Exclusively Black spaces exist for a reason. It is tiring to be out in the world, being subjected to the casual racism that exists in our society today, all the time. It's not a big deal if one "nice" white lady says you speak well for a Black girl but, try it on 10, 20, 100 times and it can get to you and that says nothing about the frequent overt racism out there. But for various reasons, I didn't have access to all Black spaces outside my household for a fair bit of time growing up. So, video games became my retreat. But in, what was supposed to be, my restorative safe space, there was always a negotiation to be made. Even if the people around me were friendly, I had my guard up because, at any time, I expected something awful to come out of their mouths. There was always the twinge of doubt that my friends would turn on me when I came out as a Black Queer Woman, which was a fear founded in several awful experiences.
But there wasn't much to be done. I still couldn't access many Black spaces and I didn't know many other Black gamers. I also wanted to be part of video game culture because I love video games. So, I tried to make the best of things. But often, making the best of things meant disengaging from other gamers. Muting everyone before a game of League of Legends would ever start, quitting World of Warcraft, and sticking to the few online friends, who affirmed my identity. It also meant interacting with people while hiding my Race, sexuality, and Gender in order to avoid harassment. Every time I talked over voice chat, with new people, I felt a knot in my stomach because they'd realize I was a woman. Through all of this, I was still able to carve out places. I don't want to discount my gaming friends but, I will say that I had to compartmentalize myself to fit in. Then, by serendipity I came across what I had been looking for, for a long time.
I joined the Black Gamers Revolution(BGR) in late February, early March of 2017. The BGR is an organization of like-minded Black Gamers uniting, first and foremost, to create a safe and inclusive space for all Black Gamers. I cannot overemphasize the importance of what this group is trying to do for the gaming community. From promoting and supporting Black Gaming Youtubers and Streamers to just being there to vent about that racist asshole in League, the BGR is creating a space where folks can be themselves in the Black, Black, Blackity, Blackest of ways. I didn't know where this post was going because, I've slept a total of 3 hours but, I think this is a personal testimony of the importance of the BGR. And a chance to say I'm damn proud to be a part of it.