I don’t know how closely you pay attention to the news, but race is a pretty hot topic these days. Aside from police brutality and the COVID’s disproportional effect on minorities, the nation was treated to two more “racial hoaxes” in the last two weeks. I’d like to examine these stories as well as a number of similar racial hoaxes in recent history and determine what they say about the battle for racial equality today.

Breaking down 7 of the biggest talking points of the current BLM saga

In the wake of the tragic event in Minneapolis, where a police officer murdered a defenseless black man, we are now in the second national crisis of 2020. And just like the last one, there are a lot of arguments out there being made from all sides of the political aisle. I would like to take the opportunity to go through some of the less compelling arguments I’ve heard and explain why it’s a bad point. Of course, this will not be all-encompassing, so I apologize if I leave out your favorite.

There, I said it. Someone had to. Because all I’ve been hearing for the last two weeks is how both men were murdered in cold blood by police officers for the grave sin of being born with the wrong skin pigment. But the conflation of these two cases has incredible ramifications for the future.

If the government has the ability to suspend rights enumerated in the constitution, that right never existed. Many have argued that in times of extreme circumstances, the government is should be given this ability. President Lincoln, for instance, famously suspended habeas corpus during the Civil War. More recently, many states and cities have suspended the right to assemble in the wake of the COVID outbreak. Several weeks ago, I brought up the notion that even though laws exist to give governments the power to remove certain freedoms in extreme cases (including pandemics), that definitionally negates the right to begin with. Rights exist exactly for extreme times. Government shouldn’t be given the authority to just decide when a situation allows for the suspension of a right.

Your boss doesn’t want you to discus your salary with your coworker; this has been drilled into you from the time you start working. The reasoning given comes in different forms. You may be told that it’s just unpolite to talk to other people about their income. You may be worried about coming off as nosy or braggadocios. But the one thing your employer is definitely worried about is if you discuss your salary with coworkers, one of you may find out that you aren’t earning your worth. The knowledge that someone who does a similar job makes significantly more money would certainly be a factor in a pay increase negotiation. Some employers have even gone so far as to make it against company policy to discuss your salary with coworkers. Some of them ingrain it into you that in fact, the reverse might happen. If you go in with a complaint that you don’t make as much as your coworker, your boss may just say, “Okay, we’ll lower his salary to be comparable.” With that threat, employees are less likely to complain, lest they gain nothing for themselves, while losing something for their colleague.

We used to live in a world of second chances. You make a mistake, say I’m sorry, and try to do better the next time. It could be a big mistake. It could be a little mistake. But either way, we are all taught from a very young age how important it is to be honest, admit your wrongdoing, and try not to let it happen again. Sometimes, the mistake is severe enough to warrant a penalty. When you’re a teenager, a small mistake could get you grounded. As an adult, a large mistake could get you prison time. But either way, showing remorse for your crime could potentially get you a lighter sentence – a shorter prison sentence, or just two weekends of no friends, phone, and internet, and maybe out earlier for good behavior and community service.