"All Gnomes are good at engineering and are intelligent," is a statement about Gnomes in World of Warcraft. Is it equally racist?
I've been wrestling back and forth on this, and at first I thought it is racist but in a benign way... but then when I think of "What do I mean by benign?" I usually mean something like, "It's not meant to be offensive," but neither is the statement about Asian people.
Does the fact that the first statement is false and the second statement is true determine whether or not these statements are racist? This might be an out for racial traits in games.
If I say that all black people have dark skin, or safer still, have darker skin than white people, then this could just be an observation that holds true in all cases. In fact, it could be seen as an analytical truth (true by definition) if we define "white people" and "black people" in the right way. We could treat racial traits as a part of race in games in a similar way. A gnome's ability to engineer is just part of the definition of "Gnome" in World of Warcraft.
However, this could still be seen as racist because it takes a more significant claim about people's inherent ability and makes it be a truth claim about an entire race. Isn't this exactly what racists do? They take generalizations (often ignorantly made) and claim they are true of all or most of that race.
If this is racist, should racial traits be taken out of games?
I don't know. I'm still stuck on this. Your thoughts?