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Straight White Males oppressed by blog post

So straight white science fiction author dude John Scalzi has created a bit of a hubbub amongst straight white dudes on the interwebs with a blog post called Straight White Male: The Lowest Difficulty Setting There Is.  The post, later reposted on Kotaku, is basically an attempt to talk to fellow dudes in their own language about the concept of privilege “without invoking the dreaded word ‘privilege,’ to which they react like vampires being fed a garlic tart at high noon.” (And they do.)

Scalzi’s thesis:

Dudes. Imagine life here in the US – or indeed, pretty much anywhere in the Western world – is a massive role playing game, like World of Warcraft except appallingly mundane, where most quests involve the acquisition of money, cell phones and donuts, although not always at the same time. Let’s call it The Real World. You have installed The Real World on your computer and are about to start playing, but first you go to the settings tab to bind your keys, fiddle with your defaults, and choose the difficulty setting for the game. Got it?

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.

Scalzi should have added “cis” to “straight white male,” but otherwise I’d say that’s fairly spot-on.

Of course, as Scalzi himself points out, life for straight white (cis) dudes is not always peaches and cream. They may have any of a number of disadvantages in life that make things difficult for them. They may have been born poor, or in a war zone; they may have been abused as children or the victim of crime or violence as an adult. Or faced any number of other problems and conditions and disadvantages.

Scalzi deals with this issue a little more obliquely than he could have, noting that some people begin the grand game of “The Real World” with more points than others, and that this can make a good deal of difference.

But do straight white cis males face disadvantages stemming from being straight white cis men? I honestly can’t think of any that have affected my life in any serious way, and these small disadvantages pale in comparison to the many advantages. Yeah, I had to register for the draft when I turned 18. Of course, when I registered there was no draft, and there still isn’t one, and the draft has virtually no chance of being resurrected in the foreseeable future, so I can’t say this requirement has affected my life in any tangible way.

As Scalzi puts it:

If you start with fewer points and fewer of them in critical stat categories, or choose poorly regarding the skills you decide to level up on, then the game will still be difficult for you. But because you’re playing on the “Straight White Male” setting, gaining points and leveling up will still by default be easier, all other things being equal, than for another player using a higher difficulty setting.

Anyway, Scalzi got a lot of responses to his post, many of them from straight white dudes outraged by his assertions. So he wrote a followup taking some of these critics to task. He was particularly amused by the criticism that by “picking on” straight white males he was being racist and sexist.

This particular comment was lobbed at me primarily from aggrieved straight white males. Leaving aside entirely that the piece was neither, let me just say that I think it’s delightful that these straight white males are now engaged on issues of racism and sexism. It would be additionally delightful if they were engaged on issues of racism and sexism even when they did not feel it was being applied to them — say, for example,when it’s regarding people who historically have most often had to deal with racism and sexism (i.e., not white males). Keep at it, straight white males! You’re on the path now!

I am sure there are many gems of obtuseosity in the comments, and in the Reddit thread on his original post. But it’s Friday night, and I have a  migraine — which sucks, but it’s not because I’m a straight white cis dude —  so I’m going to let you guys find them for me.

EDITED TO ADD: Thinking a bit more about Scalzi’s central metaphor here, and I don’t think it completely works: he assumes that obstacles other than racism, sexism, and homophobia can be explained as the equivalent of having started the game with fewer points. But it you have, for example, a disability, that’s something that makes you life harder every day; it’s more akin to raising the difficulty level than to starting off with fewer points. (Not to mention that you’re likely to face bigotry because of it as well.) This doesn’t erase the privileges a straight white male with disabilities gets from being straight, white, and male, of course, but it does ratchet up the difficulty.

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oldfeminist
oldfeminist
8 years ago

They literally cannot hear where he says “all other things being equal.”

The only explanation for that is that they think all other things can’t be equal, because SW(cis)Ms are smarter and better. A woman or a minority applicant for a job just can’t be as good or better and must have a shittier attitude as well.

Tulgey Logger
8 years ago

“Yeah, I had to register for the draft when I turned 18. Of course, when I registered there was no draft, and there still isn’t one, and the draft has virtually no chance of being resurrected in the foreseeable future, so I can’t say this requirement has affected my life in any tangible way.”

Isn’t the draft on r/mr’s list of ten men’s rights issues on their front page? If I recall, that’s the one with all those false rape allegations that totally happen every day don’t believe it and you’re misandrist. It’s interesting how far afield we straight white cis males have to go to find something that oppresses us.

