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Mighty Victims I: Advantages

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The people who occupy positions of power (broadly defined) in the United States tend to be white, male, straight, and (profess to be) Christian. This can be confirmed by even a cursory look at who holds positions in government, business, and academics. Membership in these groups seems to confer a degree of advantage relative to people outside of these groups. Obviously, people can belong to some of these groups rather than all of them. For example, a white woman could be a lesbian atheist. At this point I need to pre-empt some obvious straw man attacks on my claims. First, I am not claiming that membership in one or more of these groups guarantees that a person will enjoy a position of relative power, such as being among the wealthy or the influential. I understand there are many white, straight, Christian men who are suffering under brutal poverty and struggling to make ends meet. Second, I know that people who are not members of these groups who enjoy great success. Put bluntly, I am aware that Oprah and Beyonce exist.  What I am claiming is modest: membership in one or more of these groups confers relative advantages while being outside of one or more of these groups can confer relative disadvantages. I will illustrate what I mean with an analogy from gaming. Imagine a basic game rule: to succeed at something (such as getting a job or hitting a monster with a sword), you need to roll a specific number or higher on a die. This represents the apparent role of chance in life. In most games, you can get pluses and minuses to your roll, based on various factors. For example, if your character is related to the king, you might get a plus when rolling to talk the city guard out of arresting you for the bar fight. If your character belongs to an unpopular band of rebels, you might suffer a significant minus when rolling to convince the city guard to not simply kill you and dump your body in the river when they catch you speaking out against the king. Looking at real. . .

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News source: A Philosopher's Blog

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