Stonemaier Games Black Lives Matter Statement and Declaration of Action

11 June 2020 | 40 Comments

The link to the form is here.

If you’d like to share, what actions are you taking to address systemic racism and racial injustice?

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40 Comments on “Stonemaier Games Black Lives Matter Statement and Declaration of Action

  1. I was pleased to see point 7 included on this action plan. I look forward to being able to ready about how you are doing on Points 1-6 in the stakeholder report! I hope that with long term accountability on this matter you are able to maintain this issue in the minds of your stakeholders beyond the focus of the news cycle.

  2. Thank you for taking these steps to broaden the diversity in our hobby. New gamers, designers, proofreaders, playtesters – everyone wanting to get involved with our hobby – should feel welcome :) And making an effort to extending an invitation like this is a great example to set for others to follow!

  3. Thank you, Jamey for your thoughtful statements and your decision to take actions as a company.

    Meanwhile, I’m working with a non-profit organization that provides a venue and holds weekly board game session for free, where the vast majority of the participants are Asian Americans. Is that the type of organizations Stonemaier Games is looking into for game donation as well?

  4. Great sentiments. Also, the font on the image is really hard to read, are you able to do a link to a text version? I was only able to skim through the points and not in full, it’s possible others are having a similar issue.

  5. Thank you for standing up and speaking out, Jamey. I stand with you and our BIPOC community on this issue.

  6. I honestly feel I no longer have the freedom of speech to say what I am about to say. But please hear me out. I would like to argue that not everyone who isn’t jumping on this bandwagon is racist. Rather, some have reservations about painting this issue with such a broad brush, and approaching it likewise, under the assumption that all the claims by this movement are indisputably accurate in all cases. Deliberately giving preferential treatment to a certain race to “offset” alleged, perceived, and in some cases, proven, preferential treatment to another race or races, in my opinion, does nothing to solve the issue of racism, but only escalates it. Why? because we are then still speaking in terms of race, comparing this one to that one. And much like in a marriage, once you start constantly comparing, no one will ever be satisfied or at peace.

    Additionally, there’s the aspect that I really want to be able to judge anyone I meet by the content of their character, but I instead hear, “you can’t judge that person, because they’re such and such a race”…isn’t that opposite of what MLK intended?

    Finally, I have reservations about anyone trying to force others to like them, for whatever reason. It feels like that is the aim of this current movement. Maybe its just because it is in complete contrast to my life experience – I grew up poor, unsuccessful, unpopular, and misunderstood, and yet never demanded acceptance or compensation from anyone – but it doesn’t feel right, and feels dangerous to freedom as we knew it.

    1. “I honestly feel I no longer have the freedom of speech to say what I am about to say. ”

      Why? Clearly you’re free to say it because you just did and no one arrested you. If what you mean by freedom of speech is that you want to be able to voice an opinion on a heated subject and not have people strongly disagree with you, then what you’re looking for is freedom from criticism. If you’ve ever had that freedom before, you’ve lived quite a fortunate life.

      “I would like to argue that not everyone who isn’t jumping on this bandwagon is racist. ”

      Agreed. You will always find some unreasonable people on the internet. However, most people calling for companies to take a stand aren’t accusing those that don’t of being racist but of promoting the status quo, because that’s what silence does.

      “Deliberately giving preferential treatment to a certain race to “offset” alleged, perceived, and in some cases, proven, preferential treatment to another race or races, in my opinion, does nothing to solve the issue of racism, but only escalates it.”

      This is certainly a viewpoint. Let me share another viewpoint. Those in positions of power are mainly of a certain demographic. The original reasons for this are historical. However, in addition to racism, one of the reasons this has persisted is because people tend to have social connections to people like themselves and the #1 way that people get ahead is through their social connections. Consequently, the default setting for most people in position s of power is to help people like themselves. Therefore, in order to help other people, you have to make a conscious effort. If your default setting is to mostly help people from one demographic (again, not intentionally, but simply because that’s who you know the most of), then I don’t consider it preferential treatment to try to help people of other demographics–I consider it trying to be fair.

