In last week’s cover story, Brian Howe profiled Omari Akil, a Durham man breaking into the predominantly white world of tabletop games with the forthcoming Rap Godz. Much to our surprise, some people got really, really upset about it. 

We’ll start with BlackSombrero: “For the love of God, shut up. As a tabletop gamer, let me make this clear: I don’t care about what color the developer’s skin is. It is irrelevant. It is only how well the game plays that matters to me. The second you start going ‘muh diversity,’ that will only guarantee that I will pass your game straight. You are using idiotic marketing tactics aimed toward [social justice warriors] who will not buy your games. And that particular opinion comes from somebody who isn’t just black but also a girl. Seriously, sod off with that nonsense. If you want to promote a game, fine. Don’t go on this nonsense rant about how ‘the majority of game designers are white.’”

Next, Chris M Mixis: “The gaming scene is changing everywhere. It’s not just German Euros anymore but games coming from Spanish, French, Greek, and Polish designers, and I think that’s great. So what, you’re telling me that Germans prevented these other countries from putting out games? I was just thinking the other day that I can’t wait to see what comes out of Africa and other countries. The left’s diversity for the sake of diversity is an open door to anything, including what can be detrimental to society. There is a diversity of organs in my body. Can I introduce poison into my system and hope it will just get along with everything? I couldn’t care less whether a woman or a man designs a game. I’ll judge it by its quality and interest to me; however, I draw the line when a game is disguised as liberal propaganda. As far as this guy’s game based on rap, I hate rap and do not consider it music, so I won’t look at it twice. It has nothing to do with the race of the designer. There is no need to push women or minorities to design games as if something is blocking them. It’s called inspiration. Like a cat, you can’t force it to come to you. You have to let it come when it wants to.”

“When I see a game on a shelf or website and it looks interesting, I start researching it. I don’t care who made it, as long as the game is solid,” says commenter R. “The fact that you made a ‘black game’ is only going to create a diversity problem you claim exists already; trust me, it doesn’t. Nobody will look weird at a group of black people playing Catan (even though ‘Settlers of Catan is fundamentally a white one,’ according to you), but people will look weird at four white guys playing your game, because you probably put in some words that are unacceptable if said by white guys.

“Board gaming is the most inclusive hobby around. I’ve seen people of all ages, all sexes, all economical layers, all political directions, play together for hours on end, because they share the same interest: board games. You creating this ‘black game’ (your words, btw) is creating a diversity this hobby doesn’t need. Seriously, the diversity problem you are describing here is stupid and nonexistent until you started developing a ‘black game.’ Stop feeling so sorry for yourself and just enjoy this inclusive hobby.”

In response to Sarah Willets’s story on ICE blaming its “more visible presence” in North Carolina on new sheriffs’ lack of cooperation with the agency, Katie Mgongolwa writes: “It is incredibly critical that we work to create a Durham where everyone can live free from fear. This means taking a stand strong against the presence of ICE in our city. As a member of the People’s Alliance Racial Equity Action Team, I and my team members applaud Sheriff Clarence Birkhead’s resolute stand in the face of this invasion by federal agents. It is up to us as Durhamites to support Birkhead’s decision to end the 287g program and encourage all local and state officials, including Governor Cooper, to condemn ICE activity in North Carolina.”

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