Tuesday, September 09, 2014

False Equivalencies

I've seen a couple of formulations of this style recently:
A: Racism sucks!
B: Yes, but being falsely accused of racism sucks, too!

Insert "sexism" or "rape" or whatever noun fits the particular situation; it's a one-size-fits-all comeback.

That response is true in the sense that it's not completely wrong, but the problems are so radically different in scale and scope that the effect is to lie.

Here's what these people are effectively saying:
A: It sucks to starve to death.
B: Yes, but it also sucks to lose my morning break and have to go hungry until lunch!
The fact that two things are both not-good does not mean that they are the same, or that they cancel each other out, or that they are even comparable. If being "falsely accused" of something doesn't involve actual law enforcement and at least potential jail time, it doesn't count.

Look, white guys, here's a good test: if you're about to deploy an argument, ask yourself if John Wayne would say that. (Anybody who would use this line of reasoning, I'm pretty sure, is entirely cool with the Duke.) Would he whine about being falsely accused of something? No, he would not. Follow that lead.

You're welcome.

1 comment:

Bruce said...

Having been falsely accused of racism in the past, I have to say the subsequent death threats were not fun.

Old and unpleasant story from my stint in the Army, back in the 1970's. After one of the other guys in the barracks smashed me in the head and choked me after I declined to drive him to the off-post liquor store, he tried to get out of subsequent charges and stockade time by claiming I'd called him the N-word. Didn't work; he still went to the stockade for six months. But he was black and I was white, and other blacks believed what he'd said. The next several months, until I managed to transfer to a different company in a different barracks, were no fun. No. Fun. At. All.

It was a very disillusioning period in my life, to say the least. I'd known when I enlisted that there was a possibility I'd end up in harm's way. I never expected it to be from fellow soldiers, my so-called "buddies".

Post a Comment