Ethnic and geographic representation in Magic: The Gathering

In the last few years, Wizards’ R&D have been working hard to bring ethnic representation in Magic to a more realistic and diverse level. This more than welcome effort, noticeable in the last Mediterranean and Asian-inspired blocks, signals a modern approach that will most surely help the game remain relevant to wider audiences.

It also positions Magic not only among those that value sofisticated strategic thinking, but also among those that fight ethnocentrism, racism, homotransfobia, ableism and other narrow, intolerant and obsolete worldviews.

The last core set, fully spoiled today, brings us the planes Vryn and Ragatha, that we could somehow relate to the Middle East and India (properly adapted to the multiverse). Unlike what it did with Rabiah, however, Magic is not willing to emulate real cultures, but there are always ethnical hints and traces that helps us establish connections between Dominia’s planes and Earth’s cultures.

There is much more to do, of course. This is something that just started (Ashiok, Daretti, Narset, Alesha, to mention some, are all recent characters). On a parallel note, we can always read pledges for a Viking or an Egyptian inspired plane on Blogatog, and the fact that we may affirm we can find some representation in the game doesn’t mean we have sufficient diversity. I’m sure most players endorse this effort and that we’ll be seeing other similar moves in the future.

It’s easy to find in-depth discussions about gender representation in Magic, so I tried to cover some possible ethnic and geographic relations for those interested in knowing more about were to find those inspirations. This is entirelly open to improvement, so don’t hesitate about sending your comments and critics.

Naya (Alara)

Country/nation/region/age/culture - Plane

Ancient Greece - Theros 

Birmanie/Vietnam/Camboja/Thailand - Sultai territory (Tarkir)

China - Jeskai territory (Tarkir)/Portal Three Kingdoms 

Eastern Europe - Ravnica

India - Kaladesh

Ireland/Scotland/Wales/Cornwall (Pan-Celtic) - Lorwyn 

Israel/Palestine - Vryn

Italy/Northern Africa - Fiora

Germany/Austria/Hungary (Prussia) - Innistrad

Great Britain (arthurian) - Bant (Alara)

Japan - Kamigawa

Jurassic Earth - Muraganda

Mongolia - Mardu territory (Tarkir) 

Pre-Columbian American tropical forests - Naya (Alara)

Saudi Arabia/Persia/China (One Thousand and One Nights-inspired) - Rabiah 

Siberia - Temur territory (Tarkir)

Sub-Saharan Africa/Haiti - Jamuraa (Dominaria)

Ottoman Empire/Persia - Abzan territory (Tarkir)

Transylvania (fictionalized) - Ulgrotha

Ravnica, multiverse’s ecumenopolis


Iceland - Ir?   

Scandinavia - Kaldheim? (and a bit of Dominaria’s Ice Age too)

Help me develop the list!

Do you agree with the list? What else could we add? 

I edited the post adding contributions from serrasilverbrush, 3dspacejesus, ribozyme, thecandymanuk and allwillbeone.

You may also want to check my Table of Contents

@enchanted.forest your beauty never ceases to amaze us! Amazing picture wearing our Turquoise Rajni Ring ॐ ॐ #ohmboho #jewellery #jewelry #tibetan #turquoise #dreads #boho #bohemian #bohostyle #bohofashion #hippy #hippie #ethnic #gypsy #native #indie #inspiration #ibizastyle #festivalstyle

MALAYSIA, Kampung Tualang : A Malaysian Muslim man sits near a pit during the re-burial of remains believed to be those of ethnic Rohingya found at human-trafficking camps in the country’s north, at Kampung Tualang some 16kms east of Alor Setar on June 22, 2015. Malaysian authorities on June 22 held a sombre mass funeral for 21 suspected ethnic Rohingya found in human-trafficking graves last month, with fellow Muslims praying for the unidentified victims to find a place in heaven.  AFP PHOTO / MANAN VATSYAYANA

China, the Yulin Festival, and Racism

The commentary I’ve been seeing of people on the subject of Yulin is really starting to annoy me.

There has been a post saying: “Over 10,000 dogs are killed every year in Southern China for the Yulin Festival…”

While that statement is true, the way it is written connotates the incorrect message. That is, people hearing news of this festival believe that it is a nation-wide or regional event, as the post states “Southern China.” Again, I say this statement is true, but only because the 10,000 killed are killed in the City of Yulin; that’s right, Yulin is not the name of the festival, per say, but the name of the town where the festival takes place.

In other words, ignorant people are learning of this tragedy as a Chinese-government and a Chinese people are at fault situation.

So yes, 10,000 dogs are indeed killed in Southern China, but it would be more accurate to say 10,000 dogs are killed in Yulin, which is in the Guangxi province, which is located in Southern China.

