GOING BEYOND DIVERSITY IN GAMING
Black lives matter.
Diversity in gaming shouldn't be something developers shy away from in fear of how people will react. Diversity in our games should be the bare minimum. Even though this should be the very lowest bar, we have seen time and time again the goals of developers not matching the reality of gamers with the inclusion of women, people of color, and LGBT+ stories. Though these are all video game examples, the same applies to the board game hobby. Perhaps the board game hobby is more niche and doesn't get as many headlines, but the problem of toxic player culture does exist. I know, I've seen it first hand.
It is our responsibility as developers to not only capture the diversity of the world we live in, but make those diverse individuals that play our games feel included, heard, and safe. We do this by seeking out marginalized voices and use our privilege to uplift those voices. We do this by creating environments whether it be forums, Kickstarter pages, or websites that make it clear hate has no place online or at the table. If we do not tolerate hate at the table then there is no reason to accept it online.
For my own personal efforts, I wanted to make sure my first Community Connection interview was with a designer of color, and I will continue to seek out underrepresented voices to interview. Patronage is a great way to give back to people already doing the work. This is why I am a producer/executive producer of great organizations/podcasts that have guests of diverse backgrounds, including Breaking into Board Games, Girl's Game Shelf, and the Variable Player Power podcast. I will continue to seek out others who do good work and highlight them the best I can to my abilities.
Being a good ally also means knowing when to step aside, stop talking, and listen. I can share with you my experience of being a gay man in America, but I cannot fathom what it feels like and psychologically does to you to be a black person in America, so I let them speak their truth, and I learn. There's a lot of hurt being expressed in this cathartic moment in America, and I think we should take the time to listen, empathize, act, and pledge to to better. I know we can.