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Why The Popular Negative Stereotypes About Role-playing Gamers Are Important to Address

by Hawke Robinson published Jun 13, 2014 03:20 AM, last modified Apr 22, 2016 04:43 PM
Here is an example of how pervasive the inculcation of misinformation and myths of negative stereotypes about role-playing gamers has become in the united states.
UPDATE: I did confirm this is the correct case. She verified I had the correct information
ADDITIONAL UPDATE: She has also now stated, that now she now understands the negative hype was wrong, and also that while she is still a devout Christian, after our conversations and her following up on the recommended research, she now no longer feels the stigma towards role-playing gamers and the game D&D. And she now regrets banning her children from the game, thinking they would have received considerable benefit if she had not prevented them.
FURTHER UPDATE: Since our 3 sessions of discussion, she has in subsequent months and years been very supportive and encouraging about the groups and my efforts. What a wonderful turnaround!
This is not a formal (or well written) posting. It is fairly loosely thrown together in the hopes of writing something more formal down the road. But still important information on the topic.
This is not an isolated view. I have run into many people, in many states, with diverse backgrounds, that make the same assumptions as she did, due to the popular media continuing to revile (whether through humor or other methods) role-playing gamers. This has an impact on many millions of people, that feel like they have to remain in the "closet" about their favorite recreational activity. And this is not limited to just the United States, this impacts people world-wide...
Also add the Isreal links and information about military against D&Ders.
Also respond to those claiming, this isn't important, there are more important things, always used as a cop out to do nothing, an excuse for apathy in action, rather than tackling difficult but achievable goals with a longitudinal view.
To Edit:
Regarding Big Bang Theory's (and other pop culture) depiction of D&D, I had the following disturbing discussion related to D&D come up...

Unfortunately pop culture media, though often a reflection of current views, can also perpetuate and shape views. As some of you may, or may not, be aware, I am slowly working on attempting to establish causal relationships of variables between role-playing gaming and participants with the RPG Research project. At the office facilities I have one preliminary observation group, and just had out 12th weekly session. Prior to this week's session beginning Tuesday evening, I had a disturbing conversation with the senior secretary/administrative assistant there. 
This office has a lot of lawyers, and other businesses, with a shared receptionist service in the building. 
While the younger receptionist has just been curious, the elder one has been a bit skeptical about my work. It appears she just realized this week, that the group was playing D&D, and she asked to speak with me about that. 
It was a long 20-30 minute conversation that I want to try to blog about as soon as I get a chance, but the short version is she was a parent during the 80's. She kept seeing and hearing things about D&D and RPG's then, and she felt she "didn't have the time" to "look into it more", so she just went with the general "public opinion" that D&D was "weird", and "dangerous", so she forbade her children from participating in it when they tried to. 
She apparently is aware of Big Bang Theory, and other shows that have depicted D&D, and she thought those were accurate representations of gamers as completely dysfunctional. 
Also, she, like many others, apparently had a nephew-in-law???, a relation through one of niece's marriages, that apparently killed the neice and daughter in December. Though neither he, nor the press picked it up, she initially asked if I thought his (in her view) "addiction to D&D led to his killing them". It took a few minutes to get her to clarify this was DDO (D&D Online). Apparently he had become extremely obsessive about the game before he snapped. I am trying to find news articles and information on this murder (apparently still pending trial this July).
 
I gave her the information about all the correlative and meta-data studies that prove RPGers do not have higher levels of suicidal, homicidal, or anti-social personality traits (all available on the site and elsewhere over the decades), in the 70+ studies since the 80's. 
By the end of the conversation, she seemed at least open to the possibility that D&D wasn't causal, and that his
obsession was more likely a symptom of greater psychological issues, rather than causes the issues. 
I also clarified for her the differences between tabletop, live-action, and computer-based, of which she had thought dressing up (live-action), tabletop, and computer-based were all part of just one activity known as role-playing gaming. 
These are common misconceptions I run into all the time. 
She thought the popular culture depiction of dysfunctional young men was caused by playing D&D. 
This too seems to be a common popular myth. I am hoping, in addition to many other aspects, to begin performing a "man in the streets" survey to see how pervasive this is (This could happen this summer, or next, it depends on a number of variables). 
This discussion is exactly why "this matters" as a topic that needs to be addressed, and addressed in a very activist way. And fortunately there is some effort under way to do so (more on that later).
 
 I still have to confirm with her (Monday?) that this is the correct homicide, but I believe it is, so pasting links to the news articles here (didn't find any news articles about his RPGing, appears to just be her opinion so far).
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
I was able to confirm with her that this is the correct case she was referencing.

 

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