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How racist are pirates?


Skull & Shackles

Sczarni

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber

Starting this AP in a few weeks, and if a PC isn't a 'normal' Shackles race, how racist do you think the pirates get? Most of the bad ones seem like jerkfaces, so they may be harder on non-regional races.


Real pirates: Pretty racist.

Fantasy pirates: only as racist as you want/need them to be.


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In a few supplements it is stated, that actually the Shackles are among the least racist areas in Golarion, a refuge for shunned minorities. The local Highpriestess of Callistria is a Tiefling, according to "Blood of the Fiends". An Island full of Vudrani.. an elven enclave.... and since there are also tianish pirates about, as well es a colony of Tengu, not much should be able to shock a citizen of the Shackles.

I'd think they fear more what they know, like a bunch of Kuru as part of the crew^^

Qadira

Like vikingson said, the Shackles are pretty cosmopolitan. While racism could rear its ugly head, I think most pirates are pragmatic enough to realize that in their "us against them" world, it's better not to judge a pirate before you can see what good he is on deck.

Taldor

In all honesty the pirates of real life where NOT racists. They did not care what color your skin was and in fact many African-American or Africans served on board pirate ships. The Wyhdah is a great example of this. They had a Native of South America (John Julian), an African-Dutchman (Hendrick Quintor)

Pirates came from all over and they did not care.

In fact many sailors in the Revolutionary War that served on American ships where of African decent

So no, not racist at all really as long as you did your job and did it well


IceniQueen wrote:

In all honesty the pirates of real life where NOT racists. They did not care what color your skin was and in fact many African-American or Africans served on board pirate ships. The Wyhdah is a great example of this. They had a Native of South America (John Julian), an African-Dutchman (Hendrick Quintor)

Pirates came from all over and they did not care.

In fact many sailors in the Revolutionary War that served on American ships where of African decent

So no, not racist at all really as long as you did your job and did it well

working on a ship and being considered equals are not the same thing. However, I have no direct knowledge so I really don't know. I based my assumption off the time in which pirates were common and what's known of modern pirates. They weren't and still aren't known for their humanitarism.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

I wouldn't expect most pirates to be racist at all. To a pirate a creatures worth is equal to what they can contribute to the goal. Any creature who helps pirates chances of success (and accumulating wealth) one would have to think would be more than welcome. As a matter of fact, if I were playing a pirate captain I would intentionally keep a race nearby governments considered scary or had a prejudice against as a crew member, all the better to have a ready made scapegoat if the crew were to get captured with a successful diplomacy or bluff check ("Oh we didn't really want to attack that ship, kill everyone on board, and loot all the treasure, but the scary Ifrit [insert your race here] said he would burn the ship down around us if we didn't do it. WHAT DID YOU EXPECT US TO DO? **sob, sob**") Additionally, if you were a little more loyal it would always be easier to rescue said scapegoat after you and the rest of the crew sailed away and came back at night. I think utility more than race constitutes a pirate outlook... unless they have a low int score.

Taldor Contributor

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Racist, sorta. They engaged in the slave trade, but pirates also freed slaves who joined their crew. On the other hand, I don't know of black or North African pirate captains outside the Barbary Corsairs, who were not very racist, by 16-17th century standards. They enslaved anyone, but also recruited anyone.
I think class was a larger issue than skin colour for most pirates.

Sczarni

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber

Cool. thanks everyone.


IceniQueen wrote:

In all honesty the pirates of real life where NOT racists. They did not care what color your skin was and in fact many African-American or Africans served on board pirate ships. The Wyhdah is a great example of this. They had a Native of South America (John Julian), an African-Dutchman (Hendrick Quintor)

Pirates came from all over and they did not care.

In fact many sailors in the Revolutionary War that served on American ships where of African decent

So no, not racist at all really as long as you did your job and did it well

They were racist : in as far as African sailors would receive only half or even less shares for being of african stock, regardless of experience. I have no knowledge of them ever commanding or serving in a position of authority aboard a Pirate either. Same went for other "black" people (and in this context that meant anyone not or euro-caucasian stock.. e.g. asians, indians, arabs.. the lot). This applies for the crew of Bartholomew Roberts, but I will look it up for Kidd and Dampier.

As for the arab pirates of the mediterranean : They were non-discriminating...


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Jeff Erwin wrote:

Racist, sorta. They engaged in the slave trade, but pirates also freed slaves who joined their crew. On the other hand, I don't know of black or North African pirate captains outside the Barbary Corsairs, who were not very racist, by 16-17th century standards. They enslaved anyone, but also recruited anyone.

I think class was a larger issue than skin colour for most pirates.

