Gamers and Self Segregation

September 10, 2010

On this trip up to Seattle, I had this interesting conversation about roleplaying groups, and the issues of white male self-segregation in roleplaying culture.

For instance, I live in one of the most diverse areas in the US, yet most groups I encounter tend to be all white male, or perhaps with a token person of color and/or woman.

It’s always interesting to see how normalized privilege and racism becomes- that folks need to be educated in the idea that, no, you don’t have to join the Klan and conspire to keep the scary women/colored folks out, but… if your social groups are primarily white men, guess what your game groups will look like? (and what does it say if your social groups exclude 70% of the local human population???)

The other factor which only highlights it more, is that a great number of tabletop gaming is organized via internet these days- the way to find new groups, new players, etc. is all online… what is happening is we’re not talking about an issue of immediate physical circles and odds of finding each other.

We’re talking about the issues of whether the online networking spaces are hostile to women/people of color AND/OR whether the game groups are hostile spaces which quickly shuffle people out.

Hopefully projects like Rpgirl Zine, Able Gamers, Iris Gaming Network, Geek Girls Rule or similar, will be able to break the critical mass necessary for tabletop roleplayers to start building networks of play that don’t have to play with the “Old Boys Club” or deal with the endless bullshit on the general sites.

Or, you know, maybe a major site would consider actually making a safe space. You’d think publishers would at least consider the possibility of tripling your player/customer base worth it, but, as usual, apparently white men’s money is greener or something.

Running a forum is a nightmare, which is the only reason I haven’t seriously looked at doing it myself, though, it is sitting heavy on my mind about this unserved need.

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