When I read your post I hear that you’re coming from a well-meaning place, and in general I’d say it’s true, focusing on promoting our hobby and being as welcoming as possible is a great place to start.
I have to take slight issue, though. the idea of “we don’t need to take active steps to diversify, we’ll just improve our community/company/organization in ways that make it more welcoming!” is a very common one, and historically a pretty ineffective one if you actually want to connect with different types of people.
While it’s not a perfect parallel, you (or at least I do, but this is my area of work) often encounter stories from the people hiring in tech and elsewhere saying “I don’t want to get into affirmative action; we’re cultivating an inclusive and safe workplace, so as long we just hire the best candidates, we’re bound to hire some people of color/women/other/all.” This sounds great, and it’d be great if it worked this way, but the reality in many of these spaces is that without active steps taken, all those “best candidates” just happen to be mostly white men.
While it’s certainly not the exact same situation, I believe the lesson applies; you can never take human biases and tenancies out of the equation entirely. No matter how hard you tell yourself “I don’t have any biases towards or against a particular group,” when it comes down to it people choose others like themselves far more often than not.
I like this article a lot, and I really don’t know what the right solutions are. I think Quinn’s efforts with reserved female tourney seats and explicitly safe-space events are a couple great steps in the right direction. Contrary to popular belief, bringing new people into our circle is not an accusation or indictment of the players already here -
That’s true, and that’s great! A lot of my best friends are white male nerds! And no one’s asking you to change it! But I want to live in a world where everyone I know plays this game (ok, that’s shooting a bit high), and that doesn’t happen until the great organizers, hosts, volunteer and staff that make this hobby thrum reach out with intention, and not simply sit back and assume that people will figure it out.
It’s not a zero-sum game. When we say things like “let’s not make it a priority” it imagines that we need to do this because other things are more important, and we’d have to choose one or the other; we don’t.