I’m Part of the Problem

The original version of this post featured a story about something dumb, racist, and immature I said when I was 18. My intent in sharing this story was to show how I’m part of the problem of systemic racism (even in ways that are subconscious and deep into my past).

However, I’ve listened to those who have chosen to comment on this post and offer their insights and advice, and I don’t think it’s helping anyone for me to keep the anecdote here. So instead, I’m going to leave the core message.

I want to be clear up front that this–as in, the massive issues of inequality and injustice faced by black Americans today–is in no way about me. I truly do not intend to make this about me. My intent is to use my voice for good, and if I do so poorly, I take ownership of that. I’m trying to learn, I’m willing to listen, and I want to improve.

Long story short, when I was 18, I treated someone differently because of the color of their skin. It wasn’t intentional at all, but something subconscious resulted in a moment of unfortunate behavior.

Looking back, how many other times have I excluded someone of color without even realizing it? How many other times have my assumptions impacted my love life, my friendships, my business relationships? How many other times have my subconscious biases about race affected the way I view or treat a complete stranger?

The answer is, most likely and quite unfortunately, many times. Because I’m part of the problem. I believe in inclusivity and equality, but I’m still part of the problem.

I’d like to also share this excellent list of the many ways white people who believe in true equality can be an active part of the solution to systemic racism, a post I’ve been reading through and acting on (including donations to help peaceful protesters pay bail and to Reclaim the Block). My support won’t stop there, nor will my awareness of my weaknesses and blind spots.

Also, thank you to Dusty (via this episode of The Mill and a personal note he sent me) and Jimmy Fallon (specifically, this video) for inspiring me to say something, as I don’t think silence will result in progress. Last week I had a bad experience trying to offer help on a related Facebook thread* on which I felt like I shouldn’t have commented (I think their intentions were ultimately good, as we share the same goal. I ended up deleting my comment, which unfortunately removed some great resources in the same thread, which I regret. I think this list–the one I mentioned above–includes those resources and many, many more. Their comments made it clear that I’m part of the problem and that the first step is openly admitting that I’m part of the problem, and I agree, so those comments directly inspired me to write this post).

Let’s invite people to share their stories, their guilt, their questions, their hope, and their support rather than hush them. Let’s listen more and chastise less. Let’s inform each other, and let’s challenge strangers in the same tone that we challenge friends.

This is a safe place for you to share your story if you’d like. If not, that’s fine too–I appreciate the opportunity to share this with you.

#blacklivesmatter

*For those reading this, the comment I made was one where I expressed sympathy to a black member of the game industry who had some examples of terrible treatment at the hands of the Minnesota police. I also expressed helplessness, as I wanted to help, in my words, “stop a cop from pulling a gun on one of the best game designers in the world.” While I thought the thread was an open conversation, I learned that my comment put an emotional burden on the person. I’m sorry for that, and I apologized privately to the person.

For people in the game industry, I recommend this post. I also think this is a great article: For Our White Friends Desiring to Be Allies


31 Responses to “I’m Part of the Problem”

  1. Dusty Craine says:

    I can’t imagine that was an easy story to tell, and certainly, I would imagine, the type of experience that would reoccur from time to time. I don’t have any stories like that, but I’ve been on the other end of it. I’ve spent my life in and around Flint, MI, my entire life. I have family there. I worked my first job out of high school in Flint. I worked for a big box retailer and we sold/repaired computers.

    I was promoted to supervisor in short order and so I’d get to deal with the angry customers. A man was having his computer serviced and it was very old even by late 1990’s standards and the price of labor was unreasonable to him. He shouted and yelled and he threatened to be waiting for me in the parking lot when I left. It was then I asked him to leave as the store security was already approaching. As he left he called back “f*&kin’ cracker.”

    My co-worker, Tariq’s, eyes got large and he starts howling. I can still see him stomping up and down the room laughing. I can’t be mad at the customer because I’m too amused by Tariq’s glee. “What?” He says, “I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I can’t believe that.” “What?” “He called you a cracker.” I was confused. “So?” “So?!” “Yeah, so. So what?” “It’s a slur.” “It is?! Why?” “You’re going to make me explain it aren’t you?” I nodded. “What do you white folk do in the sun?” I nod and smile. I was finally in on it. Alright. He apologized again for laughing, but I found it amusing too.

