How many of you were subjected to Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus, as a child?
I have no idea if it’s a particularly American thing to inflict on kids, but I suspect so.
Anyway, I’ve talked about this before, in the last year even.
It is ok to exclude racists, misogynists, and just general assholes from your games.
Hell, it’s ok to exclude people whose play styles don’t mesh with yours.
If you know that someone being there is going to ruin your and everyone else’s fun, it’s ok to not invite them, or disinvite them from a group.
And now there are a bunch of asshole dudes rubbing their hands in glee: “A woman said it’s ok to exclude people who ruin our fun! No more SJWs!”
Well, ok. But you need to be aware that who you exclude and don’t exclude says volumes about you as a person, and possibly your group.
This is the thing, when you don’t exclude assholes of any flavor, generally the people those assholes target will either not show up at all or leave. relatively soon. By not outright saying, “Ethnic slurs, Queer slurs, any Hate Speech is not welcome at this table,” what POCs, women, queer folks hear is, “It is perfectly ok to say awful hurtful shit, or even physically or sexually assault us in the name of a ‘joke.'”
Because assholes, as with those targeted, take silence as complicity and approval.
When you don’t tell that dude in your group that you don’t tolerate rape jokes, the default assumption, particularly on his part, is that you are cool with rape jokes, and probably agree with him about there being nothing wrong with “a little coercion” here and there to get sex.
When you don’t tell the racist that slurs are not ok, he’s going to keep saying them, and driving off any folks in your group who aren’t white, and some who are because gross.
Jokes about violence, rape, queer-bashing, domestic abuse are often the sign of someone testing the waters to see what you’ll tolerate.
The people those “jokes” are aimed at are watching you to see how you react, and each time you don’t have their back they lose more faith in you, they feel that you don’t value their friendship, or at least not enough to look at Rapey McRacist-pants and say simply, “Dude, not cool.” Or “We don’t do that at this/my table.”
That’s all it takes. You don’t have to call them an asshole, or deliver a graduate level course on why what they’re doing is wrong. Just tell them you won’t tolerate it. And back it up.
If your Queer-bashy McAbleist-face keeps going, you have to enforce your statement of that shit not being ok.
I have a one strike and you’re out for Hate Speech.
You may feel more generous and go with “three strikes and you’re out.”
I’m cranky in my old age, and have very little patience for educating people when I’m trying to have a good time.
But you have to have follow-through or the asshole will figure out that the tiger has no teeth, and will keep going no matter how many times you tell him it’s not cool or ok.
And it sucks to have to play “Bad Cop” and be the one who tells people to clean up their act or GTFO. Especially in a population as conflict-averse and beholden to the Geek Social Fallacies as the geek scene. I get it, we were all picked on as kids for blowing the grading curve in high school, or constantly reading weird books, or being poorly socialized. Trust me, that shit happens to female Nerds, too. And Nerds of Color. And Queer Nerds. And Disabled Nerds.
All of us have been picked on, ok, assholes? Frequently with a side helping of whichever marginalization(s) we come along with. And we get to choose to not socialize with people who want to hurt us either physically or psychologically. We also get to choose not to socialize with the people who make excuses for those assholes. The question is, who are you going to socialize with? That jerk who keeps making slanted eye jokes at your Japanese friend, or your Japanese friend? The guy who keeps making unwanted advances on your female friends and keeps touching them without their consent, or your female friends.
And hey, if you prefer hanging with racist, misogynist, homophobic assholes, maybe take a long hard look at yourself, and do a little thinking about what that might say about you and where you stand.
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