There are many valid arguments that can be made regarding double standards. Most people would argue that in order for there to be a working society, you must eliminate them. I say if society is going to work properly, we’ve got to understand the context of certain double standards in order to eradicate them.
There has been an increase in people encouraging political correctness in the past few years. This is just a facet of the fight for social reform and equality. This way of doing things, opens the door for people to rally in support of the oppressed but unfortunately allows people to form support for those who need it least –the oppressors.
A perfect example of this would be men’s rights group. These self-proclaimed “meninists” take offense to the very existence of feminism. Supposedly women have it easier and we’re infringing upon their rights to do what they want. Feminism is an oppressive idea to them and so because there are women’s rights groups, it makes sense to have meninism right?
Wrong, it’s a redundant idea; men have had more power for a longer time. Though there are manhating individuals, their impact will never be equal to that of how misogyny affects society.
On an even deeper level, these same people constantly point out that such problems as domestic violence and sexual assault against men isn’t taken seriously enough and that these issues have been put on the backburner. This is true but you must look at the bigger picture. Our patriarchy based society will have us believing women are inferior and if you are bested by the inferior gender, you are less than that of a victim: you are a joke and a disgrace to manhood.
It’s the same thing for those who cry reverse-racism. Whether or not there are racist minorities, we do not have the power to oppress a dominant culture so people of color with racial prejudices, justified or unjustified, don’t have much negative influence as white people.
It would seem that if we punish one group for something, we should punish all groups for committing the same offense. However, we are not progressive enough for that to take place. For people to receive equal consequences for equal offenses we have to strive to understand reasons each group does something; the reasons are often different depending on the history behind the actions.
This idea is especially relevant to stereotypes. Blackface, yellowface and brownface are highly offensive regardless of the time period or intent because of its history and original purpose, which was to devalue and humiliate people of color. The same can’t be said of whiteface because at the end of the day, they are in control and negative stereotypes rarely stick to the point of affecting their everyday lives.
To call these examples double standards would be implying that we’re all on an even playing field to begin with and anyone with a basic understanding of history, society or economics knows this isn’t the case.
The double-standards argument can be highly effective if used properly. For example, in the argument for LGBT rights, it makes no sense to discriminate on something that a lot of us experience equally: love. We experience it regardless of labels. Sadly, groups with the most power often use them as a defense mechanism to take credibility away from groups with lesser influence.
No good comes from treating one group better than another. In order to stop this issue, we’ve got to get a better understanding of human behavior. Then we may be able to better strive for a fair society and actually be able to punish or reward all groups based on their actions rather than their history.