    I also witnessed my fair share of discrimination working in Flint. If I had 3 candidates for hire that I had deemed technically proficient enough to work the bench, they’d give it to the white guy every time. Tariq had transferred into my department from A/V repair. I was just a kid myself at that point 18 or 19. It wasn’t until later looking back that I realized what had been happening.

    In fact, my Mom worked in the automotive plants and she had very diverse friends. I’d meet them when they came to dinner or when I’d be around to pick her up after work. The union would have picnics during the summer and I would run around with her friends kids. I didn’t really think much of color until after I worked that job out of high school because it never had really come up. Or I just wasn’t seeing it. Most likely the latter.

    I don’t know what the point of all of this was, Jamey. I just enjoyed thinking back on Tariq’s laughter. I’ve really been challenged the last couple of weeks. I have witnessed many black men and women killed by cops in my lifetime. I don’t know why George Floyds hit different with me. Maybe because I could clearly see an unarmed, non-combative man? I don’t know. I don’t know why it was this death that made me want to actually learn why this happens, learn how I contribute and learn how I can do better. I wish George Floyd was still alive today, but I’m hopeful that great good from this awfulness. The people I’ve been listening to lately assure me that nothing will change, and I can understand why they feel that way. But I’m still hopeful.

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      Thank you for sharing this, Dusty. Your voice has been an inspiration for me, and it’s interesting to hear the backstory behind that voice.

  2. Daniel Zayas says:

    Hey Jamey,

    I read the blog post, but more importantly (relatively speaking), I watched the interview you linked with Jimmy Fallon and Derrick Johnson. A really important thing came out of that interview at the end, where Derrick insisted the real change was made possible by the civil rights movement when Bob Dylan, Marlon Brando, etc. joined to support the movement in proactive and very public ways.

    My question is if you plan to do anything like this in our microcosm of board games. I know, for instance, many discussions involving diversity and inclusion are being talked about in industry groups, namely the GAMA Facebook Group. But those voices are the people who always speak up for these issues. You are one of the most experienced and qualified “wordsmiths” (I say that term affectionately) in gaming, not to mention the sphere of gravity you hold with gamers and publishers at home and abroad. Do you plan to add your voice to these ongoing discussions?

    Thanks for putting yourself out there in general. I managed to thank you a couple times for your past help early in my career in a recent BackerKit talk on building community.

  3. Lindsay says:

    Hi Jamey,

    You certainly are part of the problem. I wonder how many people have suffered while they were waiting you to validate them for their appearance? It seems you only think of women as sexual partners and you only think of black people as avoidable problems. Admitting you have a problem is the first step in a 12-step program, but it turns out there’s no AA for people addicted to white supremacy. Racism has been a problem in America for over 400 years. Update yourself.

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      Lindsay: I’m sorry that was your interpretation of my post. As I note in the post, I’m 39 now–the story I shared in the post happened when I was 18. Even then, I thought much more of women as sexual partners (and I definitely didn’t have any sexual partners at that age–I kissed some girls, but that was pretty much it)–in fact, I specifically talk about Annie as a natural leader in the post–but I’ve also had 21 years to grow since then and evolve in many ways. I’m disappointed that my post conveyed in any way that I think of black people as “avoidable problems”. There is nothing in my post that suggests such a thing, and that claim couldn’t be further from the truth.

      I am part of the problem, but I am in absolutely no way a white supremacist.

      It sounds like you have a powerful voice, and while this comment was tough to read and I’m not sure what to learn from it, I hear you and I take your comment to heart.

  4. Nicole says:

    Jamey,

    Seeing as someone has already shared my thoughts with you without my permission, I may as well share them here too!

    I find the way you talk about women in your blog sketchy and objectifying. This one was no different, and has the added layer of misogynoir.

    You also keep stating that white people are trying to silence you. What myself and others did in response to your comment was see someone who needed to be pointed in the right direction to educate themselves rather than expecting someone of colour to do it for them. If you can’t see that, then you are truly not willing to make a change to the ingrained biases of your whiteness.

