Publisher Board & Dice decided to suspend all future collaboration and work with their top designer Daniele Tascini because of his racist remarks. Tascini had argued that orcs in a fantasy setting are not representing people of colour in society, but an expression of the dark forces heroes have to oppose. Be that as it may, it's food for thought for us board game players if maybe green is the new black. He went on to saying that words only have meaning within context - and here things went very wrong.
While he doesn't call any of his friends black (as their skin can have all hues), there are some he'll call "negroes", or like Google Translate prefers, "niggas". So. Are we still discussing a philosophical question here? Does the word have another meaning among Italian friends, than among US people of colour? Board & Dice thinks not.
"we unequivocally condemn all aspects and acts of racism, intended or not, including comments, epithets, slurs, jokes, or other language which is considered hateful, inappropriate, or unwanted by the group of people such words are referring to. (...) whether harm was intended or not, the first reaction must be to acknowledge wrongdoing, followed by an immediate and sincere apology. (...)
This was the second offense Tascini committed. He thought Board & Dice reached out to him to discuss the subject, and started to explain the context of his words and what they mean in Italy. No. No. No. Immediate is immediate. "I'm sorry" should have been his first words. Board & Dice shoots first, asks questions later. Scratch that. There is no question.
"While we are under contractual obligation to continue to support previously released board games designed by Mr. Tascini, we will not consider any future designs of his for publication."
Oh, sure. But they are under no contractual obligation to make any more profit from these games. They can give all further publisher's income to grassroots groups in Italy that try to raise BLM consciousness. I totally understand that losing profit from Teotihuacan, Trismegistus and Tekhenu and any expansions is tough. I mean, it's a bummer going back to Multiuniversum, SUPERHOT and A4 Quest. But they have a lot of talent left. I mean, if you can bring a Yedo: Deluxe to Kickstarter twice, what's stopping you from doing it again? Or wait, maybe deluxify another game? There, I just gave them free consultancy.
They're taking a tough stance, and if I was their CEO I would be sick to my stomach to know I was making any more money by selling those T-games. Give away your money. Put a sticker on reprints: "Warning: designed by a despicable Italian pig".
I am a European citizen. I know I'm sexist and racist and ethnocentric. It's what made Europe great, it's in our culture, it's how I've been raised. But knowing this about myself, and knowing I'll make the most horrible mistakes nearly every day, is a first step for opening up to others. Listening. Acting. I sincerely hope Board & Dice not just condemns their designers but takes a look in the mirror as well.