We’ve been writing setting material for Triune, including descriptions of nations in the future. Since the game focuses on enforcing the Anti-Church Act that makes all religions illegal, and since players take roles as police, we need to describe how nations deal with all of this.
When describing central and west African nations, we tried to think 1) what would they be line in the future, and 2) what would make for interesting gameplay. We settled on a continuation of the corruption and internecine warfare that plagues the continent today. There doesn’t seem to be an end to the corruption in sight, and it would make for good conflicts in the game.
Now, we’re wondering if that’s racist. Are we predicting the same kind of instability in other regions? No–Asian and White nations are stable. Are we assuming nations like Chad and Burundi will never get their act together? For the purposes of a game, yes. Are we predicting and assuming just because these nations are mostly black?
Our answer is no, not at all. First, we’re not making predictions–we’re writing a science fiction roleplaying game setting. Science fiction doesn’t try to predict the future; it tries to entertain by creating a possible future.
Second, the reality is that many African nations are incredibly corrupt. This isn’t news nor a contested, unproven idea. It’s a fact. We are simply using that fact in creating our game setting.
To answer the question we posed in the title, we believe that having African nations still struggle with tribalism and corruption in our futuristic setting is not racist. We aren’t making any judgment calls on the people of Africa. Besides the fact that this is just a game, the currently corrupt African nations don’t seem to be on the road to improvement. It makes sense to depict them this way.