Tesla is ‘profoundly overvalued,’ and its exclusion from the S&P 500 was a ‘brave’ decision by the index committee, DataTrek says | Markets Insider

In class today I talked about an interaction with my old boss 20 years ago. Our startup was acquired. The P/E rose to 400. I asked my boss “the market average P/E is 16, we are at 400, isn’t this overvalued? Shouldn’t I sell?” At the time he told me “your MBA does not apply anymore, it’s a new economy.” The stock went up in the next month or so from 180 to 250.

Within a year it came crashing back down from $250 to $3. I then asked my boss “does my MBA apply now?” He told me his wife was already upset with him.

So here we are today, 20 years later. TSLA has a P/E over 900. Does my MBA apply?

-Dr. Moore

https://markets.businessinsider.com/news/stocks/tesla-stock-sp500-exclusion-index-overvalued-profoundly-datatrek-committee-why-2020-9-1029575409

The Past, Present, and Future of Race Relations in America

I learned many new things about American history in the past 3 to 4 months. It has been quite enlightening. As a result, I thought it would be nice to combine readings and videos I found informative into one post to share with others. This is a “living document.” As such, you may wish to bookmark this page and check back periodically. Feel free to contact me if you have any additions or corrections you believe suit the table below.

The Past / Present / Future flow arose while reading Siddhartha by Herman Hesse. That book presented an interesting question: if you stand in front of a river, where is the river? Like many of you, I thought “well, right there in front of me of course.” However, the river is more than in front of you. The river has a past, present, and future that are all connected. The river’s past began as snow in the mountains. The river’s present is right there before you. The river’s future is downstream flowing into the ocean, evaporating into the air, and returning as rainfall or snowfall.

So too is our life. So too is the experience of race relations in America. All represent a linked series of past, present, and future thoughts, actions, and consequences. Following that flow, I assembled a table on the Past, Present, and Future of race relations in America by topical area.

Allow me to highlight a few I found especially enlightening to recommend as a reading and viewing “starter pack.”

  1. NPR, American Police: HTML. Although listed in the “Policing, Past” portion of the table, it could easily have been placed in all parts of the table. If you want a good background of the evolution of race relations in this country, I find this an excellent starting point.
  2. King Cotton: The Truth About the Confederacy: HTML. This is #2 perhaps due to my professional bias. I teach finance, this video includes numbers.
  3. Dispelling the Confederate Monument Myths: HTML. From the same person as #2. In this he provides further context on what confederate monuments actually represent.

Okay, so those would be my top three. Yours may be different. If you finish those three and want recommendations for what to read/view next, I’d go with the “Housing, Past” and “Education, Past” portions of the table.

I’ll end with a quote from Kung-Fu:

If one dwells on the past, then they rob the present. But if one ignores the past, they may rob the future. The seeds of our destiny are nurtured by the roots of our past.

PastPresentFuture
Policing– NPR, American Police: HTML.– PBS, FBI warned of white supremacists in law enforcement 10 years ago. Has anything changed: HTML.
– NPR, White Woman Fired After Calling Police on Black Man in Viral Video: HTML.
– NY Daily News, Starbucks manager called the cops on black men two minutes after they arrived for business meeting: HTML.
– CNN, Woman who called cops on Black man birdwatching in Central Park faces charges: HTML.
– Sacramento Bee, Proposed California law would make it a hate crime to call 911 because of a person’s race: HTML.
Housing– NPR, A ‘Forgotten History’ Of How The U.S. Government Segregated America: HTML.– The Guardian, CEO caught on video confronting neighbor over Black Lives Matter message: HTML.
– NPR, Parks In Nonwhite Areas Are Half The Size Of Ones In Majority-White Areas: HTML.
EducationRevisionist History Podcats, Miss Buchanan’s Period Of Adjustment: HTML.– Mother Jones, I’m a Black Female Scientist. On My First Day of Work, a Colleague Threatened to Call the Cops on Me: HTML.
– The State Hornet, Sac State professor apologizes for video featuring racial slurs, petition circulates for his removalHTML.
Slavery & DiscriminationDispelling the Confederate Monument Myths: HTML. (7.5 minutes)
The Truth About the Confederacy in the United States (Full 1 hour 40 minute version): HTML.
The Creator of Veggie Tales Gives a No-Nonsense History of Race in America in 17 minutes: HTML.
– Gimlet Media, Uncivil: A history podcast where we go back to the time our divisions turned into a war, and bring you stories left out of the official history: HTML.
– Brief story of how a colleague at Sacramento State University unnecessarily called the police on me, a fellow tenured finance professor: HTML.
– Jennifer Eberhardt TED Talk, How racial bias works: HTML.
– USA Today, ‘I’m leaving, and I’m just not coming back’: Fed up with racism, Black Americans head overseas: HTML.
EconomyKing Cotton: The Truth About the Confederacy: HTML.
– NPR, Patent Racism: HTML.
– Forbes, The 2% Solution: Inside Billionaire Robert Smith’s Bold Plan to Funnel Billions to America’s Black-Owned Businesses: HTML.
– McKinsey & Company, The economic impact of closing the racial wealth gap: HTML.

