Black Lives Matter. 

A few years ago, while gathering supplies for a game I was running at a local convention, I came across a copy of Look magazine (February 6th, 1968) titled "White Cop, Black Rebel"; the subtitle read, "A searching report on our crisis in law and order, and a possible solution." Although Look Magazine closed its doors in 1971, the racism they choose to address in 1968 is still alive and well in America some 52 years later.

 

That's insane. 

Over the last couple of weeks, I've had several people ask me where Storm Bunny Studios stood with regard to racism in America. While I thought our message of inclusivity was fairly clear, it needs saying.

 

Again.

 

And that's not okay.

 

That's "not okay" because I have to say "BLACK LIVES MATTER," but rather because it still needs to be said at all, anywhere, in 2020.

That's just crazy.

But I'm going to say it, and hopefully, when I'm done, I'll have cleared away any doubt whatsoever.

 

BLACK LIVES MATTER 

Do other lives matter? Absolutely. Does saying "Black Lives Matter" exclude anyone else? Nope. Asian Americans still matter. Pacific Islanders? Yup. Native Americans? Them, too!

 

It's pretty simple, actually.

 

America has a horrible history of systematic, entrenched racism that threatens to destroy the dream of not only black and brown Americans, but of every American who dreams that we'll one day live in a country where race, culture, sexual orientation, gender, or our creeds no longer divide us.  

But we're not there yet.

It's hard to have faith in a system that fails you. Even when you bleed for it. And while I cannot (and won't) speak for other veterans, I'd be lying if I said I had not seen that racism drive others away - good men and women who love America but fear what it is becoming.

BLACK LIVES MATTER

The messages we encode and send out into the world (and with it, the future) play a big role in how we both envision and understand our world (and our future).

If it hasn't been clear from the onset, Storm Bunny Studios has ALWAYS stood on the side of inclusivity and tolerance, whether that was at our gaming table or in our government. Why? Because we want that in our world and we want that in our future.

 

Because when I stop and think about the kind of America I want to live in, it doesn't match the America I see around me, today. It sure as hell doesn't look at all like the American dream I enlisted to help bring into being, either. So, yes, it needs to be said.

BLACK LIVES MATTER

So if you're just waiting (and secretly yearning) for things to "get back to normal," I have a few photos I'd like you to look at.

 

Why? Because we can't afford to go backward. 

Are you afraid to say Black Lives Matter because you were taught that they don't?

 

Are we teaching our children the same lessons we learned?

How do we create change in a silent room?

Where we stand.

THOUGHT EXPERIMENT: If my parents grew up in a culture that understood black Americans as "rebels" (or worse), I have to ask myself - did I? 

 

Take 5 and think about it. 

 

I'll wait.

For myself, I can easily pick the birthday of this new narrative, at least in my life. It came in 1992 during the Rodney King Riots. I remember the riots in Los Angelas and the uncertainty, distrust, and division those brought to America's doorstep. I lived in Alabama at the time and all around me, racism raged, as if suddenly justified by a few fires.

 

That was almost 30 years ago.

You know what?

BLACK LIVES MATTER

I have long prided myself on being a 'bridge builder." Norse jokes about Heimdallr aside, I've long made it a point - even when it annoyed others - to look for common ground. It's the humanist in me, I suppose.

And like a lot of veterans, I've cited my service as proof that I'm able to look past skin color, gender, creed, or religion in service of a larger American dream. But you know what?

 

Just being "not racist" isn't enough. 

BLACK LIVES MATTER

That line of thinking - the "I don't see color" mentality - whitewashes an experience I can never truly understand, no matter how hard I try. Moreover, while I may be seeking common ground with my black and brown friends, pretending that our race isn't a factor in society doesn't help my friends.

 

It makes it worse.

So, how can I call myself a friend to a dozen different veterans (many of whom are black or brown) if I cannot also listen when they say, "Black Lives Matter"? I can't. 

BLACK LIVES MATTER

So while building bridges is important and "all lives matter," I have to ask: where are those voices when police murder an American citizen in the street? Why do "all lives matter" only in response to Black Lives Matter protests? Why do we suddenly "back the blue" when black Americans protest, but not when we get a speeding ticket?  Or when UWM students burn cars over a football game?

What's worse, of course, is that this mentality is disingenuous and acts as a silent warden while this racism continues to grow in America. 

So, where do we stand?

BLACK LIVES MATTER

I understand history.

 

Just like I understand this post will upset some folks. I'll likely lose a few supporters and will probably lose some fans, too.

 

So be it.

 

BLACK LIVES MATTER

BLACK LIVES MATTER

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