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Fantasy racism: Magic the Gathering bans ‘controversial’ playing cards

Fantasy racism: Magic the Gathering bans ‘controversial’ playing cards
The ongoing international purge of things that might be potentially considered racist has now reached Magic the Gathering, the world’s biggest fantasy trading card game. Its makers just banned seven of the playing cards.

“The events of the past weeks and the ongoing conversation about how we can better support people of color have caused us to examine ourselves, our actions, and our inactions,” MtG makers Wizards of the Coast said in a statement on Wednesday.

The seven cards eliminated from the MtG roster going forward are Invoke Prejudice, Cleanse, Stone-Throwing Devils, Pradesh Gypsies, Jihad, Imprison and Crusade. They will be removed from official databases and prohibited in “all sanctioned tournament play.” Their ban is just a “first step,” as the company added on Twitter that “there's much more work to be done.”

In addition to some of their names considered to be ‘politically incorrect,’ some of the fans have objected to descriptions of their effects as well.

For example, the ‘Crusade’ card has the effect of empowering “white creatures” and ‘Cleanse’ destroys “all black creatures” – albeit referring to colors of magic schools in the game, not anyone’s race. Meanwhile, the card ID number for ‘Invoke Prejudice’ happens to be 1488, a number given symbolic significance among US neo-Nazis.

The ban quickly became a controversial topic, with critics calling Wizards overzealous.

Others argued that the cards were “historical” to the game, but can be seen as “quite frankly, racist” in the present climate.

The most unusual take belongs to the Scottish YouTuber Count Dankula, who thanked Wizards for taking the cards off the market – as the ban would vastly increase their value as collectibles.

The ban comes amid a wave of similar censorship by corporations eager to show their support for Black Lives Matter, a US movement for “racial justice” that has organized protests over the fate of George Floyd, an African-American man who died last month after a Minneapolis, Minnesota police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.

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