    The more you center this around yourself, the further you go from the potential of being an ally. This post is a poor excuse for the support of BLM and if you think that’s a hateful statement then again, you have some work to do.

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      Thanks Nicole! I appreciate you posting here–one of the ways I can learn is if people talk to me, not talk behind my back.

      “I find the way you talk about women in your blog sketchy and objectifying.” I agree–there are many examples of that over the 13+ years I’ve written this blog, though if you’ve read many of those posts, I think you’ll see how I’ve grown over time. I still have plenty of room to grow in those regards.

      “You also keep stating that white people are trying to silence you.” I don’t think I actually refer to race in those statements. This isn’t about me, but I do prefer to invite conversation (versus silencing people).

      “What myself and others did in response to your comment was see someone who needed to be pointed in the right direction to educate themselves rather than expecting someone of colour to do it for them.”

      I absolutely see that. It was tough to hear, but I hear it, and I’m ashamed that I deleted the comment, especially since I’d like to still refer to the comment. For those reading this, the comment I made was one where I expressed sympathy to a black member of the game industry who had some examples of terrible treatment at the hands of the Minnesota police. I also expressed helplessness, as I wanted to help, in my words, “stop a cop from pulling a gun on one of the best game designers in the world.” While I thought the thread was an open conversation, I learned that my comment put an emotional burden on the person. I’m sorry for that, and I apologized privately to the person.

      I don’t think your comment here is hateful, Nicole. I think it’s awesome that you chose to share this with me–sincerely, thank you! May I ask if the comment you shared here is the same as the thoughts you refer to in your first sentence? If not, how do they differ, and why?

      • Nicole says:

        Jamey, someone shared my post with you so you know full well that I covered the same things here. I shared them with a group of people I figured I knew and trusted but perhaps I am mistaken.

        I assume you are referring to white people silencing you, as all of us who tried to address you directly on Eric’s post were also white.

        Perhaps next time instead of sharing a story like this without following up how you’ve actively worked on your biases, stop to think and work a little more on that.

        Thanks for realizing that the work to become anti-racist is on you. It’s on every single one of us white folks and there’s no excuse for us to expect it to be otherwise.

        • Jamey Stegmaier says:

          Nicole: You’re right that I have seen a small screenshot of your post. The person who shared it was not doing so to hurt you in any way–they were looking out for you, but they also really respect you. I would invite you to share the same text here, as you cover what you said here in a very different way that I think is invaluable context for people joining the conversation through my blog.

          “I assume you are referring to white people silencing you…”, I understand your assumption, but it is not accurate.

          I think that’s great advice about thinking/talking about how I’ve actively worked on my biases over the years.

          • Nicole says:

            Jamey, I invite you to share the name of the person who sent this so perhaps I could discuss this with them, rather than it being discussed behind my back? The points are the same, just swearier. It’s my personal FB post where I was have whatever tone I should choose. Here, I chose to share the same points in a polite fashion as it is *your forum*.

            • Jamey Stegmaier says:

              Okay, I understand why you don’t want to share it publicly.

              The person truly meant you no ill will–this isn’t about them.

              I’m grateful that you took the time to write and share your perspective, insight, and advice. If there’s anything in the future I can do to help with the hate you described in the post you made to your Facebook friends, please let me know. My goal in life is to love people better, so if my words and actions have caused someone to hate, I’m compelled to act in a way that even has a chance of helping that person (and to improve myself so I don’t inspire that kind of hate).

  5. Eric Lang says:

    Jamey,

    While I won’t comment on the body of the post, I do believe that by omission you’re mischaracterizing our interaction on FB.

    I’m sorry you felt inspired to silence by other people trying to help you understand the fundamentals of emotional labor, but let’s be clear–not only did I personally help you out, I invited you to further discussion, making it clear that the burden was “worth it.” It was you who chose to disengage and “take time to reflect.” (which is absolutely your prerogative, but paints a more complete picture of the ‘negative’ encounter, would you agree?)