Rep. John Lewis, civil rights icon, original Freedom Rider, has died

As I read this article I could not help but think “Thank you, Mr. Lewis. May you rest in peace.”

I am a black American. I grew up in the Chicago area. I experienced racism growing up, as a young adult, and even as an old (okay middle-aged?) adult here at Sacramento State University. However, I did not have to endure the brutality that those before me endured, including Mr. Lewis. I thank those who came before me from the bottom of my heart. Thank you for sacrificing for what is just and right. Thank you to people of all races who fought and suffered for what is right. While in Napa a month ago I could not help but to thank those in the diverse crowd of BLM protestors for their support. I can’t describe the feeling of gratitude in words.

People may say today’s protests are more violent than those in the 1960s. That is patently false. As you read the USA Today piece you will see Mr. Lewis even endured a fractured skull for his peaceful protests. Again, thank you Mr. Lewis.  President Obama, while awarding Mr. Lewis the Presidential Medal of Freedom, said of Mr. Lewis:

“an American who knew that change could not wait for some other person or some other time; whose life is a lesson in the fierce urgency of now.”

As I face current issues at Sacramento State, and within the CSU system, I find inspiration and motivation from the elders. Stay tuned for more from me on this topic in the coming weeks…

Oh, and before I forget, please read the USA article and look at the pictures. There is a picture of Obama, Lewis, and Bush holding hands on the very same bridge that was part of the 1965 Selma to Montgomery Alabama march. To think, those gentlemen, in unity, commemorated a peaceful protest because the cause was just and remains just. It is a good visual of the unity this country should have, could have, and must have if we expect to prosper as a nation. Yes, I’m going to say it: our current President has proven incapable of getting us anywhere near that direction of unity. The former presidents in that photo demonstrated unity because it was what they believed in, not because it was a good photo op.

Let’s do better next go ‘round in November my fellow Americans.

-Dr. Moore

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2020/07/17/rep-john-lewis-civil-rights-icon-original-freedom-rider-has-died/795340002/

One graphic explains why Americans are facing an EU travel ban – CNN

A picture is worth a thousand words. As Americans argue, fight, and in some cases kill over disputes about “freedom” regarding mask wearing and lockdown orders, the EU daily new cases steadily declined. Take a look at the graph in the article below and ponder “how can we as a nation do better?”

https://www.cnn.com/2020/06/30/europe/european-union-travel-us-graphic-intl/index.html

Student Behavior Key To Reopening Colleges During Coronavirus Crisis : NPR

The California State University (CSU) system decided back in May to go online in the Fall. Given that the uncertainty that existed in May is still present today (hey, that rhymes), I believe it was the right call. For example, I don’t see how you can have all 30,000 students plus faculty and staff at Sacramento State compliant with mask wearing and social distancing. I can’t think of a plan that prevents virus spread (saves lives) that is robust to non-compliance without proven and readily available treatments.

Could you imagine the logistical nightmare of trying to implement an NBA season-restart “bubble” on every campus? In time, we will see the results of various attempts including the NBA bubble. Hopefully treatments (preventative and post-infection) come online soon.

Be patient my friends. Whatever arises, ceases.

-Dr. Moore

https://www.npr.org/2020/06/29/873798541/the-wild-card-for-an-in-person-fall-college-student-behavior

The Fed Helped Companies Borrow Money. Some Laid Workers Off Anyway : NPR

Allow me to begin with a quote from the NPR piece:

“The food service giant Sysco Corp. borrowed $4 billion in March, only to lay off a third of its workforce a short time later. It’s also paying a dividend to its shareholders.“

For the past couple years I taught students “accumulate productive capital” (e.g. Sysco stock). That mantra and the facts on the ground during this bailout are consistent with a point mentioned in the Bloomberg Market Concepts training that I require of students: the statistical connection between the economy (typically measured by GDP growth) and the stock market is weak.

