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Wednesday, November 6, 2019

"It's in Karate"

“Can I get Oracle text for this card. It’s in karate.”

At SCG Atlanta, a player said this to a judge, asking about Oracle text for their opponent’s Japanese Saheeli, Sublime Artificer. The judge, in addition to providing the Oracle text, issued an Unsporting Conduct Minor to the player. After consultation with the Head Judge and tournament staff, which included myself, the infraction was changed to Unsporting Conduct Major, a more serious infraction as the penalty goes from what was a Warning to a Match Loss. Before going any further, I want to post the definition of USC Major from the Infraction Procedure Guide.

“A player takes action towards one or more individuals that could reasonably be expected to create a feeling of being harassed, threatened, bullied, or stalked. This may include insults based on race, color, religion, national origin, age, gender, disability, or sexual orientation. Threats of physical violence should be treated as Unsporting Conduct – Aggressive Behavior.
It is possible for an offender to commit this infraction without intending malice or harm to the subject of the harassment.”

Furthermore, the first example for the infraction is: “A player uses a racial slur against their opponent.”

Given all of this information, I want to start by acknowledging that this phrase is not a slur. However, the example is just that, an example, and it should not be used as a demarcation line of what is acceptable. That is to say, just because the example states that a slur is an example of USC Major, that doesn’t mean that anything below a slur is not. There is a wide sampling of unacceptable behavior, and no document could hope to document and categorize all of it, and even less so of coming up with a widely accepted scale with an established minimum line.

If not a slur, I would characterize this phrase as is a racial charicature based on historical stereotypes. Karate obviously isn’t a language; it’s a martial art form from Japan. That the card was also in Japanese could be an indication that the player knew this and was drawing a direct line between them in this way. In some ways, this would have been better, and in others worse. Also, it isn’t the correctness of the relationship between the word karate and the language of the card that is of importance here.

I’m going to talk a little bit about my personal experiences growing up in the United States as a Japanese person. For East Asians (Japanese, Chinese, and Korean), there’s a blending that tends to take place in the eyes of Americans. Of course, the same no doubt happens to Southeast Asians as well, but in my personal experience, there is this divide, probably because of an overall difference in skin tone (Yay! America), similarities/differences in language and culture, and historical patterns of immigration. A few examples of this blending that I’ve dealt with all my life:
“You all look the same.”
“Are you Chinese/Korean?”
Attributing things that are culturally or historically a part of another nation’s heritage to yours. Given the ascent of Japanese manga and anime, I imagine this was a bigger problem for non-Japanese Asians.

In the eyes of Americans, we all fit neatly under one umbrella and share certain traits. We like anime. We are shorter. We are good at math. We know martial arts.

Ah, yes. Here we are. All Asians know martial arts. This is a pervasive stereotype. It didn’t help that I grew up during the prominence of the original Karate Kid movie series. Hence, “Do you know karate?” was all too common of a question, often accompanied by an open palm kata and a “Hi-ya!” Not only is this a really broad brush to paint with in general, but recall that karate is a Japanese martial art. Kung fu is Chinese, and tae kwon do is Korean. Despite these distinctions, it isn’t outside the realm of possibility for people of any of these races to be asked about a martial art from another country because “we’re all the same.”

This blending is so bad that the remake of the Karate Kid starring Jackie Chan and Jayden Smith took place in China and featured kung fu rather than karate. But due to the strength of the brand, they kept the name of the movie and saw no problem in the complete erasure of cultural distinction. Can you imagine if a King Arthur movie inexplicably took place in France? This is what it’s like to be Asian, where “Asian” takes precedence over an individual national/cultural identity.

This blending erasure is by no means exclusive to Asians. The Unites States’s original sin of slavery completely obliterated any connection that many black Americans can have to their nations of origin in Africa. And “Middle Eastern” is another broad stroke that is currently used to cover dozens of unique cultures.

Returning to the original statement, and the definition of the infraction, some of you may be asking whether this is an insult. If this is an insult, who was the player insulting? The opponent was not Asian. Neither was the responding judge. Is the player insulting the card? (No.) Or are they insulting all Asians? (Maybe closest to the truth.) It’s a stereotype, and a very bad faith one at that.