    The two of us have both a mighty platform, and a position of great privilege. If we want to use our influence to make positive change, we have to accept that we will be clapped back along the way. We will be called out for our mistakes, sometimes harshly. That’s the price of admission.

    I encourage you to take feedback during this journey less defensively. It’s fine to talk about your intent, but it’s also important to recognize that intent is neither a defence nor an excuse for negative impact.

    And as always I am happy to continue the open dialogue.

    Yours,

    Eric

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      Eric: You’re right, I didn’t go into detail about that post and my response, and I’ve added a note to my post here. You’re also right that you responded to my personal message with kindness, understanding, and a desire not to silence me. I wasn’t referring to you in the above post, but I can see how that would be misconstrued by omission.

      I wish I hadn’t deleted my comment, as my comment and the responses could have been an example to others.

      I will strive to be less defensive, and I appreciate that feedback.

    • Sara says:

      Eric, I hope it’s OK if I follow your Facebook page. I love the way you write, and I think people (including me) will learn from it. I’m trying to do my research and do right by people. aside from throwing money at it.

      The biggest obstacle I found is the people who believe that 45 should be re-elected. I will be inconsolable if that happens – on behalf of humanity. My respect for them fell when they voted for him the first time. Them still supporting him after all this just makes my blood boil and makes me feel like those people are uneducated pieces of racist trash that I should no longer associate with. Otherwise how can I be friends with them while supporting BLM and the like? If you voted for him but are remorseful (and hopefully embarrassed) now, then I’m cool – you’re workable.

      So I’ll stick to working on myself and supporting people of color in any way I can. It’s so much more than assuming you’re not racist because you’re not throwing slurs out there or you have black friends. I am looking for ways my privilege can help others. I’m not sure what that is. I’ll continue reading, following, and contributing to the cause in any way I can.

  6. marguerite cottrell says:

    hey Jamey, long time no talk.

    I’ve been letting this article simmer in my brain all day.

    If you’re curious. I did laugh at some of the jokes on your behalf. I’m sorry for that, but I do agree with their sentiment.

    You represent a REALLY important demographic in this country. One with a lot of wealth, education, and privilege. You are exactly the audience that a lot of us are desperate to reach with our information about what it’s like for “others”.

    You’ve surely been “othered” at some point in your life or another. You have some empathy and thought there, i would never say that privilege makes a person’s life perfect.

    My response to this article was one of being flabbergasted. Right now the “problem” is that a lot of people in similar situations to yours are needing to step forward and express their own sentiments. Now is not the time. Share and support the voices that don’t have your platform. Uplift them and give them your resources.

    the content of your article is gross to me. I’ll say it plainly. I know that you made a new connection to your past racist behaviors with it and I applaud you for trying to self correct. You may look at your attitudes with women in similar ways down the line.

    I would just ask you to take some time out from your own words. You write a lot 😉

    Learn, grow, and be well. Stay safe.

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      I appreciate your comment, Marguerite. I agree that the behavior of my 18 year-old self was gross–that’s a good word for it.

      I’ve been in frequent self-examination about my attitudes regarding women throughout my life, and I agree I should continue that journey.

      I will look for ways to share and support voices that don’t have my platform. I’m always open to people who want to share content on my Stonemaier blog that adds value to other creators, entrepreneurs, and crowdfunders.

      Thank you!

      • marguerite cottrell says:

        I’m not talking about your behavior at 18.

        I mean sharing THIS story is not something with a healthy attitude toward women. This was maybe one to keep to your journal. The details and words within that story were not something i cared to read because they were incidental to a topic not related.

        I’m glad you’re open to others sharing. I just think you’re missing my point a bit.

        thanks

        • Jamey Stegmaier says:

          Perhaps you’re right, and I respect your opinion. I thought the core message (pasted below) was something worth writing, but perhaps I should have omitted the corresponding anecdote.

          “How many other times have I excluded someone of color without even realizing it? How many other times have my assumptions impacted my love life, my friendships, my business relationships? How many other times have my subconscious biases about race affected the way I view or treat a complete stranger?”

          I’m open to your advice: Do you think I should remove the anecdote from this post? Is there nothing invaluable in this post?

