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Mansions of Madness: Second Edition» Forums » General

Subject: Rita Young (the athlete investigator)'s race rss

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Dan Hughes
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I'm slowly working my way through painting all the investigators and noticed that the "story so far" blurb on the back of Rita Young's card pretty clearly implies she is an African American,however this is, at best, ambiguously depicted in her portrait on the other side of the card.

I suppose I'm not passing any commentary on why this is. But i do think it feels like a bit of a shame as otherwise the game seems very politically correct (and I use that term in a positive manner)
 
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Keith Craig
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https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1618731/rita-athlete-should...

Already been discussed. She is African-American and the lighting in the picture is not the best.
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Chris Lawson
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Rita the athlete - should she be black?

Rita Young
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Dan Hughes
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My apologies. I did do a bit of digging, but not enough obviously. To be fair my lore stat is only 1
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Roberta Yang
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In the first edition base game, out of the 21 depicted characters (16 playable, 5 allies), all 21 were white. Also every woman had average health or worse, and every man had average health or better except Harvey Walters.

Looks like FFG hasn't changed one bit.
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Justin Colm
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salty53 wrote:
In the first edition base game, out of the 21 depicted characters (16 playable, 5 allies), all 21 were white. Also every woman had average health or worse, and every man had average health or better except Harvey Walters.

Looks like FFG hasn't changed one bit.


Women, in general, are not as physically strong as men. Older people, in general, are not as physically strong as younger people. In fantasy this doesn't really matter but the investigators in Mansions are intended to be more realistic. I have no problem at all with this. Rita Young, the athlete, has a high strength and health. The physically typical female characters tend to have less. It doesn't mean they are less valuable.

I've no desire to see an anachronistic female soldier or cop in the game. I personally love having realistic female characters to play.

As for the race of characters: it depends on geography. In a game like Eldritch Horror with its global scale I find it poor that most of the characters are white Americans (although I also understand that it is because all of the characters are taken from Arkham Horror, which was set entirely in Arkham). In a game like Mansions set in 'Lovecraft country', turn of the century Massachusetts, then the characters are probably too cosmopolitan, although for sure there was plenty of diversity in the immigrants, a fact that Lovecraft, a racist in his earlier years, found repugnant. But for the sake of diversity, we can accept 'out of towners' in the game. But where do you draw the line between representation and historical accuracy? It's tricky and everyone will have a different perspective on it. One thing that for sure I think is wrong is to dismiss FFG as a bunch of racists if they've drawn the line a little differently to yourself. I'm sure they give it thought and use their best judgement when it comes to historical accuracy / realism vs representation.
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Christian Lindberg
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It is up to the designers to decide what characters is in a game and it is up to the customers to buy the game or not, this can influence the inclusion or not quite a lot.

FFG are NOT the same as before judging to the recently published characters.
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Roberta Yang
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High Flying Bird wrote:
The physically typical female characters tend to have less. It doesn't mean they are less valuable.

In the first edition game, that's exactly what it meant. Health was noticeably more valuable than sanity; an ideal stat distribution was something like 12/8, but with high enough willpower even 14/6 was great. The men also got much better starting items because they gave the men active and damaging things while they gave the women passive and deflecting things. The three best characters in the base game are all men; the three worst characters in the base game are all women. And it's not because ~realistically~ real-life spellcasting women tended to learn Bind Monster, or because they believed the best bludgeoning weapon in the world was a typewriter.

High Flying Bird wrote:
In a game like Eldritch Horror with its global scale I find it poor that most of the characters are white Americans

Now now, let's not be too hasty here. Eldritch Horror also has an African shaman, a Chinese martial artist, and a black jazz musician. Surely that is a complete and accurate and not at all stereotyped depiction of everyone in the world who isn't a white american, and everyone else can just be a white american now that our quota's been met.

High Flying Bird wrote:
But where do you draw the line between representation and historical accuracy?

There were a hell of a lot more black people in 1920's Massachusetts than there were Shoggoths. Do you think black people just hadn't been invented back then, and popped into existence sometime in the 1950's?

High Flying Bird wrote:
One thing that for sure I think is wrong is to dismiss FFG as a bunch of racists if they've drawn the line a little differently to yourself.

They literally just turned a black woman white. If that's where they draw the line, they're pretty much objectively wrong.
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Gavin Meakings
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salty53 wrote:
High Flying Bird wrote:
One thing that for sure I think is wrong is to dismiss FFG as a bunch of racists if they've drawn the line a little differently to yourself.

They literally just turned a black woman white. If that's where they draw the line, they're pretty much objectively wrong.


