Tag Archives: Writing

Decolonize Me

“Why do you act so white?”

Her name was Shanti. I will always remember the exact look on her face, how her head floated in my vision surrounded by the artifacts of a high school classroom. It was the 10th grade, American Sign Language class, and I was clearly not white.

I’ve revisited these three seconds of memory often throughout life, coming back with different answers each time. At first, I thought it was absurd that someone could “act so white,” how could someone act a race? Eventually, I came to associate that question with ‘Why are you so educated?’ since, at the time, I found many non-white people to act rather unrefined.

It wasn’t just me asking this to myself. More people took note of my non-whiteness and proclivity to surround myself with it. It also came in reverse, with white friends glad I didn’t act like those kind of non-white people. I remembered visiting Chicago and seeing an improv theatre show with about 200 other people. For the first time in my life, I noticed I was in a room where I was the only person who wasn’t white. It was startling, considering this pattern I’ve noticed. What is going on with me?

What I’ve come to learn is how the status quo, the marker which we all mediate our lives with, is actually the culture of the hegemonic class. The labels of this group can go on forever, so let’s just settle for white American patriarchy. Which is why there are so many othering stereotypes of people who fall out of this, while whiteness gets assigned traits associated with the general person. Black men are often typecast as uneducated gangsters and white men the honest average joes. We see getting a university education as a standard that everyone should achieve, but politics that disproportionately affect non-white people frequently makes achieving the American Dream, whatever that is now, far out of reach.

There is a similar status quo in the game industry. An expectation for objective, fact-driven games and journalism. When personal experience enters, it is met with distrust. Herein lies the problem- when you leave out the personal, all that’s left is the status quo. Because that ‘standard’ consists of the values of a particular type of culture associated with the hegemonic, privileged class, there is actually something personal and subjective going on all the time. Thus, by leaving out the particular experiences of the silenced and marginalized, it bars anyone from revealing the bias that exists within this supposed stoically neutral discourse. It takes away the vocal chords of a person in a room full of shouting.

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GDC Online Panel “Writing The Unsung Experiences: Gender In Game Storytelling”

A GDC Online 2012 panel entitled Writing The Unsung Experiences: Gender In Game Storytelling is now available streaming for free from the GDC Vault. The speakers–Leigh Alexander, Jenn Frank, and our own Mattie Brice–tackle the topic of gender and diversity in games by addressing it as a writing and storytelling issue. The panel gets beyond the usual issues that come up in “women in games” panels and offers ideas for expanding the kinds of stories games can tell. It’s definitely worth a listen.

Writing The Unsung Experiences: Gender In Game Storytelling — GDC Vault

The Border House Podcast – Episode 4: Diversity in a Strange Land

A cover of Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein. Read it!

A cover of Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein. Read it!

 

The new The Border House podcast is up! Rather timely indeed, as we talked about the recent inclusion of progressive material at Kotaku and used the opportunity to talk about the relationship between writer, community, and indenity. Discussion about “responsibility” is parsed through and would definitely reflect on recent events. For those who haven’t seen, I wrote an open letter to Kotaku here that provoked quite the response.

Here is the Judith Butler’s mention that popped up in our conversation:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judith_Butler#Excitable_Speech:_A_Politics_of_the_Performative_.281997.29

A correction, I was trying to think of HULK GAME CRITIC and mistakenly attributed their criticism to Arkham City to FEMINIST HULK, though the latter is definitely worth following as well.

Remember that we are now on iTunes! And here is our RSS Feed Link: http://borderhouseblog.com/?feed=podcast

 

Opening & Closing Credits - Was that away message for me? by 8bit Betty