like seriously, every TES race has some aspect of whiteness manifest– even if it’s a stereotype of other races from the perspective of whiteness, or a white panic trope applied to racial others
like the imperials have the Groman thing going on, which is a whiteness trope based on the fetish for ancient rome and greece as early white civilization, appropriating all of their medical, architectural, artistic and other innovations for white identities. In reality, they sure as hell weren’t uniformly white.
the bretons have equal shares of French Court Intrigue (the “brittany” influence) and ancient celt (the “britony” influence) from-the-perspective-of-modern-white-people thing going on. Meaning an awful lot of the stereotype of druidic practices that call more from shakespearean depictions of witchcraft and the english wiccan “revival of witchcraft” than anything else.
the Nords are full on White Saxon norse viking fetishism, the same White Power conan-the-barbarian-like myth that pervades primarily white and often racist subcultures everywhere
The Redguards are not white, but blend basically tons of black and brown people into the old “brown desert raiders” stereotype, the Enemy Arabs stereotype, complete with an expy religion to stand in for islam and its very own kind of “jihad”. Which could only have been thought of by white people tbh. It’s telling that european cultures get three races of humans and black and brown people get just one kinda.
and going on to elves, all of them are coded really weirdly and in a way thats uncomfortable to me– both white, yet a racial other often with stereotypical influences. Their facial features skew in an exaggerated way that’s associated with whiteness– but they are not colored to match, and those features are often played off as somehow alien.
The altmer have something weird going on where they manifest hyper-whiteness (hyper affluence, hyper intellectualism, hyper culturalism) that is threatening to white people (the idea that there’s white people and then there’s the white ELITE that you can’t ever be part of!) but also they have this applied… asian stereotype of cultural collectivism. It is really reminiscent of racist white criticisms of chinese (and sometimes japanese) culture that there’s too much ‘sameness’ or that people are not individualist enough. That they’re only parts of one greater, threatening whole. also don’t get me started on the Thalmor in 4e, white people seem to be unable to write any kind of religious inquisition if it doesn’t resemble the spanish inquisition, or totalitarianism if it doesn’t include the Gestapo.
the dunmer were basically given a star wars planet to live on (thanks, Kirkbride…) and they threaten whiteness by being just… spiritually and culturally threatening. They resist colonization, they have slaves (sometimes, white people slaves!), they have/had immortal gods-on-earth when the gods of the humans and other elves are inaccessible. They are said to be “cursed” with dark skin, and it’s no mystery their culture is framed as being shady at times: both hyper-stringent or austere yet somehow debauched or corrupt.
The bosmer just opt-out of white society in valenwood. they eat their fallen dead. they make culture in ways incompatible with what white civilization considers essential– they reject agriculturalism and industrialism, etc.
The orsimer have the white-popularized Brute Race stereotype thing going on full-force. Orcs in almost every property have this shadow of “you can’t kill native peoples or call them savages anymore, so orcs are a fantasy expy” in them and TES is no exception. Their masculinity is framed as threatening, their femininity is masculinized. Both are racial experiences, and I’d argue they’re related to antiblackness specifically. Meanwhile, white Nords have one hell of a warrior myth but their masculinity is idolized.
I don’t even have to go into the khajiit, they are often immediately suspected as criminals no matter where they go, or drug dealers/addicts, or gang members, or ruffians. I dont even have to go into what kind of thought births that stereotype.
And the Argonians have been perpetually enslaved, have been outsiders in many games (except maybe oblivion, where some held decent places in society), are just seen as almost weird aliens half the time.
sorry for the long rant, it’s just… TES smells like a pulp fantasy fiction novel ripoff written by a white guy from the 80s a lot of the time as soon as I drop the veil of “I like this property so I want it to be more thoughtful than it really is”