Cyberpunk 2020 creator Mike Pondsmith recently published a statement about racism and police brutality in the US, writing, "This is a fight all of us have a stake in."
The post was published on R Talsorian Games' official blog and is a follow-up to the company's statement from last week, in which Pondsmith was credited as having said, "Cyberpunk was a warning, not an aspiration."
"First, I’ll answer the question you think you want to ask me but really don’t want to ask me," Pondsmith writes at the beginning of the most recent post. "Yeah, I’ve been pulled over by cops more times than I care to remember."
Pondsmith goes on to explain that he's pretty sure some of these cops would have assaulted him in a deserted area if not for the fact that he was friends with other police officers.
"There’s no safe level of being black in America," writes Pondsmith. "You could be a senator; a famous actor, a brilliant scientist or even the recipient of the Nobel Prize, but to the supremacist with a badge, or the secret racist who really doesn’t want to consider the idea that someone who doesn’t look like them could actually be a living, breathing human being with hopes, dreams and rights just like they have, you are a target."
"Every single case I have just described has happened in this so-called post racial America. It’s just that a lot of people would rather just pretend it isn’t happening."
“Your cops are out of control. They don’t care about who they work for anymore. Like the cops in Cyberpunk, they work for themselves. They have weapons, power and invulnerability that has been granted to them because of the devil’s deal the people in power made with them since the 90s."
Pondsmith goes on to write what becomes a powerful refrain throughout the piece: "You take care of the people we’re trying to keep control of, and we will give you whatever you want." He says most of the good cops he knew have retired, and the people who make up the police force in the US now are largely "guys who didn’t have the cojones to join up to fight in Iraq or Afghanistan who are now playing soldier on the streets of America instead."
"There’s an old saying," writes Pondsmith. "First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Jew."
"Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me."
"When I wrote Cyberpunk many years ago, I meant it as a warning, not an aspiration," says Pondsmith. "Of what happens when Power, Money, and Ruthlessness combine. Of what happens when the America you think you know morphs into a tyrannical state that combines the worst of corporate excess with the worst of authoritarian tendencies."
"We’re speeding on the way towards that Dark Future right now, and the color of your skin, or the money in your bank account are not going to spare you. It’s time to wake up; to face down the people who want in the end, to enslave all of us."
Pondsmith concludes by listing goals for improving the situation in future. He argues for making racially-motivated reporting a felony, for the cessation of contracts with police unions, the demilitarizaion of the police by outlawing surplus military hardware, and the establishment of a national database of "bad cops."
"I don’t care what your skin color is or what your orientations are," concludes Pondsmith. "This a fight all of us have a stake in. This is our future, and the future of our children and grandchildren."
"And if you fail them, in the end, they will be the ones who will judge you. Remember; the Cyberpunk future is a warning; not an aspiration. Whether we hear the warning is up to you."