Controversial Scene from Tropic Thunder

When (NOT) To Pull The Race Card…


Before we get into this post’s topic, let me start by saying that my goal with creating my game isn’t to push my own personal political “agendas”. However, I do think it’s really sad that, in this day and age, a creative person like myself has to re-assure my audience that I am not using my game as an exercise in sheer self-flattery; as if my own personal beliefs are really so important that I am obligated to bludgeon people over the head with them. 

Also, please note that whenever you see me putting words and phrases in “quotes”, it means that I am speaking purely vicariously, as in: These are just colloquialisms that are not meant to be taken as my own personal convictions. 

That said, let’s get right to it, shall we?

Question: Is Blasternal going to be “woke”? 

Answer: If by “woke” you are asking if Blasternal will artificially amplify the inclusion of the under-represented, then no. While I personally don’t identify with anyone who feels threatened or intimidated by the so-called “woke agenda”, I will say that; as a game developer of color, I detest when my race and my heritage are used as proverbial “bargaining chips” to suit a given political rhetoric. Yet still, in paying homage to classic works of science fiction such as Star Trek; for the sole sake of worldbuilding and storytelling, Blasternal features allegories to topics that are analogous to our own real-life society and culture. Topics like war, prejudice, elitism, xenophobia, abuse, crime, authoritarian corruption, oppression, and so on: Again, in that way, Blasternal is no different than classic works of science fiction like Star Trek. However, Blasternal will not elevate one specific demographic above another just to appease or placate potential consumers. It’s only a video game, after all, and thereby meant to be first and foremost just plain FUN…and not as a platform to gaslight some insipid political narrative. 

Star Trek (ToS) portrayed an idyllic future where our current romantic notions of racial distinction are antiquated. OG Star Trek was “woke” before “woke” became an insipid meme.

This may surprise you, but I can totally get why cisgendered white American men in particular might feel as though the entire entertainment industry is out to portray them as weak, useless, dumb, etc. Let me give you two personal anecdotes: 

Spongebob Meme

First, having spent my early adulthood in the 80’s, I remember when MTV actually aired music videos 24/7. I also remember living through the “culture shock” of European recording artists once again “invading” American households like the Beatles did in their 60’s-era stateside debut. It’s important to note that European cultures continue to be far more liberated than America with its Puritan heritage. So then suddenly, among the social zeitgeist, was all this colloquially open talk about MTV’s “homosexual agenda” to turn our young, beef-fed, outdoor-playground-raised American boys somehow 🎉”magically gay”🎊. In fact, this concept became so “meta”, that MTV themselves started to acknowledge these accusations, and created an entire series of ads making light of it:

Exhibit A: MTV Making Light of Their Social Impact
Exhibit B: MTV Making Light of Their Social Impact

Now, have I presented evidence of MTV’s awareness of its own “secret agendas”? As in; “It’s not a ‘secret agenda’ if enough people can play it off like it’s just a harmless joke”. I’ll leave that part up to you. But my point is that we can clearly see that it’s “white America” that is at the butts of the “jokes” made by these MTV commercials. Because we all know how “white privilege” makes it okay for us to constantly belittle “DA WHITE MAN”! /sarcasm 

As for my second anecdote: Having been raised in mostly demographically “white” Midwestern suburb since the mid-70’s, integrating into “white culture” is an acquired skill. This isn’t anything remarkable, mind you, and is actually a form of social etiquette called “code switching“: 

Code-Switching Definition
Code-Switching Definition taken from

We were fortunate for a family of color to be able to afford to live in such a neighborhood. Unfortunately, our neighbors didn’t always see it that way, and enough times, weren’t so shy when admitting their resentment that our family might be able to afford a “house right next to theirs”. I’ll spare you all the lurid details for perhaps another day…but suffice it to say; we received our fair share of unsolicited spiteful rhetoric and less than tasteful “harmless pranks”. Despite all this, it took one of the kindest, gentlest Christian souls that I’ve ever know—our backyard neighbor, who was a local Sheriff and a white man—to assure us that no harm would come to us under his watch! I remember vividly the embarrassment and shame that washed across his face as my Mother would describe to him the latest mean-spirited “prank” meant to discourage us from taking our peaceful suburban life for granted. This was a man of tremendous depth of resolve and Christian faith who clearly wasn’t driven by thinly-veiled notions of “white guilt”. He took our situation like a professional; with courage, sobriety, and a clear sense of accountability. And in that regard, I completely identify with Civil Rights Activist Ruby Sales when she recounts how Jonathan Daniels—a white Seminarian—put his own life at risk jumping in the way between her an a fatal shotgun wound that killed him instantly. In her radio interview, “Where Does It Hurt?”, this is what Ruby Sales had to say:

Ms. Tippet: “Now, you remind us of the violence that you lived with, that so many people lived with, on a daily, hourly, minute-by-minute basis, and you actually are somebody — [a white man] took a bullet for you. But how do you think about how to make real and reasonable that kind of elemental truth, insistence, of the Civil Rights Movement, and I think of the black folk church in our world right now, in the midst of these hard, hard places.”

