The world is an exhausting and emotional place. Over the past few days, weeks, months and years, it has proven difficult to find words to internalize and express my emotions and feelings. Words are difficult. As easy as it is to write about why the mechanics of a game are terrible, it’s just as hard to formulate my thoughts in a cohesive manner.
The nation is seeing protests against police brutality in response to the death of George Floyd. The institutions, people and systems that we expect to protect ourselves and our communities have proven time and again that they have failed the people of America. The systemic racism that leaves discrimination and bias in its wake has been deeply ingrained in society since the country was initially founded and is still prevalent across the nation.
As the nation takes to the streets, the dismantling of the obstacles that impact and hinder people, most notably people of color, needs to be addressed. We have lived through George Floyd before unfortunately. Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin, Philando Castile, Freddie Gray and countless others.
I live a privileged lifestyle (as evidence by my ability to write this blog in the first place). I’m a white cis male that has had the benefit to attend college and graduate school. We own a home and our debts are minimal. My struggles don’t compare to the systemic inequalities that other individuals have and are facing. Yet that doesn’t mean this isn’t an issue that impacts me. This has made me complacent and complicit for not using my voice or privilege to combat hateful and backwards thinking. It’s not enough to be not racist. You need to be firmly anti-racist.
Growing up in a rural community, I have seen my fair share of inequity and prejudiced viewpoints and I personally strive to do better to speak up against such intolerant thinking. It’s a hard, uncomfortable conversation to have but it’s crucial that it happens.
I technically don’t have to say anything. I’m just a guy that writes about board games once a week (sometimes more). The people that come to this blog to read about board games (which I’m thankful for) are not looking for my thoughts or opinions on the current political fallout occurring in America. However, silence is violence and not saying anything is just another way to hinder the voice of the unheard and allow the voices of those that shouldn’t be heard a pedestal to continue to speak from.
My SO is a minority and my daughter is bi-racial. If they did not return from a jog, from grabbing skittles or from the park…it’s a thought that I cannot finish. I barely see their world through my lens due to my privilege but that has to change. Black Lives Matter. We need to do better.
I’ve seen a lot of posts similar to what I’ve written and two common questions I see are “I don’t understand what’s going on” and “what can I do to help?”. I’m certainly not the authority on any of these topics but I wanted to provide some resources as a starting point that may prove insightful. I’ve seen a lot of recommendations for people to vote and while I agree, I also think it’s important to be informed. Educate and participate.
For more detail about what is occurring, here is a video from John Oliver explaining the situation on Last Week Tonight as well as a video monologue from The Daily Show host Trevor Noah.
For clarification on why ‘All Lives Matter’ isn’t as helpful as someone may think it is, I refer anyone to the following article (from Good House Keeping of all places).
I’m a big fan of reading and thanks to my career, have been introduced to many books that have helped guide my understanding. While there are many more out there, some that I’ve read and recommend include Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together In The Cafeteria? And Other Conversations About Race by Beverly Daniel Tatum, Race for Profit: How Banks and the Real Estate Industry Undermined Black Homeownership by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, The End of Policing by Alex S. Vitale, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration In The Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander, March (a graphic novel) by Congressman John Lewis and Andrew Aydin and Not in My Neighborhood: How Bigotry Shaped a Great American City by Antero Pietila.
Another resource is documentaries and docu-series. 13th (Netflix) and When They See Us (Netflix) are eye opening. I know there are plenty more and I’ll update this list when I get a chance to see them. The systemic abuse of the system is also worth being informed about, such as the Kids for Cash documentary.
As for my actionable commitment, I’ll be donating to organizations of color and organizations that benefit people of color on a more regular basis. I thought about tying it to the amount of games played or purchased but realized there shouldn’t be a gimmick. I’m going to try to pick one organization a month to support. To start, I’ve chosen the Community Bail Fund from the Baltimore Action Legal Team.