The Common Good
March-April 1996

Magic and Race

by Ben Lytal | March-April 1996

AS A 16-YEAR-OLD Christian, I found the commentary on Magic: The Gathering very refreshing

AS A 16-YEAR-OLD Christian, I found the commentary on Magic: The Gathering very refreshing ("It's In the Cards," by Scot DeGraf, and "The Language of Magic," by Denali DeGraf, "Culture Watch," November-December 1995). Every other article about the game that I have read has blindly lambasted the fantastic themes of Magic as "satanic," while ignoring the real intellectual essence of the game. Also, I must heartily agree with your comments concerning the economics of the game. This is my main fault with it.

Scot DeGraf's analysis of racial stereotypes [in the game], however, caught me totally off guard. I am white, so I may be a little less sensitive to racial issues than someone of African-American or Latino descent. It had never occurred to me that black cards might represent African Americans and white might represent Caucasians. In fact, I find this ludicrous. Does this mean that red cards represent Native Americans? If so, then both African Americans and Native Americans should be pleased, as red and black are easily the most popular colors.

Humans of all colors are depicted on white cards. If one really wants to view black as representing African Americans, then why are the many "evil" humans on those cards almost always white?

I appreciate DeGraf's honest and thoughtful article, but the notion that there is a racial bias in Magic is simply stretching things a bit too far.

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