Last week, Mike Huckabee was on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe”. During a discussion on whether or not to allow Syrian refugees into the United States, he said, “If you bought a 5 lb. bag of peanuts and you knew that in the 5 lb. bag of peanuts there were about 10 peanuts that were deadly poisonous, would you feed them to your kids? The answer is no”. Others are using jelly beans instead of peanuts.
Does this ridiculous analogy sound familiar? Perhaps you remember some feminists making a similar argument in the days and weeks after the 2014 Isla Vista shootings that targeted UCSB students. Many women on twitter and other social media sites shared their personal stories of sexism, harassment, and violence, in response to a video and manifesto the killer had created. While some of the tweets shared their experiences without being sexist against men, many others demonized men and generalized the actions of some as a description of men as a whole. In response, many shared rebuttals and pointed out the sexism.
In response to #NotAllMen, various tweets and memes were spread along the lines of this:
“You say not all men are monsters? Imagine a bowl of M&Ms. 10% of them are poisoned. Go ahead. Eat a handful. Not all M&Ms are Poison. #YesAllWomen”
As you can see, this analogy can be used against many different groups. It can be used to “justify” xenophobia as much as it can sexism. I hope that some of the feminists who were passing around the M&M meme are noticing that some people against allowing refugees into our country are doing the same thing, and they realize how wrong they were. And I hope people are pointing out to the anti-refugee types that a very similar meme was used against men. If that isn’t enough to get them thinking, an explanation of the analogy’s flaws are at Debunking Denialism.
I’m not sure when this bowl or bag of poisonous food thing started. It very well may have been around years before last year’s mass shootings. Whatever the origin, I hope it stops now.