Let me state that another way: the connection between the economy (Main Street) and the stock market (Wall Street) is weak. Vanguard also verified the lack of GDP-stock market connection in a market predictors study. With the NPR article below, you now see a mechanism that weakens the connection: free money to corporations, laid-off workers (Main Street), and dividend payments (Wall Street). Think about who the shareholders are that receive these dividends: wealthy individuals including the corporate executives that approved the layoff and dividend payout plans. Think about the laid off workers: your friends and family that elitists attempt to vilify and then suggest those laid off workers should not receive any unemployment benefits.

So when I say “accumulate productive capital,” I suppose I advocate a “if you can’t beat them, join them” approach. However, many unemployed (and employed for that matter), simply don’t have enough to pay for both necessities and stocks.

Marx and Schumpeter predicted an end to capitalism albeit by different paths (revolution vs. gradual decomposition). Perhaps we all better take action to reverse the widening wealth gap and promote greater shared prosperity before either (or both) of those things happen.

-Dr. Moore

https://www.npr.org/2020/06/10/873190315/the-fed-is-throwing-money-around-not-everyone-is-reaping-the-benefits

American Police : NPR

I highly recommend this podcast to every person in America. Recent news events opened old wounds of an incident where a colleague here at Sacramento State University called police on me, an African American, during a routine Student Investment Fund meeting with 30+ students. Police were called on me for simply being present and not subjecting myself to this colleague’s control. I later found out the cop-calling was part of an orchestrated plan condoned in advance by our immediate supervisor.  In the context of policing in America, as made obvious in recent events (which are repeats of past events), such a plan could have had lethal consequences.

This NPR podcast illuminates how policing in America has its roots in controlling black people. It then took an interesting look at contrasting and comparing policing in the South vs. the North. Again, the underlying theme is control with some nuances on who was being controlled and who did the controlling in the North.

I grew up in the Chicago area. I remember my father telling me of drinking from different water fountains, of being surrounded by white kids on his way home from school to fight every day, of the scars on his arm from when his home was set on fire in the winter, of how local government blocked the repairs on the roof during the brutal cold Chicago winter and how snow hit him in the face while trying to sleep. I could go on and on with his stories, and some of my own. The point is, his mother left the South for a better life in the North. This podcast puts perspective on how such a move was not a slam dunk. Actually, there’s a book titled “In Search of the Promised Land” related to the search for a land where you were treated simply as a fellow human being.

The podcast is an hour long, but has a very powerful start and ending. I hope as many of you out there as possible find the time to listen to the podcast from start to finish.

Yes, it is uncomfortable. #LeanIn

I’ll be back with more finance posts next time.

-Dr. Moore

https://www.npr.org/2020/06/03/869046127/american-police

#RevealRacism
#RemoveRacism
#BlackInTheIvory

Related articles:

