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Equal rights for others can mean less rights for you

(45 Posts)
Bumpitybumper Fri 19-Jun-20 10:12:25

This is the latest internet meme that is giving me the rage. Whilst I appreciate that it's well intentioned, I find it horribly naive and simplistic.

Actually sometimes some privileged groups will have to accept that they have to lose some of the rights and privileges they have previously enjoyed to achieve equality. Trying to pretend otherwise is horribly disingenuous and will just prevent true equality being achieved.

Also it completely ignores cases where there are conflicting rights, where one group gaining rights will directly impact on another group's rights. Sometimes actually rights are very much "like pie" and you can only cut it so many ways. We don't live in a world with infinite resources and influence available so equalising rights in every area will inevitably lead to some vulnerable groups missing out as they need extra protection and rights to be able to access resource and influence.

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Bumpitybumper Fri 19-Jun-20 10:16:34

Sorry forgot to say that the meme is actually "Equal rights doesn't mean less rights for you. It's not pie"

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DancingLady Fri 19-Jun-20 10:20:29

Really interesting concept, and I've been thinking about this a lot recently wrt trans rights/women's rights. I don't want to see any hard-won rights that women have fought for rolled back to accommodate trans women, at the expense of natal women. I've clashed with friends over this A LOT over the past week or two. I dont know this answer. But I dont think it's to tell women to budge up, share, be kind, stop making a fuss, shut up etc.

louisthetrumpetswan Fri 19-Jun-20 10:31:58

It's perfectly possible to believe that all citizens should have equal rights in terms of right to education, health care, legal protection etc and acknowledge that there are power differentials in terms of class, race, sex as to what this means in practice.

Equal rights do affect the status quo hence the opposition to women getting the vote/being able to own property/being paid the same as men for the same work and the opposition to apartheid and segregation being lifted.

Bumpitybumper Fri 19-Jun-20 10:57:50

I also feel like it ignores the fact that people's objections to extending equal rights to all is often more focussed on the protection of their own rights rather than seeking to deny rights to others.

Using the trans issue as an example, irrespective of where you fall regarding this debate, it is clearly the case that most women with concerns in this area are more focussed on the erosion of their own rights rather than having a real desire to deny rights to others out of principle.

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LumaLou Fri 19-Jun-20 11:00:22

It can impact on the privilege people take for granted, absolutely. Shouldn’t erode rights though, something’s gone wrong if it does.

TabbyMumz Fri 19-Jun-20 11:06:24

Like what though? Can you give examples?

RoseAndRose Fri 19-Jun-20 11:09:30

I think that rich countries are going to need to stop exploiting poorer countries - both resources and people.

We say NHS cannot afford the HCPs we need without immigration, but is it right that poorer countries use their resources to train HCPs for the rest of the world?

Pluckedpencil Fri 19-Jun-20 11:15:12

The trans example is a good example.

We should all have a right to be safe in prison. Trans activists believe trans men need to go into women's prisons to have that right. In reality, this will reduce the safety of women in prison, however minimally. They are eating some of the women's pie. Now you could say the good for trans men will outweigh the bad for women. But rights shouldn't be a pie, I agree. We all have an equal right to equal levels of safety, and men's prisons are just more dangerous. So is the answer really to move people around prisons, or to improve prison safety so everyone is equally safe? Or sort out male violence once and for all at a societal level so society in general is safer. Or both.

Miljea Fri 19-Jun-20 11:16:39

Tabby people have already cited examples. RTT.

Boulshired Fri 19-Jun-20 11:17:44

The sharing of right often leads to an unequal split. An organisation decided to include more diversity its generally not an the expense of the white male middle/upper class man. Even with BAME I have seen parts of the BAME community benefit at the expense of other parts whilst the company can still proclaim to be diversive.

ChangeThePassword Fri 19-Jun-20 11:22:35

Are you confusing rights with opportunities?

I can't see how equal rights means less rights for some. I can see how it might equate to fewer opportunities for some.

What rights do you think some people will lose out on?

Sindragosan Fri 19-Jun-20 11:24:29

Women used to be blamed for male unemployment. Before women started having jobs, a man could quit one job on a Friday and walk into another on a Monday...

With a relatively fixed number of jobs, more people competing for them leads to some being disappointed. This attitude still persists a little with men 'needing jobs to provide for the family'.

