MedievalPOC occupies an unusual space in the Tumblrblogosphere, combining an anti-racist social justice message with citation-filled historical research.
You’d think this would be harmless enough, but right now its author is on the receiving end of some Anita Sarkeesian-style backlash.
According to its mission statement, the purpose of MedievalPOC is to “address common misconceptions that People of Color did not exist in Europe before the Enlightenment, and to emphasize the cognitive dissonance in the way this is reflected in media produced today.”
It’s become a popular resource during debates over the relative “realism” of everything from Disney’s Frozen to HBO’s Game of Thrones, and often receives messages from people asking for advice when researching racial diversity throughout history.
Last week, MedievalPOC reader tengokujin submitted a question about a video game called Kingdom Come: Deliverance, which is currently being marketed on Kickstarter as a “realistic single-player RPG set in medieval Europe” with “period accurate melee combat.” tengokujin asked MedievalPOC for information regarding any non-white ethnicities that might plausibly be included in the game, saying:
“I asked the devs if they plan on adding any NPCs of other-than-white-descent and received a polite reply of “[In Central Bohemia, there] were, unfortunately, almost none.” A casual search turns up the Mongols, so I figured there’s gotta be more. Do you have any sources or books that would indicate significant presence of other ethnicities?”
Basically, it was an academic question. Now seems like a good time to point out that there was no suggestion that the creators of Kingdom Come should be pressured into altering the content of their game.
MedievalPOC’s reply seemed somewhat unimpressed with the game’s lack of diversity, pointing out the lack of roles for female characters. “I can tell that representation really isn’t a priority there,” they wrote. “For example, their £600,000 goal of adding miniquests in which a female player character is even possiblecame after “Live Medieval In-Game Music” and “Symphonic Orchestra Soundtrack”, and remains unfulfilled as of yet. However, being able to “seduce local women” is already a part of the base game.”