Straight White Male: Lowest Difficulty Level in the Game of Life

Using the language of difficulty levels common in video games, John Scalzi does an excellent job of unpacking what it means to have privilege. Like all metaphors, the video game difficulty metaphor of privilege has its limits, but it certainly is illuminating:

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.

You can lose playing on the lowest difficulty setting. The lowest difficulty setting is still the easiest setting to win on. The player who plays on the “Gay Minority Female” setting? Hardcore.

via: BoingBoing

See Also: I’ve always like the idea of the invisible knapsack: everyone has one, each one is different, and we are all largely blind to its contents and what those contents enable us to do.

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