Wednesday, May 16, 2012

"In the role playing game known as The Real World, 'Straight White Male' is the lowest difficulty setting there is."

In the post If Republicans don't get women, then it's also true that Democrats don't get white males.  I tried to point out that while white males are far more likely to hold positions of power in the United States than non-whites and females, most white males don't feel particularly powerful.  The issue isn't that white males have all the power, but they have fewer obstacles on the way to power.  Or, as some have put it, more privileges.

John Scalzi at Whatever wanted to explain this idea (of more privileges) without using the word privilege.  He did it well by writing about life as if it were a role playing game.  I understand the basics of such games because my son indoctrinated me years ago.  My daughter sent me the link.  Thanks to both of you.

A little into his post, he sets up the ground rules. 
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.
Now, once you’ve selected the “Straight White Male” difficulty setting, you still have to create a character, and how many points you get to start — and how they are apportioned — will make a difference. Initially the computer will tell you how many points you get and how they are divided up. If you start with 25 points, and your dump stat is wealth, well, then you may be kind of screwed. If you start with 250 points and your dump stat is charisma, well, then you’re probably fine. Be aware the computer makes it difficult to start with more than 30 points; people on higher difficulty settings generally start with even fewer than that.

Read it all here.

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