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  • Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
    To spend some of my limited charity for WW, Martin's talk of doing a new book on the Rrom in the WoD was in the context of "doing it right" this time around; including a different title.
    See, these are the little factoids that are so important yet often ignored in this kind of discussions where saying the word gypsy makes you a nazy: CONTEX! .

    I want proff that offensive stuff has been said or done. Making a WOD: Gypsies with the nasty things that name implies (the racial slur, depicting rom as a tribe of magical triksters, etc.) would be proff enough. But within that context it is not, and in fact it's an idea I could support.

    And when such important things like context are ignored in favor of making a point where ephemeral stuff that has effects that can't be easily demonstrated take the center of the debate (like saying you can play an evil nazi in a RPG - I find hard to prove that such assertion would empower people to do nazi stuff in real life. At least as hard to prove as saying that RPG empowers violence or satanism) it's why I think the whole debate arena it's "Of the Wyrm" in the first place regardless on which side you're on.

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    • Originally posted by Charlaquin View Post
      The last word of that title is a racial slur referring to Romani people.
      No it isn't.

      https://publications.parliament.uk/p.../633/63306.htm

      In some specific contexts, it has been used as a racial slur. Unlike the n-word, however, the negativity is entirely contextual, not innate. Fleetwood Mac, for instance, weren't race-baiting. Neither, in the link above, were the British Parliament. It isn't even necessarily a reference to the Romani at all, something also discussed in that link. Informally, it's often used to mean just a nomad.

      It isn't the Romani's own term for themselves, but "German" isn't the Germans' own term for themselves, either. That doesn't make the word "German" a racial slur. I'm aware that there are some Romani who dislike the word (though even a brief Google search suggests that this view isn't universal), and I wouldn't use it around anyone who objected to it as a matter of simple courtesy. But to make a blanket statement that it is a racial slur, without a shred of qualification, as you just did, requires the Red Queen approach - "words mean what I say they mean".

      If you have a personal objection to the word, fine. If you want to agitate for its replacement in general usage, fine. But you aren't entitled unilaterally to redefine the dictionary (not to mention the British statute book), and then implicitly accuse people of making racial slurs on the basis of that unilateral redefinition.

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      • Originally posted by Sergeant Brother View Post

        In my opinion, doing it right would probably mean not doing it at all. If I want to learn about the Romani people, I’m sure that there are numerous good resources that aren’t RPG books, especially considering their bad history on the topic.
        Also, setting up books up by a singular dedication to an ethnic group is a really weird way to go about writing a tabletop horror rpg.

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        • Originally posted by Saur Ops Specialist View Post

          Also, setting up books up by a singular dedication to an ethnic group is a really weird way to go about writing a tabletop horror rpg.
          And if the book is even close to accurate, where's the "hook"? Given how diverse and internationally dispersed the Romani are, how could it be anything other than "World Of Darkness: A Random Bunch Of People In Different Countries With Not Much In Common Except Some Ancestry A Thousand Years Or So Back"? You'd have to rely heavily on stereotypes to make it even vaguely coherent, which would put you right back to square one.

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          • Originally posted by JezMiller View Post
            No it isn't.

            https://publications.parliament.uk/p.../633/63306.htm

            In some specific contexts, it has been used as a racial slur.
            In the context in which it was used for the title of the book in question, it absolutely was a racial slur.

            Originally posted by epithet
            Unlike the n-word, however, the negativity is entirely contextual, not innate. Fleetwood Mac, for instance, weren't race-baiting. Neither, in the link above, were the British Parliament. It isn't even necessarily a reference to the Romani at all, something also discussed in that link. Informally, it's often used to mean just a nomad.
            Yes, and the word beginning with R that is often used to refer to people with all manner of mental and sometimes social disabilities also has a completely legitimate medical defininition. It’s still a slur. When someone has been hurt by a word, hearing the word used can still open old wounds, even when it is being used in a different context. The effects our words have on people are more important than the intent we put behind them. I’m sure Fleetwood Mac did not intend to hurt anyone with their lyrics, but that lack of intent does not erase any hurt those lyrics unintentionally caused.

