speaking about races, I really hate the monorace polity trope... just because ye yanks are segregationist racists, and racially segregated ones at that, doesn't mean the entire world is like that... there's plenty of non-monoracial cultures in the history of the world, and a HUGE amount of reasons why, given greater diversity of intelligent things, monoracial polities wouldn't be any more common than on earth, perhaps less so.
Thanks for pointing this out.
This is generally something people don't really know about history - and one that I've grown to appreciate more and more as I continue my study in history (history major here). Many historical states were quite multiracial. Rome, for instance, was very mixed, and many Roman Emperors came from North Africa, the Middle East, non-Italian Europe, and so on; in other words, contrary to common perception of Romans as pure white dudes, some Roman Emperors might as well have looked like Bin Laden's cousin or something. Many medieval Islamic states were also highly diversified; medieval Spain, for instance, was a huge mess of what we would call "white", "black", "jewish", and "middle eastern" folk; many of the Turkish sultans were of mixed ancestry - if I remember correctly Suleiman was half-Greek or half-Slavic or something (might be his successor). And on and on.
Point is, I think this problem in fantasy is something that is rooted in common perceptions of history - that people have kept to themselves historically.
Actually, this goes to another point, and one I feel very strongly about when it comes to history. Historically, many cultures themselves were mixed, the result of centuries upon centuries of influence and counter-influence from one group to another. Early medieval Islamic culture, for instance, while obviously founded on pre-Islamic Arabian culture, was heavily influenced by Sassanid Persia, which itself was influenced by Achaemenid Persia, classical Greece, and India. Historical religious sectarianism and secret societies of southern China, for instance, drew influences from local Chinese traditions, Buddhism, and even Persian religions such as Manichaeism - I did a research paper on this, and was surprised at the plausibility of a Persian Manichaean influence on things such as Chinese triads or religious rebellions as late as the 20th century. A modern-day example might be Jazz: influences draw from classical European music, traditional African and Amerindian musical traditions, ragtime, and even Asian music. This was how ideas and inventions spread so quickly: Paper, Gunpowder, for instance, spread along the Silk Road from China to the Islamic World to Europe.
My point is that this is often not reflected in stereotypical fantasy where every culture has kept to themselves for 1038032424 years until the magical hero comes along and forces everyone to work along, or something like that. Those immortal elves always keep to themselves in their magical trees, the dwarves are always inside their mountains doing dwarven stuff, and so on - nobody exchanges culture, ideas, inventions, religions, anything. And not only that, nobody even mixes. Even if two groups come into contact, they always sort of keep to themselves and don't change at all - elves are still their same elfy selves or whatever.
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