As kids, when the era of the Internet hadn’t dawned upon mankind, one of the favorite pastimes used to be solving riddles. Hours spent thinking and breaking down riddles. These riddles would fly far-off across cities and villages over the course of several holidays or even train journeys. Nostalgia aside, one of these riddles that I fondly recall, was ‘how much of cotton would have to be added to the beam-balance to equal 10KGs of Coal’. It was merely a play on words (might be lost in translation from Hindi) to confuse you in tricking you.
While the correct answer is still 10KG for an equal amount of Coal. The comparison here, apart from the weight of the two, is not equivalent.
Without having to explain this analogy in detail, I’d like to jump straight to what I intend to talk about-The narratives of creating a false equivalence.
How often have movements been attacked for a supposed bias for non-inclusion of a different or a broad group? How often have the hashtags been altered Equivalence?
Quite often, if you were looking for an answer to my rhetoric’s! Have we not also watched people breaking away from restricted groups for the fear of being branded and decided to become part of a larger group? Yes, we have.
No one likes being branded. Of course, few thrive on those brands for the attention it provides them while few run away when it gets just too much to handle.
None of the above, in any way, don’t intend to solve the problems or be part of movements that can bring change. They just don’t want to be on the side which isn’t going to win or exclude them from society’s perks distribution list. The ones with a sense of identity they are uncomfortable to discuss. We’ve all been there at some point, right?
The problem isn’t this running away or being uncomfortable when asked for a POV, the problem is giving in to the false equivalence created to justify acts by the majority over any set of minorities across a spectrum of issues. The problem is when all the issues are viewed from the prism of one set of eyes alone. The set of eyes for which black is black, and there aren’t shades of it. A set of eyes with a scant disregard for the amount of cotton that’ll occupy the space for every kilogram of Coal. The set of eyes, who’ll still say, ‘At the end, both are 10KGs only, right?’
Irrespective of how much you shout for #BlackLivesMatter, there’ll be a set of folks with #AllLivesMatter. For every #MeToo, there’ll be a #NotAllMen. As soon as you raise an issue concerning a finite group, easily identifiable with a common problem, a larger group would be ready with their list of whataboutery on your face. Why now, why not then? Why just you, why not us?
Even in a cry for justice, false equivalences get created all the time! If this isn’t being inconsiderate, then what is?