These days my posts have been dealing less and less with FFXI and more on anime, culture, etc.
Does this mean my interest in the game is waning?
However, at this moment, I have no immediate plans to quit, but I keep wondering if I did quit, who I would leave my stuff with...
Right now, I am basically using FFXI as a chat service, with which I keep contact with a handful of close friends. I figure $15 a month is a reasonable price to talk with friends.
The Battle of Kimchi versus the Hamburger
A few days ago, I was chatting in one of my social linkshells when the topic of interest-group linkshells came up. One member wanted to start a black LS. Another mentioned that there was a hispanic LS. One of the members, presumably white, posed the question why there were no white linkshells...
Kenji Yoshino, who wrote the book "Covering" about race, minorities, and civil rights, is a professor of law at Yale University. He is also a gay Japanese-American, making him a minority amongst minorities. (Seriously, there are probably more dyslexic Jewish Marxist Native-Americans than there are gay Japanese-Americans)
In "Covering," Kenji relates how there is a "concensus to penalize minorities who refuse to downplay their differences." Racial minorities are pressured to "act white," and adopt white names, women in the workforce are encouraged to "play like men," and homosexuals told to act straight. Civil rights are accorded to those who cover their differences, their indentity, and conform.
A special-interest group offers haven from these pressures. When I was a board member for the Korean Student Association at a private college in California, I was in an environment where I felt kinship. In this group, Korean was the norm, the status quo. I could eat kimchi without roommates complaining about the smell. (Noone complains about fragrant hamburgers) There is a certain camaraderie in these groups that I think white Americans would have trouble understanding. In this setting, the minority becomes the majority, and you can be yourself. This is what drives minorities together, into neighborhoods, into groups, into linkshells.
So in the end, when my LS member asked why there are no white linkshells, and why minorities form their own LS's, I could have explained that it gives them a place to express their identity, without reproof. Or I could have explained,
"No one complains about hamburgers, but people complain about kimchi. A Korean linkshell would create a home for kimchi."
Kimchi, a traditional Korean dish. It consists of fermented Chinese cabbage with a spicy chili sauce. It emits a strong smell.
There is a postmodernist faction that believes race and ethnicity are social constructs, that these are not based on looks.
Vanadiel is evidence.
Even in an electronic realm where an asian mithra and a white mithra look alike, characters still ten to congregate on the basis of ethnicity.
"Covering" by Kenji Yoshino is a great book and I recommend that everyone read it.