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Race based on region and NOT skin color.

Discussion in 'World Building' started by ChrisNGibbs, Jul 23, 2015.

  1. ChrisNGibbs

    ChrisNGibbs Acolyte

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    Another World Bulding project I'm doing takes place mostly in one country where there's a lot of regionalism. It's a fantasy counterpart culture of modern North America. The country is divided by regions, city states and decades of civil wars. Government does exist on federal scale but it has little to no power. There is a lot of intermixing by our world's standards. (Black, White, Hispanic, Asian, etc.) However, race is based what part of the country you're from and nothing else.

    You think I can make this work? If so what do you think?
     
  2. Russ

    Russ Istar

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    I am not sure what you mean that "race" is based on what part of the country you are from and nothing else?

    Do you mean cultural identification is based on where you are from, or that all of the people, who are say, asian, are all from the same region?
     
  3. ChrisNGibbs

    ChrisNGibbs Acolyte

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    The first one. This country is very racially deserve but is divided. There's been a lot of conflict within it for decades.

    I should have worded this differently. There's no "Race" per se in this universe despite physical diversity. There is a lot of regionalism and the high class dominating the low class.
     
  4. X Equestris

    X Equestris Maester

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    I'd say it would be more accurate to just call this sectionalism. At the absolute most, you could say that different ethnicities have come about in this country.
     
  5. evolution_rex

    evolution_rex Inkling

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    Race is purely based on location and the fact that people develop their own language as well as minor physical differences in those locations. It's never just been skin color, but any 'type' of human. In Africa, you don't just have 'the African race', there are tons of races in Africa, which is what many of their civil wars are over. In India, you've got all Indians, but there the darker skinned Indians are considered lower class than the lighter skinned Indians.

    I'm kind of confused on what you're asking, but if you want these all to be defined races that live in their own city states then they need more characteristics than just being born in that specific part of their world. Otherwise it's not a race, it's a nationality. Which would work equally well in what it seems like you're trying to do. They'd need their own languages, and minor physical attributes (One kingdom might have a stronger jaw and be taller with bright blond hair, another shorter with red and brunette hair, that sort of thing).

    Personally, I usually avoid race in my works. Their diverse and I usually make my worlds unify humans physically, and conflicts like that are usually over nationalities and politics, which sounds like what you're trying to say. If I do include allegorical themes about race, then I usually do it in the form of a fictional race of human-like beings.
     
    cupiscent likes this.
  6. cupiscent

    cupiscent Sage

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    You'll want to have strong establishment in your world and story of how this works. Is it government-mandated? Has it been reinforced by historic disputes? Is it grass-roots level? I mean, in the modern world we have a strong sense of national identity, but that doesn't stop there still being strong elements of other divisions within nations - race, religion, class, sporting affiliation... Not to mention who drew the regional boundaries, and when, and why? The Middle East shows us how much people respect arbitrary map lines that don't take into account stronger community forces.

    But all of these things can feed into and make complex the tensions of your story, so have fun. :)

    I do agree, though, that calling this "race" isn't going to be accurate. It would be more accurate to say that race will not be a very important identity marker, or similar.
     
    ChrisNGibbs likes this.
  7. ChrisNGibbs

    ChrisNGibbs Acolyte

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    In my world the division is reinforced by historic disputes. The largest dispute has been the older Eastern part of the country and the newly colonized western side that wants government separation. The last civil war broke out about 40 years ago and ended when a nuclear bomb that destroyed a major city.

    To maintain peace the government created a national police force that's localized to all major cities. This policemen have to power to control and generate specific elements. (i.e. Fire, Ice, Lighting, Earth etc.) This was done to keep the internal conflicts from becoming nuclear.

    To maintain the energy infused into them the users of these elements have to be between the ages of 13 and 34.

    The biggest threats in the world are eternal. Religious extremists from a lost tribe want to destroy everything in the country, finding bliss in their enemy's demise. Corrupt millionaires and white collar crooks wanting the maintain or increase the chaos for their own selfish benefits. Finally corrupt cops who have gone mad with their new "Power" and feel they're superior and more than human to the people they swore to protect.

    I know that's all over the place but that's the jest of this universe.
     
  8. Miskatonic

    Miskatonic Auror

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    Given it's the modern era I think you can do something like this simply because many of the cultures today are not necessarily as strongly influenced by a specific race, though it still exists as evidenced by what certain demographics consume. There will always be a racial factor in society.

    The culture of ancient societies, up until modern times, were a strong reflection of the races that created them. That's why we have diversity, (not the diversity that is touted today, which is essentially a melting pot that destroys real diversity).

    You'll never escape the racial factor unless you are embracing historical revisionism. It can be downplayed in your fantasy world however. My only advice would be to create a natural progression towards this society that has a much smaller racial influence factor.
     
