Best-selling role-playing lesson on slavery dropped after complaints

, Spencer Irvine, Leave a comment

Political correctness and “woke” culture are making everyone skittish, including the directors of a popular role-playing game called Reacting to the Past at around 500 colleges and universities.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the role-playing game was afraid of offending students. Reacting to the Past has 30 debates, including one particular game that debated the role of slavery in America.


Because some college students and professors “complained that advocating for, or listening to, the views of white supremacists made them uncomfortable.”

The removed game was about Frederick Douglas, a famous escaped slave who later became a noted author and avid abolitionist. Although the game has been in print since 2010, there have been increasing amounts of complaints that hearing or debating white supremacist ideology was dangerous or offensive. There were many proposals to change the scenario, but the game creator rejected them because of concerns of diluting the debate.

Yet this specific game scenario was one of the most popular games being sold to the public, selling about 1,000 copies per year, and professors can adjust the scenario in several predetermined ways if needed.

One editorial director for the game, Nicolas Proctor, penned an email which said, “Racist speech can easily create an unsafe environment” and could be “demoralizing and triggering, particularly for African-American students.”

The Reacting to the Past series discussed subjects such as Athenian democracy and the trial of Galileo in the 1600’s and it is similar to Model U.N. (United Nations) and the popular board game Dungeons and Dragons (D&D). The scenario is “staged, a game master directs the debate but students script their own arguments, build their own coalitions and forge their own compromises.”

Reacting to the Past was created almost 30 years ago by Barnard College professor Mark Carnes and has since “spread beyond colleges to universities in Europe and Japan, senior centers and prisons” with some high schools adopting the game.