  • [1] NPR May 26, 2020 – White Woman Who Called Police On Black Bird-Watcher In Central Park Has Been FiredHTML.
    • Her employer, financial firm Franklin Templeton, acted swiftly.  From the NPR article: “Her now former employer, Franklin Templeton, said in a statement posted to Twitter she had been fired, less than a day after announcing she was placed on administrative leave.”
    • In contrast, Sacramento State has yet to publicly acknowledge the wrongs of my “colleague” calling the cops on me – and here we are nearly two years later.
    • To my knowledge there has not even been a reprimand of my cop-calling “colleague” or immediate “supervisor” that condoned this racially charged plan.
    • Update: Woman who accused Central Park birdwatcher of threatening her faces charges, DA says: HTML.
  • [2] Another incident, another professor, another college on Sacramento State’s campus…
    • The State Hornet May 8, 2020 – Sac State professor apologizes for video featuring racial slurs, petition circulates for his removalHTML
    • The State Hornet May 17, 2020 – VIRTUAL TOWN HALL PREVIEW: Students prepare to voice their opinions about viral professor videoHTML.
    • The State Hornet May 19, 2020 – BSU president presses Sac State to fire professor seen arguing with neighborsHTML.
  • [3] NY Daily News, April 20, 2018 – Starbucks manager called the cops on black men two minutes after they arrived for business meeting: HTML.
    • “The men, both 23, said they feared for their lives during the arrest. They were not charged with a crime.”
    • “The fallout also drew an apology from Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross, who initially backed the arresting officers and said they’d done `nothing wrong.’  `I failed miserably,’ Ross said during a press conference. `I exacerbated the situation with my messaging; it’s as simple as that.’”
  • [4] CNBC, April 16, 2018 – Starbucks manager who called police on two black men has left the company: HTML.
    • “A company spokeswoman told CNBC that `she is no longer at that store.’”
    • “Starbucks’ CEO Kevin Johnson told ABC News on Monday that it was `completely inappropriate’ for Starbucks employees to call police.”
  • [5] The Guardian, June 15, 2020 – CEO caught on video confronting neighbor over Black Lives Matter message: HTML.
    • Lisa Alexander, who serves as CEO of the LaFace Skincare line, thought the person of color finishing a chalk stencil of a Black Lives Matter message, was trespassing and defacing property.
    • James Juanillo, who is Filipino, actually lived at the house.  However, Alexander, on camera “lies and says she knows that I don’t live in my own house, because she knows the person who lives here.”
    • “Juanillo said a police officer pulled up several minutes after the encounter and drove away after recognizing Juanillo as a longtime resident. He later told KGO-TV he believes the couple accused him of defacing private property because they didn’t think he belonged in the wealthy Pacific Heights neighborhood.”
  • [6] Mother Jones, June 15, 2020 – I’m a Black Female Scientist. On My First Day of Work, a Colleague Threatened to Call the Cops on Me: HTML.
    • I’m getting tired of adding examples to this list.  It seems to be never ending.
    • “When I made the #BlackintheIvory post, people said, “Oh, well, you’re probably young.” Yes, but there’s a difference between a misunderstanding and threatening to call the police. You don’t threaten to call the cops on somebody that you think is too young to be somewhere, unless they’re at a bar. I was checking my mail. I had a suit on. There was nothing violent going on, there was no reason to call law enforcement. “
    • “And so the suspicious woman said, “Oh, well, why didn’t you say anything? You just don’t look like you could work here.” And she walked away. There was no apology. It was so uncomfortable. And I don’t know if the worst part about it was the secretary was just like, “All right. That’s solved. And now go about your day.””
  • [7] Sacramento Bee, June 17, 2020 – Proposed California law would make it a hate crime to call 911 because of a person’s race: HTML.
  • The University has publicly acknowledged the bird-watching incident in New York [1] and described the other incident near Sacramento State’s campus [2] as “racially charged” and “abhorrent”: HTML.  Yet no public condemnation from University Administration for the “abhorrent” and “racially-charged” cop-calling perpetrators, an incident that occurred on campus in front of 30+ students, despite my pleas for nearly two years.
  • The Starbucks CEO quickly and publicly acknowledged it was “completely inappropriate” to call the police [4].  When will the leadership of Sacramento State University do the same?

 

What Colleges And Graduating Seniors Need To Do To Find Jobs During These Tough COVID-19 Times

This article starts with an example of a college doing all it can to help graduating seniors find a job. Afterwards, it focuses on tangible actions a graduating senior must make to land a job. I would add this message to graduating seniors: don’t rely on your college to find a job for you. Use your school’s help, but you must take action.

Don’t sit around waiting for your school or some employer to say “here’s a high paying job for you.” It doesn’t work that way. If you do nothing you will see nothing in return. If you follow the practical steps in the Forbes article you will see a return. Maybe not when you want or the dollar number you want, but greater than the zero you will certainly see if doing nothing.

-Dr. Moore

https://www.forbes.com/sites/jackkelly/2020/05/07/what-colleges-and-graduating-seniors-need-to-do-to-find-jobs-during-these-tough-covid-19-times/

Take II on the False Equivalence article

Forgive the repeat. I could have sworn I included some comments at the beginning of this article. I almost wondered if WordPress removed or censored those comments. Nevertheless, I will try to repeat what I thought I typed this morning.

Given this era of misinformation, “alternative facts,” misleading information, disinformation, etc., I find this an important read. It reminded me of readings on truth in the book “In the Buddha’s Words” among others. I put together a single-slide summary diagram on “Discovery, Preservation, and Final Arrival at Truth” based on those readings: PDF. Please have a look and reflect on applying that process to what you hear within personal relationships, work relationships, and political discourse.

Stay safe.

Stay true!

