False equivalency “simultaneously condemns and excuses both sides in a dispute by claiming that both sides are (equally) guilty of inappropriate behavior or bad reasoning. While the argument appears to be treating both sides equally, it is generally used to condemn an opponent or to excuse ones own position.”
After Roseanne Barr’s sit-com was canceled due to her racist Tweet, some have tried to equate Barr’s racism with, for example, Samantha Bee’s use of “cunt.” A similar dynamic occurred after Michelle Wolf’s routine at the White House correspondent’s dinner.
Another example of false equivalency has been to suggest Barr’s racism and the actions of ABC are about free speech and equivalent to the NFL banning players from protesting racism. These events are not about free speech, but being racist and protesting racism are simply not the same.
All of this can be couched in the false equivalency of most debates and discussions about race and racism that are punctuated by whites who derail the topic with “reverse racism” and “blacks are racists too.”
Here, I list resources for understanding better these debates in order to refute false equivalency:
The Reappropriation of Stigmatizing Labels: Implications for Social Identity, Adam D. Galinsky, Kurt Hugenberg, Carla Groom and Galen Bodenhausen
The semantics of slurs: A refutation of pure expressivism, Adam M. Croom
‘Cunt’ Should Not Be a Bad Word, Katie J.M. Baker
Laurie Penny: In defence of the “C” word
The feminist mistake, Zoe Williams
White Privilege and Anti-Racism, Paul Gorski
Language of Closet Racism, Paul Gorski