      “Rather, some have reservations about painting this issue with such a broad brush, and approaching it likewise, under the assumption that all the claims by this movement are indisputably accurate in all cases….Additionally, there’s the aspect that I really want to be able to judge anyone I meet by the content of their character, but I instead hear, “you can’t judge that person, because they’re such and such a race…Finally, I have reservations about anyone trying to force others to like them, for whatever reason It feels like that is the aim of this current movement. ”

      I’ve literally never heard anyone, not even trolls on the internet, state that all claims of the movement are indisputably accurate and I’ve certainly never heard any major proponents of the movement claim that the goal of the movement, or of any major movement for that matter, is to get everyone to like that and to stop people from judging others of different races by the content of their character. You should be careful when making statements like that because a lot of people are going to assume you’re making strawman arguments, and those certainly aren’t conducive to reasonable conversation. I think the key part here is your language of “feels like” rather than you referencing the words of any major leaders of the movement or similar evidence. You should do some self reflection on your feelings and why you feel the movement stands for something that those within it, and most observing it outside of the US, don’t believe or claim it stands for. Sometimes our feelings aren’t well supported by the evidence.

      Thanks for sharing your views in a civil manner. It’s always appreciated.

      1. Unfortunately, the “you’re just using feelings but I’m using FACTS” argument is yet another fallacy, and it’s getting very overused on the internet at this point. I cringe every time I see it. Basically it implies that the entire life experience of the person you’re disagreeing with doesn’t matter. Other than that, thanks for your perspective.

        1. “Unfortunately, the “you’re just using feelings but I’m using FACTS” argument is yet another fallacy,”

          I never said your quoted language, nor is that an accurate paraphrase of what I said. I never even used the word “fact” in my entire response and the only reason I used the word “feel” was to quote you using it. One of the reasons I quote people and then respond to the quoted language is so that I verify, both for myself and my audience, that I’m actually responding to the words they said. Otherwise, what can happen is they we respond to what we “feel” the other person said–which may not be what they actually said. I believe that this misunderstanding that you and I are having right now may also be reflective of your misunderstanding of the BLM movement. I would strongly recommend spending more time making sure that you understand what the other side is trying to say, in any discussion, rather than how you feel about them.

          Like any advice, take it as you will.

    2. “Deliberately giving preferential treatment to a certain race to “offset” alleged, perceived, and in some cases, proven, preferential treatment to another race or races, in my opinion, does nothing to solve the issue of racism, but only escalates it. Why? because we are then still speaking in terms of race, comparing this one to that one. And much like in a marriage, once you start constantly comparing, no one will ever be satisfied or at peace.”

      That statement is a total logical fallacy and an example of gaslighting. It does not deserve the logical rebuttals that followed because it is based on fallacies.

      Substitute “crime” for racism and analogy terms for others, and it becomes readily apparent how ridiculous this typical gaslighting argument is.

      If a house is on fire, you don’t ignore it by claiming all houses need protection from fire. You rally what is needed to put the fire out.

      Clearly written by an armchair quarterback with nothing better to do with their life but disempower a response to a wave of injustices that are against a specific race.

    3. Jason, I am confident there are many that agree with much of what you wrote, but aren’t willing to put up with the grief of being painted as racist, tone deaf, or much much worse.
      I would presume that 95% or more of the US population agrees that racism in any form is evil. But there are many viewpoints on how to address it. Jamie has expressed his.
      Jason, you should not be denigrated, looked down upon, or given grief in any way if you don’t agree with Jamie or with most everyone else on this list (the freedom of speech that I believe you are implying).

      Jamie, it never dawned on me to doubt your commitment to fair treatment of all. Efforts to be more inclusive and mindful are laudable in my estimation.

      To David Dorne, George Floyd, and all of those whose lives have been destroyed, we mourn for you and your families. May you find peace in the life to come.

      Finally, Jamie, thank you for not removing Jason’s post, like bgg would have done. More dialogue is better than less.

