Because history sucks.
D & D got woke and that's good because you should have all been playing that way (or not if you didn't prefer))
Amusingly, I spent a number of keystrokes arguing about how Drow were problematic as basically the only canonical dark-skinned PC race in the PHB. I’m not unable to see issues in the hobby. I’m not just on board your orc train in this example.
And this was part of my issue with Drow as a PC race. They’re literally color-coded Black = Evil in the game lore. Orcs aren’t. Orcs in D&D aren’t fallen elves, they’re just orcs.
For the record, my main issue with Always Evil (due to inherent orciness) Orcs isn’t racism, it’s that this is shitty storytelling and world building.
Right, but as DrDeth pointed out dnd orcs look the way they do because they were cribbed from Tolkien. So the answer to “why are dnd orcs dark” is “because Tolkien” and the answer to “wh are Tolkien orcs dark” is “because they are evil elves and dark = evil”
FWIW, I linked earlier to NK Jemisin’s essay on orcs. It’s a quick, informal read, and it doesn’t get at all the issues surrounding orcs, but I think it’s worth considering why the most heavily awarded SF/F author of the last 20 years, and probably the most heavily awarded SF/F author of color of all time, isn’t down with orcs.
Then why do the hobbits have nut brown skin?
Why is Aragon “dark”? Why is Wormtongue whiter than white? Why is Saruman white?
But that’s not really true.
Except Gygax pretty much just grabbed the name, not the lore or whatever. And “Orc” as a name and concept pre-dated Tolkien in Germanic folklore.
“I can’t be racist, I have black friends!”
Aka “Tolkien’s orcs can’t be racist, he has some positive dark characters!”
There ya go. Hobbits have nut brown skin so their Euro-friends can’t be racist!
Again, check out post 319, where Gygax (I think he wrote the 1E Monster Manual) says, “Orcs appear particularly disgusting because their coloration - brown or brownish green with a bluish sheen - highlights their pinkish snouts and ears” and then goes on to crib from the anti-race-mixing style book to describe orcs as rapacious brutes who will fuck anything and therefore create all sorts of racial “unsavory mongrels” only some of whom can pass as “true creatures of other stock”. The idea that Gygax in particular wasn’t racist is risible.
Or maybe- you guys are just wrong. Maybe there is no guy with a erect penis in that ice cube, maybe your prejudices are coloring what you see.
No one who knew him thought so. You read one description of one fantasy monster and conclude that he is racist. It is to laugh.
So… bluish-brown or brownish-green with pink snouts (pig snouts, per the illustrations) and ears? That’s… uhh… not great evidence. That sounds like a fantasy monster.
In the Venn diagram, do the circles “fantasy monster” and “racist trope” have any overlap at all?
Sure. And I’m not going to play a game of defining all of them for you (though, again, go back to my specific criticism on Drow). I don’t think this one qualifies.
You can, of course, use Orcs in a racist manner and make them say Ooga-Booga and throw the PCs in a pot and wear bones in their noses as they dance in a circle. That ain’t what’s happening in the artwork you commented on.
You should defer to those who still have a sense of smell, then.
Would those be the same people that think a metal bikini is proper fighting attire for female characters?