Lauren
8 years ago

I love your blog! Endlessly interesting and amusing.

Sharculese
Sharculese
8 years ago

even if there was still a draft, it’s not like that wouldn’t be affected by privilege. my dad had a super low draft number, but he got to defer by going to vet school. did having shit tons of privilege make that option more available to him? of course it fucking did.

hellkell
hellkell
8 years ago

I’m not sure where this trend of calling someone racist or sexist when that person is pointing out racism or sexism came from, but it needs to die. If I call the fire department to report a fire, I’m not an arsonist (yes, for the cheap stupid seats, I know that sometimes happens, but work with me here).

People who do this may as well yell, “NO U.”

Shadow
Shadow
8 years ago

@hellkell

It’s more like they still think that he who smelt it must have dealt it

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
8 years ago

The comments on the Kotaku reposting of that article are a perfect illustration of why I avoid male-dominated geekspaces like they were infested with ebola, sharks, and really bad tempered wasps. The level of outrage generated by a really rather gently worded post pointing out that privilege exists is ridiculous.

Crumbelievable
Crumbelievable
8 years ago

Kotaku is generally like that. One time there was an article about how a game designer had secretly labeled a character “Feminist Whore” in the program files and someone had found out. The Kotaku-ites were bending over backwards trying to justify that one rather than condemn it.

Pecunium
8 years ago

John gets it.

His post on what it means to be poor… pretty damned good.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
8 years ago

There was one guy who stated that in his opinion that most privileged people in the world are hot Asian girls. These dumbasses really do think that ability to get laid is the single most important factor in determining who has most privilege. They think that sex appeal is the One Ring of privileges.

Idiots.

kladle
kladle
8 years ago

I’m not sure where this trend of calling someone racist or sexist when that person is pointing out racism or sexism came from, but it needs to die.

Because obviously if you were an enlightened post-racial color-blind prodigy you wouldn’t ever notice anything regarding race whatsoever. So people who call out racists are racist because

1. *gasp* they are calling attention to the fact that somebody is not white
2. they are causing “racial disharmony” by daring to mention that racial tensions already exist

Those are the most charitable interpretations of things you’ll hear people say, it’s from a fundamental misunderstanding about what racism and sexism etc. are. That being non-racist is really about politeness and not about stopping the harms an oppressive institutionalized system causes. “Racism” is these discrete acts that happen sometimes which are bad because they are disruptive and offensive, like swearing loudly in public or something; they aren’t a moral issue but an issue of etiquette. Talking about race is like talking about politics or religion or whatever. It’s ok to call out racists so long as you tell them they’re being mean or something, but if you mention race (i.e. that the person is being racist) you’ve broken the etiquette norm of Don’t Mention Race and now any problem that breaks out is not due to the original person’s racism but due to your causing discord by mentioning it. It’s sort of like how you’ll hear calls for “civility” in politics (which is not in itself the worst of goals, but) ignoring the fact that sometimes people in government have repulsive, reprehensible views that need to be strongly condemned and that the problem is their disturbing views and what they’ve done about them, not the way people are discussing the issue.

The less charitable view of what people are doing when they complain that people are being racist for pointing out racism is that they’re mad that the racism-pointer-outer is dismantling white privilege. Which is not incompatible with the first thing; despite individual intent, people who yell racism at calling out racism basically function in favor of white privilege anyway even if they think that colorblindness is legitimately the best way to avoid racism. It’s an attempt to shut down the conversation and refocus it on white people, i.e. how calling people racists affects white people and their role in society. You are now a reverse racist if you talk about racism because that implies that it’s white people’s fault or an individual white person’s fault and that they need to do something about it, which would require seeing white people as not totally A W E S O M E all of the time. Hence the ethnic studies bill in Arizona where studying Chicano history/rights movements etc. implies “inciting racial hatred” against white people.

So I guess it depends on whether the person who is yelling “NO U” means that you are being racist about PoC or being “reverse racist” when they call out “racism”, but as I said, both things functionally amount to tone-trolling in favor of the white-at-the-top status quo.

Noadi
Noadi
8 years ago

Of course that whole registering for the draft thing applies to all cis-male citizens as well so if the draft was actually going on it would disadvantage more than just SWMs. In fact since SWMs are more likely to be in college or have other circumstances that would get them an exemption from the draft they still have benefits over other cis-males in this respect.