In other words, people outside of Yulin don’t know/celebrate the Yulin Festival, and the slaughter is happening in Yulin, not everywhere in China.

My point here is, people stereotype Chinese people as dog-eating, no respect for animals creatures. I have seen people all over the internet saying things such as: “China needs to stop this”, “#StopChina2015”, “the Chinese people hate animals”, “The Chinese Nation needs to stop eating dogs”, “Stop China’s Yulin Festival”, etc.

If people would actually do some research, they would learn that some of the leading activists against the Yulin Festival are Chinese Celebrities with Dogs as Pets. CHINESE Celebrities. The first activist groups to bring attention to Yulin were AUSTRALIAN AND CHINESE activists. So please, don’t be pinning yourselves as the heroic figure, my fellow Americans. Also, the post says that the dogs are stolen from their families and homes. Now who do you ignorant racists think these families are from? America? Yes, the people of Yulin only steal their dog meat from US households, obviously. In short, these dogs are stolen from CHINESE households with loving CHINESE owners.

The Chinese people as a whole are not slaughtering dogs for meat, but the people of Yulin are, and so are a select number of others.

Yes, dog meat is still often times sold in restaurants on the black market, but the Chinese Government really has tried to do at least something about it. They have proposed a fine/fee system and jailing system for crimes about dog meat a year or two ago, but were unable to come to passing the proposal. For what reason? I don’t know. Maybe perhaps dog meat has become a tradition for hundreds of years in some places such as Yulin? I know I sound harsh, but know that I am also against the treatment of the dogs in Yulin. What I’m saying here is, meat has become a part of Chinese culture and looking at it from American views is unfair. It’s like saying that presents on birthdays and fireworks on Fourth of July and vacation to see family is banned suddenly because foreign views don’t see it “right” and see it as “abusive, messed up, wrong, etc.” It’s like that one post on Tumblr that reads: Your religion doesn’t allow you to do that? Cool. Your religion doesn’t allow me to do that? Not cool.“ or something like that. In this sense, it would be: “Your culture doesn’t socially accept that so you don’t do it? Cool. Your culture doesn’t socially accept my culture doing that so it says my culture can’t do it anymore? Not cool.”

Yes, the government hasn’t done much, if all, it has done nothing, but at least showing that it is publicly against dog meat in front of its citizens means a lot.

Also, remember that China is still a third world country, even with booming First-World Cities and Metropolises. Why? Well, it’s because the country itself is so huge, with people in the country side continuing to die of starvation. So remember that with no food, lack of water, hygiene, etc., the only resort that meant find they have is to eat what they can find, in other words, dog meat. And yes, this is how the dog meat idea came about in China many centuries ago.

Again, I am against the treatment of the dogs, but do feel that the revulsion of some eating Dog meat a bit hypocritical. What about your Chicken? Your beef? Your pork? Your dairy? And to vegans who might not wish to be understanding of this, think about the unfair wages, abuse, danger, and illegal labor of the the laborers tending the fields of your produce.

What I’m saying here is, dog meat, I feel, should be allowed, but should not be “farmed” the way it is now or the way chickens are raised in America. It should be free-range, abuse-free, cruelty-free, non GMOs, etc. It’s not a solution to the meat industry, but it is better than nothing.

Would I ever eat dog meat? Hell no.

Of all the times I’ve been to China have I ever seen Dog Meat on a restaurant menu or have seen it being sold on the streets as street food? Never.

The purpose of this rant is: Please PLEASE don’t stereotype all of China and the Chinese people under Yulin. Yulin is Yulin, and China has begun to open up now, with pet spas and pet hotels, animal rights groups, animal rights lawyers, and pet ownership on the rise.

Know that China is not what it used to be, although it definitely could use a lot more improvement.

Know that generalizing a nation of billions of people is stereotyping, and assigning those stereotypes to and entire race is racism.

Note: I am an American citizen of Chinese Heritage born and raised in America. My sources are from Time Magazine, Instagram posts, Tumblr posts, Facebook Posts, and personal experience. I have never owned a dog, but have owned pets. I have family with multiple pets. I have had three significant dogs in my life. I volunteer working with injured/rehabilitated wildlife and abandoned pets/former pets as well as animals imprinted on humans who are unable to be wild again. I am against animal abuse but believe that what constitutes as abuse has a limit. I am against Yulin, but find the charges against Chinese people and the Stereotypes racist and ignorant. These are my beliefs and opinions; don’t agree/disagree? I welcome your commentary but don’t start a fight. It is unnecessary and won’t help end the abuse in Yulin.