Pseudo intellectualism is nothing new, but in the age of social media, where everyone has a platform, the shallow observations and platitude riddled nonsense of every wannabe Confucius out there has become more accessible to the masses (or at least as far as their followers lists can stretch). Whether it be through memes, Twitter rants, dissertation size Facebook posts or blog entries, people with all the intellectual prowess of a dulled thumbtack get to pretend to be the smartest person in their virtual rooms, if only from the moment they finish typing out their-about as deep as a contact lens-rant, until the moment they hit “send” and release it for public consumption (and subsequent regurgitation).
To be fair though, even the most scholarly of individuals aren’t immune to using flimsy logic when pontificating on whatever little brain fart they conjured up thinking they were being clever.
Take the pro black, internet activist for example: Often, in our zeal to point out all the ways white supremacy manifests itself, we present arguments that, on their faces may seem perfectly profound, but don’t actually hold up under much scrutiny.
We’ve all seen the memes: the over simplified half truths, the ridiculous juxtapositions and the statistics gathered straight out of http://www.pulledoutmyass.com.
False equivalency seems to be the most preferred logical fallacy device used in these posts.
Take exhibit A:
I must have seen this meme (and others like it) shared dozen times within hours of news hitting the interwebs of the leaked “hot mic” footage of presidential candidate and sentient Cheeto Donald Trump boastfully describing what some call “locker room talk” and decent human beings appropriately call sexual assault.
In the above image, we have Bill “Big Poppa Pill” Cosby on the left with a caption that reads “Accused of sexual assault and you guys crucify him” and on the right, we have Donald “Tanned Lives Matter” Trump with a follow up caption that reads “Accused of sexual assault and he continues to run for president.”
In my opinion, this is a roundabout way of resurrecting an argument absolving the beloved Dr. Huxtable of his sins done under the guise of condemning Trump for his. Let me start by unpacking all the ways these two cases are not alike:
First, there’s the difference in volume.
Let me be clear; no large or small amount of victims coming forward is something to be taken lightly, but that doesn’t mean we can ignore the difference between a hand full of accusations and a few dozen.
If fact, what I find most interesting regarding all of this, is how quick folks can be in pointing out America’s hypocrisy while being completely and conveniently unaware of their own. After all, I personally believe BOTH these men to be predators and know of no (black) Cosby detractors who believe Trump to be innocent.
#TeamFeeCliff, on the other hand, has performed all manner of mental gymnastics in attempt to explain how all 50 some odd women accusing Cosby of drugging and raping them must be telling the same lie on a perfectly innocent man – all while taking Trump’s accusers at face value without even a hint of skepticism.
I haven’t even come across the “Why are they all coming forward *now*?” reasoning – at least not coming from Cosby apologists – even though truthfully there *is* something suspicious about the leaked Trump fopaux coming to light so soon before the election.
So my question to the Cosby advocate is: who’s really being inconsistent here?
Then, of course, there’s the obvious fact that ending the-already over-career of a-well past his prime-entertainer is a far less complicated thing than ending the run of a major party’s presidential nominee less than a month before the election.
Cosby had to take his lumps because TV networks made decisions, amid the scandal, to protect their brands by canceling show deals and dropping The Cosby Show from syndication.
Now we can talk all day about how Trump The Orange Dye Dump is the living embodiment of rich white male privilege, but that won’t change the fact that the race for the Oval Office is a *slightly* different arena from Netflix and network television.
Still, the “pussy grab” heard around the world certainly didn’t leave Trump unscathed. Prominent Republicans began a mass exodus in terms of their endorsements of the candidate and his poll numbers have taken a significant dip. Generalizing Mexican immigrants as murderers and rapists (the latter being decidedly ironic given the new scandal), calling for an all out and ban of Muslims and the constant patronizing and veiled racism leveled at “the blacks” did nothing to curtail his favor among (white) America, but, apparently, the constant pissing off of white women is where we draw the proverbial line.
Still, even if Trump’s support base had gone completely nigh, it would be far too late to replace him, so when you state “and he continues to run for president”, I’m just not sure what the hell you’re expecting would disallow him to do so.
The fact is, for double standards to apply, the standards need to be the same to begin with-and in the case of Cosby and Trump, they simply aren’t.
In the interest of full disclosure – while I tend to make it a point to apply as much sound reasoning to my arguments as my passions will allow – I myself am not above equating things while ignoring their substantial differences:
Now make no mistakes, my sentiments haven’t much changed regarding this. Still, there are important distinctions to be made between the case of student, athlete, RAPIST and affluent white male privilege recipient Brock Turner and that of actor, film maker, probable RAPIST and Nat Turner fan fiction enthusiast Nate Parker.