Stereotypes hurt. It is an insult to be lumped and judged, and especially so for immutable traits, which is why the whole idea of protected classes exist. I can’t help being Japanese, and thus I will always be a target for this type of thing. This can be true even for supposedly positive stereotypes. “Asians are good at math” is one I mentioned earlier. This one was even true for me growing up as I took college-level calculus courses while still in high school. But again, accuracy isn’t the benchmark of harm here, and even though it is positive to be good at math, my white classmates who also took college math classes didn’t have to deal with this type of stereotyping. They were good at math on their own merits, not because of a broad categorization of their race. This doesn’t begin to address how harmful the stereotype is to an Asian who isn’t good at math.

It’s already an erasure to be stereotyped as Asian, a category that already erases one’s individual nationality. Calling an Asian-language card “in karate” takes that erasure one step further, not even giving it the dignity of a real language, but calling it by a stereotyped trait that itself has a long history of harmful usage as a blending agent against Asians.

One thing that people might bring up is that this seems like a joke, that it was said in jest. No doubt. I spoke to the player after the (revised) ruling was given, and they said as much, that it was something that they said around the kitchen table with their friends, and it slipped out. Recall the last sentence of the definition for USC Major: “It is possible for an offender to commit this infraction without intending malice or harm to the subject of the harassment..” After speaking to the player, I believe that they did not have a malicious intent, that it was just a joke.

I get it. I myself have made jokes like this about myself. That doesn’t make it okay, and in fact it points to a larger issue with these types of caricatures. When minorities make self-deprecating jokes about themselves, they are reinforcing and justifying the bigotry of the majority in order to fit in. “Hey, look, I can laugh at myself. You should laugh at me too. Just don’t oppress me in a more malicious way please.” The United States has a complex history of this wherein various racial or ethnic minorities have gone through periods of mockery prior to being assimilated into the general white hegemony. Think about groups like Poles, Italians, and Irish. The remnants of these jokes may seem harmless now, but there were times when they were much more malicious.

Bad taste jokes will likely always be a part of our culture, and I don’t care much what you do in your private circles. But I will say that this player’s admitted normalization of such jokes among their friends led directly to this slip up that came at the cost of a Match Loss. Like any habit, if you make a habit of shitty behavior, it’s more likely to come up. People who use slurs say that they slipped up. That’s true to an extent, but what it means is that they use those slurs in private, and slipped up in using it in a more public setting. And if you use slurs or make bad taste jokes about race, gender, religion, etc at a Magic event, you can expect a penalty.

Postscript: After writing this, I sent a draft to the player, and I’ve been engaged with them in a dialogue about race, self-deprecating jokes, and where the lines are for acceptable behavior at Magic events. To me, this is the most important aspect of this story, that this player can slip up and be punished, but be able to turn around and focus on becoming part of the solution. My publication of this isn’t meant as an attack on the player. I have intentionally kept their identity out of it, and if you are aware of those details, I would ask that you do the same.


66 comments:

  1. “A player takes action towards one or more individuals that could reasonably be expected to create a feeling of being harassed, threatened, bullied, or stalked."

    The rules are very clear that this is the policy, and the further text clarifies this rule, if I am not mistaken. It is clear that the harassment, being threatening, or stalking didn't happen, so you must be interpreting this as bullying. I just cannot see how this behavior is "bullying" by any stretch of the imagination. Being offended is an arbitrary metric to try and gauge bullying. Could I view someone saying they view my preferred political party candidate is a tyrant or someone saying white people are oppressors as bullying? I don't think so. I honestly think you all are looking for a way to be offended and you bent the rules to suit your oversensitive psyche. If these rules were applied this liberally, any statement potentially deemed offensive by any potential person at a magic event would require a game loss. You won't enforce rules like this, for obvious reasons, but since you're Japanese, you unfairly enforced the rules in this case when in many others you wouldn't have. Try and stop being outraged for a second, read the language of the rules, realize how your loose interpretation could apply to a variety of clearly inoffensive corner cases, and revise your opinion on this to be in line with the rules, and basic logic. As a regular magic player for over a decade, this ruling made me not want to go to magic events. The only Asian people besides you at the event were literally memeing by miming karate chops in the event hall. You're in the wrong here Riki.

