Wizards Of The Coast Bans 7 Racist Magic: The Gathering Cards

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Wizards Of The Coast Bans 7 Racist Magic: The Gathering Cards
Image: Wizards of the Coast

The company behind Magic: The Gathering is apologizing for racist cards that have been part of the game for decades. Seven cards will be removed from competitive play and from the game’s official card index..

“The events of the past weeks and the ongoing conversation about how we can better support people of colour have caused us to examine ourselves, our actions, and our inactions.” Wizards stated. “We appreciate everyone helping us to recognise when we fall short. We should have been better, we can be better, and we will be better.”

The affected cards are Invoke Prejudice, Cleanse, Stone-Throwing Devils, Pradesh Gypsies, Jihad, Imprison, and Crusade.

These cards are banned from all tournament sanctioned play. Their art will be removed from Wizards’s official card index site Gatherer and replaced with the following statement:

“We have removed this card image from our database due to its racist depiction, text, or combination thereof. Racism in any form is unacceptable and has no place in our games, nor anywhere else.”

With the events surrounding the murder of George Floyd by poilce, video game companies have made statements in support of their Black fans, employees, and communities. Wizards has made a similar statement, but Black and Brown members of the community have criticised the action calling it “an act of gross tokenism” while highlighting instances of racism in Magic’s cards. Notably, the card Invoke Prejudice features art that’s extremely similar to depictions of the KKK while its ID number in the Gatherer database, 1488, is associated with white supremacy groups.

Wizards has apologised stating, “There’s no place for racism in our game, nor anywhere else.”

Comments

  • The irony of a card called “Invoke prejudice” being racist, or in other words “prejudiced”.

    While the gesture is considerate, I really hope we don’t go through the typical phase of being oversensitive and sanitising everything to the point of being patronising.

    • Think the article needs to go in to more details about the why of this card and how it is seen as racist. It very much is the flagship card of the issue and in a game of 20k cards, 7 is quite insignificant. With invoke prejudice, the artist Harold McNeill is a full blown pro-Nazi these days and despite the colourin the clothing of the spirits is cearly akin to the KKK. Finally, the database entry on the website in itself was a big issue, being a dogwhistle for white supremicists (1844). For some reason, possible due to knowledge loss, this could not be changed and was more unsavoury coincidence than anything else.

      Jihad I think can be seen in poor taste, but I don’t understand past the name of the card. Imprison I can see why that would be considered a bit tastleess.

      • You’re going to need to provide solid evidence for your claim that Harold McNeill is, “a full blown pro-Nazi.”

        All I could find is that he did a picture of Jesus and Hitler melded into one, which could be terribly racist, or anti-racist – the message is not remotely clear.

        The context and meaning of the art really matter. What is McNeil trying to say and how are you certain?

        As a metaphor, I have several swastikas in my house. Am I anti-Semitic?

        Well, without context, you’d be tempted to say yes. But let me add some context – I’m a Jewish history teacher so I have this material in my house to teach people about how evil it is and how we can prevent genocides from ever happening again.

        Please prove your claim that you know McNeill is pro-Nazi.

      • McNeill’s intention here may be to show that Klan members are bad. If that’s the case, censoring the art is counterproductive and ridiculous.

        His intent could have easily been – “prejudice bad. Klan members bad and prejudiced. Depict Klan members as evil.”

        • It’s a pretty stupid argument to claim that people need a MTG card to know that Klansmen are bad.

          We already know, no need to keep giving them airtime.

  • An explanation as to what was actually wrong with card would be interesting/useful.

    I especially can’t see what’s wrong with Pradesh Gypsies (thankfully, there are still other card databases where one can see the image).

    I think I understand what’s wrong with Cleanse (“All black creatures in play are destroyed”), but seriously if someone is offended by that, they don’t understand that Black is a colour of magic in MTG. Cleansing makes sense because that colour is all about necromancy and disease and the like.

    • ‘G—-‘ is a racial slur.

      Cleanse makes sense in the context of the game, but even understanding the game it’s a pretty bad look to have a card called “Cleanse” that kills all black creatures. It can make sense in the game and also have a seriously dark real-world assication, and I can understand how that could make players uncomfortable (not to mention making the game look bad to outside observers, for no good reason).

      • Gypsies are not a race but ethnic minority. And where I come from there are a lot of them and they don’t find the word insulting, they use it themselves.

      • If Cleanse is being removed due to “racial whatever”, because it states that it “removes all black creatures”. They would have to associate “black creatures” as, well… black people… but by making that leap in logic, you would then have to remove the entirety of the black deck (or recolour it), because the black deck associates itself with “amorality, fear, torture, disease, and decay” and because the black deck is now, somehow, analogous to black people… well, you can see where I’m going. Hell, they even have zombies within the black deck.. and according to this link (https://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/archived/booksandarts/the-racist-history-of-zombies/7259304) from the ABC, “early zombie representations align with the black, demonised ‘other’.”

        I mean… Where do you stop?

  • All mana has been standardised. All cards are now Beige.

    It is amazing how many companies, gaming or otherwise, have had a sudden epiphany and are leaping to be Woke. Though I’m certainly not arguing against the removal of the Prejudice card. How that got approved I’ll never understand.

    To quote Buddy Franklin (who was probably quoting someone else) “Support us when we’re not trending.”

  • Reasons for banning existing cards seems to me just hypocrisy. Most companies in USA seems to go after this hypocrite behaviour, and is very sad. Soon we will see burning books in squarse, like in Hitler times?

  • I completely understand their decision regarding “Invoke Prejudice’. Like wow, it took them this long. Obvious context, especially when you take the artist himself into account.

    But the rest? It feels incredibly stupid. Not just stupid, but some of the responses trying to give reasons for these cards being chosen makes me feel uneasy as to why they were chosen anyway. As an example, I saw this announcement on Reddit and saw one comment trying to explain the reason ‘Stone-Throwing Devils’ was banned was because of “Jewish-like depiction”. Excuse me? If your first thought when looking at literal daemons is “Jewish-like” then YOU are the problem, not the card.

    And ‘Crusade’? I love that card. Not only does it depict my girl Elspeth-fuckin’-Tirel, but it has a great quote too: “Home isn’t where you rest. It’s what you fight for.”.

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