Not So Different After All: Mutant Equality!
Once upon a time, a small quarrel broke out in the Castle of Brightvale. Highly concerned and (very) unexpectedly agile, King Hagan rushed to the scene and found two Draik guards with swords drawn and eyes full of hate. The small crowd silenced, and the two guards froze abruptly as the Wise Old King fearlessly walked between the two. His Majesty demanded an explanation: the Draik guard ending his shift refused to leave his post to a Draik who’d been painted Plushie. After hearing both sides of the story (as any good king would), King Hagan took a deep sigh and ordered that a declaration be made to the entire kingdom of Brightvale. An hour later, Neopia’s most sophisticated Skeith stood before his people and, with tremendous power and sincerity, proclaimed:
“All Neopians are created equal.”
Wiser words, in this unbiased reporter’s opinion, have never been spoken.
Why the random lesson in Neopian history, though? Sadly, with Neopia’s annual Mutant Day here, it has become more and more apparent that King Hagan’s message of love, equality, and unity has gone in one ear/antenna/VirtuTransmitter and out the other. Prejudice is alive and well in Neopia, and this reporter is determined to give you the information you need to help put an end to it.
For approximately a decade, Mutants have lived among us and worked hard to become respectable, responsible Neopets, despite their physical deformities. Still, many Neopians seek to generalize all Mutants as “ugly dung pets who need only step outside during the Month of Collecting.” These were the cruel words one Mutant Tonu had to endure just last week.
“I was just walking through the Art Centre, admiring some paintings, when a Royal Cybunny suddenly looked at me and screamed,” explained the young Tonu, bravely fighting back tears. “She called me a fre... a freak... I’m sorry... A freak of nature. I didn’t even do anything to her. She hated me because I’m... I’m different.”
He—who chose to otherwise remain anonymous—is only one of many Neopets and Petpets who face daily humiliation and discrimination as a product of “Transmogrificism”—or, as the Mutant community calls it, “Mut-hate-ing.” One Mutant Grundo explained how she’d been kicked out of the Faerie Employment Agency for how she looks and who she is. Too embarrassed to give a full interview, she did tell us that an Air Faerie (wait until Fyora reads this!) approached her and loudly stated, “You can’t apply here if you’re already employed. Don’t you already work for Dr. Sloth or the Spider Grundo?”
The more I investigated, the more I found that Mutants are mistreated all across Neopia. I even witnessed a flock of Darigan Lennies ‘boo’ and taunt an innocent Mutant Warf until he and his owner shamefully left the Petpet Arena. I don’t mean to be hypocritical, but is this any different from the Snowager calling the Turmaculus intimidating? Sadly, this is intolerance at its worst: one Neopian hiding his own insecurity by bullying another. And as a result, Mutants from all over Neopia are vulnerable to the ruthlessness of discrimination.
Because of the isolation they constantly face, many Mutant Neopets tend to become very reclusive, making it difficult to form an organized Mutant community. A growing group of Transmogrifieds, however, has proudly stood for Mutant rights and equality since Y6! The Neopian Association for Mutant Equality, or The NAME, is currently based in the Haunted Woods and boasts a modest but powerful 250 members. Officially, they seek to promote equality and non-discrimination among all Neopians, not just Mutants, but off the record, they have done more for Mutants than Dr. Sloth himself.
Rumor has it that The NAME pumped hundred of referrals into the Neopets registration booth and secretly demanded a “Mutant Day” be officially created in exchange. But all of that is just gossip, right? Putting the Altadorian grapevine aside, The NAME has proven to consistently support Mutant Neopians by setting up shelters and counseling services for harassed and downtrodden “Transmogs”. Don’t bother inquiring about them if you’re not a Mutant, though. They’re nestled rather deep in the Haunted Woods and on (irritatingly) restricted floors of the Virtupets Space Station.
The NAME’s current and most recent project involves turning Tyrannia into a completely Mutant-friendly zone. Because Tyrannian culture tends to place strength and appetite far above beauty, Mutants are increasingly integrating themselves into the rock’n’roll lifestyle and omelette-only diet of Neopia’s prehistoric hotspot. Still, this undertaking has had its setbacks. A great deal of Mutants have already migrated back to the Haunted Woods or Virtupets Space Station after reportedly feeling “dumbed down.” Without any intellectual stimulus in Tyrannia, Mutant Neopians fear losing their own distinct culture upon assimilating with the Tyrannians’. In addition, many Transmogs have accrued major debts upon discovering Tyrannia’s booming Keno business, debts which are eventually settled in a not-so-diplomatic Tyrannian way. There has yet to be any word on whether any Mutant Neopians have ventured into the Lair of the Beast.
The Neopian Association for Mutant Equality seeks to end Mut-hate-ing stereotypes and earn the trust of Lawyerbot to protect Mutants from harassment and exclusion from everyday Neopian society. More than anything, The NAME is working toward a world without prejudice based simply on how a Neopian looks.
What You Can Do
The 25th Day of Hiding marks Neopia’s annual Mutant Day. While you should act without prejudice year-round, make sure to celebrate the beauty of diversity on this special day—even when that diversity isn’t “beautiful” on the outside. Rather, look past what is skin/fur/scale/metal deep and honor the beauty on the inside of each and every one of us (even when it takes a little bit of digging. Or a lot of digging. Or you have to call Kreludan Mining Corp. to do the digging for you).
Next time you see a Mutant stranger, tell him or her how you feel about Mutants: that they’re just like the rest of us. Give them a helping hand or even a smile to carry with them for Mutant Day and beyond.
Next time you’re around when a Mutant is being bullied, be brave and let everybody know that you’re on Equality’s side. More importantly, remind that Mutant victim that there are Neopians out there who care about this cause.
Volunteer for The NAME! While a Neopoint or two (million) would certainly help the organization, donating your time to the movement is just as valuable in making a difference.
Pay a visit to Kauvara and tell her not to feel guilty about the whole Transmogrification Potion scandal. Her greed and lack of oversight winded up giving Neopia a whole new perspective on community and diversity.
Transmogrificism is a serious problem here in Neopia, from Neopia Central to Terror Mountain to Mystery Island. Neopians face unfair hardship every day for simply being themselves, but with Mutant Day here, there may be hope for a bright future filled with compassion and care. Oh, but before you go, I should confess that I sort of Mutated that King Hagan quote:
“All Neopians are created equal. Except during supper, for I was created with an unequally large appetite!”