Two Analogies That Help Explain White Privilege


Starting to get a handle on the concept of privilege? No, still a little fuzzy?

Perhaps the two blog posts below will help clear things up a bit. Both are written by white men who use analogies from their own lives to try to explain privilege to the privileged.


A Michigan pastor shares “What My Bike Has Taught Me About White Privilege” on his blog, A Little More Sauce. In the post he describes the experience of commuting on his bike in a city designed for auto transportation. No, he’s not equating racial oppression with riding a bike. But he does try to paint a picture of 1) how much the car drivers take for granted because they exist in a system designed for them, and 2) how easily motorists can harass or harm others like him on the road without ever being aware that they’re doing so.


Writer John Scalzi goes for the gaming metaphor in Straight White Male: The Easiest Setting There Is, posted on his blog called Whatever. He proposes that if life was a role playing computer game, SWMs would “get” to play on the easiest setting. Not that there aren’t other factors that decide how the players will progress in the game—number of points they start off with, skill or industriousness of the player, etc.—but that each category of oppression a player carries causes the difficulty setting to be raised another notch.

Check out these posts and then use the comment section below to let us know if either (or both) helped you get a better handle on the concept of privilege. What other metaphors have you heard used to describe or explain privilege? What questions do you still have?


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