e127. Dungeons & Diversity

In our contemporary moment pop culture is controlled by two forces. A focus on so-called “geek culture” and a push for more inclusive diversity across media forms. While there is certainly a long way to go, in many cases, leaps and bounds of progress have been made in the last several years, with greater attention paid to representation of multicultural races, ethnicities, genders, sexualities, and body types across video games, comics, films, television and books; efforts that while contested by a small but powerful and vocal minority, are for the most part embraced by fandom, especially those who have until now been underrepresented. However, one traditional geek media empire has lagged behind. Role-playing games, and in particular the most popular, Dungeons & Dragons, have long remained mired in its white, heterosexual, cis-male fantasy roots. While there have been recent efforts to correct this, they have been met with even resistance beyond that which appears in other geek media by fans and creators alike. On this week’s show, Katya and Wayne welcome returning guest Michael Chemers and new guest David Rambo to discuss the history, philosophy, purpose and future of diversity and multiculturalism in the world of fantasy role-playing games. What are the problems of bioessentialism in the game and how does it relate to systemic racism and other types of discrimination in the real world? Listen and let us know what you think.

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