My friend Christina posted a link to a blog entry a few days ago that introduced a somewhat flippant but easily interpreted approach to understanding heterosexual, male, and white privilege:
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 got me to thinking about how I understand my own privilege as I, as many regular readers might know, identify as Scalzi’s target audience, a straight white male.
Firstly though, I think I’d like to touch on why so many straight white men resent or get their back up when that dreaded word “privilege” comes up. It is easy to interpret the discussion of privilege as blame thrown at straight white men, crediting them for all the social injustices that take place in the Western world. These men become defensive because they didn’t create the rules to the game or select their role any more than Scalzi’s Hardcore mode players, gay minority females, did.