Saturday, 23 January 2016

Privilege: less Street Fighter, more D&D

The 'privilege' model of understanding the different life experiences that people tend to have according to where in the world or the UK they live, their gender identity, sexual orientation, skin colour and the like has been bouncing about for quite some time. It has some merit.
One of the problems it runs into is the argument that "but not all [grouping] feel the benefit of this leg-up!"

A neat way of exploring that is the notion of it being like playing a game and having different difficulty settings - you can still win, but it's like fighting harder opponents. You need more skill, luck or judgement, if you don't get straight-white-cis-man* as your difficulty setting at the start of the game.

I like that 'game setting' analogy, though I find it works better I you think of it less as a "easy moderate or hard" option at the start of a videogame, more like a boardgame where you roll dice and some players get an extra die or two. So you could still roll all ones and someone else gets fewer dice but is good at rolling sixes.

Now I just have to work out whether coming out of the closet as e.g. bisexual gets you an extra die for not playing with one hand tied behind your metaphorical back, or loses you one for gaining the encounters with prejudice you were previously avoiding.

Possibly it gets you a die with different numbers on it - say a four sided die with sides marked 0,0,4,8 instead of 1,2,3,4. The only bit of the theory I'm certain of it gets you one that's purple instead of grey.

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