UPDATE: Robert Khoo has responded to questions about this, and clarifies. It all sounds good to me! http://forums.penny-arcade.com/discussion/185642/some-thoughts-on-the-diversity-hub-and-lounge
How is there backlash at Penny Arcade for making a section for diversity?? Fucking eh, they can’t win.
Disclaimer: I’m a fan of Penny Arcade. I’ve gone to many a PAX, donate to their charity regularly, buy their swag and merch, I even have the occasional back-and-forth discussion with people on their payroll.
I just read about this on Kotaku and on IndieStatik. Already the comment sections and Twitter feeds are getting filled up with bitter resentment and comments against Penny Arcade. For continuing to try and be a safe and inclusive place.
In my view, criticizing Penny Arcade for making a Diversity Hub and Lounge is ridiculous. They have an indie section, a tabletop section, other such sections that are about specific interests. How is a diversity section going to harm anyone? I personally seek out and attend booths like this to learn. If it matters I’m a straight white male, which seems to be a demonizing factor these days. Finding these booths is generally hard, if they are even included at cons. I’d guess that many of these potential booths may never even apply because they don’t think they are welcome or would be applicable to the interests of attendees.
Now, I’m not going to say I’ve never seen someone at Penny Arcade stick their foot in their mouth, be an ass, or whatever. But I’ve done the same thing, we all have. We have said things that we didn’t think through, we’ve made stupid decisions in our youth we regret (I still make stupid decisions), but we aren’t on a pedestal being scrutinized for our actions like Penny Arcade is. I’d say that they’ve responded to properly placed criticism with appropriate apologies when needed.
Penny Arcade made some terrible decisions, but let’s be realistic, there is NOTHING they could do at this point that wouldn’t be berated.
— Shane Roberts (@ShaneOSX) December 18, 2013
I’m personally trying to understand how this would be segregation or “Zoo”. They aren’t telling interested booths that they are only allowed here. They aren’t shoving them off in a corner or another building where they won’t be found (well, I assume not, the physical locations haven’t been disclosed).
An interesting argument FOR this is that it will allow attendees who ARE averse to LGBTQ/feminist/other minority groups to stay away from that section, not accidentally stumble upon someone/something they find offensive. This could reduce conflict.
Conversely, I can see the point that these “targets” would be easily found by a myopic bully who wants to persecute them. However, Penny Arcade has stated directly that these will be safe zones. This leads me to believe that they would have additional precautions set up. (not that I believe there should need to be extra security etc, but better safe than sorry) Additionally, just because one area is marked as a “safe zone” doesn’t mean the rest are “unsafe zones”. Please please please read this explanation on why the exception proves the rule may not be what you think.
Yes, I understand the potential irony of having a section for inclusion, harhar.
Here is the first part of the leaked announcement:
The rest can be found at IndieStatik.
Grah! I’ll probably have written something in a way that makes me look bad or was stated poorly, but oh well. This was somewhat emotional to me and I just let the words flow.