Ms. Sales: “Well, let me just start, and I’m probably going to get pelted with rocks, but let me just be a little brave…

…This whole business of demonization, I’ve been deeply concerned about it, because it does not locate the good in people. It gives up on people. And you see that most especially in the right and the left. I have been very concerned about the demonization that comes out of right-wing communities and also the demonization that I’ve heard on the left. And it comes from the same source of displaced whiteness. So I think that there is, at the heart of this business of finding something good in people and not giving up on anyone and not writing anyone’s obituary until they no longer have breath in their bodies, is very problematic today. And I have had deep problems with the anger, the vitriolic rage that has come out of the right and the left — and I never thought I would say this — and the only safe landing space seems to be in the middle. [laughs] And I think we should really think about that. I do believe that we’re witnessing something that we need to pay real attention to.”

Where Does It Hurt?

On Being with Krista Tippett

I have every reason to believe that our kindly Christian Sheriff—like Jonathan Daniels did for Ruby Sales—would not have hesitated to lay down his life to protect his neighbors. It was his courage that gave me the same perspective as Ms. Sales: What is the point in demonizing people? I’m not advocating centrism, here. I’m just suggesting that I can clearly understand how my white Brothers and Sisters have been “demonized” by the mainstream media—and I, for one, want no parts in that toxic narrative. 

While I do identify as a game developer of color, I refuse to let my personal “identity politics” overshadow my responsibility to create the best, funnest, most exciting and imaginative game that I can. 

I do have one humble notion that I would ask you to consider, however: It’s one thing for me to self-identify as a game developer of color. Okay, sure. But consider the fact that, when election season comes, my race is only ever conveniently given worth when the “the black vote” needs to be counted: A curious proposition of exploitation regardless of the parties in question. I ask you: How am I or any other racial minority the sole proprietors of intrusive “identity politics”? Surely not when we are complimented by how “white” or “proper” we talk. And surely not when our “white friends” need us to validate them, because goodness knows how much worse it is to be accused of being “racist” than it is to actually have to endure racial indignations. /sarcasm

And for that matter, who has the time or energy to go out “looking for racism”? LOL…clearly some shiftless poltroon with no dignity or self-pride whatsoever! Surely someone who would allow for the perceptions of others to have power over them. 

Take for instance a friend of mine who’s Son for months couldn’t find a trade job in the tool and die industry despite his education and internship experience, and despite the fact that local employers were practically bragging about how many open positions were available. Yet despite all this, he couldn’t get a call back after submitting his resume. Only after it was suggested he go by his middle name, which happened to “sound less black”, did  he start receiving phone calls. But then, no one is saying that the employers themselves were being patently “racist”, as in; “we hate black people so much that we’ll do everything we can do deny them an honest living”. Haha…really? *smirks* But still, they can’t help that it’s not usual for a machine shop to be run by a Daequan or a LaShaun or a Trayvon. But “Mike”? He sure sounds like a safe bet! Ironically, a Daequan or a LaShaun or a Trayvon might never have the opportunity to prove themselves. The problem becomes circular. Now extend that same stigma to loan applications, or housing applications, or…you get the idea… 

Take for instance a young lady who I saw at a local fast food chain who, despite placing her order ahead of several other customers, had to wait while her food sat under a heating lamp, because the zit-faced man-child working the cash register thought he might get a rise out of her, I suppose. And I watched as this woman of color in her formal business attire squirmed in her own skin like a worm on a hook trying desperately not to “go there”, e.g.; not to portray herself as the awful stereotype of the sassy, angry, ungrateful black woman. She very politely asked to speak to a manager, and only after having to endure said manager side with and make excuses for her employee did she receive her meal. And seeing as I was the only other person of color in the establishment; as she was leaving, I decided I might give her a verbal “hug” by accolading her on her incalculable patience. As it turns out, she had just finished a job interview, and would have otherwise have abandoned the meal she had already paid for had she not been famished. Her Uncle had passed away less than a day before, but she couldn’t make it to his bedside, having travelled several hours to make her job interview. And it was this particular Uncle of hers who would be the person in her life who inspired her the most, and pushed her to “do better and be better, always”…a positive attitude that carried her into her new career. Yet all of that was at stake had she had allowed the aforementioned service worker to see that he had indeed demonstrated enough power over her to ruin her day by getting under her skin; a proposition to which she snapped, “I’m nobody’s victim”! Again, was the man behind the counter and the store manager patently “racist”? Who’s to say how many “problem customers” they had to put-up with that day who, you know…kinda “looked like her”? Again, that is not for me to say… 

What I am saying is that you can’t have it both ways: You cannot in clear conscious claim to be a champion of “anti-wokeism” and “anti-identity politics”, then expect me or any other racial minority to lay down our self-affirmation to our race when society itself through no provocation of our own practically demands of the precepts of our race (e.g.; politicians and pundits counting “the black vote”, our neighbors shouting “go back to Africa”). Oh, but then…you yourself have the nerve take every little effort made by the “under-represented” as a material threat to your sanctity. 

LOL..bruh…pick a card…any card… *smirks* 

Race Cards
Pick a card…any card!

P.S.: I’d like to take a moment to introduce you to a new line of disclaimers. Let’s call this variation my…


Be advised that you came to MY blog about the game that I am developing. Besides my best efforts of developing a SHMUP, the only things I owe you are a moderate grasp of the King’s English, and a minimum amount of common courtesy. Outside of that; I’m not here to defend my ideas from you, and I certainly don’t owe you any depth of further explanation that you might feel I’m obligated to. So you can rest assured that I won’t be entertaining such demands. Likewise; I neither requested nor require your agreement or support. Your stubborn withholding your oh-so-precious consumer spending dollar and your abstinence from my game represent no material threat to me whatsoever, as I’ll never have gain a sense of loss over what I’ve never had in the first place. *shrugs*