Straight White Male: The Lowest Difficulty Setting There Is


A fat dog lying on its back, smiling.

John Scalzi is a film critic, a columnist, and a multi award winning author of science fiction.

He also blogs.

A blogpost he wrote in May 2012 has been my go to ever since for explaining straight, white, male privilege to people who don’t want to think about it.

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?

If you have straight, white, male, or otherwise privileged friends who refuse to contemplate their own privilege — or if privilege is a new or difficult term for you yourself — please read it. Seriously: it’s brilliant.

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