I am heartless and insensitive, part 5


Categories: Personal Politics

I play video games. I play, in fact, roleplaying computer games. When I play MMOs, I tend to play them in-character. But sometimes… the character is, perhaps, not totally serious. So I used to have a character in WoW named Merisioux. And when I stopped playing WoW because of their horrific record of giving no fucks about trans people and queers, I continued playing characters named that in other MMOs.

Well, Rift has gotten to the point where the addon development tools are adequate to allow us to create addons that let us share made-up biographies and the like with people. And since someone in WoW had already used the name Mary Sue for such a thing, I decided to name mine Merisioux.

I have now been chewed out for this because it is deeply inappropriate, and not funny. Because I’m not Sioux. And given how badly white people treated the Native Americans, it’s completely inappropriate for me to ever use the name of an ethnic grouping (or cultural; my attempts to figure out the boundaries on Wikipedia have mostly just left me aware that I do not understand how humans define group membership) as part of a pun. It is the hoosegow for me, where I will be trapped in a room with Siouxsie and the Banshees.

Seriously, I am all for being careful about things, but there is sort of a continuum here, ranging from “being forcibly offended despite your best efforts to avoid it” through “taking offense” through “sending out teams of experienced scouts to find some offense and claim it”.

Comments [archived]

From: Catsidhe
Date: 2012-03-30 20:15:15 -0500

Someone had better tell Siouxsie and the Banshees.

From: kaji
Date: 2012-03-31 18:27:34 -0500

offense is the best defense, but it should never be taken lightly.
sorry, i’ll stop making bad puns now :P

In all honesty though, most jokes will be found offensive by someone out there, even if they are not meant to be and won’t be seen as such by 99% of people.
I just tend to try and minimize any possible offense and hope i get it right.
Oddly, I usually find that the people who take offense usually have little or no connection to the group on whose behalf they are offended.

From: Dave Leppik
Date: 2012-04-03 16:01:37 -0500

There’s no pleasing everyone. Consider the Fighting Sioux controversy, where two Sioux tribes had to agree that it’s not offensive for the university to keep that name for their sports teams. Each tribe had a vote, and one found it offensive. Many Sioux are proud of the name.

I don’t think anyone liked my idea that, since the vast majority of North Dakotans are white, they should call them the Fighting Whiteies.