            Originally posted by epithet
            It isn't the Romani's own term for themselves, but "German" isn't the Germans' own term for themselves, either. That doesn't make the word "German" a racial slur.
            The word “German” doesn’t have a history of being used to demean or insult German people.

            Originally posted by epithet
            I'm aware that there are some Romani who dislike the word (though even a brief Google search suggests that this view isn't universal), and I wouldn't use it around anyone who objected to it as a matter of simple courtesy. But to make a blanket statement that it is a racial slur, without a shred of qualification, as you just did, requires the Red Queen approach - "words mean what I say they mean".
            I figured you’d be able to assume the implicit “in some contexts, and should therefore be used with great care” in the statement. Sorry if I assumed too much.

            Originally posted by epithet
            If you have a personal objection to the word, fine. If you want to agitate for its replacement in general usage, fine. But you aren't entitled unilaterally to redefine the dictionary (not to mention the British statute book), and then implicitly accuse people of making racial slurs on the basis of that unilateral redefinition.
            I’m not redefining anything. The word in question has a history of use as a racial slur. The title of the book in question used the word in a context that was racially charged. I very much doubt that the writers had a problem with the Romani people. They were just being careless with a word that has teeth and claws. We should endeavor to be more careful with such words.


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            • Originally posted by JezMiller View Post

              No it isn't.

              https://publications.parliament.uk/p.../633/63306.htm

              In some specific contexts, it has been used as a racial slur. Unlike the n-word, however, the negativity is entirely contextual, not innate. Fleetwood Mac, for instance, weren't race-baiting. Neither, in the link above, were the British Parliament. It isn't even necessarily a reference to the Romani at all, something also discussed in that link. Informally, it's often used to mean just a nomad.

              It isn't the Romani's own term for themselves, but "German" isn't the Germans' own term for themselves, either. That doesn't make the word "German" a racial slur. I'm aware that there are some Romani who dislike the word (though even a brief Google search suggests that this view isn't universal), and I wouldn't use it around anyone who objected to it as a matter of simple courtesy. But to make a blanket statement that it is a racial slur, without a shred of qualification, as you just did, requires the Red Queen approach - "words mean what I say they mean".

              If you have a personal objection to the word, fine. If you want to agitate for its replacement in general usage, fine. But you aren't entitled unilaterally to redefine the dictionary (not to mention the British statute book), and then implicitly accuse people of making racial slurs on the basis of that unilateral redefinition.
              I just want to add that it's more or less true. In Hungary, they are the biggest minority and around here, the mostly ones using the word "Roma" and "Romák" (Rromani) are the white, upper middle-class intellectuals, who want to virtue-signal. The people themselves, even their intellectuals and politicians are mostly referring to themselves as "cigányok" (Gypsies), or "cigányság" (I don't know, maybe Gypsy-dom/Gypsy-people), or "cigányember" (Gypsy-man -as in human). They are not objecting to it either, if you are being respectful.

              So, it's not like the n-word, more like the word Jew. You could use it as just a reference for Jewish people, or, you know, as JEW. It's the context that matters.

              As a sidenote, referring to Germans, I have no idea whatsoever, how Magyarország/Magyarok became Hungary/Hungarians...

