Thursday, June 17, 2010

Josie - Jem 2.0 - comes to Deadwood

Jemima Josephina started out as a prim character run by someone other than me. She sat behind the saloon counter in the Gem and could be talked to by patrons.
She got moved around sometimes, attending funerals, even singing at one or two of them. One day she went missing - accidentally returned into the inventory of her
(excuse the expression) owner.

In her absence, I thought it would be fun to slide into town without any announcement, and so Jem was born. Back in the days of Deadwood there must have been a little prejudice against this dark-skinned woman, in her late 30's, born into slavery and now trying to make her way in what was mostly a white man's world.

Still - nobody wants to be socially or politically incorrect. In Deadwood 1.0, one of our then regulars did pride herself in showing a little southern bias, and Jem's original owner made an alt who was obviously about to set up the Klan in Deadwood.

For the most part, 21st century players want to be seen as ahead of the times in the 19th century -- Jem lived in a town full of progressive liberals who fully supported equal rights for women and blacks. Evidently some of their characters were active in the underground railroad. (This was pre-Obama as president, but only by a year). Jem even was chosen Queen of Deadwood at a Winter Festival, though her contestants didn't offer much competition (an elderly looney lady and a mute prostitute were two of them).

Returning to Deadwood 2.0, things have become even more liberal I fear.

And I think I understand why, as when my own alts play a prejudiced character, there's a chill that gets thrown at them that seems not just IC... its part of the bias that makes playing a bad guy so difficult.

In role play, probably as in real life, sometimes we don't like to look too deeply into our own dark side - the side of us that isn't all sweetness and light. And of course, not doing that is what makes us appear shallow - whether in role play or real life.

I am sorry to admit that Jem 1.0 was not a very well rounded figure. Her typist allowed her to become involved in a relationship with one of the town's worst white
citizens, Silas - and found herself with child. She realized quickly that Silas wasn't good father material and ended the relationship, becoming a good mother
herself. She was a pretty funny character, with bouts of "I don't know nothin' 'bout birthin' no babies."

Jem 2.0 will be less cartoonish -- she's younger but wiser! Under the care of her Auntie Bluebird, Jem, now called Josie, is trying to get along with the folks in Deadwood. She was seven when the Civil War ended - she has memories and impressions of living under slavery, and may be less kind to white folks and more outspoken than her Auntie Bluebird. She may not murmur under her breathe and be funny like Auntie.

Most likely she'll interpret any liberal knee jerk feelings of "I love you simply because you're African American" to reveal prejudice as much as thinking "I hate you simply because you're African American."

Don't expect her to appreciate being treated like a stereotype - She's got a bit of an attitude.

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