          • marguerite cottrell says:

            my recommendation is to remove the anecdote and perhaps donate to a BIPOC cause every time you author an article whilst the world is aflame.

            I sound facetious but I’m being genuine.

            it’s GREAT to examine one’s bias’. I’m glad you wrote this so we could have this conversation.

          • Jamey Stegmaier says:

            I’m 100% on board with that. I will remove the anecdote and donate to a BIPOC cause every time I author an article in June (I’ll count them up at the end of June and make the donation then). Since you inspired that, if you have a cause you believe in that you’d like me to look into for the donation, I’m happy to consider it (I also understand it’s my responsibility to do my own research).

  7. I appreciate that you took the time to revise your post, Jamey. Some experiences I can share, since you asked, and some resources to go along with them, since you were lamenting having deleted some lists:

    1. I went to high school in a deeply segregated town in north Florida (which is basically an extension of south Georgia). My high school was over 90% black, except for the magnet program I was in, which was over 90% white. This was so blatant that it opened my eyes at a pretty early age to the systems and structures that enforce inequality, and it’s a good part of why I ended up studying public policy. I really appreciated this video that summarized some of these concepts: https://youtu.be/YrHIQIO_bdQ

    2. A few years after high school (mid-90s), I drove from Atlanta to Blacksburg, VA with a Black friend of mine to go work at a summer camp together. He warned me before we left that we would not be speeding or stopping anywhere in the Carolinas, because he was scared to interact with the locals in general and even more so looking like an interracial couple. We failed at the no-stopping mission, because the cops pulled us over (supposedly for the light over his license plate being out). They circled the car 4 or 5 times with their dogs, made us wait forever. This was my first encounter with the concept that Black people are more likely to get stopped by the police, for far less cause. Still happening 25 years later: https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/inside-100-million-police-traffic-stops-new-evidence-racial-bias-n980556

    3. Fast forward to the last 10 years. One of my best friends is Black. (He’s one of the friends that was in on the conversation that I always refer to as the inspiration for Wingspan, actually.) The extra police stops aren’t just traffic stops. He got followed by the cops for taking a walk around the ritzy neighborhood where he works. He got questioned by a cop for sitting on the bank of a creek 3 blocks from his house. The cop didn’t believe he was waiting to see if a kingfisher would come back to its nest (he was). Echoes of the case last week of Christian Cooper, who had a woman call the cops on him while he was birding in Central Park, clearly insinuating that she wished him harm by doing so. https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2020/05/28/christian-cooper-harvard-birdwatching/
    Drew Lanham wrote a powerful essay about Birding While Black a few years ago that’s worth a read: https://lithub.com/birding-while-black/

    No one has ever questioned my academic ability, or my right to drive or walk or bird wherever I want. And so I’ve just been trying to listen, and to lift up the voices of my friends and people I admire and people who are in real pain right now. And let them tell their stories. I’ve been making an active effort in the last year or so to make sure my social media feeds are not a bubble of whiteness — which takes an extra effort in the boardgame world, because it is so very white. I link a lot to this article when people don’t seem to understand how skewed it is:
    http://analoggamestudies.org/2018/12/assessing-gender-and-racial-representation-in-top-rated-boardgamegeek-games
    And there are lists emerging to help us connect with Black people in the industry, including this geeklist:
    https://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/273487/black-board-game-and-rpg-designers-and-artists
    and my own attempt at starting a crowdsourced list that also includes content creators:
    https://twitter.com/elizhargrave/status/1266869062082183168

    I hope we can all find ways to amplify the Black designers and content creators in this industry and make things more welcoming for the next generation of gamers entering the hobby. It occurs to me that you could do this on your platform by doing things like making sure going forward that the folks who get review copies for Stonemaier games come from diverse backgrounds, and making some of your “favorite mechanism” videos about games by Black designers.

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      Thank you so much for taking the time to comment, Elizabeth! I appreciate you sharing these stories and resources, especially those about the game industry. I’m pretty sure our reviewer list is quite diverse (anyone can sign up for it, and there are hundreds of content creators there), but I will check it against the list you’re building to see if anyone is missing.