Turner was caught in commission of his crime while Parker and long time friend and Birth of a Nation collaborator, Jean McGianni Celestin had more of a “they said, she said” situation going on with their (alleged) victim. Parker was found not guilty while Turner was convicted of 3 counts of rape and sexual assault (though privilege saw to it he barely served a fraction of his-already far too short-sentence). And, of course, Turner’s transgressions were current while Parker and pal’s occurred 17 years ago (which means nothing to me, but draws out a great deal of skepticism in others for whatever reason).
However, here’s a comparison worth considering: In cases of alleged rape, “female promiscuity” is always ultimately what gets put on trial, while male promiscuity, not only goes unquestioned or even mentioned, but is celebrated more often than not. To ignore this and still proceed to site “double standards” that are a reach at best, seems disingenuous to say the least.
Which leads me to exhibit B:
Now this one pissed me off to no end, if only because the first few times I saw it posted, it was by black men who were adamantly cosigning this asinine comparison.
Last week Michelle Obama gave a rousing and emotional speech at a rally for Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire denouncing Donald Trump’s repugnant boastings and someone people (read: asshats) eventually put it together that she once praised Beyonce stating she “could not be a better role model for [her] girls” and are citing this as hypocrisy on part of our first lady.
If I seriously have to explain to you the difference between a man bragging about routinely committing sexual assault and an adult woman daring to own her own body and sexuality and flaunting them both as she damn well pleases, you should just stop reading here, find a nice, dank, dark hole to crawl into and finally do some good in this world by being less of a waste of space (too mean?).
And why shouldn’t Beyonce be regarded as a role model? Does the long list of charities she either founded or supports-most of which benefit lower income black communities-not make her #BlackLivesMatter enough? Does waiting until she was married, well off and well into her thirties before having her first child not satisfy the respectability politics that are persistently projected onto young black girls? Is Queen Bey’s strong, independent,woman persona not to be admired? ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED? (sorry, I couldn’t resist)
Do you honesty believe that Bey twerking and posed provocatively for an adult audience to enjoy is the only side of her that her younger admirers know?
Have you ever met the “Bey-hive”?
These die hard fans know the woman’s shoe size, the middle name of her first boyfriend and the last four digits of her social security number… I think it’s safe to say they see and appreciate that, beyond the lights, she’s a loving mother, wife and philanthropist – everything a “real American” should be.
Right now there is a movement of black feminism being led by an ever-growing number of educated and quite “woke” black women who have zero interest in joining a revolution to dismantle white supremacy only to replace it with black patriarchy. They’re well versed in the intersectionality of social privilege and who benefits, and our willful blindness to it is has caused them to all but give up on us (black men).
And when we show them that we would forgo shouting down a rich white man who happens to be a raging bigot, sexist and pervert in favor of shaming and policing a successful, world renowned black woman, we do nothing more than confirm their right to their contempt for us.
We dismiss them as divisive and “doing the white man’s work.” We even blamed them for the disappointing opening weekend box office numbers Birth of a Nation scored even though they had nothing to do with it and, in fact, were the largest demographic to turn out for the film. We take their unyeilding loyalty for granted and we accept no culpability in the fact that they feel failed by us.
I realize it’s not easy viewing one’s self as being on the side of the opressor, but at some point we need to find the balls to accept their truths and check ourselves accordingly.
Studies have shown that around 60% of black women have suffered sexual assault at some point in their lives and that most of those assaults were intraracial. So, it’s understandable that many of them are unwilling to extend benefit of the doubt to the likes of Cosby and Parker.
I suppose if those two, along with Trump and Turner never do anything else good for this world, their abhorrent actions as well as our legal system’s inaction, has started a long overdue conversation about rape culture (a reality even I was slow to recognize the legitimacy of) and the fact that many men don’t understand consent as well as we believe we do.
There’s nothing ambiguous about consent. Either sex is agreed upon by all parties involved and with all parties of sound mind and body or it isn’t. That gray area you’re looking for… yea, that’s called rape.
And on that note I’ll leave you with a 2006 deposition quote from Bill Cosby about a woman he knowingly drugged…
“I don’t hear her say anything. And I don’t feel her say anything, and so I continue and I go into the area that is somewhere between permission and rejection. I am not stopped.”
Now compare that to Trump.