Cliff Pervocracy
8 years ago

Those straight white males are so sensitive. I think they’re just looking for something to get offended by. Jeez, talk about a victim complex. Why don’t they have a sense of humor?

captainbathrobe
captainbathrobe
8 years ago

These guys also seem to think if they lose their privilege that things will necessarily be worse for them. They fail to comprehend that one solution to privilege is to allow others to rise up, rather than simply bringing the straight cis white males down. Some people can’t feel as though they’ve won unless someone else has lost.

Cliff Pervocracy
8 years ago

It’s weird that they think “your life is easier than a POC/woman/queer person’s would be in the same position” is some kind of mortal insult.

I think they’re hearing it as “your life is so super easy you’ve never suffered or worked at all,” which I could totally sympathize with if there weren’t hundreds of people constantly trying to explain that’s not what anyone said.

Falconer
Falconer
8 years ago

Leaving aside what kladle said, which are all good points, I think some of the folks who go “NO U!” are doing it because they think that on lefty blogs the first person to call racism, sexism, disappearing the victims of abuse, or what have you, wins.

Either that or they’re irritated because all of their good, strong, rational arguments* don’t make a dent in lefties’ you’re-a-racist-idiot,-shut-up fields. These guys come to sites like this, or over on pandagon, or to slacktivist, and they think they’re making great arguments when they go ARGLEBARGLE and then conclude, when we go dude, you’re being a dick, that we’re just being willfully obtuse.

Because it makes so much sense that men are working themselves into coronary disease while women marry them only to take half their assets or more in the divorce, and why can’t we see it?*

(Incidentally, some awful whim of mine made me click on the Archive link over to the left and scroll all the way down to the bottom and start reading forward from the first post, and by Vecna’s right hand the comments are like, three trolls versus Darksidecat and David and Christine. And the trolls’ arguments are just appropriated feminist arguments about oppression and equality and Dworkin this and Steinem that. Urg.)

*OH SO MUCH SARCASM

ostara321
ostara321
8 years ago

It’s more like they still think that he who smelt it must have dealt it

Yep. Given a lot of their defenses basically sum up to “yeah? Well you’re FAT” or “you’re wrong because you’re a big meanie poo poo head and it’s just cause you hate me” it’s unsurprising that they’ve still got the “you detected it, so you ejected it” grade school mentality when it comes to pointing out privilege.

There was one guy who stated that in his opinion that most privileged people in the world are hot Asian girls. These dumbasses really do think that ability to get laid is the single most important factor in determining who has most privilege. They think that sex appeal is the One Ring of privileges.

LOL. I wonder if then by that comparison, feminists are the Nazgul.

SHIIIIIIRE! BAGGGINSSS!

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
8 years ago

Dworkin is clearly the Balrog. Sexist dudes keep calling her out from the depths (or, you know, death) purely so they can make a big dramatic last stand against her.

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
8 years ago

“LOL. I wonder if then by that comparison, feminists are the Nazgul.”

Impossible! They’re the idiots who needed a spell editor not to leave open the “no man can kill me” loophole (Eowyn: I am no man) — they’re more like our MRA trolls….

“Dworkin is clearly the Balrog.” — quite possibly

Anyone else notice that there’s a perfect correlation between skin tone and good/evil in those movies though? Dark = from the south = evil, 100% of the time >.<

Back on topic, do the complaining (straight white cis) men realize that life isn't a zero sum game?

Also, +1 internet to Noadi for this:

Of course that whole registering for the draft thing applies to all cis-male citizens as well so if the draft was actually going on it would disadvantage more than just SWMs. In fact since SWMs are more likely to be in college or have other circumstances that would get them an exemption from the draft they still have benefits over other cis-males in this respect.

Though, it’s kind of moot, if the draft were reinstated MRAs and feminists would finally agree on exactly one thing — protesting the draft. Granted, the reasons would be different, but we could probably manage that whole “the enemy of my enemy is [a temporary ally]” (friend is way too much credit for people merely fighting for a common cause)

Ruby Hypatia
Ruby Hypatia
8 years ago

I agree with the analogy. White straight males would most definitely be the easiest setting.

ostara321
ostara321
8 years ago

Impossible! They’re the idiots who needed a spell editor not to leave open the “no man can kill me” loophole (Eowyn: I am no man) — they’re more like our MRA trolls….

Ah yes, of course. That makes much more sense.

