They do it too!

"So and so does it too!" "So and so did it first!" These are the kinds of responses I often hear when discussing race and politics. I also hear them when my little sister tries to avoid the consequences of behaviour that she knows is unacceptable. Implying that if I'm not going to get on the other party's case then I shouldn't get on her case either. Can you imagine the total brat she would be if I ever fell for that kind of reasoning?

I always tell my sister (to the point where I don't actually have to say it anymore, I just give her The Look) that other people acting the fool don't give her a free pass to act the fool as well. She is responsible for how she behaves and for how she responds to other people's bad behaviour.

So when someone starts carrying on about how so and so does such and such as well I am really quite unmoved. I just can't see how somebody else doing something unacceptable has any bearing on the person I'm addressing who is doing the same thing. In my sister's case I don't care if so and so was rude and obnoxious too. I know that she knows better. I expect and demand better from her. The same thing applies in pretty much any other situation. So what if X does the same thing that I'm criticizing Y for? I'm not interested in X when I'm talking to Y.

"They do it too" is really a lame excuse when thrown into a debate. It's more of a tactic to deflect criticism from someone's actions than anything else. If you can recognize that it's wrong for X to do what Y is doing then that just means that I'm justified in criticizing Y for doing it. My sister knows full well that the only reason she bothers to point out that "so and so did it too" or "so and so did it first" is to get my focus off of her and onto someone else. She knows that I know this but she tries it anyway. It's always better to try to get someone else in trouble than to be held accountable for her own actions.

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