Eloquent privilege check by BioWare’s David Gaider

Here courtesy of Ars Marginal reader Immin! David Gaider of BioWare gives a refined smackdown of that whole “they’re the minority so why should they count?” argument. Here’s a taste of the awesomeness:

The majority has no inherent “right” to get more options than anyone else.


And if there is any doubt why such an opinion might be met with hostility, it has to do with privilege. You can write it off as “political correctness” if you wish, but the truth is that privilege always lies with the majority. They’re so used to being catered to that they see the lack of catering as an imbalance. They don’t see anything wrong with having things set up to suit them, what’s everyone’s fuss all about? That’s the way it should be, any everyone else should be used to not getting what they want.

Read the whole thing and the post that started it here.

17 thoughts on “Eloquent privilege check by BioWare’s David Gaider

  1. I’m a little bit confused about how the game works, since I’m not an RPGer, but kudos to David Gaider. I clicked the link and read the “well gay players are probably only 5% so why should we accommodate them?” argument, and I found it both eyeroll-inducing and very telling that the commenter basically said that the game creators should tailor their game to the “enjoyment” of the majority, i.e., straight male gamers. What about the possibility of same-sex romances lessens straight male enjoyment, exactly?

    *The only game that I can compare this to IME is the Sims which had same-sex coupled get “joined” at one point, and now I think they can “marry” under the wedding arch and all of that. I also think one of the pre-set families (couldn’t tell you which version; I’m currently playing The Sims 3) was a set of married dads.

      • Right? It’s… kind of scary how people are ooohing and aaahing over this as if it erases every crappy thing he’s ever said and/or every crappy thing Bioware’s ever put in their games.

      • I covered it way back when, but specifically it was this post:

        The qunari are sort of like what you’d get if you crossed Islam with the Borg. Hmm. *writes that down*

        The Qunari being a race of extremist noble savages. Who have horns. Who are all violent.

  2. His response was wonderful now if only somebody will respond to why the only important dark skinned female was lightened to a milky white complexion in some promotional ads I would be satisfied.

    Along with the fact that the dark skinned female will be perceived as and is(look at Bioware’s forum comments) the “whore”(one part of the game that’s supposed to be funny is her basically asking Anders if he knew how to magically cure a std/itch she has) in Dragon Age 2 “whore/virgin” female love interests dichotomy. The “virginal” love interest Merrill is a white/Welsh elf who fits the so-naive-and-new-to-the world-she-should-be-dead-by-now archetype despite being a bookworm. I heard that Bioware does that a lot.

    Isabelle doesn’t even get to wear pants for goodness sake!

    • It’s probably a moot point, but Hawke and his/her entire family can be dark skinned if the player desires it.

      Yes, the fact that Isabela is dark-skinned, “whorish”, and a pirate is problematic, but I must admit that she is one of my favourite characters (saying this as a white bisexual female). Sure, she does blatantly pander to the mostly straight male fanbase. She has lots of sex and has done some questionable things, but the thing is that she…doesn’t really care if anyone thinks ill of her. It is unfortunate that her sex life is played for laughs, although I confess that part of the reason I liked her so much is because she’s one of the few kinky characters (if her banter is anything to go by) I’ve encountered who isn’t a villain.

      As for Merrill, she’s definitely NOT entirely innocent! She may appear to be at first (she is certainly very naive), but she has blood on her hands, and she makes some very (IMO) stupid decisions off-camera before you meet up with her.

      Also, I feel I should point out that, out of the men, Fenris has slightly darker skin, but he has his own set of issues (former slave, illiterate, though you can teach him to read, but that’s also problematic, very, very angry). Sebastian appears to be Hispanic, and he’s actually pretty “normal” compared to the other characters.

      Obviously, the writers are learning from their mistakes (making most of the romance options available for both male and female characters is a good start), but I think that, despite the labels the fanbase might slap on a character, every single one has depth to them.

      • That’s good to know because I still have a raging urge to play Dragon Age Origins and Dragon Age 2(Gotta have my fantasy but I’m not gonna ignore everything) . I’m just gonna wait till the price goes down and stay away from the majority of the fans/Bioware forums.

        The fact that somebody made a mod to change the color of Isabela’s skin and how much of a turn-off some players find her dark skin is just too much for me. The majority of the white, male, gamer fanbase is to much for me.

      • Fenris looks like a white dude with a tan to me, not an actual POC.

        (I also don’t agree about the depth of Bioware characters since I’ve got nothing but contempt for Bioware writing, but that’s neither here nor there.)

          • The trend of white characters with tans masquerading as characters of color bothers the shit out of me. It’s not even hard to tell, usually. Are people, like, blind?

            Shit, look at this huge picture. His eye color? Gray. (He also looks incredibly hideous, but then so does everyone else in that clusterfuck of a game.)

        • Oh yes! Lets not forget that Fenris is a slave on the run from the man who “marked” his skin. Tanned white dude with a runaway slave story. Really, Bioware? Are there any elves who don’t have white features or do all the elves come out of the white civilized areas? I guess I can be happy they didn’t include any dark elves that are dark because they did something bad.

          The only reason they made him tanned in the first place was probably so they can give him white tattoos/markings. The rule of cool rules all.

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