BLACK LIVES MATTER
Moving forward in a changing world
This is our first post since the atrocious acts of police brutality that have taken place in the U.S including the tragic death of George Floyd. We, at Everyday Meeple, want to send our thoughts and love out to the families affected by these systemic acts of violence and unequivocally state that BLACK LIVES MATTER. We recognize our privilege. A privilege that allows us to live our lives, day to day, without fear of prosecution, unjust treatment, or violence towards ourselves or our children. We are aware that this just isn’t the case for everybody, particularly our fellow citizens, friends, and neighbors who are people of color.
We will continue to learn and change, becoming better and better allies to POC and the LGBTQIA+ community. We are small voices but we are voices. What we choose to do with our voices is important. We understand that we have many advantages that others do not and our privilege should not make us complacent.
In a recent radio episode (posted below) I (Mitch) mentioned challenging ourselves to find more POC designers. Listening back I feel this was framed poorly. I was speaking somewhat from ignorance. While it is completely true that there is a lack of diversity in the industry, and women and POC are severely underrepresented, as are LGTBTQIA+, it is ignorance that keeps me from being able to name 5 designers and I aim to fix that.
I read a twitter post by Elizabeth Hargrave, today that drove this notion home for me. She was posting about representation in the industry and how there is a ridiculous push back going on. Some are responding by saying things along the lines of “I don’t need to know the race or gender of the game designer to enjoy the game.” as though this some how equalizes things. Elizabeth pointed out a simple thing in her post that really hits the nail on the head. I have a 7 year old daughter and every time I point out a game she loves is designed by a woman she lights up. You can see it in her eyes and her demeanor. This connection is vital. This representation means everything. If it doesn’t mean anything to you, fine, but it means something whether you see it or not.
I have been going through a geeklist started by BGG user hexahedron of Black game designers and artists and just looking around more carefully. Many games I enjoy are designed by Black designers and I want to make sure that I know that. I want to make sure I can point that out. When the world is off balance you need to do what you can to shift the weight back, and recognizing things for what they are and seeing that things matter is a small start.
Elizabeth Hargrave has some fantastic reference pages up on her site. Women & Nonbinary Game Designers and Black Voices in Board Games
Everyday Meeple is currently airing as a weekly radio show on our local college radio and this is the episode we aired trying to speak to the Black Lives Matter movement that aired on June 28.
One of the videos Steve highlighted during our conversation was this video chat the Dice Tower‘s Tom Vasel had with Eric M. Lang.
During this episode we focused a lot on game designer Eric M Lang who has been a shining example for humanity not just now but for years. He has shown himself to be not only a brilliant and prolific game designer but an all around decent human being. Eric is someone who has been leading by example. I mentioned that while I have felt, somewhat naively, a kinship to Eric based on being nerds growing up in Canada. He has recently shared storied from his life that have pointed out to me, quite poingantly, the contrast that exists between POC and people who are priveledged. You can read some of Eric’s experiences in his own words here on his FB post.
Eric’s Twitter account was recently been suspended and there has been speculation as to what may have occured but there is nothing much to go on. Kotaku has an article about it with insight from Eric. On Jul 10 Eric returned to Twitter thanking his supporters and noting that it was Twitter employees, who were friends of a friend, that worked and pushed to get his account reinstated. Welcome back Eric.
Here’s a video featuring author and screenwriter Kimberly Latrice Jones who was filming anti-racism and anti-police brutality protests when she explained why she agreed with people looting and rioting. Using a brilliant analogy about Monopoly in her argument, she has a lot to say. Follow the link, watch the video. Listen to her. Just listen. Keep listening.
**UPDATE** SCRABBLE – SLURS BANNED OFFICIALLY
On this show we mention that NASPA (The North American Scrabble Players Association), in support of BLM were trying to get a selection of 200+ words including racial slurs and other biggoted words banned. The list of words had previously been removed from the official scrabble dictionary by Hasbro but had not been banned from official play. When we mentioned it on the show I had also said I hope we get to hear about some follow through and several small articles have popped up including the NY Post, NY Times and Slate (among others) reporting that Hasbro has backed the move up and has not only removed the words from tournament play but altered the rules so SLURS of any type are no longer allowed.