-Dr. Moore

https://www.forbes.com/sites/stephaniesarkis/2019/05/19/this-is-not-equal-to-that-how-false-equivalence-clouds-our-judgment/#2209d5f65c0f

This Is Not Equal To That: How False Equivalence Clouds Our Judgment

Stephanie Sarkis04:49pm EDT
27,188 views|May 19, 2019,

Senator Tom Cotton used the cognitive bias of false equivalence when defending citizens’ higher… [+]

False equivalence is a type of cognitive bias or flawed reasoning style. False equivalency means that you think (or are told) two things should have equal weight in your decision-making. If one opinion has solid data supporting it, but the other opinion is conjecture, they are not equivalent in quality. In the 2016 presidential election, people were told to “pick the lesser of the two evils,” even though in regards to fitness for office Clinton’s history of being a senator and secretary of state made her much more qualified. Many of the public were led to believe that since both candidates had issues, those issues were equal in scope. However, using a private email server is small potatoes compared to someone who has never held a public office and has a lengthy history of legal issues

A study from Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy found that the amount of negative coverage was the same for Clinton and Trump, even though Trump’s issues were far greater than Clinton’s. The lead author of the study, Thomas Patterson, said, “Were the allegations surrounding Clinton of the same order of magnitude as those surrounding Trump?” He continued, “It’s a question that political reporters made no serious effort to answer during the 2016 campaign.”

False equivalence leads people to believe two separate things are equally bad, or equally good. A look into how damaging this thought process is can be found in Isaac Asminov’s article, “The Relativity of Wrong.” Asminov wrote, “When people thought the earth was flat, they were wrong. When people thought the Earth was spherical they were wrong. But if you think that thinking the Earth is spherical is just as wrong as thinking the Earth is flat, then your view is wronger than both of them put together.”

Trump political allies use false equivalency to support his policies. On CBS This Morning, Senator Tom Cotton said in regards to Trump’s tariff’s on Chinese goods and resulting costs to citizens due to retaliatory tariffs, “There will be some sacrifice on the part of Americans, I grant you that. But I also would say that sacrifice is pretty minimal compared to the sacrifices that our soldiers make overseas that our fallen heroes who are laid to rest in Arlington make.” Gayle King answered, “You can’t compare those two sacrifices.” King is correct in that the public paying increased tariffs and military service are completely separate issues. In regards to Cotton’s statements, a study by the University of Arkansas (Senator Cotton’s home state) said that “retaliatory tariffs by China could end up hurting many farmers in Arkansas”, and could cost Arkansas $383 million. The Arkansas Farm Bureau president stated that Arkansas agriculture is in a “slow disaster” mode.

False equivalence also reigns in the area of climate change. A very small percentage of (non-authoritative scientists’ opinions are given equal weight or seen as “competing against” 99% of scientists’ opinions. A false dichotomy is another type of false equivalence. The common form of this is, “If you are against X, then you are against Y.” For example, the fallacy “If you are for gun control, you are against individual freedom.” Anti-vaccine activists proclaim that they have just as much solid scientific evidence as pro-vaccine scientists, but anti-vaccinators’ evidence is largely anecdotal. One study cited by anti-vaccination activists was even retracted for providing false information. (The lead scientist on the study had been funded by attorneys who were pursuing lawsuits against the vaccine-makers.) The retraction stated that there was no link found between MMR vaccines and autism.

In abusive relationships, a gaslighting partner will tell the other, “So what about my cheating? You didn’t even cancel our dinner reservations when I asked you to. You don’t care about our relationship. That’s the real issue here.” This gaslighting tactic will be used to convince the victim that they did something equally as egregious, and therefore, according to the gaslighter, the victim should not be upset at the gaslighter’s outrageous behavior. This allows the gaslighter to get away with even more egregious behaviors, by always spinning it to his or her partner as “you did something just as bad.”

Why are we susceptible to false equivalence? Because it simplifies our thinking. There are less critical thinking skills needed when we accept two things as equal, rather than unequal. In addition, when someone (especially a person in authority) tells us two things are equivalent, we tend to believe it more due to his or her inherent power. How do you fight back against false equivalence? First, educate yourself on the different forms it takes so you can recognize it. Next, call it out when you see it. Distance yourself from the source of the false equivalence. The more we educate others about this cognitive bias, and hold those who use false equivalence accountable, the less impact it may make on an unsuspecting public.

This Is Not Equal To That: How False Equivalence Clouds Our Judgment

Stay safe.

