Thursday, October 21, 2010

"Culture of Poverty" using Dungeons & Dragons metaphors

Ta-Nehisi Coates:
The streets are like any other world--we all assume an armor, a garment to suit that world. And indeed, in every world, some people wear the armor better than others, and thus reap considerable social reward. In the main, it's been easy for me to discard the armor of West Baltimore, because I wore it so poorly. I was never, as they say, truly built for the streets. And still, even I struggled to take it off. But I know others who were masters. (My own brother, for instance.) Inducing them, and those in between, to change class, to trade their plate for robes, to trade the broad-sword for a spell-book, is the real work.
The whole piece is really good.

Nothing harder than changing habits. Especially habits that worked, that indeed were essential to your survival. I'd love to be able to re-optimize myself, spend my character points differently. But most of those points are already spent, and many of them were spent before you even realize that you have some choice about how to spend them. And overall, I think I'm a pretty damn good character to play in Modern Life. My DM was most generous. I'm just not particularly well-tuned for my current circumstances, and working to move myself to a space where my strengths can shine a little more.


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