              Also, just to mention, there's a new book that came out about a month ago there and I'm planning to buy. It's titled "A Szív Vége Cigány Újmesék" roughly translated as "The Heart's End New Gypsy Stories" which contains Gypsy folktales, with very beautiful illustrations adding to it a quite dark-ish Carpathian look, with tons of Gypsy folklore elements. https://www.prae.hu/news/34002-cigan...ti-bemutatoja/

              What I want to say, that WW did a book called "WoD: Gypsies" is not a problem. That their took on Gypsies was essentially more akin to Ravenloft's Vistani was a problem. The Vistani are okay, in my eyes, because it's a fantasy world and they are deliberately stereotypical magical wandering Gypsies (and maybe the most powerfull beings of ravenloft). WoD, on the other hand, should have used a lot more honest approach to a book like that, actually using Gypsy and Eastern-European folklore. Okay, it was written by Americans, with limited knowledge, before the widespread internet, so I'm totally not mad at them about it, like some other people. But I agree with Martin, a book like that is totally doable, you just have to put in actual research, or ask something who is actually know what they're talking about, regarding the topic.


              Last edited by PMárk; 10-18-2018, 04:56 PM.


              If nothing worked, then let's think!

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              • Also, it didn1t came up in any of the topics, but anyone has any idea why Tobias resigned as a CEO of WW?


                If nothing worked, then let's think!

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                • Originally posted by Sergeant Brother View Post
                  In my opinion, doing it right would probably mean not doing it at all. If I want to learn about the Romani people, I’m sure that there are numerous good resources that aren’t RPG books, especially considering their bad history on the topic.
                  There are also numerous treatises about the Holocaust, but Charnel Houses of Europe is still hailed as a pretty good book. Having failed before is certainly a reason to try to do better in the future and the medium of RPG is suited to explore other perspectives like few others.
                  Last edited by Cifer; 10-18-2018, 06:14 PM.

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                  • Originally posted by Charlaquin View Post
                    When someone has been hurt by a word, hearing the word used can still open old wounds, even when it is being used in a different context. The effects our words have on people are more important than the intent we put behind them.

                    I’m not redefining anything. The word in question has a history of use as a racial slur. The title of the book in question used the word in a context that was racially charged. I very much doubt that the writers had a problem with the Romani people. They were just being careless with a word that has teeth and claws. We should endeavor to be more careful with such words.
                    I have some sympathy with that argument. What makes me pause, though, is that we cannot always predict the effects our words have on others. Yes, anyone who hasn't been living under a rock for the last fifty years can reasonably predict that the n-word would be offensive and hurtful. It has nothing but negative connotations.

                    Such is not the case with this word. It has a neutral dictionary definition as a term for either Romani or nomad. It has a specific meaning in British law. It is, from the brief reading I've done, used by some Romani to refer to themselves. As for myself, the first thing that comes into my mind when I hear it is a picture of one of those gorgeous painted caravans, then violin music, camp fires, lots of gold jewelry. No doubt all that's about as accurate as assuming that I have a secret plan for world domination just because I have an English accent, but inaccurate isn't the same as insulting or demeaning.

                    Allowing that the word has a history of (mis)use as a racial slur, it also has a far larger history as a perfectly neutral term for a particular ethic/cultural subgroup - witness, for instance, the UK parliamentary proceedings which I linked above.You object to the word and read many negative connotations into it, but your view isn't so widely shared that it's fair or reasonable to read malice into someone else's use of it. Regarding the Oxford English dictionary as more authoritative than the opinions of an unsavory mob of white supremacist thugs is hardly reprehensible.

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                    • Originally posted by JezMiller View Post
                      I have some sympathy with that argument. What makes me pause, though, is that we cannot always predict the effects our words have on others. Yes, anyone who hasn't been living under a rock for the last fifty years can reasonably predict that the n-word would be offensive and hurtful. It has nothing but negative connotations.

                      Such is not the case with this word.
                      Yes, lack of awareness that this word is quite hurtful to many is a problem. Ignoring the harm it can do, or arguing against people who describe it as a slur does not help solve that problem.