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    1. I'm kind of shocked by this reply. It's both inaccurate (that Riki was wrong) and pretty insensitive to the topic being presented.

      The player jokingly used there incorrect word, but knew enough to have used a word is connected and can be offensive. The player could have easily chosen a word that is accurate or no word at all.

      It's okay to disagree with a ruling, and even have a discussion about it. It's also important to have those discussions at the appropriate time and place.

      Mr. Anonymous, you both have awful timing, and no way to identify yourself to continue a dialogue and try and grow the overall understanding of the rules and policy.

      I apologise if I come off a little harsh, but this comment is pretty off the mark on a lot of ways

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    2. Well, maybe if there wasn't a lynch mob ready for anyone who disagrees with the hysteria more people would be willing to put their name on it.

      The judge staff wasted a chance at an educational moment.
      Instead, you made an example out of a person over a joke that no one was offended by until you found someone to be.

      If I want to only play with cards of "Back to Back World War Champs, sorry, don't like losers" is that gonna get me DQ'ed?

      I might offend someone with my joke.

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    3. Kyle, address my response and quote the rules/my statement if you think youre in the right. But you cant, so you just dismiss it as bigoted or whatever.

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    4. THIS IS A JOKE-----

      If you're offended by the word karate said in a jovial, joking manner you're retarded.

      Retarded :
      "INFORMAL•OFFENSIVE
      very foolish or stupid."

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    5. From the annotated Infraction Procedure Guide on USC-Major: “For the purposes of identifying this infraction, it is important to consider whether or not a player’s conduct toward others might reasonably be expected to cause any of the above-listed feelings, and not necessarily that anybody has been actually made to feel any of those ways.”

      The policy does not require that the action be taken directly to or in the presence of the individuals who would be harmed by its use. If it did, we'd be encouraging a culture where slurs and demeaning rhetoric can be shared just out of earshot of anyone who could potentially be personally offended.

      That's not the purpose of Unsporting Conduct penalties. They are in place to support and defend a welcoming and inclusive environment. Growing our community, bringing a wider diversity of people into the fold, and not tolerating behavior that does otherwise are all in the best interests of the group as a whole, and especially WotC's bottom line. Please accept that these policies will not be regressing, ever.

      Using "karate" to refer to an Asian language is harassment, plain and simple. It is a targeted insult that negatively removes cultural identity from multiple minority groups. It is also wholly unnecessary! "It's in karate" was added without benefit to the request for what the player needed.

      Critically, that behavior doesn't happen in a vacuum. Regardless of how innocuous or innocent a "joke" like that seems, it says something about that person to anyone that hears it or hears of it. It says that people who are already part of our community can casually throw around insults towards minority groups. It makes people who identify as minorities take notice, even if only subconsciously, that this community tolerates and possibly welcomes this behavior.

      Worst of all, it empowers other members of our community to perform acts like these as well, knowing they will be tolerated further. As with all tolerated behavior in a society, certain people will slowly increase the frequency and degree to which they take it. They will eventually get some pushback, but who can predict at what point that will be? In some venues that foster inclusiveness, maybe immediately. In other locales where diversity is actively discouraged, maybe it doesn't come until everyone other than white males are driven out with targeted in-person and online harassment.

      The line has been drawn by our community leaders and the publisher themselves, with innumerable supporting members. We are willing to lose those who would prevent our community from welcoming everyone. Behavior that creeps in that direction will be cut short, because even that behavior is already capable of disenfranchising people.

      As to whether it should have been USC-Minor? No, it was Major. USC-Minor covers "disruptive" behavior (leaving trash, excessive vulgarity, demanding a penalty for an opponent, etc) and not much else. Behavior "that could reasonably be expected to create a feeling of being harassed, threatened, bullied, or stalked" is USC-Major. It specifically states "This may include insults based on race, color, religion, national origin, age, gender, disability, or sexual orientation." USC-Minor has no text even suggesting it applies to behavior of that kind.

