Previous Entry Share Next Entry
just a thought
 for future expansion.

I've been thinking for a while about something that I'll call "asymmetric tolerance". By this I mean tolerance of a social ill for one group, but not another. I've been aware of three areas where I see this happening.

(1) Rape. When rape is mentioned in the British press, there is an instant and strong reaction from some (online commenters), about the danger to men of being labeled rapists. The asymmetry here is that these commenters are apparently willing to tolerate the ongoing danger of rape to women, but not the danger to men of being unfairly accused.

(2) Positive discrimination. Positive discrimination provokes similarly strong reactions, with suggestions that it results in ethnic minorities getting jobs even if they are not (the best) qualified for them. Obviously, one of the reasons for a positive discrimination policy is that minorities were being excluded, and therefore by definition majority individuals were getting jobs that they were not (the best) qualified for. The existing injustice is tolerated to a far higher degree than the possible corrective injustice imposed by the policy. 

(3) The rise of China. Discourse about the rise of China is universally tinged by fears that China will do X, Y and Z, when X, Y and Z are routine American actions. For example, a recent article wondered if China would be a force for stability in Asia, or would attempt to expand its influence. These two are not mutually exclusive. The risks associated with US influence are tolerated; those associated with Chinese influence are not.

This paper looks like it might have something interesting to say on this topic: 

  • 1
What interests you about this phenomenon? It seems to me unsurprising that those who enjoy social advantages of various kinds (men, whites, Americans) will tend to be more intolerant of injustices that tend to shift the distribution of advantages than of injustices that maintain the status quo.

  • 1

Log in