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I’ve been thinking of a way to explain to straight white men how life works for them, without invoking the dreaded word “privilege,” to which they react like vampires being fed a garlic tart at high noon. It’s not that the word “privilege” is incorrect, it’s that it’s not their word. When confronted with “privilege,” they fiddle with the word itself, and haul out the dictionaries and find every possible way to talk about the word but not any of the things the word signifies.
So, the challenge: how to get across the ideas bound up in the word “privilege,” in a way that your average straight white man will get, without freaking out about it?
Being a white guy who likes women, here’s how I would do it:
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.
originally posted by: Lysergic
a reply to: MystikMushroom
Then take your pick of any orphan in America.
Based on the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) in the U.S., the fiscal year of 1998 showed that approximately 64% of children waiting in foster care were of non-Caucasian background; 32% were white. Out of all foster children waiting for adoption 51% are black, 11% are Hispanic, 1% are American Indian, 1% are Asian/Pacific Islander, and 5% are unknown/unable to determine.
originally posted by: MystikMushroom
a reply to: SprocketUK
Well, ask yourself a simple question.
If you got to keep everything the same in your life, other than the color of your skin. Would you have any problem, whatsoever with changing it?
Would you go from white to black? I mean, you get to keep your job, family, home, cars, all your personal possessions and friends. Would you willingly trade skin color to prove it doesn't matter?
Just sit for a moment and ponder it. I do mental exercises like this all the time.
(I'm not actually wanting an answer, just posing a hypothetical for you and others to ponder in their heads)