How To Respond If Your Roleplay is Problematic
I am not an expert on most of the things I write guides about, but my information either comes from my own experience, or from a ton of research (and no, Wikipedia is not real research). Like everyone else, I can make mistakes, so if I ever get something wrong, please let me know.
So, lately in the roleplay community, there has been what I think is a really positive trend of people calling out roleplays for whitewashing/offensive casting, homophobic or transphobic labeling, casual misogyny and racism, etc. It’s awesome to see people finally taking notice to this troubling trend. However, sometimes, admins clearly don’t see what is wrong or haven’t been fully educated in social justice issues and can get quite defensive or confused because they do not see their actions as racist or problematic. This is a guide for admins who get called out for accidentally problematic behavior.
So you’ve been messaged that your casting is racist, or the way you have characters organized erases non-binary individuals. Unless you are a complete monster, you are probably very upset. Nobody wants to be a bad person, and odds are, you didn’t even realize it.
Let whoever messaged you know that you honestly had no idea that you were doing was harmful and apologize. Don’t use your ignorance as an excuse. A perfectly good response is “I didn’t know that! Thank you so much for informing me that x, y, or z was offensive. I will fix this problem immediately and make sure it never happens again.” Less okay? “I didn’t know that so it isn’t my fault.”
But it’s not enough to fix this mistake and not make it again. You need to educate yourself and make sure other things aren’t problematic, so your roleplay can be a safe roleplaying space for everyone. Find a roleplay helper or critic that you trust, and ask them for some guidance. Look for roleplays that are upheld as being unproblematic and safe spaces and see what they do and don’t do. Read some writings about social justice or the thing you did wrong.
Nobody is made at you for making a mistake or not knowing better if you fix that problem and educate yourself so your blog is a safe space. I promise that if you are understanding and don’t get defensive and make necessary changes, people will be thrilled because it really shows maturity and growth.
But if you fight back or refuse to apologize? You are on your own.