                      Originally posted by JezMiller View Post
                      It has a neutral dictionary definition as a term for either Romani or nomad. It has a specific meaning in British law. It is, from the brief reading I've done, used by some Romani to refer to themselves. As for myself, the first thing that comes into my mind when I hear it is a picture of one of those gorgeous painted caravans, then violin music, camp fires, lots of gold jewelry. No doubt all that's about as accurate as assuming that I have a secret plan for world domination just because I have an English accent, but inaccurate isn't the same as insulting or demeaning.
                      Legal language is often out of date with sociopolitical movements, and there will always be members of marginalized groups who reclaim slurs for themselves. That does not make it ok for people outside those groups to use the reclaimed slur. In general, don’t use bullying words unless you know how it feels to be called by them with malice. And the image you describe is tied to a lot of negative stereotypes about Romani.

                      Originally posted by JezMiller View Post
                      Allowing that the word has a history of (mis)use as a racial slur, it also has a far larger history as a perfectly neutral term for a particular ethic/cultural subgroup - witness, for instance, the UK parliamentary proceedings which I linked above.You object to the word and read many negative connotations into it, but your view isn't so widely shared that it's fair or reasonable to read malice into someone else's use of it.
                      I do not read malice into anyone’s use of the term unless the context clearly indicates malice. I read either ignorance or carelessness towards the word’s ugly history.

                      Originally posted by JezMiller View Post
                      Regarding the Oxford English dictionary as more authoritative than the opinions of an unsavory mob of white supremacist thugs is hardly reprehensible.
                      OED isn’t really authoritative at all. It’s descriptive of the way words are used. Yes, the word in question is often used without malice, but it is never used without the baggage attached to its use as a slur, and it is often used without knowledge of or care for that baggage, which it should not be.


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                      • Originally posted by Sergeant Brother View Post
                        In my opinion, doing it right would probably mean not doing it at all. If I want to learn about the Romani people, I’m sure that there are numerous good resources that aren’t RPG books, especially considering their bad history on the topic.
                        I generally agree, but I think there's a more nuanced discussion on whether or not "doing it right" is worth attempting than simply updating the old book to the new rules.

                        ------

                        Of course, I hate when WOD:G* gets compared to Charnel Houses of Europe. Charnel Houses wasn't WOD: Jews. One is a book that decided a single minority group that happens to feature heavily in a number of inspirational material for the WoD (not necessarily in a good way). One is a book about a historical event that had a huge impact on the course of history.

                        Both subject matters are difficult to get right, and WW got one wrong and one right. But there's a massive difference between what it takes to get them right, and if it's worth trying to.

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                        • Originally posted by PMárk View Post
                          Also, it didn1t came up in any of the topics, but anyone has any idea why Tobias resigned as a CEO of WW?
                          The announcement and tweets from Tobias referenced something about (and I'm paraphrasing) "disagreements with future developments of the company".

                          So if we take that at its word, probably has nothing to do with the controversies directly associated with V5 and its corebook. Simply just on how the company will proceed from there.

                          (and speaking of which, last I checked, there hasn't been any notable updates on Camarilla V5 and Anarchs V5, right? no narrowed release window apart from "Fall 2018"?)

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                          • Originally posted by tasti man LH View Post

                            The announcement and tweets from Tobias referenced something about (and I'm paraphrasing) "disagreements with future developments of the company".

                            So if we take that at its word, probably has nothing to do with the controversies directly associated with V5 and its corebook. Simply just on how the company will proceed from there.

                            (and speaking of which, last I checked, there hasn't been any notable updates on Camarilla V5 and Anarchs V5, right? no narrowed release window apart from "Fall 2018"?)
                            Apropos of this, most people are thinking Tobias' leaving more coincides with the appointment of a new Paradox CEO, based on the timing. But we won't know until someone decides to talk about it.

