Monday, 18 August 2014

On the subject of equal rights in the gaming industry and something just recent that happened...

Had a curious request a short while back, one of the ladies who’s been coming to Expo since it started so many years ago contacted me asking if I’d provide a reference for her because she was applying to a games company in London (she didn’t say which one) for a position that was encouraging other people to play games and she didn’t want them to consider that she was just a gamers wife looking to get a job there, but that she was actually a gamer.

I did provide the reference (which basically said, yes, she’s been coming here for years and she’s a real gamer, signed by another gamer), but the whole thing has been bugging me for a few days and it’s the first time I’ve really encountered this sort of thing directly in this country.  She wouldn’t tell me which company it was that she felt she needed to provide a reference for, and I can imagine why, because I’m not backwards about coming forwards and she might have considered that my confusion over why she wanted a reference (when “Enthusiastic about games” should be the only credentials required for the job that she was going for) might translate into a few strong questions for the company as to why she felt she had to get a confirmation note from someone to prove her gamer credentials.

Sure, I run the organised play at a whole bunch of conventions here in England and I do a lot of work outside of those conventions to improve the hobby in general and get more people involved, but that doesn’t make me more a gamer than anyone else, it just makes me a little more active in the field of getting people involved, there’s a whole lot of people out there who game more than me.

The other problem is that I can’t see the glass ceiling that a lot of people have encountered because I’m standing on the glass, but it’s things like this, when a person I’ve known for years as a committed and passionate gamer feels that they have to prove their credentials by enlisting someone who the gaming industry knows is involved in games and getting people to play them, to vouch for their sincerity because they believe that their passion alone will not be enough to convince the panel of judges...

Let me be clear, I don’t agree with everything that’s said on either side of the fence when it comes to inclusivity in games.  For every person who’s working to make things better, there’s three people trolling for comments and yelling at the other side for no better reason that they’re the other side and I for one don’t want this to keep going in the direction that it’s going, because a lot of people have already closed their ears to it and that’s where the real problems begin, when there’s been enough noise to drown out any actual sound coming from the debate and all those who should be listening have turned away and put their headphones on because Amazing Mix Tape One is better than all the bile coming down channel 2...

I believe that everyone, everyone, is entitled to the same opportunities, the same chances, I believe that interviews should be done with a blindfold on, so that you listen to the person that you’re talking to, to who they are and, not what they are.  There should be no tolerance for people being idiots to each other, and you can’t take away peoples right to be assholes, but you can point out when they’re being an asshole and let the world make the judgement call.

And if the world gets it wrong?

Maybe we need a new world...

Because 23 years ago this week, my son was born into a world that I had little faith in, and I’ve been trying since that day to make it better, I want to believe that by my actions I’ve done that, but when I look around the net today, I’m not so sure...

The most popular Meme on the subject that I can find is “Don’t be a Dick”, which works well for the most part, but also triggers the immediate backlash that by extension you’ve just called someone a dick, which then cycles around till the whole world is busy shouting it at each other whilst not doing anything to actually correct what caused the aforementioned Dickness in the first place...

Instead, I’d say “Be Me...”

Because when you’re telling someone not to be something without knowing them, you have no idea how hard that might be for them to stop doing that, how ingrained it might be that they do that or think that way or indeed want to be that way.  So I’m not going to ask people that, instead I’m going to ask them to Be Me.  So when someone thinks to utter the words “Sanctimonious Fat Bastard”,  if only for the second before they utter it to stop and consider the effect of saying it to my face. Because if you were me, you’d have a number of thoughts in your head, which start with "Live a day in my life and see if I'm sanctimonious", to “Have you not seen Game of Thrones, don’t you realise what happens when tiny people like you get big bastards like me annoyed...?” and usually end up with “Let it go, they’re just a turd with a human suit”.  But if you realised just how close you just came to getting mountained, you might have a moment of pause, and that’s all it takes...

One Moment...

Now consider every situation when the person you’re giving shit to isn’t 20 stone of highly mobile b'stard, and apply the thought as if they were, this is why respect is a hot topic in Prisons and Gangs, because if you don’t get respect, you have to go teach them why they need to give you it, and out here in the world, shanking someone because they gave you shit just doesn’t work the way it should...

But if the threat of it were there, then it probably would...

I don’t know, and I’ve wandered a little far from where I started, and I know that the words are going to be lost on many, but I know in my heart that it’s the only way this is ever going to work, people are going to hate things, I don’t believe that haters going to hate, because it indicates that all that person can do is hate, it decries the notion that they’re people themselves.

I believe that everyone, somewhere inside them, has a person inside them, not a hater, not a troll, not a yelling idiot and not a mouthpiece for someone else’s ill advised rants (yeah, yeah, like this one), but if we spend that moment, before we speak to them, better yet, before we type at them without knowing them at all, to look at how you’d react if someone did that to you, if someone said that to you?


Might we not do better...?

2 comments:

  1. I like your post. I will say that I get pretty offended by people who keep saying women and minorities are made to feel unwelcome at gaming events. They say this stuff and then say "well... I'm not blaming white males", but they are! I realize it's not the industry, but my frame of reference is as a gamer/consumer. This whole pile of BS about "microagression" and making certain people feel "unwelcome" is pure hogwash, in my opinion.

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  2. Thanks for the reply, to be honest, this is the first time I've had something like this brought up to me, and it took me a lot by surprise. It's not the industry (the industry isn't a person), but it can be the people within it, and I can see where a lot of people get the thought that it's all the white man (there's a lot of us in here), all I'm saying is maybe a more tolerant approach rather than yelling all the time (on all sides) is the way forwards.

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