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Hello, if you've seen recent articles and/or video regarding rape or rape culture, homophobia, and sexism -- you may want to read this.

Isaiah Taylor, Blogger

February 20, 2011

6 Min Read

[I had originally intended to only post this on my site, but I thought more people needed to see it on the sites I visit most.]

I put this picture here, because after you read the following words, you should stare at the cat and know that everything will be all right.

 
In case you couldn’t tell, this whole writing thing is something I really like doing. I like being involved and sometimes I make it a point to involve myself. At times, I feel it’s warranted. Other times I’m encouraged by a little wine and someone’s twitter feed. I think it would be partly crude to plug in a, “ask anyone who knows me, I’ve always been this way.” It’s not entirely accurate, but not totally off base.

I’ve been involved with several different types of communities in my short, little life. All of which I try to contribute something constructive, while asking for feedback on my contributions. For the past couple weeks I saw my Twitter-feed become an encapsulation of all things I found frustrating with the gaming community. Sidenote: finding fault in any community is as easy as falling face first in the Playboy mansion and landing on a bed of silcone and viagra. It’s just unfortunate I was in such a rotten mood when all of these words met my intoxicated eyes.

A story about how a video game could potentially cause rape, followed a week where the gaming community [including journalists] engaged in one of the more illuminating discoveries I’ve found since I’ve started paying attention to the more popular personalities. However, barring the eloquence [or lack thereof] of how all these talks [err...tweets] unfolded, the reason you are reading this little entry is because of a discussion held between Hiphopgamer and Ars Technica’s Ben Kuchera.

 

Hiphopgamer gets a lot of flack for his style of journalism. A lot of it is unwarranted. However, the reason I'm using this image is to snapshot one of many conversations being had on Twitter on a weekly basis. Hiphopgamer was the one I wanted to actually reach out to and question his ideals.

 
Prior to this point, I’ll acknowledge that I have a knack for butting into conversations. So I acknowledge that a fair amount of this is self-induced. This conversation, in particular, struck me in an odd way. Seeing the recent journalistic fallout with Penny Arcade’s Dickwolves saga or Jim Sterling’s unfortunate debate about feminism, certainly contributed to my eventual word-vomit. However, this is about me being sensitive to certain characters in the games industry -- without personally knowing them. I’ve also had a lousy time at my 9-to-5, which is usually a recipe for disaster -- when I’m in front of some sort of internet enabled device.

I’m a nobody, trying my best to get through to someone who’s become well-known in the games industry for a multitude of reasons. When I saw Hiphopgamer, years back, posting up exclusive coverage with his very unique voice, I thought, “Cool. There is a way to pave your own path in this muddled writing world.” However, seeing him throw the word ‘faggot’ and supporting the use of the word, because of ‘hood upringing’ and religion … really stung. It could have stung because I was brought up in religious yet poverty stricken neighborhood. Or maybe it’s because it’s black history month?

I listen to hiphop. I write about games. My voice isn’t as loud as Hiphopgamer’s so there’s this self-conscious part of me, that thinks if I reveal these characteristics as loud as he has, maybe there could be confusion. Or maybe there will be a box people like me and Hiphopgamer are put in -- and I have no interest in that.

Much like a lot of the aforementioned conversations had in the recent weeks, I tried to make light of this whole itch I’d eventually have to scratch. And to his credit, Hiphopgamer did reach out to talk about this whole deal. I’d like to think we walked away from our Skype chat with a better understanding of our individual perspectives, however still disagreeing on a multitude of points. I’ll take that.

What I won’t take is, ultimately, the summary of this whole shpiel. I’m preemptively apologizing to anyone who follows my work on the internet -- all of eight of you -- maybe four after this paragraph is done. After the hurtful, racist and insensitive tweets and e-mails I’ve received over the past month, regarding these issues with the gaming community as they relate to race, gender and socio-economic relations -- I’m not going to shut up. Guys, I’m sorry, I just joined a wine club and it’s going to get worse.

I’m apologizing for future conversations regarding anything gender, race or fill-in-the-blank related, because I’m going to have an opinion. Also, you may not want me in your conversations, so feel free to not say and/or do ridiculous things in/on a public forum. Sometimes I’ll be well-informed. Other times, probably not-so-much. Rest assured, that when I get a message that says, “why don’t you just shut up about it?” or “why should I listen to you?” that this will only encourage me.

As an aside, I received a message about me being concerned about my image as it pertains to me being hired in a writing capacity. To this I say, I’m not a drunk, I’m actually allergic to alcohol, but as a result...I’m also a lightweight. I don’t mince words when they spill out. I don’t bit my tongue, but I have a professional backbone bigger than a stegosaurus. I know where the line is and I only comment on those who seem to think they can cross it.

I value the support I’ve received in my writing in the past three years, but I value the criticism more. I can only hope that my critiques aren’t as rage and liquor-fueled. Feel free to tell me to back off, I just may listen. As Hiphopgamer proved, I am more than willing to personally talk to anyone who has an issue with my brand of opinions.

I constantly tell myself that the games industry has matured to the point of having mature discussion. I’m also open to the obvious -- that this community is based on enjoyment. I can only emphasize that, with me, enjoyment doesn’t always mean fun.

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