Tag Archives: male privilege

“Whatever” — how have I overlooked this blog?

I just had to link to this excellent explanation of privilege.  Most of the time when you say something like “nondisabled straight white men are privileged,” you are either accused of being accusatory, accused of overlooking millions of poor nondisabled straight white men, or accused of overlooking affirmative action.  John Scalzi explains that being a NSWM is like playing a role playing game on the lowest difficulty setting.  Note:  I play precisely zero role-play games, but the wonderfully-written extended metaphor is very accessible.

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.

His follow-up post responding to comments and criticism is good too, as is his post ridiculing some of the stupid and/or assaholic comments.  From his comment on comments:

2. Your metaphor/analogy is good, except for [insert thing that commenter finds not good about the metaphor/analogy]

Well, yes. Metaphors are not perfect; it’s why they’re metaphors and not the thing the metaphor describes.

What’s even cooler about this post for me is that it introduced me to his blog, Whatever, and I now have the delightful adventure of reading through 15 years (!) of entertaining writing.