It feels like every day there’s something new.
Something big, something newsworthy, something you might think is shocking. When in reality, this is the world we live in. This is real life.
In this blog, I’m touching on and using examples from the current hot topic: #BlackRightsMatter.
But these same principles can be easily applied to anything that comes up: Blitzchung, Hong Kong, and Blizzard; the Rape Day video game; J.K. Rowling’s tumble to disgrace; women in games; Coronavirus and the government response; Gamergate… It doesn’t matter how you use your voice so long as you use it.
As podcasters, we have a responsibility to stand up and talk about the hard things.
I’m glad you asked.
Your podcast is your platform
It doesn’t matter how many downloads, how many followers on social media, how many Twitch subscribers, or how big a reach your show has, you have an audience.
And that audience is looking to you to see how you react when something is going down.
I encourage you to use your platform to create the change you want to see in this world.
Remember, podcasters. Silence condones violence. Stand up and be better.
But your podcast is super niched?
That’s amazing! There are still a few ways you can do to stand up and talk about what’s going on in the world even when you have a super niche show.
Let’s use a real-life example from a Dragon Powered Studio Power-Up Call where we talked about a topic similar to this one.
You might think, how in Azeroth can a fictional WoW podcast be political?
By having conversations and creating scenarios that touch on fictionalised real-world events, you can absolutely help educate your audience about what’s going on. And you can absolutely share your real-world views.
You can always find a way to talk about what’s going on.
You don’t want to alienate your audience
Is what’s going on right now something you care about?
Then you have every right to talk about your views and perspectives. You have every right to use your platform to talk through your feelings and highlight what’s going on.
And you should.
If talking about current events and issues is going to alienate your audience and that’s what you’re worried about? I think you’ve got bigger problems. There are some things going on in the world that transcend your podcast and that need to be talked about.
Current events are completely off-topic
Look, I get it.
You’re not a political podcast. You don’t talk about controversial topics. It’s just not your MO.
I’m going to offer you an alternative. Something that a respected member of the podcasting community has suggested, as well. And honestly, Jeremy Enns has said this much better than I could, so I’ll just copy it here – and let you know that Jeremy is the shit.
“What if instead of putting out your next scheduled podcast, you recorded a short 1-minute episode pointing your listeners to one or two black podcasters or creators in the same niche as you?
We all build up our platforms because we want to make a difference because we want to make the world a better place.
This is a way to use your platform to do that.
Each of us benefits, both individually and societally from exposure to diverse voices, but we often need a nudge (or a shove) to move outside our filter bubble and find content from people who don’t look like us, sound like us, or think like us.
Give your audience that nudge. Many of them will thank you for it later.
There’s a dearth of leadership in many parts of the world right now, but we can each choose to step up as leaders and collectively fill that void”
We’ve been compiling a list of geeky/niche podcasts by black creators. It’s a work in progress; we are actively seeking addition, so please let us know in the comments, on Twitter, or in Discord who we’ve missed – because we KNOW we’ve missed so many.
You don’t shy away from the hard stuff
If you already have a podcast that talks about the hard stuff – that’s amazing.
I hope you continue to stand up and educate yourself and your audience.
We never shy away from the real stuff in my podcast, Geek Herring. Is it hard to talk about? Yes, of course it is.
But what’s harder is to let it go on in the world around us without acknowledging it. Without raising awareness. And without doing something.
I’m aware that I might not always say or do the right thing. But I’m doing my best to be a better ally, to raise awareness, amplify others around me, and I’m not afraid to get political. I’m always open to learning and getting feedback.
If you’re already raising awareness or you’re going to start – I applaud you. Thank you. Keep fighting the good fight, my friends.
Podcasters, this is your wake-up call
Right now, stepping back and letting black creators take front and centre stage is important and long overdue.
We’re not parading them for our own feel good, at least that’s not the purpose of it. We’re not white saviours or white knights.
We’re amplifying the voices of those around us.
I think it’s especially important in the geek/niche space because often, black voices are quieter than white here, especially white male voices. It’s important to realise that black content creators aren’t hiding, but they are not as visible. Black voices deserve to be heard.
White skin gives us privilege, especially in that predominantly white male geek culture, and I believe we need to use that privilege to amplify others.
I think it can leave you feeling conflicted about what to do, but maybe deep down that’s a good thing, perhaps it opens us all up to a more inclusive way of thinking.
The world won’t change in a day, and this doesn’t end tomorrow…. but ultimately it’s all so much bigger than our actions right now. So make yours count.