Anyone else notice that there’s a perfect correlation between skin tone and good/evil in those movies though? Dark = from the south = evil, 100% of the time >.<

Yeah. I love LOTR, but yeah, there really do seem to be racist undertones. Though IMHO not as bad as with C.S. Lewis.

valerienorth
valerienorth
8 years ago

If only straight white males would quit starting wars than they wouldn’t have to sign up for the draft. They can thank Dick Chaney and his kind the world over.

ozymandias42
8 years ago

I think that his point is solid but does need to encompass class, transness, and ability… otoh, I can see why “straight white man” is stronger for rhetorical purposes than “straight white middle-class* cis abled man.” Still, he could have put in a paragraph mentioning ability and transness…

Look, I am Queen Gender Roles Suck For Everyone, but they suck extra-hard for women. That is not controversial.

*because no one in America believes they’re rich

katz
8 years ago

Lewis is ahead of Tolkien, because he did write a non-white non-western protagonist (Aravis).

Quackers
Quackers
8 years ago

cue pompous, self-righteous and bloviating “rebuttal” from JtO in 3…2….

ostara321
ostara321
8 years ago

Yeah, but only one (that we know of) non-white person gets into Narnia (heaven) at the end? I dunno, given that the rest of the Calormens are depicted in such a negative way, I’m not convinced by the few token “good” non-white characters that Lewis wrote. But maybe that is better, I guess? Eh, I dunno. Both make me uncomfortable.

darksidecat
8 years ago

Come on, if we are LoTRs casting Dworkin, she’s got to be Saruman. Eloquent orator, seems to be on the good side but then problems are revealed, but yet is not a member of the other enemy but a third party.

GingerSnaps
GingerSnaps
8 years ago

I avoid male-dominated geekspaces like they were infested with ebola, sharks, and really bad tempered wasps

Ebola shark! Ebola shark!

xD

Bostonian
8 years ago

“Dworkin is clearly the Balrog. Sexist dudes keep calling her out from the depths (or, you know, death) purely so they can make a big dramatic last stand against her.”

Also, since she is already dead, she matches their skill level in debating, as she cannot answer them.

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
8 years ago

Tolkien also fails the Bechdel test — which is kind of amazing considering there aren’t that many named characters, a fair % are women, even elf queens and kick ass warriors, and it’s over 9 hours total — yet somehow not once do two women have a conversation?! How did Tolkien even manage that? (Eowyn and Galadriel, for how awesome they both are, never meet)

And wormwood and the crazy king!! argh…I really do love the trilogy, but it’s got serious issues all over the place.

Back on topic, I want to second what ozymandias said about class and disability. With one note — most people don’t think they’re rich because they aren’t rich but upper class — which is an easy enough class to fall out of it one gets sick/injured and can’t work, or can’t go to college because of a disability, discrimination against trans* people, etc — but they’d not meet “cis straight able white men” already, so it’s moot for the discussion. Just wanted to note it’s a hell of a lot easier to get poorer than it is to get richer.

Maybe “middle class or higher” in context?

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
8 years ago

darksidecat — I’d agree re: Dworkin but then the MRAs will claim Gandalf is one of them and just no, never, not happening.

Can Elam be the troll that attacks them before the balrog appears though? IIRC that troll happily steps on the orcs on it’s way to attack the fellowship. No lines, just lots of flailing around trying to cause damage to anyone/thing in the way…hmm…maybe that’s more like NWO…

So who’s Gandalf? We definitely need to claim the god/saint character before they do!

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
8 years ago

Gandalf = John Stuart Mill?

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
8 years ago

“Gandalf = John Stuart Mill?” …yes…

Pardon my amazement, I didn’t think anyone would come up with someone in only 5 min.

Flarghlet
Flarghlet
8 years ago

The only *possible* thing a straight white male might be disadvantaged by is … I dunno, having the bad luck to be passed over due to affirmative action or something. But are there that many dudes who couldn’t get hired because they were white? Or who couldn’t attend college because there was no affirmative action for them?

As a very white, male, new graduate, I can’t say there’s any white dudes I know who had affirmative action work against them.

thebewilderness
thebewilderness
8 years ago

I think it is a zero sum game for straight white males. Any reduction of the difficulty level for any other group reduces the advantage of the SWM. They make the argument themselves and have been doing so for hundreds of years.

indifferentsky
8 years ago

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
8 years ago

Actually if we’re going to have a Sauruman figure I nominate Hugo Schwyzer.

