A misguided commenter (or perhaps he was just trying to annoy me) challenged my assertions regarding Michael Sam by claiming that I was advocating a double standard in his case, while I have condemned the prevalence of double standards elsewhere on Ethics Alarms (like here.) I pointed out, none too gently, I must admit, that this was an unjust complaint. The requirement that trailblazers in sports, politics or any other field have to either establish high levels of performance, character and trustworthiness or fail—and not only fail, but set their causes back significantly—is not a double standard, but a separate one that applies in unique circumstances. I find it difficult to believe that most people fail to understand this.
Just to be clear, however, I began this morning searching the news for true double standards, for which the accompanying word should always be “hypocrisy.” I did not have to look very far:
Double Standard #1
“Take back America”: Racist for Republicans, Fine for Democrats
Vice President Joe Biden, speaking in Detroit on Labor Day, proclaimed that “it’s time to take back America.” “If we don’t, America’s in trouble,” said Joe.
Last month, however, the Attorney General in Biden’s administration labelled the phrase a racist code. “There’s a certain level of vehemence, it seems to me, that’s directed at me [and] directed at the president,” Holder said in an ABC interview.“You know, people talking about taking their country back. . . . There’s a certain racial component to this for some people. I don’t think this is the thing that is a main driver, but for some there’s a racial animus.”
President Obama has made the same claim.
Thus Democrats are presumed to be making the traditional campaign exhortation to “take back” the nation, the White House, or the values of the country without exhibiting racial animus, but Republicans saying exactly the same thing are exposing racist intent. One side muzzled and handicapped by the application of a double standard: we can say it, but you can’t.
Double Standard #2
The First Lady’s staff: Gender bias is benign as long as it’s directed against men
There are ten members of Michelle Obama’s staff—which is ridiculous in itself—and every one of them is female.
Go ahead; rationalize that. Let’s see…
- It’s just a coincidence!
- We hired women because we could pay them le..never mind.
- Michelle is just more comfortable with women.
- We never said there was anything wrong with a war on men.
- She just picked the best qualified candidates!
- It’s not discrimination when the First Lady does it!
- It’s good to be Queen!
- Women are just better at this kind of girly stuff.
- The important thing is, they aren’t all white women.
- Shut up!
Are we all clear on double standards now?
Graphic: La Salle Non profit Center