Lets set some ground rules for this discussion.
Politics is a No, no in the forums as it is simply a minefield. If this turns political it WILL be closed per forum guidelines.
The basic idea of language pre-conditioning us is an interesting subject but not best fitted in the exploration forum.
We'll see how it goes and make a moderation decision as needed, so please keep it civil and stay away from minefields and this could be a good discussion.
Thanks for your consideration.
In that spirit please refrain from name calling. (sjw, snowflake, idiot, etc)
I read this article recently called We need to change the way we talk about space exploration by National Geographic
Then I started following the links and started reading The Racist Language of Space Exploration by the outline
and Event Horizon by Reallifemag
And then How decolonization could reshape South African science by Nature
I'm usually feel like I have a good grasp on most things space but these the points forwarded by these articles have left me struggling because of the complexity of these issues.
To me, these articles collectively state:
"The terminology and vocabulary we use when we talk about space exploration is problematic because they put forward a narrative that is harmful to minorities"
What does that mean?
For example, let's take the term "colonization".
Be it setting up a colony on Mars or the Moon or Achenar, space colonization is always framed in a positive light despite the negative impact that colonization has and still continues to have.Practically every western colony resulted in the exploitation and subjugation of humans enmasse.
There's never been a case in history where a colony hasn't resulted in harm to the indigenous population.
and those effects are still felt by those marginalized groups of folks.
According to Lucianne Walkowicz who studyies the ethics of Mars exploration as the Chair of Astrobiology at the U.S. Library of Congress:
What does this have to do with Elite: Dangerous and the exploration community?Even if words like “colonization” have a different context off-world, on somewhere like Mars, it’s still not OK to use those narratives, because it erases the history of colonization here on our own planet. There’s this dual effect where it both frames our future and, in some sense, edits the past.
I like Elite: Dangerous. I like playing in this huge sandbox. I like the player-led communities and all that we can accomplish together.
But after reading this article I realised that the term Colonization has came up in Elite: Dangerous. and it's one we as a community had put forward without realizing the implications.
I'm speaking of course about Colonia.
From EDSM via the Galactic Mapping Project:
Colonia was built on the idea of creating a new colony. And it was done in a positive light.July 3302 - Birth of a Colony
Colonia was humanities first independently established colony beyond the frontier borders of the old worlds. Its inception began in late June 3302 when calls from the exploration community to ship meta alloys out to the stricken starport were made, and this lead to an initiative to establish a working colony in and around EOL PROU RS-T D3-94 - an initiative instigated by Olivia Vespera, and built upon via the Jaunt to Jaques - August Exodus expedition, set up by Jonus Treesong, Unrealization, and Erimus Kamzel. The expedition became one of largest in human history with close to 600 starships in two giant convoys venturing out to the region and helping establish the colony.
Now let me first say that I nor should anyone harbour any ill will to the CMDR who coined the name for the system and region. This isn't about individual members of the communities this is about us as a whole.
I think it may be possible that the name we chose for the second bubble is problematic because by doing so, we as a community helped "[erase] the history of colonization here on our own planet.
And that's disconcerting to me. One because it's already done. and two because I don't know if there'd be any support to change the name. I'm worried that perhaps the devs would not be willing to do so.
A lot of our in game lore and stories in the region are tied to the name Colonia, and what it represents.
Still... I feel like we've collectively done a disservice to those who continued to be affected by the legacy colonization and that maybe, just maybe,
"We should try and suggest to frontier as that same community again to change the name."
I don't know what we should change it to. But I think we should do it. Like correcting incorrect science, we should correct problematic terminology. or at the very least, recognize and present that what we had done was problematic and harmful to others outside of the game.
Now I understand to some of you folks that:
- This is just a game
- This is set in the far future and maybe those narratives aren't as important (because in 3300, racism is cured)
- This game has slavery what about that huh? Do you want it to be removed?
To you I say, games have always been political and have always reflected our understanding of the world. They do not exist separate from it and because of that we could do our best to ensure the game is inclusive to everyone.
We as the exploration community should talk about the effect we have and whether that effect can be damaging to others in the real world.
Slavery is problemtic but we as players are given that ethical choice by the game to choose to engage in it or not and that is beneficial to understanding the slave trade out of game. The narrative of Colonization is one that we can't not choose to engage in.
So please, comment, discuss, argue and be polite. This is not as easy topic but I think everyone here has a stake in it but as always, if this isn't something you're interested in, there are plenty of other threads.
I've written some clarification in a comment here: https://forums.frontier.co.uk/showthread.php/457907-We-may-need-to-rethink-Colonia?p=7165209&viewfull=1#post7165209