|Rosita the Riveter|
|1 person marked this as a favorite.|
I've borrowed lots from real life history. Remember all that racist crap about slavery being good for black people because they are so tribalistic and lazy that they'd be primitive savages without it? Well, the standard fantasy stereotype of Dwarves is the exact same concept in my world. Mining with pre-industrial technology is dirty, dangerous, miserable, exhausting, and terrifying work, and Dwarves didn't actually like it more than any other race. They were slaves, however, so they didn't really have a choice in the matter, and other races went around extolling how much Dwarves love being miners, doing hard work all the time, and living underground in an attempt to justify the evils of slavery to themselves. Mix this with "Dwarves are a bunch of lewd, boisterous, violent alcoholic ruffians with no work ethic or social intelligence, and any Dwarven society will fall into squalor and clannish barbarism if nobody better is there to direct them in life", and people get around to thinking Dwarves are happier in slavery, what with people to keep their negative impulses in check and direct them to meaningful work in life. Of course, this is a bunch of extremely bigoted crap, just like the whole "The Negro is happier in slavery and it is their natural condition" thing was a load of extremely bigoted crap. The era of slavery is over in my setting, but just like the real world, the after effects run deep, and Dwarves are certainly not equal in society. We don't have a Jim Crow analog, but there is a ton of institutional racism. And something like Diggy Diggy Hole would be seen as a racist caricature on the level of a blackface minstrel show.
I also borrowed from the Mamluks for my Orcs. Essentially, Orcs were slaves at the same time as Dwarves, but were significantly higher ranking, and correspondingly better treated. Orcs were warrior slaves, just like the Mamluks, and despite being slaves, their social status and standard of living was higher than that of most free people. They would view themselves accordingly, and therefore tended to be fairly loyal as long as they received the relatively high standard of living they expected. As warriors, they formed a highly trained heavy cavalry and infantry elite, broadly similar in armament and training to a knight, excepting the lack of land or tenants of their own. The stereotype of Orcs as being stupid or savage isn't much of a thing unless you are talking to a Dwarf. They are stereotyped as violent, given their militaristic roots, but they tended to be well educated on manners relating to warfare, and could be quite effective strategists. Slave overseers were typically Orcs, but that isn't a warrior's job, and you wouldn't pay the very high price of an Orcish warrior for that duty. Nowhere near economical. Orcish slave overseers were the Orcs who just weren't good enough to train as warriors. Naturally, they were much cheaper. And all the other Orcs hated them. Cowards, morons, and weaklings. Of course, taking someone constantly pushed around and called useless and putting them in charge of the only people worth less than them is a recipe for constant abuse of power. Beatings were extremely common, punishment was an excessive as it was petty, and a lot of the violence of mine life was a means of asserting control over an incredibly depressing existence. Slave overseers and pillaging captured cities are the origins of the whole "Half-Orcs children of rape" thing (Another very offensive stereotype in the modern day. The slave overseer part has a lot more truth than the pillaging part, though. Orcish warriors were expected to be highly trained professionals, while wild looting would be seen as the province of the common soldiers. That's not to say that Orcish warriors weren't raping people after a settlement was taken, it just wasn't near as widespread as the stereotype suggests. A lot of Orcish slave overseers were raping slaves left and right, however, so that part is much more accurate.), and modern Dwarven bloodlines do usually contain at least some Orcish blood. There are still Dwarves who hold this against Orcs, even with all the slave overseers long dead of old age. The "Orcs are barbaric monsters" stereotype is a direct result of the behavior of slave overseers, and is seen by other races as a rather Dwarven thing to believe. That kind of cultural memory runs deep.