  7. Jamey — Long time player, first time commenter. I applaud your goals here!

    I work in a field where I’m regularly asked to serve on grant selection committees or to speak on panels at events. As a white man, one small personal policy that I’ve implemented is to ask the organizers who else is participating and what their goals are around having a diverse panel or committee. If they are intending to seat an all/mostly white (or male) group, I decline to participate and ask them fill my spot with a BIPOC person. If they are not sure who to ask, I try to give them suggestions.

    I’m not a game convention regular … but I’m seen enough pictures of panels to know that organizers are still seating all white, all male panels.

    I recommend this to any of my fellow white men out there who get asked to speak or fill a decision-making spot. Take a step back instead of taking a spot.

    1. I like this idea. I’ve been on some all white and male panels in the past as well. We can probably move the needle a lot faster by offering to give seats, or at the very least require our participation is dependent on panel diversification.

    2. Well done Jamey. These sound positive steps to be taking.
      Thanks too for Josh’s suggestion around ensuring better representation on panels.
      And well done Corey of Massif Games for your approach – sorry to hear you’ve faced a backlash – for me that seems to reinforce why action is so important.

      As a privileged white British man, I’m conscious I don’t have the same experiences as others, especially those who face first-hand experience of racism on a daily basis. I’ve been deeply sickened not just by George Floyd’s death but by blatant and institutional racism I’ve seen when visiting the US over many years – not least the white supremacists in Charlottesville shortly before I attended Gencon50.

      The context is different in the UK, but we also have a long history of insiduous racism that we need to do more to tackle. The approach I’m taking is threefold:
      1. Read & reflect, listen & learn.
      2. Challenge my own biases, assumptions and behaviours. We all have biases, conscious and unconscious. Its sadly human nature to be distrustful of those different to ourselves, and that’s reinforced by racism and prejudice so deeply ingrained in society that we (especially those with white privilege) often don’t recognise when we are part of it.
      3. Challenge organisational and societal biases, assumptions and behaviours. Important thought this is, its not easy, and would be hollow unless accompanied by genuine humility and determination to be actively anti-racist in my own behaviour.

      Sharing my thoughts here not in search of plaudits but in case others find it helpful in thinking through how to address social injustice – because Black Lives Matter. As I see it, that’s not a slogan, its a moral imperative to act.

  8. This was my personal statement through Massif Games regarding action we are taking to help address systemic racism:

    https://mailchi.mp/983558ef746f/we-stand-with-protesters-against-racial-injustice

    Unfortunately, many of my customers were not thrilled with the statement. Got some not so nice emails back. How about you?

    But, I spoke with my BIPOC friends before sending it out and got their feedback on our action and statement. (We’ll be donating $10 from every game to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. It’s not much, but we’ve got to start somewhere.)

    I love your plan to include more BIPOC people in your game design. Is this something specific you’ve been hearing requested from the BIPOC gaming community?

    -Corey Wright

    1. Corey: Thanks for sharing. I haven’t gotten any emails about our statement yet. And no, the point about being more active in seeking out and including BIPOC game designers, developers, playtesters, proofreaders, etc isn’t something that was specifically requested–it just seems like the right thing to do.

  9. This is a fantastic statement of support, and great concrete steps. I hope you will also look to ensure diversity and good representation in the character depictions in your own games; quality representation is an important part of countering systemic racism.

    1. Absolutely! That’s something we already do (see Tapestry and the Euphoria expansion; in some games like Wingspan there are no people), but it’s something we haven’t always done well and want to do better in the future.

    1. I agree! I especially appreciate how you set specific goals to which you can be held accountable.

  10. A statement, a call to action, and an implementation strategy.

    I think we can all take from this to do better.

    Well done.

  11. This is a great statement. So many companies have come out and said the same old thing without any promise of action or ways to be held accountable. As always, Stonemaier rises above the rest.

    1. Thank you, Benjamin. While this isn’t about us or other companies, we tried to take the time to craft a declaration of action that is commits us to making a lasting impact. The process involved a number of perspectives (both internally and externally), resulting in this statement.

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