Friday, October 24, 2014

Bigotry Is Hard To Sweep Under a Rug

Hello everyone, I hope your weeks have been more spectacular than the thought of a troupe of Zumba dancing hippos!

Well, I realize I'm kind of the last one to the GamerGate examination wagon, that's what you get when you're incomprehensibly sick for over a week.

For those of you who don't know, GamerGate started out as an outcry over breaches in gaming (as in video games) journalism integrity. What it quickly descended into was a group of very loud misogynistic trolls screaming that women should stop complaining about how women in video games are portrayed.

How bad are these trolls who enjoy attacking women?

Well, two female game developers, Zoe Quinn and Brianna Wu, left their homes because they were being threatened with violence and rape (including posts on Twitter that included their home addresses).

On top of that, noted gaming social examiner Anita Sarkeesian had to cancel her speaking engagement at Utah State University because angry male gamers threatened a massive school massacre if she spoke.

The Apparently Villainous Anita Sarkeesian
 In response, there have been quite a few supporters of GamerGate who have basically said, "Well, it's a loud minority that are being the issue! It's not all of us!"

So, today, I'm not here to talk about the original intentions that GamerGate may or may not have had. I'm not even going to address the trolls, because I think that their gritty little minds have received quite enough attention already.

No, instead I wish to address anyone who finds themselves clinging to a movement, like GamerGate, and saying, "But it's not all of us!"

In fact, I want to address the people involved in any religion, activist group, political party or social movement who find them using the phrase, "But it's not all of us!" GamerGate is just a recent example so it is the one I will use.

I am going to give you all the benefit of the doubt; your intentions were to improve the quality and integrity of journalism surrounding video games. You honestly want a fair shake in the gaming industry that you love. That is valid.

However, where any claim ceases to be valid is when the extremely offensive "vocal minority" almost completely drowns out the claimed "quiet majority."

Really, if you want to protect the integrity of your movement, claim or idea, then you have to have enough people in your movement willing to stand up against those that don't demonstrate your interests.

Thanks XKCD For Showing What Not To Do Here
 If all you do is whine, "They are misrepresenting us," but you don't offer any form of condemnation of their actual actions or a voice for redefining the image of your movement, then how are people supposed to hear your original point?

I hate to break it to you, but if your movement becomes rampant with people doing terrible things, but you don't speak against them, you just kind of ignore them, then you might as well agree with them.

Imagine I walked up to you on the street and said, "I'm a member of Movement X! We're all about peace and harmony!" then ten seconds later Mr. T walks up to you and screams, "I pity the fool who doesn't join Movement X!" and punches you in the face.

Now instead of me saying, "Oh, he's not related Movement X, we don't have anything to do with him!" I instead say, "Oh, yeah, he's part of our movement too, we needed the extra support. I mean, he has some wacky ideas that don't support our original image, but whatcha gonna do?"

Is your image of Movement X that you should join right away because it will lead you to a happy utopia full of rainbows and unicorns, or would you prefer to just go get some ice for your face?

Back to our example of GamerGate: The same thing happens when you have members claiming to be a part of your movement threatening acts of violence so severe that women are scared out of their homes or cancel lectures. If your response is not to say, "They aren't part of GamerGate" and instead saying, "But that's not what GamerGate originally stood for! That's not all of us!" you are missing the point.

Remember, the phrase, "It's not all of us!" means by admission that it is "some of you." And if you don't stand against their behavior, then that "some of you" will be what everyone sees. 

So, to all those crying that the intentions of GamerGate are being misconstrued, might I add this one little piece of advice: Either distance yourself from them and become louder than those spewing vile threats and vitriol around or realize that your movement has been overrun with vile trolls and abandon ship.

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