This blog isn’t much of a platform, with only a handful of regular readers. But I feel compelled to add my voice to those calling for racial justice in the United States and beyond, and the sweeping reforms that are required to make that happen. As has been clearly communicated in recent weeks, those in privileged positions (such as myself) must do much more than simply express solidarity with Black people and other groups who suffer from institutional racism and societal prejudice. The murder of George Floyd by police officer Derek Chauvin may have been the event that sparked recent protests and conversations about institutional racism, but it is only the latest example of targeted brutality, atrocity, and unjust policy that stretch back centuries in the United States (and much of the rest of the world). Many privileged people are unaware of the extent of these societal problems, so the first step is education. There are countless reading lists that have done the rounds over social media recently; here’s an example roundup from Rock, Paper, Shotgun, a UK-based site about PC games. But learning about these problems is only the first step. We must take action to change our society.
For my part, I am striving to spread education about these issues to as many people as possible, through direct and open conversations with friends and acquaintances, and through this blog, limited as its reach may be. With enough people informed and enough minds changed, we can begin the hard work of fixing the deep-rooted problems in the United States and around the world. I have also donated to several organizations committed to racial justice reform, including Black Lives Matter and multiple bail funds in the United States. One of my donations was for the Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality put together by digital games storefront itch.io. When I donated there were nearly 750 games (and art assets, and music) included, but the number has now ballooned to over 1600, for a minimum donation of $5 with all proceeds split evenly between the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund and Community Bail Fund (I was in a position to donate more than the minimum and happily did so). At the time of writing, there is just one day left for the Bundle, which has now raised nearly $7 million USD. The Bundle is a great place to start, but if you miss your chance, or are looking for other ways to help, itch.io suggest you try here.
There are some big names in the bundle but also a whole lot of small indie offerings that I am completely unfamiliar with, including many tabletop games, and several non-game entries such as stories, art assets, or even settings or writings to use as inspiration for one’s tabletop role-playing campaigns. And that’s only from looking through the original roster of 750, before it doubled in size. So I’ve decided to start selecting items from the bundle at random, playing them, and writing short posts about them here as part of a new series. I hope this will be a way to maintain the focus of this blog — writing about games — while also continuing to highlight the problems with institutional racism that we must work to eradicate.
Look for the first of these posts soon. And let’s build a better world together.