  8. Jayme says:

    Jamey. You have now edited this blog post, but I read it in its original form and know others did as well because I’ve seen multiple screenshots of the original. Many have addressed the problematic nature of this post at large, both here and on social media, but I also want to point out something that I still don’t think you’re grasping, since you are actively inviting people to speak with you directly, and still seem to be welcoming conversation inspiring self-improvement.

    From your original post:

    “Last week I had a bad experience trying to offer help on a related Facebook thread, an experience where some potential allies looked past my good intentions to inspire silence instead of inviting conversation”

    Looked past your good intentions? Inspired silence? STOP victimizing yourself.

    Nobody inspired your silence except your own feelings of guilt and shame. You took a teachable moment and decided to erase record of the conversation, and turned away offered dialogue and guidance from both myself and others. I have our email exchange and am looking at it right now. Allow me to share, as it plainly addresses the complete lack of malice contained in the message.

    Me: “I’m glad to hear that you donating to those organizations in Minnesota. That is a great way to make a direct positive impact right now. My original intent was not to shame or attack you; but to echo a sentiment I’ve seen widely shared by POC since you seemed receptive to feedback and eager to learn.

    I am close to Eric. I speak with him often about the emotional toll being one of very few well-known game designers of color. He not only thanked me for my initial comment, but reached out to me to express his disappointment that you had removed your thread, citing that it was “yet another example of somebody more concerned with being called problematic than actively not being problematic.

    I admit that I too was disappointed, not only because several people had shared resources within the thread that will now remain unseen, but because it provided you an opportunity to set an example and show that you were receptive to a productive conversation about a sensitive topic. You are incredibly fortunate to have the audience and influence that you do, both within and outside of our small industry.

    With that power comes opportunity. Setting a positive example to the people who respect you means more than you might know. Proving that you are an ally willing to sacrifice your own comfort for a greater cause means something. I hope that is not lost on you, and that you opt to use your platform to inspire others to do more to inspire real change moving forward since you are committing to help.

    I know being told that somebody you respect and admire was hurt by your actions probably does not feel great. My intent isn’t to jab, but to point out that small actions or non-actions can have a tremendous impact on people around you whether you see it or not. If you are interested in learning more about tangible actions you can take to help POC within the game industry and community, I would be thrilled to connect you with folks who have expressed desire in devoting bandwidth to do just that.”

    You see – nobody tried to close a communication channel. Quite the opposite, several of us, myself and Eric included, offered quite the opposite. We weren’t silencing you or trying to shut a productive conversation. We were highlighting the emotional toll of directly engaging a person who at that point had been heavily taxed (being one of the only black people in the industry and therefore immediately bombarded to review several statements in the wake of the current events). I quite clearly offered to connect you with seceral POC who were available and willing to have productive conversations with you, in public or in private.

    Your response, which I won’t quote without your express permission, deeply disappointed me, as it was essentially a reiteration that you did not want to engage with the people trying to help.

    You have nothing to fear if you make yourself receptive to growth. Nobody is perfect. Acknowledging our internal biases is the first of many steps on a never-ending quest for improvement. If you can overcome your fear of being seen as less than perfect, you can learn, You can grow. You can set a positive example.

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      Jayme: Thanks for your comment. I truly appreciate the compassion with which you wrote that email, and you’re right–nothing you said in that email (which was a response to an email I sent you to apologize for my behavior) encouraged or inspired silence.

      I’m referring to your comment on Facebook in reply to my response to Eric. I don’t have a record of that comment, but if you remember it close to verbatim, feel free to post it here.

      The thing I struggled with (and still do) is that I think it’s clear that my intentions were actually good when I replied to Eric’s post. Yes, what I wrote was deeply flawed, and comments/messages like yours and Eric’s are helping me learn. I think intentions matter–my response to Eric wasn’t one of hate or denial. I was trying to help. I wish your response had taken that into account (as your email did), as I think that would have invited a great dialogue between complete strangers. Especially since I think both of us care deeply about racial equality (and other forms of equality).

      You can quote anything I’ve said, privately or publicly. I have nothing to hide–like I said in the post, I wish I hadn’t deleted my response to Eric, as I wish others could see the thread to learn from my mistake.

