It's a difficult spot to be in, for Monte and the company, but they probably should have foreseen trouble.
When confronted with the thorny issue of attempting to reclaim a beloved narrative setting from a past perspective,
an author really needs to look closely at whether the stuff they love is too closely intertwined with material that's going to marginalize and hurt people.
I'm a huge fan of movies from the 40's, detective movies, jungle adventures, supernatural thrillers, etcetera, and it was only after a friend referred to that time period as the "golden age of racism" that I started to spot all the itchy, fiberglass-like racist elements in them. And, uh, there are way more than the obvious ones.
If I wanted to create a setting for a game I planned to sell, based on those 40's adventure movies, complete with "great white hunters," bone-in-nose tribesmen, and a glory-hunting colonialist mindset, I'd have to expect people to be not okay with that.
C'mon, you know that shit's not okay. There's a reason "Africa Screams" with Abbott & Costello never gets shown on TCM.
Sometimes, there's just no way to unravel the stuff you love from the objectionable stuff. There's no solution. When Peter Jackson remade King Kong awhile back, he ended up making the Skull Islanders golden-eyed, grey-skinned orclike people, crafting a dogwhistle approximation of a "savage native" while trying to extract
any possibility of anyone seeing any actual ethnicity
But that's not a solution, it's a cheat, and it's not a very good one.
Turning racist stereotypes into bat-winged space-Fagins, or "Ahh-sooo" bugeyed fu-manchu knockoffs or blue cat people with braid-modems that let them "commune with nature" isn't about creating a more inclusive world,
it's just about crafting plausible deniability for the author.
And that's a problem.
"It's not real Indians, it's imaginary trope Indians," doesn't cut it
as far as inclusion goes. If you aren't competent
to treat real cultures in a nuanced manner, you probably need to leave them alone, not try to hammer them into fictionalized props you can "get away" with using. #thunderplains #controversy #TheStrange