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 ("It's In the Cards,"
by Scot DeGraf, and "The Language of Magic,"
by Denali DeGraf, ...

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.

Sojourners relies on the support of readers like you to sustain our message and ministry.

Like what you're reading? Get Sojourners E-Mail updates!

Sojourners Comment Community Covenant

I will express myself with civility, courtesy, and respect for every member of the Sojourners online community, especially toward those with whom I disagree, even if I feel disrespected by them. (Romans 12:17-21)

I will express my disagreements with other community members' ideas without insulting, mocking, or slandering them personally. (Matthew 5:22)

I will not exaggerate others' beliefs nor make unfounded prejudicial assumptions based on labels, categories, or stereotypes. I will always extend the benefit of the doubt. (Ephesians 4:29)

I will hold others accountable by clicking "report" on comments that violate these principles, based not on what ideas are expressed but on how they're expressed. (2 Thessalonians 3:13-15)

I understand that comments reported as abusive are reviewed by Sojourners staff and are subject to removal. Repeat offenders will be blocked from making further comments. (Proverbs 18:7)