Not that I know about Pirates too much, or that I am defending their actions, but being in the slave trade does not really make you a racist. I am sure being racist is of great help, but profit can be a much more determining factor then fear or hatred of someone. Not a lot of people buying white folks back then, so need to go where the money is.

As far as S&S Pirates the books make them out to be the least racist of all the Nations so your PC should be fine. In my campaign Master Scourge is quite the racist however, but that is only because most of my PCs are not core race. The only exception to this is sort of the Tengu, who are seen as sort of good luck charms, pets, and mascots of Pirate ships. You could easily be a Tengu on a ship, but might have to work extra hard to gain respect.


Simplified answer:
Pirates were always less racist than the normal society of the given era

using this "rule", you can easily adopt it for pirates of fantasy and sci-fi settings, for pirates of various racial and cultural background

remember that there is always chance the majority of pirates on a ship is not the basic human race, and that affects the onlook on things


There are a lot of races in the Shackles. Some will hate eachother. There's a lot of slavery-- halfling, Mwangi, etcetera-- due to Sargava being nearby.

One thing I noticed is that the Shackles is close to Rahadoum and the Pure Legion-- the guys who go around wiping out with extreme prejudice all traces of religion.

So if anything, there are villains nearby who are militant atheists in a world where the gods are almost proven fact real. Kind of the villains for the pirates to take down?


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Timothy Hanson wrote:
Jeff Erwin wrote:

Racist, sorta. They engaged in the slave trade, but pirates also freed slaves who joined their crew. On the other hand, I don't know of black or North African pirate captains outside the Barbary Corsairs, who were not very racist, by 16-17th century standards. They enslaved anyone, but also recruited anyone.

I think class was a larger issue than skin colour for most pirates.
Not that I know about Pirates too much, or that I am defending their actions, but being in the slave trade does not really make you a racist.

If being a slave trader would be racists then the black Africans would be some of the greatest offenders as most white European and Arabian-African traders were buying black slaves from various leaders of Africa's coastal states and tribes. As far as I know Arabian-African slave traders supplemented this with actual raids for slaves to a greater degree than Europeans but they were also more willing to take white slaves given a chance so there was certain degree of egalitarianism in their slave trade.


Pirates would accept anybody to be a deck hand this includes females! There were several famous female pirate captains.

Captured slaves were a captured commodity just like any other treasure. If I also remember correctly the slave ships were avoided because of diseases and it took more work to convert slaves into money.


FireHawk wrote:

Pirates would accept anybody to be a deck hand this includes females! There were several famous female pirate captains.

Captured slaves were a captured commodity just like any other treasure. If I also remember correctly the slave ships were avoided because of diseases and it took more work to convert slaves into money.

There were no female pirate captains (except in movies *sigh*). If you know differently, please list any : historic reality would love to know, because there would be several new books in that info.

Two female pirates in western history : Anne Bonney and Mary Read

Overall to the OP : this is Golarion, be as non-racist/non-speciesist as you like


vikingson wrote:
FireHawk wrote:

Pirates would accept anybody to be a deck hand this includes females! There were several famous female pirate captains.

Captured slaves were a captured commodity just like any other treasure. If I also remember correctly the slave ships were avoided because of diseases and it took more work to convert slaves into money.

There were no female pirate captains (except in movies *sigh*). If you know differently, please list any : historic reality would love to know, because there would be several new books in that info.

Two female pirates in western history : Anne Bonney and Mary Read

Overall to the OP : this is Golarion, be as non-racist/non-speciesist as you like

Here's a starting point

Wikipedia wrote:
Women in Piracy

Andoran

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I think of pirates being like "Animal Mother" in Full Metal Jacket, calling each other all sorts of horribly racist names, but considering each other full equals as part of the crew.


darkwarriorkarg wrote:

Here's a starting point

Wikipedia wrote:
Women in Piracy

Oh, please.... go check the background on these people (who of the females in that article are not of disputed accuracy ?) and see who of them actually sailed a ship. Commanded it even.

In a fact based, non-apocryphal, non-Hollywood world. Contemporary accounts of their deeds, not barroom-ballads made up hundreds of years after, because they sound romantic.

Facts, you know. Not Wikipedia...

And without intending to renege on women ( I know several who sail exceedingly well), in those times 15th to 18th century) gaining the necessary skills to command and navigate a ship was both a matter of higher education unavailable to most (especially the mathmatic side of it. Try doing a lunar observation yourself.... you will see what I mean ), training on ship before becoming a pirate and an actual chance to gain the respect to command a crew of men who actually wanted to abolish superiority. And maintain it. All beyond the normal ken of woman in that time. Higher mathmatics ? Not taught. Sailing and training on a ship ? No sir. Combat prowess, good seamanship or other ways to impress pirates ? Not likely.

