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Monday, April 4, 2016

Response: Tabletop Gaming has a White Male Terrorism Problem

Here is the blog post:

My heart goes out to the blog's author, and to anyone that has been through such difficult things in their life. It is sad that scumbags get away with all manner of horrible things in and out of our hobby. That being said, I think those of us that DON"T engage in this behavior need to stand up and do something about things like this if we see them. Normally this sort of thing is left up for the GM / DM to handle, but that too is a bunch of bullshit; players have vocal cords as well. If you think someone is uncomfortable stopping the game should be a priority. There can be that pressure where, "The show must go on" but ignore that, and take care of the players at the table, or in some cases the GM if the players are the ones targeting them.

Some of the language and phrases used in the article I wouldn't have used, but I'm also a white male gamer. I think it is only natural to be a bit defensive when a group you belong to is targeted by an article like this. People should be judged as individuals and not because of a label that is applied to them or because they belong to some group. I didn't always think that way, but life experiences and unlearning some faulty thinking showed me a bit of wisdom in that regard. Judging someone by a group they belong too is lazy, and essentially lumping people into stereotypes and archetypes. People don't fit nice and neatly in the little boxes we assign them to. Take each person as a unique individual and judge the fruits of their tree if it is ripe or rotten.

In all honesty I tend to stay away from gender and race topics when they concern the role-playing game community, because they tend to blow up and can be divisive. My internal dialogue tends to be, "can't we just play Elf Games and get along while we forget the real world and all of its miseries?" Articles like this can be eye-opening however because they are from a completely different vantage point. I haven't been harassed, groped, raped, or mistreated and the hobby for me has been a haven against similar behavior from "average non-gaming folks."

I have been known to run games that are disturbing and have subject matter that is not appropriate for everyone (though I always warn people well in advance of such things so there are no surprises). Should I stop running games like that because of the subject matter? I would say no, again as long as everyone knows what they are signing up for. So I am for freedom of expression, artistic license, free speech, etc. in that regard.

I think the gaming community for me has actually taught me a lot about sexism, homophobia, transphobia, etc. that I never learned growing up in rural Pennsylvania. I'm still not always sure where the line is between sexy and sexist, so that shows I have more learning to do. smile emoticon I'm just trying to be honest, for whatever that is worth.

For instance, I recorded a video where I talked about how I was more comfortable playing RPGs with guys. Now I know that is partly due to Social Anxiety when I'm around women. It's my issue though that I need to work on. I also think I learned a lot of things from my father unintentionally that need to be UNlearned. We are a product of our environment in some ways.

I have always tried to be welcoming, friendly, nice, etc. to those in my hobby because I know that a lot of us are damaged goods and need a diversion, and escape, entertainment, and meaningful interaction with other people who can also have FUN. I have never met a more welcoming bunch of outcasts before I started playing games. Kids can be cruel, and adults even more so in different ways.

So my advice is to be nice to each other, keep your damn hands to yourself (who's mother didn't teach them that?) and if you see something awful happen help the victim and do not hide the asshole that is giving the rest of us a bad name. Seriously, fuck those guys. -Tim Samwise7RPG Harper

I also filmed a video that is pretty much identical to this post.