Viscaria
Viscaria
8 years ago

@Kladle:

Talking about race is like talking about politics or religion or whatever. It’s ok to call out racists so long as you tell them they’re being mean or something, but if you mention race (i.e. that the person is being racist) you’ve broken the etiquette norm of Don’t Mention Race and now any problem that breaks out is not due to the original person’s racism but due to your causing discord by mentioning it.

This is why I hate the term “racially-charged,” as in “x politician made some racially-charged remarks today that are generating controversy.” The controversy isn’t generated because the politician invoked Spectre Race, chaos demon. It’s because zie said something racist. There are lots of non-racist things you can say about race, and in fact we need to if things are going to change. Silence only perpetuates the status quo.

“Racially-charged” always seems to me to be code for “zie was stupid enough to mention race and now all the POCs are paying attention or whatever, instead of doing whatever the hell non-White people usually do when they’re not rudely existing at me.”

katz
8 years ago

Yeah, but only one (that we know of) non-white person gets into Narnia (heaven) at the end? I dunno, given that the rest of the Calormens are depicted in such a negative way, I’m not convinced by the few token “good” non-white characters that Lewis wrote. But maybe that is better, I guess? Eh, I dunno. Both make me uncomfortable.

I do think Lewis was well-intentioned with Aravis and Emeth; they actually seem to me like he put them in because he realized the series implied that all brown people are evil and so he wanted to show that some Calormenes were good and others were bad. Of course Aravis immediately has to escape Calormen…

Yeah, it’s basically picking a shit sandwich at that point.

Hershele Ostropoler
8 years ago

About the omission of cis, and the ETA part of the post: I don’t think (and David doesn’t seem to either) that it means the metaphor is completely wrong, just that it’s incomplete, and some things are miscategorized. Class seems to be the biggest issue, though it’s bound up with race (since both are broadly inherited)

(Sidenote: I just realized I was showing privilege in the middle of a conversation. Like, halfway through a sentence. Quick verbal turnarounds are fucking hard!)

kladle:

people who call out racists are racist because

1. *gasp* they are calling attention to the fact that somebody is not white

Racists are acutely aware of race (which is probably true, generally) therefore anyone who is aware of race is a racist (which is flawed logic, obviously).

Remember, we’re talking about the sort of person who thinks saying “I don’t even think of Sam as black, zie’s just a person to me” is a sign of virtue.

ozy:

Look, I am Queen Gender Roles Suck For Everyone, but they suck extra-hard for women. That is not controversial.

You’d think that …

Nanasha
Nanasha
8 years ago

To some extent, I’ve always found it hilarious when the SWMs clutch their pearls about how there are “no [hot] girls on the internet [who want to have sex with me]” (never *women* mind you, but *girls*), and then engage in the sort of misogyny and blind insensitivity that makes most women feel deeply unsafe and therefore most of the female users hide behind gender-neutral names or simply neglect to mention their gender. Those who *do* out themselves as female are often lambasted by “tits or gtfo” and the ilk, and plenty of users either start treating her like a slut or proposition her for some kind of relationship in a typical Nice Guy fashion, regardless of what she looks like, what she’s like, or her sexuality/interest in him.

*sigh*

I don’t mind if SWMs are made to feel deeply uncomfortable when someone brings up that, hey, it’s the EASIEST DEFAULT SETTING. Because the truth of the matter is that while you don’t choose your default setting of being-ness, it is up to you to OWN your privilege and use that knowledge to tone down on the insensitivity to others that seems to be the main bastian of the SWM mindset.

darksidecat
8 years ago

One other criticism is that it’s not very intersectional. It sort of assumes that, say, the disadvantages of a queer woman would be homophobia plus sexism, vs complex interactions between oppressions. Not all women experience sexism in the same ways, even though all women experience sexism.

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
8 years ago

Cassandra — “Actually if we’re going to have a Sauruman figure I nominate Hugo Schwyzer.” — yes! They’re both definitely only on their own side.

On topic, even with the ETA about disability, I think the metaphor can work, but then, I tend to play RPGs where not having points in something is constantly an issue, and you can’t always just put more XP into something to correct that. It’d have to be a complex game, but life is complex, so the metaphor never would’ve worked on something as simple as, idk, the metal gear series? FPSs in general?

Xanthë
8 years ago

Ozy, I think if you read the article it’s clear Scalzi treats class as a variable that players have some ability to ‘level up’ (or the reverse), despite there being obvious cases of disparity, say involve being born into a privileged class of a first world country versus being a member of an unprivileged class in the third world, where the ability to change one’s circumstances upwards or downwards seem dramatically unlikely.