                            And there have been updates on the Cam and Anarch books. From a Modiphius email:
                            "Hi there, as a pre-order customer here's a quick update on shipping for the next wave of Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition releases as we close on the Fall.
                            The Camarilla & Anarchsupplements are in layout and we expect to send out PDF's on White Wolf's approval in October once the books go to print. As advertised the slipcases or bundles including them will ship in November (we expect 3rd or 4th week of November as they're due to arrive around the 15th).
                            The Notebooks and Story Tellers' Screen are at the printers - we expect those to also arrive at the warehouse in mid November.
                            The Dice Sets have completed production in China and were due to arrive sooner however the shipping was unable to leave before the Chinese National Holiday which finishes on October 10th. We expect they should also arrive mid November meaning all final pre-order shipments will be shipping out in the last two weeks of November.

                            Last edited by thebiglarpnerd; 10-18-2018, 10:26 PM.

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                            • Originally posted by Charlaquin View Post
                              Yes, lack of awareness that this word is quite hurtful to many is a problem. Ignoring the harm it can do, or arguing against people who describe it as a slur does not help solve that problem.

                              Legal language is often out of date with sociopolitical movements, and there will always be members of marginalized groups who reclaim slurs for themselves. That does not make it ok for people outside those groups to use the reclaimed slur. In general, don’t use bullying words unless you know how it feels to be called by them with malice. And the image you describe is tied to a lot of negative stereotypes about Romani.
                              But this is where we came in. It isn't a slur, or a "bullying" word. Not according to the dictionary. Not according to common understanding. Not according to the British statute book. You even see it used, for pity's sake, on web pages giving advice on racial discrimination:-

                              https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/la...iscrimination/

                              And as PMark pointed out, many of those who use it to refer to themselves aren't "reclaiming a slur". They're simply using a non-pejorative word to mean what it actually means, according to law, dictionary and common usage, rather than what you're arguing that it means, or ought to mean.

                              Yes, the meaning of words changes over time - as a child I owned a book called "The Gay Dolphin Adventure" (not what it sounds like to the modern ear). But that's not what's happening here. This isn't an organic evolution of language, this is, more or less, an attempt by a minority strand of opinion (or a "sociopolitical movement", if you prefer) to force a re-writing of the dictionary. (And the statute book, and the common understanding of meaning). Since the word would not be hurtful without that forced re-writing, arguing against it seems at least as constructive a response as trying to push it.

                              Originally posted by Charlaquin View Post
                              I do not read malice into anyone’s use of the term unless the context clearly indicates malice. I read either ignorance or carelessness towards the word’s ugly history.

                              OED isn’t really authoritative at all. It’s descriptive of the way words are used. Yes, the word in question is often used without malice, but it is never used without the baggage attached to its use as a slur, and it is often used without knowledge of or care for that baggage, which it should not be.
                              No, a dictionary describes what words mean, not how they're used. And the word doesn't have an ugly history. There is an ugly history of prejudice and discrimination towards the people it refers to, and it has indeed been in the expression of that prejudice. There is also an ugly history of prejudice and discrimination towards Jews. And "Jew" has also been used as a slur. Dirty Jew, thieving Jew, yadda, yadda. But that doesn't make it a racial slur. It has no innate baggage. The negativity is purely contextual.

                              You're conflating the word with the history. And you might have noticed that I'm deliberately refraining from using it out of respect for your sensitivities. But that conflation is a matter of personal perspective, not an inherent quality of the word itself, and saying that it is never used without baggage is going too far. It can be, and it is, that web site above being just one example.

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                              • Originally posted by JezMiller View Post
                                But this is where we came in. It isn't a slur, or a "bullying" word.
                                It is absolutely a bullying word. It is a word used, among other things, to bully and belittle Roma.

                                Originally posted by JezMiller View Post
                                Not according to the dictionary. Not according to common understanding. Not according to the British statute book.

                                You even see it used, for pity's sake, on web pages giving advice on racial discrimination:-

                                https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/la...iscrimination/
                                Dictionaries take time to catch up with language as it is actually used. Common understanding is lacking, and excusing the use of words that marginalize and demean is counterproductive to the aim of improving common understanding. The British statute book is contributing to systematic discrimination. And I don’t know who made that website, but they should have done better. This all comes down to the is-ought problem. Just because a the word is commonly used does not mean it ought to be.

