most popular fantasy novel and TV series since Lord of the Rings features a platinum-blonde white woman saving thousands of adoring and helpless brown people.
You’d think that when I found geekdom, I’d be welcomed in with open arms, but my ethnic identifiers have often caused friction.  One of my favorite geeky pastimes is Warhammer 40K, a tabletop miniatures game.  I have played this game off and on since I was about 12, and its sweeping background of grimdark science-fantasy hits a lot of my geek buttons.  Some years ago when I was building an army, I wanted to paint my soldiers to be more reflective of me, my family, and my friends.  When I asked an employee at a store how I would paint darker skin, he laughed.  He both didn’t know how you’d go about doing this because he hadn’t thought about it, and he thought it was silly that I wanted to do it.  I have played against armies with not so subtly painted SS symbols on the sides of tanks.  When I have spoken Spanish to one of my few Latino gaming friends I have heard in response, 'No speaka tha Taco' from a passerby."
And as much as I like HBO's Game of Thrones (more than the books, which I've also read) the "white woman saving thousands of adoring and helpless brown people" is spot on.

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