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Old 05-10-2014, 12:41 PM   #141
tantric
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I've tried for years to find out if other languages have color terms for human skin color. English fails significantly at that (match you skin to a paint and put it on the wall - what color is that?), which I think is part of our wrong-think about race in general. Seriously, though - what is the Chinese word for skin color? This bugs the crap out of me in my African setting - the people in the setting see a wide variety of skin tones, from pure black to reddish brown, the yellowish of the !Kung, etc, but I have a hard time coming up with words. This is what I came up with...

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The waKoka are the everyday people of the Empire. They are very varied in appearance, though certain physiotypes are associated with certain clans. KiKoka has eight different words for skin tones, ranging from the yellowish brown of the Quena (seen in Earthly Khoisan) to the ebony of the waXuchu pygmies. The Bassa Ngo refuges added aquiline noses and slight epicanthic folds. The flat Bantu nose and thin Nubian noses with wide nostrils are also present. Hair texture ranges from medium to wiry, but all Bantu have kinky hair, while Pygmies typically have peppercorn.

There are five standards of beauty in the Empire, related to the four founding cities and the native baChwezi peoples. The Vungu type, most attractive in females, is short, ebony skinned with wide hips and large breasts. The Bassa Ngo type is tall and thin with aqualine nose, epicanthic folds and a reddish tint to the skin. Zimbabwe beauties are of medium height and proportions, with rich, chocolate skin and nubian noses, while Embo types (best in men) are tall with flattened, Bantu noses and darker skin. The baChwezi clans are tall and have lighter complexions and dimples, but are mostly noted for charisma, highly expressive faces and natural grace. Many waKoka are also attracted to the Pygmies, especially the women, who have very pronounced buttocks and breasts.
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Old 05-10-2014, 06:11 PM   #142
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Racism as we know it today developed early in the 20th century or late 19th, before that non-white people would have had a social stigma as backwards barbarians and it was the job of whites to civilize them, civilize in this case meant bringing things like basic hygiene
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Old 05-10-2014, 06:42 PM   #143
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Racism as we know it today developed early in the 20th century or late 19th, before that non-white people would have had a social stigma as backwards barbarians and it was the job of whites to civilize them, civilize in this case meant bringing things like basic hygiene
Racism as we know it was refined in the 20th century but using race itself, as opposed to religion or culture, as a definition of inferiority rose in the 15th century.

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. You had an industrial agarian society without a sufficient population base to drive it.
Coupled with the rise of capitalism, religious extremism and expanded contact with non-whites we had a perfect storm. George Fredrickson wrote Racism: A Short History, and this article that gives a quick insight to the appalling subject.

So something to head it off in the 1600s or earlier would be enough. For whatever reason Britain didn't accept black slavery, it never became an industry in and of itself. You probably still get industrialized slavery, native Americans, Slavics, Russians, Jews, Arabs, Irish; whoever was defenseless and at the wrong place at the wrong time, but without that whole "sons of Ham" interpretation and justification that helped sell the idea only certain people were faulty.
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Old 05-10-2014, 06:55 PM   #144
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Out of curiosity - why are we defining racism as a Western notion? Are the Japanese sentiments about Koreans not racism? When the Koran goes on about Jews, is that racism (and honestly, I don't know, but it seems more than religious)? Is it only racism when the culture you hate has a pigmentation differential? I'd certainly say that the oppression of the Twa pygmies in Rwanda/Burundi is racism. What can we learn by looking a racism as a cross-cultural phenomenon?

I utterly rejected the racism I learned from my family and subcultural, only to develop my own special variety in prison. Pathological social anxiety + hard time -> serious deep conditioning aversion reactions.
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Old 05-10-2014, 07:40 PM   #145
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Out of curiosity - why are we defining racism as a Western notion? Are the Japanese sentiments about Koreans not racism? When the Koran goes on about Jews, is that racism (and honestly, I don't know, but it seems more than religious)? Is it only racism when the culture you hate has a pigmentation differential? I'd certainly say that the oppression of the Twa pygmies in Rwanda/Burundi is racism. What can we learn by looking a racism as a cross-cultural phenomenon?

