Sunday, April 28, 2013

Using Halo to teach kids about intersectional oppression. Same game, different difficulty level.

This is a really cool post about using Halo to teach kids about intersectional oppression, and how you can be playing the same game but with different difficulty modifiers on, and it makes it harder for you to complete it compared to others without those modifiers, even if you're a better player.  The teachers based this off of John Scalzi's piece about how privilege is like playing at an easier difficulty level.

I think they did a good job getting the point across, and that while EVERYBODY still has to play the game, so obviously nobody can just coast to the end, it's a lot easier when you have less going against you. I especially liked the part where the teacher (purposefully) asked the ones who were having a hard time on the higher difficulty level why they weren't doing as well as somebody playing it on an easier one.

This is with a class that was open to the idea, of course. I wonder, with a class with more people hostile to the idea, could doing it without telling them what's going on, get the point through to them? I mean if you had a bunch of cis straight middle class men who didn't believe in privilege who were struggling through the higher difficulty and then kept berating them for not getting through it as fast as somebody else, and then at some point they'd complain that it's not equal, and then you can throw a "stop playing the victim, everybody is playing the same game, just work harder" at them and maybe they'd get it.

It's a really good way to get the point across though, because everybody still has to play and put in effort and learn the game to play it, so it's not easy for anybody, but it's EASIER for some, and harder for others.  This is the fallacy that privilege-denying people get into, because they remember their experiences and struggles, and go "well I worked at it, and if you're having trouble, you must not be putting in the effort I did, because it wasn't easy for me either!", and it's probably true, it wasn't easy for them, but it's even more difficult for others. Everybody's playing the same game, but not everybody's playing at the same difficulty level.

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