      • Jayme says:

        Someone saw this post and was kind enough to send over a screenshot of (at least part) of the now-deleted thead on fb that you’re referring to. Cut off after what I will transcribe below in lieu of being able to post a picture in these comments, were a few folks posting links and resources specifically tailored toward prospective white allies hoping to learn, grow, and help:

        Here it is.

        _______________

        Jamey Stegmaier: Thank you for sharing this, Eric. Even in just reading your description encounters–knowing that you’re writing them now and that you’re okay–I was scared for you. I’m so sorry that the Minneapolis police (or anyone) would treat you (or anyone) this way. I feel naive in saying this, but I’d rather ask than not: What can I (or someone like me and the others responding to your post) do to be a part of the solution? I feel so hopeless reading these stories and watching the video of George Floyd, as I’m not sure how I can have any impact on the law enforcement system. I can try to treat people of all races, genders, creeds, etc with inclusivity and respect, but I can’t stop a cop in Minneapolis from pulling a gun on one of the best game designers in the world. Or can I?

        Richard J Riley: Those of us who want to live in a better world are, as a rule, too civilized to MAKE the bad people stop. They know that, and they use that against us.

        Eric Lang: Jamey Stegmaier I’m just a game designer, but this is my take:

        First step is admitting we have a problem. We are not collectively even at that step yet.

        Second step is acknowledging our participation in racism as a social construct. This applies to people all over the political and social spectrum. Black people, progressives, virtue signaling allies can all be racist too. …(post screenshot cut off for size)

        Jayme Boucher: I will add that asking POC to outline what you as a white person can do to help is, whether you mean it to be or not, part of the problem.

        Even googling this question instead of imposing the emotional labor on marganalized people will net plenty of information, resources, and links to help set you on a path.

        _________________

        I stand by my original message, and don’t feel that my response denied the nature of your intentions at all; the language is neutral and informative. If I didn’t think you had sincere intentions, why would I have offered the advice of turning to Google, which had thankfully been inundated with a wealth of resources that could serve as a springboard to understanding (some of which I posted minutes later in the same thread)? Why would I take the time to give you a heads-up that asking POC directly might make them feel overtaxed? Optics matter, and sharing that with you meant that your interactions with other POC might begin with an acknowledgment of/empathy toward that. You may have reframed future questions specifically to inquire about whether they would be willing to share their personal experiences or opinions, instead of asking sweeping “what can I do?”s that could be researched in advance and better prepare you for those conversations.

        I am doing what I can as a white ally to inform other prospective allies, both by pointing out room for improvement and offering access to resources. I want you to talk to your white friends about what they can do to fight systemic racism. I want you to listen, and read, and learn. I want you to engage with POC, mindfully, with an awareness of how to do it tactfully and respectfully once you have taken steps to arm yourself with better understanding of the climate of our society.

        • Jamey Stegmaier says:

          I respect your perspective on the tone of your FB response, and while I disagree (I think the approach in your email response to my apology is a more powerful tactic for encouraging discussion), it’s absolutely on me to look past perceived tone and hear you, learn from you, and act with kindness instead of acting defensively, which is what unfortunately what I did. Thank you for bringing this to my attention, and I’m sorry.

          You’ve been very generous with your advice, and if you’re open to feedback from my perspective in the future, I’m happy to provide it.

  9. Bob Cherub says:

    How do you feel about Brittanie Boe mocking you on her twitter?

    • Bob Cherub says:

      How do you feel about publishers in the board game industry keeping lists on which companies did and didn’t make statements and harassing the companies that didn’t?

      What do you think about Elizabeth Hargrove compiling a statement checklist on what companies should and shouldn’t say about the matter?

      Do you believe board game companies should be bullied into making statements?

      • Jamey Stegmaier says:

        Bob: My behavior deserves to be mocked.

        I don’t agree with harassment or bullying in any form, but I think we should be held accountable for our actions (and lack thereof). However, I admire companies who take the time to make a meaningful, lasting statement. Stonemaier has been working on ours and will release it soon.

        I’ve seen Elizabeth’s checklist, and I think it’s an excellent template for companies to consider.

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