Common Fallacies When Discussing Height Prejudice

  • Relative Privation: "Height discrimination is not that bad because someone else has it worse."
  • Just-World: The belief that bad things happen to bad people. "It's not about height, it's your bad personality."
  • Survivorship Bias: "Whether it be movie stars, or athletes, or musicians, or CEOs of multibillion-dollar corporations who dropped out of school, popular media often tells the story of the determined individual who pursues their dreams and beats the odds. There is much less focus on the many people that may be similarly skilled and determined but fail to ever find success because of factors beyond their control or other (seemingly) random events. This creates a false public perception that anyone can achieve great things if they have the ability and make the effort. The overwhelming majority of failures are not visible to the public eye, and only those who survive the selective pressures of their competitive environment are seen regularly."
  • Kafkatrapping: Inducing guilt then using any denial of guilt as further evidence of guilt. People accuse short men of having Short Man Syndrome, then when any short man goes against this, they use it as further confirmation of SMS.
  • Appeal to Nature/Naturalistic/Biological Determinism: "Height prejudice, and the inequity that stems from it, is the natural way of things."
  • Burden of Proof: The burden of proof lies with the person who is making a claim. Society claims many nasty things about short men, yet expects short men to "disprove" these stereotypes - the accused is guilty until proven innocent (I've written a series of posts specifically about this).
  • Composition/Division: Inferring that something is true of the whole from the fact that it is true of some part of the whole. "I have never experienced heightism, therefore nobody experiences heightism.
  • False Dilemma: When something is falsely claimed to be an "either/or" situation. "You can either think about heightism, or live a fulfilling life."
  • Appeal to the People: Believing something is true because many or most people believe it. "If so many talk about angry short men, it must be a real issue." Could also be done in reverse, "Society as a whole doesn't acknowledge heightism, therefore it doesn't exist."
  • Argument by Laziness: A person makes a statement or gives an opinion on an issue without having studied the topic being discussed. Everyone seems to be an expert on height related issues, but how many have done their research?
  • Strawman: Substituting a person’s actual position or argument, then attacking that new, false narrative. One person could be talking about height in employment or politics, but the other will act like the first is mad about dating issues.

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