                                Originally posted by JezMiller View Post
                                And as PMark pointed out, many of those who use it to refer to themselves aren't "reclaiming a slur". They're simply using a non-pejorative word to mean what it actually means, according to law, dictionary and common usage, rather than what you're arguing that it means, or ought to mean.
                                They are reclaiming the slur. They are using in self-reference a word that is used by others to denegrate them. And that is absolutely their perogative. But as someone who has not experienced the harm this word can cause, I do not use it.

                                Words with teeth and claws will bite and scratch whether we mean them to or not, and as such should always be used with care. Non-Roma lack the proper context to treat the word with the care it deserves.

                                Originally posted by JezMiller View Post
                                Yes, the meaning of words changes over time - as a child I owned a book called "The Gay Dolphin Adventure" (not what it sounds like to the modern ear). But that's not what's happening here. This isn't an organic evolution of language, this is, more or less, an attempt by a minority strand of opinion (or a "sociopolitical movement", if you prefer) to force a re-writing of the dictionary. (And the statute book, and the common understanding of meaning). Since the word would not be hurtful without that forced re-writing, arguing against it seems at least as constructive a response as trying to push it.
                                It is not re-writing anything. The word has been and is used to hurt. That hurt would still exist with or without people raising awareness of the hurt that it causes (or “forced re-writing,” if you prefer).

                                Originally posted by JezMiller View Post
                                No, a dictionary describes what words mean, not how they're used.
                                And from where are those meanings derived?

                                Originally posted by JezMiller View Post
                                And the word doesn't have an ugly history. There is an ugly history of prejudice and discrimination towards the people it refers to, and it has indeed been in the expression of that prejudice.
                                Tomato, tomahto. The people have been and are descriminated against. The word has been and is used to express that predjudice. That baggage is carried with the word, regardless of whether the user intends to assign it that baggage or not.

                                Originally posted by JezMiller View Post
                                There is also an ugly history of prejudice and discrimination towards Jews. And "Jew" has also been used as a slur. Dirty Jew, thieving Jew, yadda, yadda.
                                Yeah, and you shouldn’t call Jewish people by it if you don’t know how it feels to be called one. It’s not that complicated.

                                Originally posted by JezMiller View Post
                                But that doesn't make it a racial slur. It has no innate baggage. The negativity is purely contextual.
                                This is just not true. I am not Jewish, so I can’t speak to that. But I can say, the word transvestite is hurtful to hear. People who have no problem with transgender people often use it, unaware that it is hurtful, but their lack of awareness doesn’t take the hurt away. I can’t watch Rocky Horror Picture Show any more. The film has been very important to me, and I still appreciate for that, but I just can’t grin and bear certain parts of it any more. The baggage outweighs the context. I know the film wasn’t made with malice towards transgender people; quite the contrary. But it was made without due care. Now, I can’t know how other bullying words feel to the people they have been used against. But I do know the experience of being hurt by words said without intent to hurt. And I don’t want to inflict pain on others without meaning to. So I don’t use words that have teeth and claws.

                                Originally posted by JezMiller View Post
                                You're conflating the word with the history.
                                The history of the word’s use cannot be divorced from the word itself.

                                Originally posted by JezMiller View Post
                                And you might have noticed that I'm deliberately refraining from using it out of respect for your sensitivities.
                                I did, and I appreciate that.

                                Originally posted by JezMiller View Post
                                But that conflation is a matter of personal perspective, not an inherent quality of the word itself, and saying that it is never used without baggage is going too far. It can be, and it is, that web site above being just one example.
                                No, that website is an example of the word being used without intent to assign that baggage to the word. But intent does not matter. All that matters is the effects words have on listeners (or readers). That website may well be painful to read for some of the very people it aims to support.
                                Last edited by Charlaquin; 10-20-2018, 02:43 AM.


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