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    6. Slippery slope fallacy. Bad logic. Poor understanding of the word harrasment.

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    7. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    8. (Edited based on unknown context)

      Not sure if Kerry is replying to me, or the original reply. Either way, for the word harassment, I'll point to society's most actively refined and community-curated source for knowledge in the 21st century, Wikipedia:

      "Harassment covers a wide range of behaviors of an offensive nature. It is commonly understood as behavior that demeans, humiliates or embarrasses a person, and it is characteristically identified by its unlikelihood in terms of social and moral reasonableness. In the legal sense, these are behaviors that appear to be disturbing, upsetting or threatening. They evolve from discriminatory grounds, and have an effect of nullifying or impairing a person from benefiting their rights. When these behaviors become repetitive, they are defined as bullying."

      I hope we can all understand that pretty well.

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    9. I'm glad we agree it's not harrasment. Explain how it's nullifying his human right. Jesus, what a stretch. You're going to have a lot of philosophical work to get from karate to harrasment. Not saying his joke was in good taste, but it's certainly not harrasment.

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    10. Excellent, Kerry. It looks like we have found the crux of our disagreement: the interpretation of the term "harassment."

      If it would fully convince you to adopt a different position, I would be happy to discuss at length about how demeaning it is to remove a minority group's culture and identity (or multiple groups) by referring to their language as a stereotypical trait associated with that group by the historically oppressive majority in our society.

      Unfortunately, Riki already did that rather convincingly, with added context from his own experiences as a member of that very minority group. It appears you may lack some of the empathy required to understand.

      Additionally, now that it's clear you were originally replying to me, it is also apparent that you are prone to making bad faith and lazy arguments, like "bad logic" or "slippery slope fallacy" in reference to a phenomenon of gradual dehumanization repeatedly observed in societies throughout human history. I try not to waste my time holding philosophical discussions with people who cannot present well-reasoned counterpoints.

      If you would be willing to retract and apologize for those misstatements, and make a good faith proposal as to what the interpretation of "harassment" should be in a community that values inclusivity and a welcoming environments, I would be happy to discuss this further.

      If not, then this will be my last reply to you, Kerry. In that case, I hope life soon presents you with the opportunities and experiences to build your sense of empathy. Be well.

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    11. By your own interpretation, 'using Karate to refer to an Asian language' is ban worthy and offensive on the grounds of harassment as you have stripped away the identity of Japan and ALL Japanese ppl and referred to them by a western outdated geogriphical term. Is that correct?

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    12. Slippery slope is only a fallacious when it's not evident from your argument why things will progress from the current state to the one you're positing.

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    13. Dude, you act smart because you use academic diction, but your argument is flimsy and honestly just not very good. I assure you, as someone with extensive experience in philosophy, specifically studying socialism at UNC Chapel Hill, that your argument is extremely poor and you have much more work to do to convince me or honestly anyone reasonable that this joke stripped identity this far. You act super smart but you're core argument is lacking. You've already decided your position though, so why would I bother trying to further educate you?

      Delete
    14. Yet you haven't done anything to further your own argument, or point out why his argument is "flimsy." Accuse others of that which you are guilty, eh?

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    15. I relied on the argument made in the very first comment by some Anon. Why would I retype his argument when it is sufficient. This is a reply thread to that post. Just look at the corner cases and see why you're incorrect. I really hate that I ended up talking down to you in this thread, but your incompetency or willful ignorance is very annoying. I just hate saying such agressive and assholeish statements, but my frustration is very high because the anons argument seems very well broken down, illustrates corner cases, and comes to a conclusion that seems completely reasonable and derives from the language in the rules. I apologise for being an asshole, but I firmly stand by my assertion that your argument is very poor and doesn't account for corner cases or the argument made by the Anon.

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  2. The upgrade was very big mistake but understand your reasoning.

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    1. Just to make sure it's clear: USC-Major is NOT an upgrade from USC-Minor. Riki said the penalty "was changed" in his post.

      That's because these are two very different penalties.