I utterly rejected the racism I learned from my family and subcultural, only to develop my own special variety in prison. Pathological social anxiety + hard time -> serious deep conditioning aversion reactions.
Considering that this came out of an idea for a timeline change in England and India, keep it to stuff that happens in the west
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Old 05-10-2014, 08:19 PM   #146
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I think our idea of racism might be backwards. In that people of olden times hated anyone that wasn't exactly like them and from nearby. The go to for humans "us" is very tightly defined, and "them" is literally everyone else.
Racism was just as much about defining "us" in broader terms as it was in tighter race terms, I imagine.

But coming up with a different definition of "us" would do well to bring home the idea of alien alternate realities.
Just because modern societies place so much importance on "race" and religion, doesn't meant that that's how it must be for all human alternates.
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Old 05-10-2014, 08:24 PM   #147
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...
I utterly rejected the racism I learned from my family and subcultural, only to develop my own special variety in prison. Pathological social anxiety + hard time -> serious deep conditioning aversion reactions.
It is interesting how trauma will make us make connections that we otherwise know to be false. If a person mugged me, I might develop fear of some feature the mugger had that I don't even if I knew it had nothing to do with criminality. Dark skin, blond, facial hair, or aftershave could become a trigger.
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Old 05-10-2014, 08:51 PM   #148
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It is interesting how trauma will make us make connections that we otherwise know to be false. If a person mugged me, I might develop fear of some feature the mugger had that I don't even if I knew it had nothing to do with criminality. Dark skin, blond, facial hair, or aftershave could become a trigger.
Exactly - I don't have racists opinions, but for a period of my life, I was subjected to the daily threat of insane violence directed against me by black people specifically because I'm white (or whatever that means). It just burns a reaction into your brain.

On the other hand, I openly loathe inner-city urban black (and other 'colors') thug culture, or whatever you want to call it. That's completely different from racism - if Inuits were doing it, I'd still hate it. But it begs the question - is it really okay to hate a subculture?

How is India western? Indian culture is deeply color conscious and always has been - skin lightening creams are a huge seller. Is that racism? I once spoke with an Indian who told me that he wanted to become Buddhist, but in India you have to register your religion, and you can't become Buddhist unless your mother approves (which is based on a bit of Buddhist history, but it is insane to try to make that dogma for an anti-dogmatic religion). India has all kinds of us and them that are barely comprehensible to outsiders.

Last edited by tantric; 05-10-2014 at 09:42 PM.
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Old 05-11-2014, 12:43 AM   #149
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As scc noted we are talking about this particular timeline, and the how and why of Western racism and it impact on the British occupation of India. While tied closely, race based slavery in the American colonies is only a tangent to the main idea here.

If it hadn't been quite as hardline as, lets say in Homeline, then we have more of a partnership among the British and Indian aristocracy. The British Raj can soon be considered a part of the West, much like Japan after WWII. My point is that British attitudes on race must have changed before Victoria or George IV, since by that time they were firmly entrenched.

Race, like religion, can be a hot-button topic, but can be used in a gaming situation to great effect IF you know your players and they KNOW you. I remember reading Warlord of the Air when I was a kid, after reading a few of Moorcock's Elric books I thought I'd give this a try. I was shocked by the first section of the book. But that was used to great effect - I won't do spoilers just in case (although this IS an alternate history thread...) - but I would have dropped the book if I hadn't already thought Moorcock was a clever author and hoped that something was going to happen to change my mind.

Frankly if that had been in a game situation I don't know if I would have put up with it.
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Old 05-11-2014, 02:08 AM   #150
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Okay, on topic - (some) Indian get an easy pass on racism. They speak an Indo-European language, their facial features are very similar to those of Europeans, they can easily claim to a great Classical civilization, heck - aren't some Indian technically Caucasian (whatever that means). A world where the Brits do better by India is fairly passable.

I'm not so sure about putting Ambedkar on the throne. Gandhi was from a bureaucratic family, Ambedkar was an untouchable. And a Buddhist. I saw him as a token outcaste, though I'm not debating his brilliance. I honestly think you would have more problems getting Ambedkar through India's caste prejudice than you would getting the Brits to give Hindis a pass on the race ticket, if that makes any sense.
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