We are talking commanders here, not nobility asking them to engage in piracy ....because "having your man/men do it" is not the same as pirating. It's instigation.


vikingson wrote:


There were no female pirate captains
Two female pirates in western history : Anne Bonney and Mary Read

Hey look _you_ already listed 2 names that equates to 'several' which is more than none.

I never said it was common (nor did I say western), which is what your argument should have been instead of saying their were none only to invalidate your own statement in the next sentence.


There was a "Queen of Pirates" referring to 16th century Chinese/Korean expansion of the wokou or Japanese pirates.

But generally speaking pirates weren't racist at all. Any able bodied person willing to go pirating was accepted - no matter which society, nor which group of pirates. They also weren't racist at whom they attacked - they were equal opportunity to both recruiting and robbing.

Many pirates of the Pacific Ocean included Maori, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, SE Asian along with Dutch and Portuguese working together on the same ships. Pirates weren't racist at all, they were more democratic than any other society in the world at the time - except for perhaps primitive hunter/gatherers elsewhere in the world.


FireHawk wrote:
vikingson wrote:


There were no female pirate captains
Two female pirates in western history : Anne Bonney and Mary Read

Hey look _you_ already listed 2 names that equates to 'several' which is more than none.

I never said it was common (nor did I say western), which is what your argument should have been instead of saying their were none only to invalidate your own statement in the next sentence.

"Several" is a plural, denoting more than a pair. E.g. three or more. Queens. Of Pirates.Two female pirates who were simply part of a crew.

"Pirate queens were common" sounds... well, no, not the same. *sigh*...

There were also woman aboard Royal Navy vessels, often with the tacit or silent accceptance of the captain and officers. Which did neither make them sailors, gave them navigational work aboard nor puts them in command. Nor does it makes them captains of the Royal Navy or the French, Spanish, Portugese, Danish, Swedish or Dutch. Nevermind the Turks. Or the islamic states of the Arab peninsula or Middle East.

Oriental pirates : even more apocryphal. There is no hard evidence (say court orders, acts of government, public records of executions, Lists of damages or histories of those surely remarkable females for being unorthodox women... etc) which confirms these ever....existed.
And yes, there is a plethora of infomation on shipping routes and events on these in Asian cultures from India to the Sea of Japan, and one maythink a female captain, merchantor buccaneeer really would have stood out. Especially with cultures even less oriented towards the sea, with less high-value transport overseas, less opportunity for piracy. Based on cultures very restrictive on a class based social role and a strictly home-oriented female culture.

If we take myth and legend as equivalent to facts... go for it ! Absolutely fine with Golarion. But, please do not get the realities of renaissance and 17th/18th century life confused with myths made up by storytellers (Hollywood and barroom) to entertain the romantic notions of the masses.

As for facts

...the reality of shipboard life among pirates is, that same-sex relationships were a hundred times more common and utterly typical of buccaneer life. For further illustration I'd recommend Richard Sanders "If a pirate I must be" biography of Bartholomew Roberts, Aurum Press 2008.

"The early buccaneers distinctly preferred each other's company to that of woman, and a tradition of violent misogyny had continued among the pirates of the Caribbean into Roberts'(1719) day - a misogyny that probably concealed a adgree of hearty homosexuality." (Sanders,p 77). Quoting on the basis of contemporary sources. Buccanneer and not. And including the fact that Roberts himself had a same-sex relation ship with another pirate, George Wilson. Again, from numerous witness accounts, including Wilson's own statement.

Give me a book accepted by contemporary academic peers which features those glorious "Queens of Pirates" or colour me severly unconvinced.

gamer-printer wrote:

There was a "Queen of Pirates" referring to 16th century Chinese/Korean expansion of the wokou or Japanese pirates.

But generally speaking pirates weren't racist at all. Any able bodied person willing to go pirating was accepted - no matter which society, nor which group of pirates. They also weren't racist at whom they attacked - they were equal opportunity to both recruiting and robbing.

Many pirates of the Pacific Ocean included Maori, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, SE Asian along with Dutch and Portuguese working together on the same ships. Pirates weren't racist at all, they were more democratic than any other society in the world at the time - except for perhaps primitive hunter/gatherers elsewhere in the world.

