First it is important to clarify a few terms and concepts. Strainism and the concepts of Strains in the Dystopia Rising universe are not meant to be direct reference to races or racism found in the real modern world. Strains in the Dystopia Rising universe are written without any sort of markers or visual cues that are intended to make direct connections between real world cultures and the Strains of the fictional post-fall world. However this intent is often missed by players. Natural Ones are frequently portrayed as Native American, Genjin as Asian, and RedStars as Russian. These references are not the intended content of the game materials, and if the source material of the world is reviewed, one would find that cultural customs, genetic mutations, and origins that would not be found in real world Races are the items that make up the culture and growth that defines a Strain. However, the cultural references that define a Strain are the sort of things people are used to finding as definition of race in stories, games, and other media. In the alternate history of DR strains developed regionally often influenced by environmental factors, much as races have in the real world. Some strains even draw on real world history as a precursor background for DR's alternate one.

Second, the result is that many players emulate racial relations using Strain. From stereotyping and Strainism, to costuming and character concepts. Players use Strain, even when they are not direct analogues, to play out stories that run parallel to the experience of Race. For some this is unconscious, for some it is intentional. It is why we need to have this conversation about not drawing direct comparisons between Strains and Races is needed. Despite the fact that the Strains are not designed or intended to be direct parallels we find that player will ask Indigenous people for to respectfully portray Natural Ones. It is why players have asked Asians Americans how to respectfully portray Genjin. Conscious or not, intentional or not, this is something that is taking place.

Strains aren't meant to refer to specific races. Strains are not intended to be an alibi to appropriate real world cultures or to engage in racist activity under the veil of "world interpretation". In Dystopia Rising you need to be aware that the way you are presenting yourself and your character is not insulting the histories, cultures, and struggles found in the real world.  Ensure that if you do take any inspiration from historical or modern cultural events that you acknowledging that real world (cultural and racial) experiences are drawn on you are showing respect for them, and attempting to appreciate rather than appropriate. Respect the limitations that others may have in regards to this sort of subject matter, and, ensure that you play the content of these sorts of stories to the most conservative comfort level of those present or involved. 

Treat the dark subject matter of the post-apocalyptic world with the respect and maturity it deserves and it will not only enrich the experiences of all players involved, but will also ensure that we can have a community that respects the limitations and boundaries that people may have in regards to incredibly charged content. 

 

 

Special thanks to Adam Underwood for taking the time to help express this
complex idea and opening conversation.

 

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