Kotaku reposted an essay from author John Scalzi which discussed how being a Straight White Male is like playing a video game of life on it’s lowest difficulty setting. Which is true, guys. Most of the people reading this are probably Straight White Males but if not let me tell you, being SWM is incredible. We’re allowed to marry! We don’t get shot for wearing hoodies! We have been 43 out of 44 presidents!
Not only that, but we benefit from literally CENTURIES of systemic racism and sexism. If you are upset that you are swimming in SWM privilege, you obviously aren’t taking advantage of it enough!
But anyway, gamers don’t have the best reputation for civility already, and of course a bunch of Straight White Males were upset at being called… Straight White Males? As if pointing out the very obvious benefits of being one was akin to calling us all evil.
Occasionally I comment on Kotaku, and I saw some dude repeatedly say “I’ve always thought you should judge a person for who they are. But fuck it [this part is all in caps]. Looks like i was a fucking idiot for giving people a chance.”
Which I didn’t understand, so I asked him to clarify, and he responded with some very dangerous, American History X level of thinking:
Apparently i was an idiot for giving anyone different a chance, and staying open minded. If i’m going to get lumped into SOME GROUP because of my SKIN COLOR then its time for me to start fighting back. I’ve freaking had it. I’ve always been a good person, fair to everyone.
But if this is how white guys today are going to get treated in public, then IS IT time to start fighting back.
I can’t even comprehend this level of cognitive dissonance. First of all, “if I’m going to get lumped into some group because of my skin color” is the experience of every minority person in America. If that sort of characterization bothers you, go watch this Sealab 2021 clip about black Debbie and white Debbie.
Secondly, “but if this is how white guys today are going to get treated in public”?! Treated how? Being called white?
And then “time to start fighting back,” which I can’t even begin to delve into because it’s so both dangerous and also ridiculous.
And there are LOTS of comments like this, where people are incredibly upset at being called out as Straight White Males and find it to be racist, sexist, and heterophobic (LOL!).
So, this is what we’re up against. SWM privilege is a passive effect. It’s always on and there’s no “using” it. There’s no reason to feel guilty about it, it’s beyond your control. It just is. So we take that and acknowledge it and work to make the world a better place. If you can’t recognize that you might have it better than another person and you feel the need to argue your own struggle and suffering, you are living life the wrong way.
“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”