torsdag 20 juli 2017

My advice for how larp designers can think to include larpers of colors

Please note: This blogpost is written from a Swedish point of view and consists of my personal opinions.
This is not the first time I point out that the larp community in Sweden is too white for its own good and it probably won´t be the last either.
By too white I mean that the lack of ethnic diversity excludes larpers of colors in both how the larp is designed and in the material used to promote the event.
Over the years I have realized that change will not happen, unless i make it happen. Much because the larp community in Sweden is such a white hobby that the knowledge about how to change is missing and is regarded as less important.
So this post is going to focus on how larp organizers and designer can get better at including larpers of colors. Here are my tips:

  • Make sure that larpers of colors are represented and well visible in images that you use on your website, forums and in your facebook group. (Or whatever you use to promote your larp) Just solve it by either asking your friends that are larpers of colors or find other larpers of color.
    The excuse that you don´t know any larpers of colors is not acceptable.

  • Include but do not exotify larpers of colors.It is a huge NO to only have larpers of colors represented in your images as the “dark, mysterious and also very evil (perhaps bloodsucking) culture” on your larp.
    You want to make sure that larpers of colors feel welcome at your larp and this is not achieved by building and amplifying harmful stereotypes.

  • Never ever accept blackface and never ever have something like that in the images that you use.

  • Make it clear on your website and in all your material that the larp you organize do not welcome nazis and racists.
    And remember, the old argument that anyone is welcome to a larp as long as they leave their private opinions at home is bullshit.
    If you want to include larpers of colors and make them feel safe at your larp you must have a strict no nazi and no racist policy.

  • Write clearly on your webpage that any form of racism against anyone as an off-person is strictly forbidden. And if your larp contains any form of racism, please write clearly how this manifest itself and how the players should act on it.

  • When it comes to organizing larps in Sweden, a huge majority of the organizing groups are white. Because of this it is even more important to state clearly that you, as a group of white organizers, want to include larpers of colors. Make this clear on all your platforms, both on the website, your forum and on your facebook page.

  • Have a policy for how your larp works with inclusion and diversity. This is so important!

To all larp organizers that organize larps that is consider to be historical correct but still wants larper of colors to feel welcome at their larp:

  • Remember to specify that the skin color of a person doesn't have any importance when it comes to choosing a role at your larp. It is important to be very clear with the fact that you as organizers strive to create a larp that includes and welcomes everyone and that this is more important than making a larp that is completely historically correct.

These are small advices but for me they are so important. Nothing makes me, as a larper of color, feel more included before a larp as when I see other persons like myself represented in the material used to promote or present the event. Whenever I see other larpers of colors in images and photos it makes me so happy.
But please note, this feeling of inclusion is only there when I feel myself being represented in a respectful and good way. Nothing makes me feel more discouraged than seeing larpers of colors being represented in a disrespectful, racist and stereotyped way.
Just the thought of that makes me want to pull out my bingo named:
“All the stereotypes that persons of colors can be pushed into”
Yeah, fun times when having to do that bingo… not.
Last but not least, a very common argument that usually show up is this:

“But I advertised my larp in a lot of different larp groups on facebook but still no larpers of colors showed up on my larp! If they were interested, why didn't they show up?”

Yes. And no.
Every larper choose what kind of larp that they want to go on and all larps doesn't appeal to everyone.
But if you as a larp organizer have not thought it through when it comes to inclusion of larpers of colors in your imagery, webtexts and pinterest boards, it will have the effect that larpers of colors may not feel welcome at your larp.
Because they feel it is not for them.
When it comes to Sweden, you have to remember that the people that hangs out in the larp groups on Facebook is….. wait for it…. white larpers.
And that makes it even more important to include larpers of color! Also, remember that if you as a larp organizer want to change, you really have to work for it by thinking outside the white box.
It is your responsibility as a larp organizer to work on improving the representation and diversity of your event and I am convinced that this is possible.
All it takes is a small portion of awareness and a strong will to make it happen.

Thanks to Tjarls Metzmaa for helping me with the translation.

1 kommentar:

  1. I like the article, however I don't really see an issue with persons of color in LARPs as LARPs are inherently not reenactments, thus if a black man wants to be a knight in shining armor, he can, if he wants to don samurai armor, he can, nobody should really bat an eye at that.
    Those who would complain should be excluded from LARPs to be honest.