Challenge the default and you get some really uncomfortable fans crying about 'political agendas.'

-JeCorey Holder

by JeCorey Holder

Whenever I fire up any RPG (role player game) that lets me create my own character, I try to make them into the rarest character of all: A person with brown skin.

Even then, I still need to say a silent prayer that I will have the option to make a brown-skinned elf. Perhaps there might even be afro-textured hair options, too. Truly The Gods are generous this day!

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I just think it’s funny how easily geek culture will accept all kinds of fantasy elements, like magical crystals, spells, a stable economy, and alternate timelines. However, this same culture so easily, and often eagerly and vehemently, refuses even the idea of giving Elves, Dwarves, or Halflings melanin and afro-textured hairstyles.

And God forbid we ever have this discussion of inclusion even amongst ourselves. You would not believe the number of people who have come scampering like Phase Spiders out of the woodwork to drop paragraphs and thinkpieces detailing exactly why dark-skinned, non-white people would never exist the fantastic realms of dragons and conjured elemental spirits.

It’s odd to me that people of color always need to constantly fight and argue for a reason to simply exist in fantasy realms. We always need to convince people that a brown-skinned elf with an afro can exist, but a pale-skinned, blonde one is readily accepted without question.

Just like in any other genre, whiteness is seen as the default, and beyond that, often the only acceptable form for the characters to take.

Challenge that default and you get some really uncomfortable fans crying about “political agendas,” despite the fact that fantasy races coded as people of color take nothing away from them.

Calm down, have an elixir, and let some folks with melanin slay enemies and save the realms for once.

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Gamer, geek, and social activist. JeCorey Holder has been weaving tapestries of shade and fury since the early 2000’s. Pro-LGBTQ, pro-black, and pro intersectional feminism, he is full of feelings and opinions that try to call out and tear down the oppressive status quo

Editor’s Note: May is Mental Health Awareness Month and National Masturbation Month. This is also the month that we celebrate Mother’s Day. At BYP, we will be exploring these topics alongside the theme of Imagination and the Arts, and we are interested in publishing works that address these topics and the things surrounding them.