Sarah Marie (mangofandango) wrote in vaginapagina,
Sarah Marie

MMMMonday! "Straight White Male: The Lowest Difficulty Setting There Is"

Happy MMMMonday! Every Monday, there will be a special post meant to stimulate discussion, increase the diversity of our subject matter and membership, and generally give you something interesting to read! More guest posts and some giveaways are coming up in the next few weeks, so watch this space. Also, you can always find current and past MMMMonday posts and LRUs in our "featured posts" sidebar. (We still have technical issues that make it impossible to keep it completely up-to-date, apologies for that.)

John Scalzi is an author, and his blog is at Recently, he made a post there that has been circulating all over the place, and I thought it'd be a good one for VP to link to and talk about. It's about privilege, and how to talk about it with straight white men without losing them before they have taken in the message. It uses the metaphor that life is like a computer/video game, only you can't change your difficulty settings...

Straight White Male: The Lowest Difficulty Setting There Is

An excerpt:
"Okay: In the role playing game known as The Real World, “Straight White Male” is the lowest difficulty setting there is.

This means that the default behaviors for almost all the non-player characters in the game are easier on you than they would be otherwise. The default barriers for completions of quests are lower. Your leveling-up thresholds come more quickly. You automatically gain entry to some parts of the map that others have to work for. The game is easier to play, automatically, and when you need help, by default it’s easier to get."

What do you think about this piece? Will it succeed in reaching straight white men when other approaches won't? What does it address well and fail to address? There are a few well-known essays and blog posts on explaining the concept of privilege - do you have a favorite? Where did you learn, in an introductory sort of way, about the concept?

Here are a couple of other links on privilege, in case you want to read more:

A Parable of Privilege: the dog and the lizard

Privilege: Unpacking The Invisible Knapsack (This is the text by Peggy McIntosh, but not in its original format because I wasn't sure that linking to a PDF would work for everyone, at the end is another article on "The Male Privilege Checklist")
Tags: featured-posts, mmmmonday
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