Generally though in Real World, you’re stuck with the colour of your skin, your sex at birth, and your sexual orientation: if you’re trans, then being able to successfully change from living as your assigned gender is highly dependent on other variables including health, class, and money.

Pecunium
8 years ago

One of the things to keep in mind when looking at Tolkein (or Marlowe, or Chaucer) is that the ways in which men and women did, and didn’t, interact was different (and for Shalespeare, Chaucer, etc. the sense of sexuality was less binary than it is now).

Tolkien, in particular, came from a slice of British culture in which men and women didn’t travel in the same circles; and that the shaping event which formed the background of LOTR was his time in the infantry in WW1. Were he not in hospital for shell-shock he’d have almost certainly have died in 1917, because his battalion was wiped out; something like 70 percent fatalities in twenty minutes.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
8 years ago

In terms of the Bechdel Test it seems to me that a man of Tolkien’s generation would have had absolutely no idea of how women might interact with each other, so I’m not sure I’m sad that he didn’t attempt to write it.

Xanthë
8 years ago

DSC, it doesn’t address intersectionality at all, but I suspect that’s because Scalzi didn’t want to overload the article with the extra detail that a thorough investigation of that would involve – the article focusses on the p-word which mustn’t be spoken (and without it, the article was bad enough to give the usual douchebags an allergic reaction anyway), and points out that SWM is the easiest of the playing settings; playing as a gay minority woman is “hardcore”. I don’t think it’s a fault of the article to omit that there are non-obvious ways that different oppressions interact in Real Life: this is 101-type article of remedial teaching for the privileged guys to receive insights they have missed out from having played on the easiest setting in their lives.

Incidentally, the Pharyngula thread on this same topic a few days ago was derailed by someone who was trolling by failing to understand intersectionality: he wanted to know whether (all things being equal) a gay man would have a harder level of difficulty than a gay woman, and it was patiently explained at length (in the process revealing what an obnoxious troll the guy was) that it just ain’t that simple.

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
8 years ago

Shit, I knew Tolkien was in WWI and probably only interacted with women as nurses and wives/mothers, I didn’t realize he survived basically on pure chance. I guess I can give him a pass on everything but the dark=evil part (that would be fairly easy to fix after all, and I’m more annoyed the movies didn’t even seem to notice)…actually…I don’t the books gave races that’d convert to the real world really, I don’t recall anything from the books saying that the hobbits were all white for example.

Re: intersectionality — considering just how complex that is in the real world, it’d be rather hard to try discussing it in RP terms without ending up writing a thesis. It maybe should’ve been mentioned, if it wasn’t (I’m half done with the article itself), that if not a cis straight able white man of a certain class then The Real World gets harder in various intersecting ways — but trying to describe that is neither the point of the article, nor anything like easy.

The article is about the players playing on super-easy though, not the settings that aren’t super-easy. As a 101 level metaphor, it seems to do pretty good. And/or what Xanthë said.

ronalon42
8 years ago

Yeah the article is really trying to get across a 101 point on the concept of privilege to those who have it, so while a more completely carried out metaphor would have been nice, I think it was wise of him to keep it a bit simplified for the specific audience he was targeting. Heheh, its like even the metaphor to describe their privilege has to be on a lower difficulty setting >_<.

My spouse groked it, but he has always been pretty naturally aware of his straight white cis able bodied class thin privilege. Most of those are directly necessary for being in the military which allows for the level of quality of life we have. And the two he has (white man -and now straight) still afford him advantages over others in the social system of the military.

The point of all other things being equal should be easy to grasp too. I mean you have to either admit that there are layers of advantages and disadvantages at work that affect people based on things like race, gender, class, etc, or you have to think that straight white men are inherently and objectively more deserving (due to the ratios of success in various fields and over all wealth etc). And I know many people do argue that, but they should then just own that they are arguing in favor of entrenched sexism/ racism/ ismism.

Xanthë
8 years ago

David, thinking about your addendum to the main article, I think considering disabilities could have been best handled by Scalzi providing a more detailed discussion of the Real World game’s “health” stat: for example, you could be really unlucky and have a permanent disability from the start of the game; or, through no fault of your own you could acquire a disability at some point during the course of play. The remediation of disabilities is also highly dependent on other changeable variables – if there is treatment or therapy to manage a particular disability then obviously things like whether you can afford health care has a clear influence on your game’s outcome.

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