    ChrisNGibbs likes this.
  9. Russ

    Russ Istar

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    Really? Just what are these tons of races in Africa?
     
  10. Russ

    Russ Istar

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    That kind of regionalism is totally credible and I have no doubt you can do a good job of it.

    You could even see it in Canada today. We have significant regionalism and vast cultural gaps within our nation. If you sat me (an "easterner") down in a room with a Newfie, Down Easterner, Albertan, Montrealler, Quebecer, or Left Coaster we would all be able to tell exactly where each other was from in a couple of minutes.

    I say go for it and enjoy it.
     
    ChrisNGibbs likes this.
  11. Penpilot

    Penpilot Staff Article Team

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    I think the niggling thing is just use of the word 'race'. As Russ showed with his great examples, there can be divisions of a population independent of genetic traits. I think in broad terms countries are like this. For example Canada and the USA. There are differences in the way people speak and act based on that division. And as Russ said within a country there are differences too. You can go down lower and lower. Humans are always grouping ourselves into subgroups/subcultures.

    I mean there are differences between jocks and nerds, in the way the act, speak, etc or Trekies vs Star Wars geeks. But there are also overlaps too.
     
  12. Russ

    Russ Istar

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    German speaking people's make for another great example. The difference between say Prussian culture and Austrian culture and language is huge.

    My mother is Austrian by birth and speaks with her distant Prussian relatives in English because it is easier than trying to understand each's other's version of German.

    They also have very strong opinions about the strengths and weaknesses of each's others cultures.
     
  13. WooHooMan

    WooHooMan Auror

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    Sounds like India. "Indian" is probably the most racially diverse nationality there is.
    Or maybe research ancient Celts though they never really had a unified nation.

    The big one is Arab. Naturally, given the geography, Arab culture has always had a close connection Africa. The recent Sudanese civil war was mostly between Arab and non-Arab factions.
    Indian ethnic groups are also pretty common along the east coast.
    There are also a good number of White people in Africa as the result of colonization from decades back.

    If you broaden the definition of "race" then South Africa alone has the Bantu, Khoi, San, White and Asian people. In the country, those five demographics are recognized as different "races" with each consisting of many different ethnic groups.
     
  14. Russ

    Russ Istar

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    Sure there may be "two" races (if you accept even the idea of race) in Africa, or three if you want to count all the Asians who live in Africa as well.

    I don't see how arabs are a difference race that caucasians in any modern thinking. The caveat once again being that you accept that idea of race at all.

    But there are not "tons" of races in Africa. The Bantu, Khoi, San, Zulus, Xhosa, Kikuyu, Luo, etc are not races by any stretch of the word. Those are ethnic or cultural groups. They are no more different races than Norwegians and Italians are not different races.
     
  15. Trick

    Trick Auror

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    That's not entirely different from America. I'm from the North West and my father is from back east, Pennsylvania. He and I sitting with a person from Louisiana and another from Missouri or something would all sound very different, use different colloquialisms and phrases. Our origin regions would be pretty obvious to others and each other. But there are still divisions of race too. It sounds like the OP's goal is sort of what the future of America will hopefully be, to a certain extent; where we feel special kinship and loyalty to people from our region regardless of physical race attributes. The balance that needs to be struck between maintaining cultural history and moving forward into the formation of a new, regional or national culture is tough though. It will take many more years if it does in fact work.
     
    Russ likes this.
  16. X Equestris

    X Equestris Maester

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    Let's settle on a definition of race. Are we using the definition used by modern biologists, which basically amounts to minor variations in facial structure? Or are we using the old definition used by scientists back in the 1800s and early 1900s?

    If we use the modern biological definition, there are only three races in the whole world: Caucasoids, Mongoloids, and Negroids. In that case you would have two races who had some members totally native to Africa: Negroids and Caucasoids. If you add in immigrants, you get all three.

    What you're talking about are ethnicities. The Celts aren't a race. They're part of one, but they aren't a distinct race.
     
    Reaver likes this.
  17. Trick

    Trick Auror

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    We have enough gumption for a whole race though! :)
     
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  18. Russ

    Russ Istar

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    Modern biology might (and I think does) go a step farther and suggest race does not exist as a valid concept. This is an argument I personally find very persuasive.

    But I have never seen a coherent definition of races that included more than 5 or 6.
     
  19. Russ

    Russ Istar

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    Or even a race and a half!
     
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  20. Tom

    Tom Istar

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    In the eastern US, regionalism is pretty pronounced. Just crossing the state border into Pennsylvania from New York is like entering a new culture. Going to West Virginia (which is what I've done the past two summers) feels like visiting a foreign country. The character of the region is very different, and people can peg me as a stranger immediately, though they may not know where I'm from. I've had some folks down there assume I'm Canadian--which is actually not that inaccurate, seeing how close I live to the border.
     
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