Common misconception #3.14x10^100:

That one or more individuals within an oppressed group happen to side with the oppressor does not make a wrong a right.

In fact, it's discriminatory to think like that, because that means you're reducing the human complexity of the said group to ideas of a few individuals that happen to agree with you and/or your image of that group, thereby depriving them of individuality, agency and nuance, which are important components of human dignity.

On the flip side of this of course you're conferring to yourself the power to judgement of validity of thought and experience, therefore positioning yourself as the arbiter of right or wrong, creating an imbalance of power between you and the said group.

To make things concrete, that a doctor smokes does not mean smoking is good for you, and if you're basing a positive account of smoking on the doctor's smoking, you're objectifying doctors as a whole, reducing their intellectual complexity to that of one of them that _you_ happen to find agreeable, therefore poising yourself above them all.


This is so important.

One can always cherry pick a few examples of individuals from a group that is in opposition, or can be taken out of context, in order to justify the rest.

@emacsen Thanks!

I avoided proper examples to not detract from the argument but indeed this is an oft-exploited tactic by supporters and militants of the status quo.

A relevant "real" example to software community is how that a couple women seem to defend That Guy is used to whitewash his wrongdoings.


While this doesn't apply much in the Software Freedom world, The Guy (using your nomenclature) often has a lot of defenders around him, because people like that are extremely charming. It's their charm that gives them the ability to rise to a position of power.


This, so much. It's also a way to diminish someone- to make yourself the arbiter of their experience and even the experience of their entire people.

One of the people I worked with in the past (some people may guess who) did this exact thing about me, and it's one of the reasons we don't work together anymore.

I've had trouble expressing in words how destructive and hateful this was. Your post is so important, I hope everyone reads it.

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