Rita is, and has always been, depicted as a light-skinned black woman. It even describes her as such in one of the novels. They have not turned a black woman white, no line has been crossed.
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Dan Roe
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High Flying Bird wrote:
One thing that for sure I think is wrong is to dismiss FFG as a bunch of racists if they've drawn the line a little differently to yourself.

"FFG are treating Straight White Dude as the "default setting" and aren't working hard enough to overcome the gendered/race-based stereotypes that are rife throughout Western culture and society" <> "FFG are a bunch of racists".

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Dan Hughes
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Bloody hell I wish I'd never asked now.
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Jan Tuijp
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Aeneades wrote:
Rita is, and has always been, depicted as a light-skinned black woman. It even describes her as such in one of the novels. They have not turned a black woman white, no line has been crossed.


Well. You might say they gave a light-skinned woman of African american descent the Michael Jackson-treatment. Fact remains, Rita was coloured and is no longer so.

Personally I think it's not that big of a mystery. Rita's "blackness" wasn't too obvious in previous game art. The latest Rita is obviously drawn by a different artist. All it takes is a not too bright new artist with little love for Lovecraftian lore (of which Rita isn't officially part anyway) and Rita's re-birth is a fact.

I really think it's an honest mistake.

 
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T H
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I'm going to treat this game as I do regular Lovecraft canon and consider every black/Asian person in it as an evil cultist. Come at me Internet.
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Gavin Meakings
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Jan Tuijp wrote:

Aeneades wrote:
Rita is, and has always been, depicted as a light-skinned black woman. It even describes her as such in one of the novels. They have not turned a black woman white, no line has been crossed.


Well. You might say they gave a light-skinned woman of African american descent the Michael Jackson-treatment. Fact remains, Rita was coloured and is no longer so.

Personally I think it's not that big of a mystery. Rita's "blackness" wasn't too obvious in previous game art. The latest Rita is obviously drawn by a different artist. All it takes is a not too bright new artist with little love for Lovecraftian lore (of which Rita isn't officially part anyway) and Rita's re-birth is a fact.

I really think it's an honest mistake.



Where are you seeing a change in her skin tone?

I don't have my copy of Arkham to hand but I believe this was her picture from the game -



and here is her picture in Mansions -



I have not been able to track down her picture from Eldritch Horror, I am not certain if she has actually appeared there yet.

The skin tones look very similar to me between those two different pictures. She is more in the shadows in the first picture but if you look at the area of skin in the light they are similar between the two pictures. There is definitely a stronger light source in the second picture.

There may have been an earlier version of her that I am not aware of that portrayed her with darker skin?
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Everett Daniel
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salty53 wrote:


High Flying Bird wrote:
But where do you draw the line between representation and historical accuracy?

There were a hell of a lot more black people in 1920's Massachusetts than there were Shoggoths. Do you think black people just hadn't been invented back then, and popped into existence sometime in the 1950's?


Okay, yeah, Shoggoths have not and never will exist. The Lovecraft fiction is set in a pretty much accurate New England besides cities. Of course there are going to be more Eldritch abominations than black people because the monsters are kinda the main point of the fiction and there weren't a lot of black people in New England.

Just to be clear, I'm totally fine with the diversity of MoM. It's just people like in this thread who seem to think FFG are racists and purposefully excluding minorities. The truth is, if FFG wanted to base their characters completely off of ethnicity at the time there probably wouldn't be any minority characters. Boston was 2.2% black, and Salem was .3% black in the 1920s according to censuses. Seeing how Arkham is described by Lovecraft and modern writers, its ethnicity is probably closer to Salem's. The people are described as simple, conservative, and it's a rural town among other things. My point is that the ethnicity ratio is perfectly fine for the time period but for some reason people always bring it up. Games should represent their settings. If I'm playing a game set in feudal Japan there aren't really going to be white or black people. If it's set in the Meiji restoration there could maybe be an American commander since they played an important role although the overall percentage of Americans would be very low. This is similar to out of towners like Jim Culver. Although there were very few black people, they were prominent in jazz so it makes sense to include them.

salty53 wrote:

High Flying Bird wrote:
One thing that for sure I think is wrong is to dismiss FFG as a bunch of racists if they've drawn the line a little differently to yourself.

They literally just turned a black woman white. If that's where they draw the line, they're pretty much objectively wrong.


This is crazy. Rita is clearly black. In the novel I'm reading she's described as Creole (meaning mixed black and white) and now that I see her art, she looks how I imagined. Look at her character card. She's brown which is how she is meant to look. FFG would not purposely change her skin color or let someone accidentally draw a white Rita. I don't get why you people are so adamant on denying this poor girl of her skin color.
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Jan Tuijp
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Aeneades wrote:
Where are you seeing a change in her skin tone? [...] The skin tones look very similar to me between those two different pictures. She is more in the shadows in the first picture but if you look at the area of skin in the light they are similar between the two pictures. There is definitely a stronger light source in the second picture.

