Selective Egalitarianism: Are You Really Who You Say You Are?

Written by: Aymen Sherwani – Grade 11

A lot of the times I see people claim that they’re egalitarians, or humanitarians, and they believe that everyone is human created equally, so obviously they should be treated accordingly. These claims frequent the speeches of Nobel Peace Prize winners, influential leaders, and generally anyone who is passionate about international affairs regarding people in adversity. However, my question is – do these people who say that they are egalitarians, who believe in equalism, really practice what they preach, and not simply talk the talk?

Doing my research into this, I’ve realized that many people dohave limitations as to which communities they support, and that’s because of many reasons – but in the end, could you really say that you’re all for human rights if you advocate the support of one group, yet agree with the persecution of another? #DoubleStandards

g18533_u14981_ghandi-black_and_whiteY’all think Mahatma Gandhi, who led the Indian Independence Movement, was a strong leader in history in terms of freedom and humanity, but even he has some things that can’t go unnoticed. While he did fight against British imperialism in India, he was also a strong supporter of the caste system. In fact, he spent 21 years in South Africa and delivered a speech in 1896 claiming that South Africans were no better than the “untouchables” of Indian society (lowest rank in the caste system). Further adding that they were the “raw kaffir whose occupation is hunting and whose sole occupation is to collect a certain number of cattle to buy a wife with, and then pass his life in indolence and nakedness.”

Being of South Asian descent myself, I find it incredibly odd that we pass a blind eye to the caste systems which discriminate (often violently) within our own societies, yet call for anti-racism laws here in Canada and the US. We prosecute against humans which we believe are “inferior” to us, however, we call for humanity when it’s us that is being discriminated against. Individuals know what it’s like to be put in a place of inferiority, but they continue to treat the next person like they’re inferior to them in order to establish dominance. What a load of bulls**t. It’s like people look over the idea that they themselves are sexist, racist, homophobic, and overall discriminatory, yet continue to call for world peace and ‘equality’ too. I mean Stephen Harper sent troops to the Middle East to combat ISIS, a terrorist organization that wants the mass genocide of the Shiites, yet strongly supports Bill C-24 — which labels dual-citizenship Canadians as ‘second class’. #ButThatsNoneOfMyBusiness

imageOne of my own junior high social teachers claimed that they believed that all humans were equal, yet was actively against the LGBT community, and women being able to work, which they called their “personal preferences”. I find it kind of amusing that he taught girls, and expected them to do nothing with their education, regardless of the fact that he was teaching a course that addressed discrimination. #Bruh #TF

Not everyone is that brash, however in my opinion selective egalitarianism also comes in the form of ignorance. Perpetuating stereotypes like ‘black people are thugs’, or ‘women belong in the kitchen’ could also be considered a double standard.

In the end, no one is perfect, but we should step away from the phrase “I’m a supporter of human rights” if we are going to be selective about the communities we support. Returning to the question at hand: should we really call ourselves egalitarians if we prioritize a group’s bloodshed and or adversities as unimportant, simply because we don’t like them?

I remember the #AllLivesMatter tag trend worldwide on twitter last year by users claiming to be for humanity after the Ferguson incident, but not after the Charlie Hebdo shooting, which was triggered by racism – not satirical journalism, they participated in the #KillAllMuslims hashtag too – but priorities, am I right?

Image Sources: 1, 2, 3



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