To quote Sanders

"The Africans Roberts' observed aboard Davies ships did not sign the pirate' articles, they took no share of the loot, and they 'were kept in an underling way' " and "Davies men were no more humane in their treatment of Africans than the brutal slave traders and plantation owners they preyed upon"

"Their rules were designed to protect their new-found liberties. But there was no universal code of brotherhood" (R. Sanders. p44)

As for the pacific ocean : when exactly were those pirate ships you mention active ? Late 19th century - looking at the scarcity of Japanese ocean-bound traders before the mid 19th century ? Because, you mention Maori and Japanese. On the same ship. And I really wonder who went to New Zealand before James Cook roundabout 1766 to recruit them. Still.... sounds interesting


Wako/Wokou or Japanese pirates were active from the 13th century into the 14th century, with lesser activity all the way up to the 16th century. Mixed crew pirates during the latter 15th century in the orient was never as active as piracy in the Spanish Main.

The Age of Japanese piracy is primarily 13th/14th century. Both Kyushu and Shikoku islands featured large pirate presence from the Inland Sea to the Sea of Japan and mostly against Korean traders.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

I removed a derail into real-life politics. Flag it and move on, please.


gamer-printer wrote:

Wako/Wokou or Japanese pirates were active from the 13th century into the 14th century, with lesser activity all the way up to the 16th century. Mixed crew pirates during the latter 15th century in the orient was never as active as piracy in the Spanish Main.

The Age of Japanese piracy is primarily 13th/14th century. Both Kyushu and Shikoku islands featured large pirate presence from the Inland Sea to the Sea of Japan and mostly against Korean traders.

hmm interesting. Wonder how they met the Maori. So much for RL and studies in pirate history - wish my japanese was way better^^


Prior to the Tokugawa Era (1600 - 1858), under the rule of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, Red Seal Ships were created - essentially a craft with a combined Portuguese style sailing ship with a Japanese junk. A red seal ship was given the Shogun's Red Seal, a document proclaiming service to the Empire and dealings in fair trade with foreign ports (Korean and Chinese). There were edicts by both the Chinese and Korean governments demanding no trade with the Japanese, for fear they are actually pirate vessels and not trading ships. The Red Seal ships were a kind of guarantee made by the Japanese government that these ships should be accepted at ports - and not being considered pirates.

While this isn't documentation per se of the existence of pirates, the need for a 'Red Seal Ship' in first place defines the existence of Japanese pirates.

Japan never admitted to harboring pirates during that time period, while the existence of the Red Seal ship circumvents that denial.


I would imagine that the halfling pirates of the shackles are more likely to be racist than the human and waht not else pirates.
and the pirates of RL, were not liekly to care to much what yer skin tone was, jsut how well you could help run the ship and plunder and pillage your little black guts out.

If any thing they wer cut loose from morality /modesty and were more rude and crude on top of bloodthirsty and cruel.

which means what a gentleman ouldnt say to a well bread woman, a pirate would say it and likely do it....

that doesnt say much for the women pirates of RL... there were at least two of them iirc.

pirates are rude crude dudes


Well bred woman. Unless she is a loaf.

Pirates kill rat folk on their ships on sight. They have enough rat problems with out adding more. Of course racist and intolerant are not the same. While pirates would kill rat folk, cat folk would be given the job of keeping the ship free of rats and other pests. The first is intolerant the second racist.


ThunderMan wrote:

Well bred woman. Unless she is a loaf.

Pirates kill rat folk on their ships on sight. They have enough rat problems with out adding more. Of course racist and intolerant are not the same. While pirates would kill rat folk, cat folk would be given the job of keeping the ship free of rats and other pests. The first is intolerant the second racist.

Where precisely do we take that furry-esque evaluation of character races from ? Next thing being Kitsune rabidly assaulting any Garuda-born Aasimar and Stryx ?

Oh, and historic pirates were as racist as the rest of the population of their age : very.
Yeah this insults our 20th centuries sensibilities and does not actually reflect what is shown in movies but.... I'd recommend having a good and thoughtful look at Angus Konstam's "Pirates" or "If a pirate I must be" by Richard Sanders to verify the issue. Perhaps a lesser form of exploitation than working on some plantation, but equally unpaid, forced and unwilling. Yes, african pirates simply got no shares. And could not be voted into any position of authority.

That is ...historic pirates. Draw you own conclusions for Jack Sparrow etc... except... just how many non-caucasian men and women were on those ships precisely ? I remember one women in the first movie ? And some quota asians on the junk in the third one ?

Looking at the Wormwood : two mwangi-based Chars out of app thirty.One of them is quitely ironic a slaver

On the other hand, the "Shackles" as a realm are described as very non-racist, with a plethora of different races, ranging from Tiefling over halflings, Gnomes, Tengu and even scattered Elvish Isles. Half-Orcs abound. There is a even quite a number of dwarves

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