Stay true!

-Dr. Moore

https://www.forbes.com/sites/stephaniesarkis/2019/05/19/this-is-not-equal-to-that-how-false-equivalence-clouds-our-judgment/#41ab29335c0f

This Is Not Equal To That: How False Equivalence Clouds Our Judgment

Stephanie Sarkis04:49pm EDT
27,176 views|May 19, 2019,

Senator Tom Cotton used the cognitive bias of false equivalence when defending citizens’ higher… [+]

False equivalence is a type of cognitive bias or flawed reasoning style. False equivalency means that you think (or are told) two things should have equal weight in your decision-making. If one opinion has solid data supporting it, but the other opinion is conjecture, they are not equivalent in quality. In the 2016 presidential election, people were told to “pick the lesser of the two evils,” even though in regards to fitness for office Clinton’s history of being a senator and secretary of state made her much more qualified. Many of the public were led to believe that since both candidates had issues, those issues were equal in scope. However, using a private email server is small potatoes compared to someone who has never held a public office and has a lengthy history of legal issues

A study from Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy found that the amount of negative coverage was the same for Clinton and Trump, even though Trump’s issues were far greater than Clinton’s. The lead author of the study, Thomas Patterson, said, “Were the allegations surrounding Clinton of the same order of magnitude as those surrounding Trump?” He continued, “It’s a question that political reporters made no serious effort to answer during the 2016 campaign.”

False equivalence leads people to believe two separate things are equally bad, or equally good. A look into how damaging this thought process is can be found in Isaac Asminov’s article, “The Relativity of Wrong.” Asminov wrote, “When people thought the earth was flat, they were wrong. When people thought the Earth was spherical they were wrong. But if you think that thinking the Earth is spherical is just as wrong as thinking the Earth is flat, then your view is wronger than both of them put together.”

Trump political allies use false equivalency to support his policies. On CBS This Morning, Senator Tom Cotton said in regards to Trump’s tariff’s on Chinese goods and resulting costs to citizens due to retaliatory tariffs, “There will be some sacrifice on the part of Americans, I grant you that. But I also would say that sacrifice is pretty minimal compared to the sacrifices that our soldiers make overseas that our fallen heroes who are laid to rest in Arlington make.” Gayle King answered, “You can’t compare those two sacrifices.” King is correct in that the public paying increased tariffs and military service are completely separate issues. In regards to Cotton’s statements, a study by the University of Arkansas (Senator Cotton’s home state) said that “retaliatory tariffs by China could end up hurting many farmers in Arkansas”, and could cost Arkansas $383 million. The Arkansas Farm Bureau president stated that Arkansas agriculture is in a “slow disaster” mode.

False equivalence also reigns in the area of climate change. A very small percentage of (non-authoritative scientists’ opinions are given equal weight or seen as “competing against” 99% of scientists’ opinions. A false dichotomy is another type of false equivalence. The common form of this is, “If you are against X, then you are against Y.” For example, the fallacy “If you are for gun control, you are against individual freedom.” Anti-vaccine activists proclaim that they have just as much solid scientific evidence as pro-vaccine scientists, but anti-vaccinators’ evidence is largely anecdotal. One study cited by anti-vaccination activists was even retracted for providing false information. (The lead scientist on the study had been funded by attorneys who were pursuing lawsuits against the vaccine-makers.) The retraction stated that there was no link found between MMR vaccines and autism.

In abusive relationships, a gaslighting partner will tell the other, “So what about my cheating? You didn’t even cancel our dinner reservations when I asked you to. You don’t care about our relationship. That’s the real issue here.” This gaslighting tactic will be used to convince the victim that they did something equally as egregious, and therefore, according to the gaslighter, the victim should not be upset at the gaslighter’s outrageous behavior. This allows the gaslighter to get away with even more egregious behaviors, by always spinning it to his or her partner as “you did something just as bad.”

Why are we susceptible to false equivalence? Because it simplifies our thinking. There are less critical thinking skills needed when we accept two things as equal, rather than unequal. In addition, when someone (especially a person in authority) tells us two things are equivalent, we tend to believe it more due to his or her inherent power. How do you fight back against false equivalence? First, educate yourself on the different forms it takes so you can recognize it. Next, call it out when you see it. Distance yourself from the source of the false equivalence. The more we educate others about this cognitive bias, and hold those who use false equivalence accountable, the less impact it may make on an unsuspecting public.