I figured it was time to write this article when a casual comment on religious people rendered me unable to speak for two hours. While I recovered, I took the time to think about a few things that have caused me major friction in the communities I navigate as a black, religious man.
I shouldn’t have to explain this very real problem. In fact, I’m not.
“Men ain’t shit” as the statement goes and let me just say that I get it 500%. Let me also say that it leaves caught in some awkward crosshairs between the women who have every right to say that with full conviction and the men who I feel compelled to defend them from. Not because the women need defending, but because decency demands that I not let things go unchecked when people are being disrespected for no reason.
So I’m in this place where things are rather difficult because of my position here. I navigate it OK most days, but I’m painfully aware of the tension I live in and the apprehension that comes from members on one side, or the preemptive vitriol on the other, both of which come from a poisonous culture that I hope to be one drop of antidote for.
Again, I feel this so hard on so many levels. Scandals in the news, mismanaged money, abuse of power and influence. It’s angering in every facet of every detail I’ve ever heard about it.
However, I am still very much a religious man. I am always that man.
These things are true for me at all times and shapes every part of my personality and worldview whether in part or in whole. What? You don’t think I think about this in my D&D characters? My video game decisions? How I feel about LGBT+ people? How I feel about racism and sexism?
News flash: it does.
Are there people who claim to be religious who are doing terrible things? Yes. So are atheists. So are polytheistic people. So are music artists, game developers, and people who are close family friends. None of it is excusable. At all. When I am not ill with grief, I am furious at how these things distort people’s views of God and those who believe in him.
I want you to imagine people walking up to you and talking to you and telling you how much they love you and how inspired they are by you and all of these other positive things about you, only to see their social media or conversations with them filled with hatred for things that make up who you are.
I don’t do religious things. I don’t do male things. I don’t do black things. I am all of those things and right now I feel alone being those things because I have to wonder: if we didn’t have games as a buffer, what would be left for us to connect with? Because on days like today? I’m not sure there would be anything at all.