There may have been an earlier version of her that I am not aware of that portrayed her with darker skin?


What I meant was that the character was conceived (in the Dark Waters Trilogy) as a coloured person, which is implicitly confirmed in her backstory in Arkham Horror and MoM2E. In her depiction in AH game art however her skin tone is ambiguous whilst in MoM2E game art she looks suspiciously white Caucasian.

The poor MoM2E artist also wasn't really helped by FFG's painted investigator figure of Rita, which only depicts a coloured female if you know and really, really believe she's coloured:


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Bryce K. Nielsen
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Jan Tuijp wrote:

Fact remains, Rita was coloured and is no longer so.

That's not a fact. In fact, I think it's explicitly stated in this version that she's half black (where I'm not sure it stated in previous versions).

-shnar
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Magic Pink
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High Flying Bird wrote:
salty53 wrote:
In the first edition base game, out of the 21 depicted characters (16 playable, 5 allies), all 21 were white. Also every woman had average health or worse, and every man had average health or better except Harvey Walters.

Looks like FFG hasn't changed one bit.


Women, in general, are not as physically strong as men. Older people, in general, are not as physically strong as younger people.


This isn't really true. The assumed stereotype of women and old people is but in fact it rarely holds up in real life unless youre cherry picking your comparison.
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Magic Pink
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GoldenBoy99 wrote:
FFG would not let someone accidentally draw a white Rita.


And yet that's exactly what happened. All the threads and confusion about her race prove it.
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Nik Degtyarenko
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Im more concerned how Atlethic runner has average agility but nest strenght stat in the game. WTF? Why gravedigger. Guy who digs graves for years with shovel is sudenly has same stenght as rich boy?
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Dan Roe
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GoldenBoy99 wrote:
It's just people like in this thread who seem to think FFG are racists and purposefully excluding minorities.

Dude. Literally NOBODY is saying that.

Not to repeat something that some people seem to have found weirdly beyond the pale, but those of us who've grown up in the English-speaking world are part of a culture that pretty much treats straight-white-male as the default. Our power structures are overwhelmingly white and male, as or our movie stars, our superheroes, our CEOs, our prestige-TV-drama-antiheroes, our journalists, our sitcom ensembles, our grim-faced people on the covers of board games et-frickin'-cetera.

Some of these are slowly starting to shift in recent years. Which is great! But doesn't take away from the basic point - being surrounded by these social and cultural assumptions distorts our view of the world, and it's self-perpetuating. The media we consume implies that if a character doesn't have a reason not to be straight, white or male then that's exactly what they should be. It's just "how things are done" or "what people want".

And to repeat myself again - I'm IN NO WAY saying that it's a conscious decision to exclude people of other genders or ethnicities or orientations. It's a combination of dozens of little assumptions and biases that have been baked into us by society that are BLOODY hard to fight against even if you're consciously aware of them.

So yeah. Literally nobody's saying that FFG are rubbing their hands together with glee having achieved their avowed intent of turning a black character into a white one. The most they're being accused of is not caring enough about a character's ethnicity to flag it as a problem when a commissioned artist lightens the skin tone of one of very few non-white characters in the game and brings her closer to the "default".
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Jan Tuijp
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shnar wrote:
Jan Tuijp wrote:

Fact remains, Rita was coloured and is no longer so.

That's not a fact.


It is according to her picture in MoM2E. That woman is as black as my daughter in the third week of spring.

Quote:
In fact, I think it's explicitly stated in this version that she's half black (where I'm not sure it stated in previous versions).

-shnar


No, it isn't. It's implied by equating her present robed pursuers with her former ones (KKK) just as in her backstory in AH. I have to admit it was only after reading the MoM2E backstory that it occurred to me she was black(ish). Or was meant to be. Her AH portrait is that ambiguous, at least to me.

One might even argue that the mere mentioning of the KKK and/or discrimination in the South doesn't necessarily mean Rita has to be coloured. Lot's of white activists and woman are/were being discriminated or pursued, by KKK and others.

Bottom line: the pictures really should have been clearer.

 
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Pat Mccrotch
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Good and healthy that this kind of conversation is being held here, and that players care. Representation in all media is not a minor thing, even though some gamers think it so. #TheStruggleContinues, yet there is hope.
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Driss
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Do we really need another one of these racist threads? Stop worrying about the race, gender or orientation of these fictional characters and live and let live. Forcing diversity is just as racist as forcing homogeneity. I for one am thankful we live in a society that allows artists the freedom to create without the constraints put on them by those who see themselves as morally superior.
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