Bibijayne Fri 19-Jun-20 11:24:58

I think it's more that if you actually give everyone opportunity to excel, then some in more privileged groups will not get the easy ride they anticipated. It's not so much a loss of rights - but a loss of privilege. If you get the best person for the job, and actually the best person, it's not going to be always be a white middle-class, middle-aged, straight man.

sleepyhead Fri 19-Jun-20 11:26:03

The issue is in the eliding of the definition of "human rights" with "wants" and "desires" by some groups.

DancingLady Fri 19-Jun-20 11:26:19

change women will lose the right to single sex spaces if TRAs have their demands met. I believe trans people deserve and require full protection under law. But not at the expense of women.

Bumpitybumper Fri 19-Jun-20 11:29:49

A good example not related to the trans issue is the Married Women's Property Act 1882. Before this piece of legislation was passed, married women were incapable of owning property in their own right and any property was automatically owned and controlled by her husband. By affording married women the right to own property in their own right, they clearly removed a married man's right to automatically take ownership of their wife's property.

This isn't just a case of removing privilege but removing rights. There are many many more examples.

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Daisyhut Fri 19-Jun-20 11:30:08

My neighbours have a right to sleep at night without noise.
I have the right to have noisy twin babies who cry loudly during the night.
Competing rights.

CathyComesHome Fri 19-Jun-20 11:36:00

Surely it depends on the context?

I’ve seen this argument made on threads about disability multiple times lately. Pp making the argument that disabled or seriously ill people with medical conditions meaning they can’t wear masks should be banned from public transport or even banned from going outside because the rights of able-bodied people to not be around unmasked people trumps the rights of disabled people to be allowed outside.

Bumpitybumper Fri 19-Jun-20 11:39:23

Well yes, but in the example you use it doesn't do anyone any good to pretend that the rights of one groups aren't competing with the rights of another. It isn't possible for both groups to get what they want so the question is what group do we prioritise? Pretending that these kinda of choices don't need to be made and that equal rights is a "victimless" pursuit is really unhelpful.

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HugeAckmansWife Fri 19-Jun-20 11:48:32

Shouldn't it be 'fewer' not 'less' grin? I teach this at secondary school (rights, not grammar)! And we do discuss that in order for someone to have the right to not be verbally abused, someone else has to lose the right to absolute freedom of speech and so on. The meme works if it's talking about opportunity perhaps, but not rights.

CathyComesHome Fri 19-Jun-20 11:50:43

I don’t agree. Being allowed to access public services is a right. Not voluntarily being in the same area as someone not wearing a mask is not a “right.”

Disabled people are a protected class.

Pretending the two are equal, and pretending that the existence of disabled people presents a real physical threat to able bodied people (when the majority of non-mask wearers are not disabled) is just whatsboutery and scapegoating.

GenerateUsername Fri 19-Jun-20 12:10:14

My neighbours have a right to sleep at night without noise.
I have the right to have noisy twin babies who cry loudly during the night.
Competing rights.


That's not quite correct though - it's not about your right to have a baby who makes noise, it's about the baby's right to be a baby.

Your neighbours have the right to enjoy peace and quiet without unnecessary disturbance. But the babies' right to be babies isn't 'unnecessary disturbance'.

So their rights aren't actually competing. (Fairly obviously I haven't explained this in legal terms!)

cologne4711 Fri 19-Jun-20 12:18:13

I do agree that equal rights means fewer rights for others - that's why men fought against womens' rights for so long (and still do - if a Saudi woman can drive, her male relatives have that little less power over her). In fact maybe it is a power thing rather than a "rights" thing - ie when slavery was abolished white people had (a bit) less power over black people. If women can work and earn their own money, men have less power over them.

tectonicplates Fri 19-Jun-20 12:24:49

What about smokers? For example the rights of smokers to smoke in their own back garden, vs the rights of their neighbours to breathe clean air. We've seen numerous threads on here with people saying they can smell their neighbour's smoke, even when sitting indoors, or that they can't open their windows because of it. Personally I believe the rights of non-smokers should always take precedence, and I strongly support employers who legally reserve the right to discriminate against smokers during recruitment. It's not so bad if someone smokes 2 or 3 per day, but I have worked in places where certain people constantly went out for cigarette breaks and it caused a lot of resentment.

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