KnightExemplar wrote:While the Tauren are inspired from various (and contradictory) Native American tribes, it is hard to say that Blizzard is telling us that "Native Americans act like the Tauren".
ACTUAL Native American stereotypes exist. IE: Native Americans are gambling alcholoics. I have encounted these stereotypes in real life. But there's a line between inspiration and stereotypes. Tauren were inspired by the Native American myth. However, Tauren do not stereotype native americans.
'Inspired by' the Native American myth, or 'completely ripped off of' the Native American myth? The difference between a homage and a copy is that the homage does something interesting and different with the source material.
Anyway, there is no question that the Tauren are just a direct importation of Native American stereotypes (no, they weren't 'inspired' by the diversity of Native American tribes; they were simply copied over from our broadly inaccurate perception
of Native American tribes as a single, monolithic whole--i.e., all Native Americans lived in tee-pees, all Native Americans carved totem poles). The question I assume you're asking is whether or not that's a bad thing, or more specifically, whether or not the Tauren themselves stereotype Native American tribes.
I don't know. I know I oppose this sort of thing for the same reason I opposed it in Avatar; it's lazy and it perpetuates the myth of indigenous cultures as having a monopoly on spiritual currency (along with the condescending 'noble savage' BS). I don't know how honestly bad it is; I could at least understand if a Native American found these simplified versions of their cultural iconography to be somewhat disrespectful. I mean, I imagine there's only so many times you can see your culture snatched up and misrepresented by someone else before you start getting irritable about it.
KnightExemplar wrote:Morally, I can agree that its preferable not to do this... but its so minor that it barely registers a blip in my conscience. As soon as any person meets a Native American, they'll learn how stupid the stereotype is. I mean, whats the worst that could happen? An awkward conversation? Maybe... the Native American is pressured into dropping technology and living in a tee-pee? </sarcasm> At the end of the day, its just another ignorant myth that is passed around. If I actually cared about every ignorant myth / stereotype that I've ever come across, I'd never get anything done!
Like I said, morally it's probably a net loss, not a net gain; how bad it is may be up to interpretation. I find the ongoing myth of the 'noble savage' and of the 'spiritual wonder' of indigenous people to be particularly irritating, largely because it's an example of paternalism--but your mileage may vary. Also, I've encountered these myths quite a number of times.
KnightExemplar wrote:Artistically... the use of this stereotype / myth has proven to be effective in communicating an idea to the audience. At the end of the day, that is what art is: a method to communication.
The purpose is to communicate the message in a way that is entertaining and interesting
. World of Warcraft's story is rarely either.