Myth: The SCA is devoted to the research and re-creation of pre-seventeenth century cultures.
Fact: This is the shining standard. This is what we say we want to be. For many reasons we’re falling short of this.
It’s only in the last few years that the SCA mission statement was grudgingly updated to remove the reference to “Western European” cultures and allow for the idea that cultures existed elsewhere in the world and that we should allow people who want to recreate those cultures to exist in our game.
I had a stunning realization earlier this week that we’re a very white club. I know we have low participation from POC.. and I know there have been racists sheltered in amongst us.. and I know the racism and micro-aggressions have kept POC out of our club, but until earlier this week it had never occurred to me that our very club concept “recreating medieval western Europe” is off-putting. It essentially said to all POC and minorities that their history was not worth recreating.
In fact I know in the past I have been that person suggesting that folks (both white and minority) do a pre-17th century Western European impression instead of doing Japanese, Mongol, Pacific Islander, etc. I’ve even justified it by saying there’s “more research available for recreating mainland Europe” and “it’s more accepted”.
In fact before last week I started writing a SCAMythMonday about how POC are not restricted to recreating slaves and Moors. They can recreate who ever they want.. in pre-17th century.. Western Europe. Now don’t get me wrong, POC existed in pre-17th century Western Europe.. but that wasn’t what I was writing about. I was calmly reassuring them that they could pretend to be a white person for their recreation.. and no one would have a problem with that.
I am so sorry. I will try to do better.
Even though SCA is a hobby it’s also a community and a lifestyle. Our hobby suffers from the same systemic racism and marginalization seen in the rest of our world. Today I am reflecting on what I can do to remove barriers, be more inclusive and make our hobby truly welcoming and a safe place for everyone.
I would ask you to do the same.
This image is from the Rijksmuseum Portrait of an African man (Christophle le More? ), Jan Jansz Mostaert, ca. 1525-ca. 1530
This post was originally posted on my Facebook page on June 15, 2020.