      USC-Minor covers "disruptive" behavior (leaving trash, excessive vulgarity, demanding a penalty for an opponent, etc) and not much else. Upgrading the Warning that a USC-Minor carries to a Game Loss only happens with subsequent USC-Minor penalties.

      USC-Major covers behavior "that could reasonably be expected to create a feeling of being harassed, threatened, bullied, or stalked." Completely different realm. It carries a Match Loss which can be upgraded to a Disqualification "if the offense was committed with malicious intent, the player displays no remorse, or the offense is repeated at a later time".

      Delete
    2. Oh thanks!

      Lemme be clear

      upgrade :
      raise (something) to a higher standard.

      English checks out.

      Delete
  3. Not gonna lie, Ricky should reply to this anonymous poster. He or she raises a good point in that enforcing the rules in this way opens the door for a myriad of corner cases and, ultimately, the judges are there to enforce the rules, not make them on the spot. I hope Riki has a good response as to how this is merely enforcing the rules, preferably quoting them.

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    1. Please dont assume that the anonymous poster is either a he or a she. There are several other nonsensical pronouns that might be preferred.

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    2. wow! so witty! how long'd it take you to come up with that one???

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    3. No need to be so mean regarding preferred pronouns. We aren't having that debate and its extremely forced to make that point and words like nonsensical aren't particularly compassionate. Let's just be civil or at least be uncivil about this ruling.

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  4. Pretty sure that if the HJ wasn't asian or a justice warrior, there would have been no USC Major. Players out there, check who is your HJ and pick your slang based on that if you wanna dodge the justice bullet.

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    1. The best part is the HJ had to go ask his Asian friend if he would be offended, lol.

      Created a victim.

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  5. If the player asking for the ruling was Japanese, would you have changed the penalty? If the card was in English, and he asked for a clarification because he said "us Southerners can't read", would he have been issued a game loss?

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  6. I've been told thousands of times in my 20 years of playing magic "don't gyp me."

    I don't want to be offended by it. I laugh it off.
    Most people don't know where that term even comes from.

    Punishing people like this a terrible precedent.

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    1. To be fair gypsies are actually awful

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  7. So next time I have to ask for the oracle of a card I should just point to the card and go "ORACLE?" because I fear offending anyone in earshot (especially a judge)? You constructed in your head to be offended because someone decided to crack a joke simplifying your language to an aspect of your culture every western individual is familiar with?

    It's incredible that you would go to such an insane length to destroy the tournament experience of this individual and the total tournament integrity because of an innocent and PERCEIVED slight. Should we point you to your own faults? Because there's enough!

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    1. There are a million ways you could ask a judge for oracle text without fear of offending someone. How hard could it be to ask for oracle text without calling the language karate?
      And it's not a perceived slight - I am Chinese-Canadian and I would be offended as hell if I overheard someone referring to my language as kung-fu. That's the whole point of the article.

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    2. Oracles were a proud ancient profession! Watch your language!

      Delete
  8. Very interesting and timely article. I can't comment on the infraction as I am in no way a MTG judge, but the article reminds me of a segment that aired last week in another sphere of pop culture, namely in episode 6 of Survivor Season 39. There was a very interesting segment where a racially charged comment was delivered as a joked, with no arm intended, but clearly affected a player receiving the comment. The explanations and discussions that followed in the episode were very interesting and I learned a lot about white privileges and the effect that seemingly innocuous comments can have over time.

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  9. What joke. UFC Major??

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  10. This is such a fucking joke. Have you ever BEEN to a Japanese LGS? I'm a native Japanese and English speaker just like you and you must know what I'm talking about. Were you in any Japanese LGS LINE group chats when Autumn won the pro tour??? Much worse things are said every minute in jest all over the world in places where the culture hasn't been poisoned to the point where literally anything can be seen as offensive. Maybe ask someone who isn't as ideologically bent as you if someone saying「空手読めないんだけど」AS A JOKE offends them at all. Fuck off.

