I had an incident last week with my guild that I put off discussing so I could take some time to better understand how I felt. I was a bit surprised last week by how completely oblivious one of the people in my guild was about his Mumble statements. As a writing teacher, I’m constantly thinking about audience, so the stark absence of such a concern with one of my guildies jarred me a bit.
Let me just put it out there for you. I kid you not that someone in this “friends and family-friendly” guild said, and I quote, “What do you guys think of that fucking faggot Manning who sold out our country?” I was a little shocked; there’s been no lead up to that sort of thing, no indication that such a phrase would come out of left field. This was the 9th or 10th pre-raid chatter I’ve participated in, and nothing like this has happened before.
However you feel about the Manning case, there’s things you say to a group of near or total strangers and things you just don’t blurt out in front of everyone. For all that guy knew, I could be homosexual. I’m new to the guild, references to my wife have been few and far between (she’s not in the guild), and as far as this player was concerned, I am a totally unknown entity. He might as well have blurted that out at a crowded subway stop. I can only take from this event that the player in question either a) doesn’t care at all about offending others or b) is a complete idiot (or, of course, both). That conversation was followed by making fun of transgendered people and then making fun of people who call out others for saying offensive things.
Now here I am, new to the guild, already a little worried due to the flex raiding wishy-washiness, trying my hardest to fit in and find a place where I can get comfortable, and this happens. It’s only one person. It’s not the guild. I get that. But I don’t even know who said that. I don’t know the voices yet. It may have been the guild leader (I don’t think it was, but I can’t be sure).
Even with that in mind, I damn well nearly said, “I think it’s absurd that he gets 35 years for leaking documents and Zimmerman gets nothing for shooting an unarmed teen.” That’s the kind of thing I’d say to my father, who’s also sometimes extremely close-minded and bigoted, which would be followed by an argument, which would conclude with him saying something particularly nasty, followed by not talking for several weeks.
But I didn’t. I held my tongue. I got the feeling – rightly, as the conversation went on – that doing so would permanently cast me as an outsider to this guild.
Here’s the thing, though. I’m not good at that. As I get more comfortable, as time goes on, I’m more and more myself, and I don’t often let things like that slide. I dealt with plenty of stupid young people in NYC who brought their parents’ bigotry into my classroom, and I crushed it and reformed them into more empathetic young adults. I don’t expect that the second part is possible with guildies over vent, so I won’t bother, but eventually something’s going to get said, and I’m going to respond, and then what?
A song lyric that struck a chord with me many years ago is “Things are falling into place, / but I cannot appreciate them / because if last time fell apart, / then this might too.”
I cannot ignore patterns in my life. This would not be the first guild I left due to interpersonal conflicts. My first guild disintegrated after I called out an officer who was a bully and who provided nothing beneficial to the guild, called him out and suggested he step down as officer, a rank that supposedly “had no meaning” in the guild, but that he flaunted and threatened to kick me with.
I left my third guild because a passive-aggressive GM secretly banned my buddy, I suspect now to push me out, because I’d called out a bully who was an elitist jerk (not the good kind) and was harassing me because I used lightwell on my alt priest which I was only on so he could raid on his druid, and that player left the guild a few days later, which I later learned the GM blamed me for.
I left my fifth guild because I was assured it was a group of adults but it turned out those adults were mostly filthy-mouthed college kids who had discussions about whether or not their dicks could fit in a can of Pringles, among other equally vulgar and annoying things. Rather than fight that established culture, I just left.
If all those /gquits came from my unwillingness to deal with ignorant, victimizing, or vulgar people – or, more accurately, their or the management’s inability to deal with someone who speaks out against ignorance, victimization, or vulgarity, then I’m not sure if I should even bother staying now.
So even after taking time to think about it, I’m still not sure.
Stubborn (and wary)