Dealing with Geek Stereotypes, from our Legion-level PR representative (4/11/10)
One of our 501st Garrisons recently had an issue with a media outlet taking the liberty to poke some fun at them in a news report. Not surprisingly, they used the 'science-fiction nerd' stereotype of the adult who still lives in his parents' basement.
While this is never acceptable, we also want to portray the 501st in the best light possible without stooping to their level. I am providing a template response here should your Garrison or Outpost encounter a similar situation:
Dear [insert name of offending individual or organization],
It has come to our attention that you recently made some unfortunate commentary regarding our philanthropic Star Wars costuming organization, the 501st Legion.
While many of our nearly 5000 international members do have a resilient sense of humor (after all, we are adults dressed in plastic), please understand that disparaging comments surrounding erroneous social stereotypes are not only unappreciated, but also an insult to those of us who volunteer so much time to improve the lives of others in our unique way. Behind the back remarks are one thing, but this situation is exaggerated due to the fact that your comments were blatantly public in nature in attempts to garner a few cheap laughs.
We've made a lot of progress in dissipating the stereotypes that you chose to perpetuate, and we'd much rather prefer to have your support in continuing that momentum as we further our efforts in the realm of charity. No public apology is required, but we invite you to learn more about what we do on an international scale, how our passion has touched so many lives and how we've developed a relationship with Lucasfilm Limited over the past 13 years.
Thank you for your consideration and please feel free to reach out to us should you need any additional information.
[insert your name, title, unit name, contact information]
If you have any questions about how to handle a similar situation, please inquire of your CO or Events/PR representative.