What is it about?

What happens when people discuss race in tabletop role-playing games like Dungeons & Dragons? I analyze over 1,000 Facebook discussion posts in a live-action role-playing game (larp) discussion about using black facepaint while portraying characters. I note how the masculinity of some men utilizes anti-intellectualism and online "hooliganism" or pushiness to defend their position, which involves separating fantasy acting and racism.

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Why is it important?

This research points out how labeling these men as "racist" can have little impact to them. Pointedly, many of them see themselves as marginalized, having been harassed and bullied for their "nerd" masculinity. Given that they see themselves as empathizing with being the victim of discrimination, these tools I mention allow them to dismiss any claims of racism.


One important point about this research is a clear attempt to separate "reality" from "fantasy" and the idea that real-world problems (like racism) shouldn't be seen as the same in fantasy worlds - at least to these individuals. This separation, which we sometimes characterize as the magic circle, is one that really needs to be scrutinized.

Steven Dashiell

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Discussions of Fantasy Characters and Demonstrations of a Defensive Hybridity in Gamer Masculinity, The Journal of Men s Studies, March 2022, SAGE Publications,
DOI: 10.1177/10608265221084017.
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