This is long, long overdue, but fear not. As this is the place of the chronicles of experience, I’ll share with you how I found the Triforce, how I downed M. Bison. I’ll tell you the secrets of mana.
There’s a demand in the gamer community for more instruction on how to stand up for what we believe in and how to be effective while doing it. There’s a few things people demanding guidance must keep in mind before we proceed.
- Location, location, location. It matters where you are. Good advice for living in my town is not good advice for living in your town. Every guide of this sort has extreme limitations. To overcome them, readers must do a bit of introspection: What are the problems I want to help solve? Who are those affected? What’s being done in my circle of influence? Start there and work your way outward. I’ll spend the rest of this guide going over these 3 fundamental points.
- Audience. Unless you’re actively fighting for equality, you are the target audience for all calls to action. Bigots and those in their camp aren’t going to be swayed so the propaganda isn’t about convincing them, it’s about getting YOU to act. Know where you are on the issue so you can know your role.
- Balance. Don’t become 100% absorbed in “the cause”. You can dedicate your life to something and still make time to enjoy your life. Will it change the way you approach life? Yes. But don’t get so tangled in fighting that you forget there are many people like you, who stand with you and that you can do much more than struggling together – you can actually enjoy life with them.
What are the issues I’m passionate about?
You can’t take up the banner for everything. You’re one person. Most people decide to work on issues that are close to home, issues that are happening right outside their door. This is a good choice. The more invested you are in the solution, the more likely you’ll be advocate for change. As a gamer, there’s plenty of causes that need your support and they are the same ones we deal with in wider society.
This doesn’t mean you should forget about other issues or that you should act as though your issue is the most pressing. This doesn’t mean you can’t go out and support other causes. What I’m saying is to focus on a cause that you can dedicate yourself to. For example, I work a lot on issues of homelessness. When I’m out in the community I’m at shelters, food kitchens or walking Skid Row ( a popular homeless destination in the Los Angeles area). I have friends who throw themselves into other causes, like gay rights and other equality politics. I attend their events and show them support as well, but I don’t organize with them most of the time.
I’m one person. I can only do so much. Still, I have to be careful not to make myself or my cause the center of the universe. Everything matters. You have to try to do the same. It will be hard at first as you begin to learn about issues and that’s normal.
Who are those affected?
When the political topic is immigration, those affected are the immigrants. When we’re talking about women’s rights, those affected are women. Everyone is impacted in some way by inequality, but that doesn’t mean everything is about you. A guy supporting the fight against sexism is not the group affected by sexism, even though he’s impacted. You have to be sensitive and knowledgeable, able to tell the difference between oppressors and oppressed, privileged and underprivileged.
This is the most popular error allies make. It’s an issue of ignorance and insensitivity, something we can fix by actively educating ourselves. You are responsible for your education. Those affected are merely being kind when they answer your questions, but they are under no obligation to do so.
The reason this question is so important is that so many volunteers think everything is about them because they are affected in some way. They get hurt feelings frequently because instead of putting survivors at the center they put themselves there and can’t figure out why people think they are a problem.
Don’t make it about you. Know who the oppressed are, listen to them, and never forget it’s not about you unless it actually is.
What can I do in my circle of influence?
Here’s where the work starts. Here’s where you can go out into the world and make a difference. Everyone can make a difference.
In your circle of influence, your first stop is the mirror. I’m getting a bit of a reputation for saying that, but it can’t really be said enough. People usually think there’s somewhere to go or some master to visit to get a solution. The solution is you.
OK, OK …you’re not going to instantly understand kung fu and start glowing. But the point should be clear: stop looking everywhere for answers and look at yourself first. When you’re asking questions, you’re not really looking for answers, but rather for responses that validate your own sense of things. Worse, you’re not examining what you already know and figuring out how to grow.
Introspection is the most powerful spell in your spellbook, your ability with the highest critical hit, your attribute that increases your chances to always hit your target. Think deeply about who you are and what your role is on the issues. Know that you have done things you didn’t realize you did and that you’re not evil for making a mistake, for being ignorant. Question your beliefs, listen to those directly affected, who have lived experience with the issues. 99% of what you can do involves self-reflection. It’s not terribly exciting, I know. But there is no master out there. There is no magic wand, no genie, no One True Way. There is only your beliefs, your actions, and their consequences. Self-examination is the hardest thing in the world, to be honest. It’s not a small thing at all. There will be pain and anguish. There will be resentment and denials. But if you’re committed, you’ll also amaze yourself with your strength, integrity and ability to do better.
Many people don’t believe they can change so they say things like “the world will never change”. They are right. If you don’t change yourself the world will always look like an unchanging place.
A Spellbook for Your Journey
These 3 things are where we can start to begin to affect change. I think these are the three most important questions to ask yourself and your strongest starting point. Once you feel confident you’ve nailed down these three questions and feel that you’re a good work-in-progress, here are some baby steps you can take with you. Doing things will empower you and build camaraderie with those you stand with on the issues. These things will help you network and build relationships so that you can do more together. Think of these as the attunement process for the endgame.
Scree Tags: #gameractivism #activistspellbook #beinganally