Time to Fight Fake Discrimination

Shounak Bagchi
Common and Andra Day along with 10 real discrimination fighters

Since the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida there’s been increased pressure on businesses to discontinue their relationship with the National Rifle Association (NRA).

Under intense scrutiny from their consumers, FedEx released a statement last week stating that they wouldn’t suspend discounts to members of the gun-advocacy group. The shipping company stated, “(FedEx) does not and will not deny service or discriminate against any legal entity regardless of their policy positions or political views.”

Georgia’s Lt. Governor went so far as to accuse those ending their partnership with the gun-advocate organization as “viewpoint discrimination against conservatives and law-abiding gun owners.”

From Fox News’ “War on Christmas,” to investment bankers equating tax hikes to Hitler’s invasion of Poland, and now the NRA’s outrage over being deprived of corporate perks, we’re witnessing a rise of fake discrimination.

What is fake discrimination?

In short, it is the exercise of those in a position of power, or privilege, propping up an unsubstantiated claim that they, and their tribe more broadly, are under societal assault when the way of the world has not conveniently aligned with their agenda.

Moreover, fake discrimination is a calculated effort to disguise ignorance and maintain privilege through the distortion of reason.

Those of us who seek a world with greater economic parity, a more equitable distribution and accessibility of wealth, and broader opportunity for those historically left behind must fight back against these fabricated qualms of oppression.

How?

We must first be crystal clear on what constitutes discrimination.

When one is deprived of the opportunity afforded to the masses, that is discrimination. When one is nefariously targeted based on their color or creed, that is discrimination. When there are efforts to curtail the rights and economic opportunities of a group, that is discrimination.

When one has a personalized benefit negated for utilitarian reasons, that is not discrimination. When there is an attempt to grant minority groups the same access to a greater avenue of success, that is not discrimination. When there is an attempt to level the playing field in education and the workplace, that is not discrimination.

Further, when a group who, for centuries, has tailored a system to advantage their kin are called out and put on notice, that is by no means discrimination.

And when organizations understand it is commercially and symbolically imprudent to continue a relationship with a group who seem tone-deaf about the mass slaughter of countless children, any reasonable individual should know that is not discrimination.

We shouldn’t accept the idea that there is an ounce of discrimination when we are confronted with these bogus accounts of abuse. By conceding some degree of unfair treatment, when unwarranted, we undermine the real meaning of discrimination. Providing a soundboard to advantaged phonies who are unable to discern between a privilege and right only emboldens those at the top.

We are now at a pivotal moment where the fake discrimination movement is in its infancy and left unrefuted, deceptive and fraudulent persecution complexes will not only be tolerated but justified (i.e. FedEx’s decision to continue its partnership with the NRA).

More importantly, allowing the movement of counterfeit maltreatment to ossify will shift the spotlight away from those who have been purposefully neglected in society — those deprived of their civic right due to targeted voting laws, individuals unable to climb up the economic ladder because of unfair hiring norms, and an segregated school system that leaves children of color behind.

The powerful and privileged have an unprecedented and significant sway on how the world turns and burns from global markets to major political legislation. Included in that brawn is the ability to set the boundaries of discourse and establish the talking points in which people comprehend their own reality. The new narrative they create displaces blame from themselves and recasts themselves from the villain to the victim.

We mustn’t be distracted by this red herring. Now is the time to forcefully push back against the rise of fake discrimination.

Shounak Bagchi

Written by

Founder of Honest Wednesdays and pragmatic optimist.

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