Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Social Justice Lynch Mob

As I've said in numerous responses to comments about yesterday's post, my satirical jabs were meant for the lynch mob forming in the wake of this article and several blog posts and forum threads exacerbating the inquisition going after traces of thought-crime and new-speech, not victims of rape, abuse, and harassment.

Only weeks ago, my sleazy sci-fi RPG, Alpha Blue, was targeted for censorship on DriveThruRPG, taken off the virtual shelves for being possibly too much for customers to handle who opted-in regarding mature/adult content.  People have claimed my books are sexist, misogynistic, immature, gross, offensive, profane and everything under the sun.  That's just one of the reasons that I'm making this my business.  I'm not only fighting for the underdog (yes, white males can be underdogs, too), but for myself, as well.  I don't see this battle as totally divorced from censorship.

Whether the aforementioned incidents of harassment actually happened to her or were exaggerated or possibly assembled as a composite from the stories of multiple victims, I don't know for sure.  No one does.

What I am sure about is that calling a portion of the gaming community terrorists - not all, true, but clearly some - is not only offensive but counter-productive.  Even if I'm "one of the good ones" as a white male gamer, that phrase tarnishes the entire community.  In fact, it reminds me of the horrible things that Donald Trump recently said about Mexicans.  That the majority of them coming into our country are drug pushers, murderers, and rapists... but, some of them are, he assumes, good people.

The phrase "white male terrorism" is also racist, sexist, and worst of all, makes light of actual terrorism.  A few commenters don't see what the big deal is.  So what if you, me, or the gamer next to us is branded a "terrorist"?  To call someone - or anyone who isn't an actual terrorist - a terrorist is, in my opinion, disrespectful to those who lost their lives in 9/11, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and every act of terror before or after our national tragedy.

It's the equivalent of calling people Nazis during WWII or communists during the McCarthy era or Satanists during the 1980's.  It's not ok and I hope people can understand my intentionally provocative reaction.  Being called a terrorist is not silly, stupid, harmless, accurate, or appropriate - it's dangerous, hateful, and disgusting.

I didn't stand idly by, a few years ago, when a certain self-described Left Hand Path organization claimed to be and espoused the rhetoric of a terrorist group.  Rather, I fought against them.  I spoke out and received warnings and threats for doing so.  Many people think they know me just because they've read one of my books, met me briefly at a convention, or we discussed D&D online.  Well, there's more to me than most people think.

For a short period of my life, in 1996, I was living in New Mexico.  One night, some guys driving a truck threw donuts at me while yelling something because I was walking down the sidewalk in a liberal area of Albuquerque wearing a black cape and black makeup.  Presumably, they thought I was gay and didn't know the first thing about the goth subculture.  I'm not claiming that I know what it's like to be homosexual in America because of my exposure to a few isolated incidents.  But I do know that those guys were assholes, not terrorists.  And I didn't organize a witch-hunt in retaliation.  Instead, I kept doing my thing with one eye open.

You don't build a community or a consensus by calling people terrorists.  If that's your go-to platform, any chance for raising awareness will inevitably crash and burn.  A social justice lynch mob isn't the answer.

If you see behavior that upsets you, I hope you do or say something about it.  But I'm not going to demonize an entire race and gender within a community in order to influence behavior to my liking.  Therein lies the difference, and I happen to believe it's an important one.


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