    You're not wrong, though, that the "karate" joke is not funny at all. It's fucking stupid. I think someone who makes a joke like that is an unoriginal, boring person and I don't want to associate with them. But it's not offensive and it's certainly not bullying. You're an embarrassment Riki. Get your politics out of your judging. I can actually be sympathetic to issuing a penalty to someone for saying the word "retarded" or other words that legitimately can OBVIOUSLY hurt people. Grow up.

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  11. I'm curious. Did anyone at any point stop to consider that maybe the player misremembered Katakana as Karate? Like, I've only experienced Japanese through anime and manga, but I know there's 3 alphabets in Japanese; Hiragana, Katakana and Furigana.

    Otherwise it does rather seem like you jumped on the derogatory angle for their infraction target a bit too easily.

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    1. Of course they didn't...too busy reeeing

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  12. So i can't call phyrexian text 'wingdings' in joke? Apparently thats harassment? See how silly that sounds if you use a made up demographic instead of your preconceived assumption of malice.

    If the judge had determined it was not said in any form of malice, this should have been passed off as a warning. It is in no way harassment.

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  13. ...assumes all white people are Americans.

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  15. Would the player have said that when they were facing a Chinese or Japanese opponent? If no, then they knew they shouldn’t be saying it. End.

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  16. I think the main take away is that some people are too lazy and uncaring to be concerned with the feelings of others. These people will never be swayed on the internet. Try not to let it bother you and wrap yourself in the conciliation that anyone trying to broadly dismiss entire groups of people is most likely not worth your attention. I'm really sorry this was your experience.

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  17. Zephoid, please enlighten me as to when you think the phyrexians were an opressed people? They are a figure no? This is confusing for you?

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    1. Why does being an oppressed people matter? I thought we were talking about terms that aren't derogatory but can be interpreted as such. Why does oppression matter at all?

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    2. It should be obvious. I can't explain to you why a verb is an action word. I can let you know that it is. You can agree or disagree. No one is here to force you to be a good person. That is your choice.

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  18. Also, yes, it does seem completely ridiculous for you to bring up a fictitious society. Are you saying that fiction is the same as fact? Is this a statement on your intelligence? I'm concerned about your well being.

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    1. That it is fictitious highlight the lack of argument for calling this insulting or harassing. That the comparison is fiction or fact has literally no bearing on the argument. The argument that a crude simplification of a culture is not harassment remains valid. Especially when used as a joke and the judge established no attempt at malice.

      Your concern is noted, but maybe you should examine your own preconceived bias that anything relating to culture is derogatory.

      Delete
    2. I guess that's fair, good day and good luck. Please try to be kind to people on their terms.

      Delete
  19. What if the situation had been reversed and a minority player (we can say Japanese for the sake of argument, but any traditionally under-represented group will suffice) asked for a ruling on an English language card in a similarly cheeky manner? Example: I can't read this card, its written in McDonalds.

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  20. The burden is on the dominant culture to not be a dick. This should be obvious.

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  21. So, in the above example, let us assume it takes place in the USA, at the same tournament. Does the minority player get a USMC Major for equating English with McDonalds (or insert stereotype for the USA here)?

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  22. I'm fairly sure i know who the person was who said the comment. I wont meantioned his name if Riki didnt want to.
    But this perpetrator is litterally a brown person born in and ethnicly from Asia. I see alot of people talking hear as if it was some trump supporter with a MAGA hat shouting.
    I'd like to add the kid in question is generally a firecracker at the table, he used to be a grinder and frankly I've never heard of him playing a match completely silent. I don't want to air my opinion here because everyone already sound super mad here, i just wanted to provide some context about the racist in question.

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    1. B-b-but... that doesn't fit my outrage narrative.

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    2. Ugh, it totally does though. We've created a feedback loop of rage that any one can latch on to. There may be no way out, and we might just all be screwed. At least we'll go down together.

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    3. *I'm specifically referring to this incident and not culture at large

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  23. Pretty ridiculous abuse of power. Definitely just looking to make a victim. People need to lighten up

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  24. You really want this guy to lose his job and livelihood because he made a very bad dad joke? Do you think that punishment fits his crime? or is this possiblly an example of his 8th amendment rights being violated.
    You're actually part of the problem, and i hope you see that one day before it's too late.

