On Playing A Racist

By Wesley James Young

Those of you who have been watching Monday Night Heroes, know that one of the characters in the Masks of Nyarlahotep campaign, and possible two if what I hear about the game I missed are to be believed, is a racist. John Allen Randolph of Roanoke is an arrogant, monomaniacal, beneficiary of slave holding ancestors who would gut every amendment after the 10th if given half a chance. He is a romantic crushed by familiar pressures, the horrors of war, and the criminalization of his very existence. Is he a tragic hero or merely a tragedy of humanity? It is only with this piteous attempt at nuance that I can comfortably play this man.

But what is in me that could birth this character? Those who know me know that I am a conservative, a lover of the classics, a history buff—especially of the civil war, and also black. Many of the very things I love were born of men who may not have recognized my humanity, much less my dignity, were we to meet on the street. But love these things I do. So I must eternally face this truth. Clearly I love Lovecraft, a man who denied that foreigners had dreams, otherwise why would I game in a sandbox he helped to build. I love conservatism enough to name my character after John Randolph of Roanoke, a conservative’s conservative and a proud slave holder. I also love digression and not reaching a point as much as John does but that is not pertinent to this paragraph.

If I can force myself to have a point, it must be that my portrayal of John is recognition of the darker aspects of my loves and is done with the knowledge of my walking a fine line. I do not use the N word as my own upbringing and basic decorum make that unspeakable, but John does make sure to tip that bell boy.

It also depends on your group as well. Mine is a fine bunch of people whose cast of moral reprobates serves, oddly enough, as moral contrast to this bastion of southern glory. But remember, if no one else at your table has fun when you do a character, it defeats the purpose. Anyway, thank you for reading, and please continue to watch our motley crew bring ruin to the earth or the stars above. Probably both.

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