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  25. You might want to check if you pulled a muscle there Riki as you were reaching pretty hard with your excuse.

    The rules of a game shouldnt require a detailed description of your past to try and justify a ruling.

    Calling it Karate was a joke, not a funny one but a joke regardless. No one in their right mind would be offended by that. Notice I said in their right mind.

    Your interpretation of the rules means that anything an oppoennt ever says or does could be viewed as offensive to someone, but i assume you only care if its offenvive to the right people.

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  26. I" believe that they did not have a malicious intent, that it was just a joke.I get it. I myself have made jokes like this about myself."

    And yet you give him a match loss. You're a hypocrite.

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  28. And this is why I will never respect anyone working at WOTC.
    Being offended by a fucking joke.
    YOURE THE JOKE! Fucking clowns.

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  29. Yeah, I just want add another vote to the "strongly disagree with Riki on this one." Definitely a reach and "looking for victims" is never a good look.



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  30. I don't see this as insulting. If you're desperate to have a joke in every sentence, it's not unreasonable to replace the name of a language with a random part of that language's culture, i.e. calling French "frog". It may be stereotyping, but not in a mean spirited manner. It would only be bad if the speaker takes an unmistakably negative part of that culture, maybe if he had said "It's in seppuku" or whatever. Then I would call it hateful and racist.

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  31. I'll be honest and say that I didn't get this one at first. I also think reasonable people can probably disagree on this. I want to share my thought journey on understanding this better...

    > ...could reasonably be expected to create a feeling of being harassed, threatened, bullied, or stalked...

    If it's as controversial as it is, is the expectation reasonable? I guess if this sets a precedent and becomes widely disseminated, and people are educated, then it becomes a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy.

    I decided long ago, that if I'm going to be wrong about things, I'd rather be wrong in a way that maximizes my adherence to the Golden Law (do to others what you would have them do to you.)

    Both `unmalicious offensive remarks` and `getting a match loss for something I don't understand` are both unpleasant things that I'd prefer others not do to me. However, when I get a match loss, I can adjust my behavior accordingly and avoid it ever happening again. However, I have fewer tools and little agency in preventing others from directing mild racism towards me. Under this lens, I think I'd rather have others give me the match loss once, then I learn and it never happens again.

    The crux for me lies not in any given individual example, but in understanding how it scales. Imagine that you listed all of the things that qualify for a match loss that are in the same vein as this "karate" example. "Gypped" would probably make this list, along with countless other (exceedingly common) behaviors. Let's say we trim this list to only items which qualify under the following condition: half of the player population must not know that this term/behavior is offensive. (I reckon "gypped", "raw dogged", "chop chop", "long time no see", "drink the kool-aid", "thug", "no can do", "uppity", and others fall under this category, all of which are common-ish terms in the MTG player lexicon.)

    As the list grows, it becomes harder for me to decide the optimal choice to adhere to my Golden Rule principle. I don't want to suffer from unintentional offensive remarks, but I don't want to receive a match loss once a month for a new thing that I didn't understand was offensive.

    At the very beginning, I said I think reasonable people can disagree about this, because I think it's actually a value judgment. Which is a worse outcome for you, occasionally getting match losses, or occasionally encountering unintentionally offensive remarks?

    I don't get offended easily, so I probably choose to avoid the match losses. But that's also an easier route for me to choose, precisely because I'm not as easily offended.

    I believe I can predict almost exactly the split on who will support this versus who will not: If you're more easily offended, you will make the choice to optimize for match losses. If you're less easily offended, you'll choose to optimize for the unintentional offensive remarks.

    I believe the right call is to take even one more step back, and ask "Okay, but if I were easily offended, what would I prefer?" A match loss sucks, but I think being truly offended feels worse.

    For that reason, with some deliberation, and decidedly against my own interests, I choose to agree with the ruling.

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    1. What if the overly sensitive match loss offends me as deeply or more deeply than the karate joke? That seems to destroy your position and I do not believe it is recoverable. Nice little stream of consciousness, but it ultimately ends up being for nothing. You will need different criterion to arrive at a rational conclusion, whether that be for or against the ruling.

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