Equality is certainly something that has been at the forefront of people’s minds over the past decade or so, especially as of late. One thing to note though, is that whenever the mythical being of equality is portrayed in the eyes of the media, it is always a one versus one image. There is always one group of people, defined by a certain characteristic, wanting equality with people they perceive as having the opposite characteristic.
The medias portrayal is not about fighting for equality. At the end of the day media companies are still a business who wish to make money. The best way for them to make money is with conflict. They wish to draw people’s attention to their specific brand by appealing to people’s macabre curiosity and our innate nature of finding bad headlines more appealing. So, to brand equality as a one vs one fight suites their purposes of making money.
Truth is that equality has never been a one vs one fight. It is not a boxing match and nor should it be. Equality in a single stranded manor like this is comparable to a seesaw. When you raise one end up you lower the other and to find the point of perfect harmony and balance depends on the weights on each end and if the fulcrum is in the exact centre. So, to get the seesaw perfectly level you would need the fulcrum to be in the exact middle as well as both ends to be the exact same weight. Yet we wish to achieve this with large groups of people on both sides of the see saw? You would also have any momentum complicating things as well.
On a one vs one comparison, achieving such equality would certainly be extremely hard. But equality isn’t about one group vs another group. There are many people with many characteristics who feel unequal, and a lot of these groups overlap. Such as the colour of someone’s skin and disabilities, these are not mutually exclusive. So essentially if you achieve equality for one group it then changes the equality balance for another group because they overlap so much.
So, equality, when tackled in such a way is just impossible. It’s not going to happen, and we need to stop tackling it in such a way or even thinking about it like that.
When people talk about equality, they don’t always understand that there are several types of equality. Generally, the two types talked about most are equality of outcome and equality of opportunity.
You can think of equality of outcome as if there was a lottery and everyone had 100% chance of winning. Everyone would get an equal share if the winnings. The problem with that example is that it costs to run a lottery and the winnings you would receive back would actually be less than what you paid to play.
There is a sub-category of equality of outcome as well which is equality of outcome for a specific group. The group would be defined by a specific characteristic such as race, gender, disabilities, sexuality etc. If we apply this to our lottery example and pick the specific group to be all autistic people, then equality of outcome for a specific group would mean that all autistic people who played the lottery would have the same chances of winning. This chance of winning could be higher or lower than any other groups chances of winning. A real-world scenario of this would be affirmative action in colleges or universities where the entry requirements for people of colour are lower than that of people with white skin.
Equality of opportunity, however, would be that if you bought a lottery ticket you had just as much chance to win as anyone else who also bought a lottery ticket.
I strongly believe that equality of opportunity is absolutely the best way to achieve equality. It’s simpler, it’s fairer and I believe it is also the most future proof.
Legal actions are one of the most common ways to tackle inequality such as Canadas C-16 bill which added gender identity and expression to the list of things that cannot be discriminated against. This brought up other challenges and arguments, such as the point of view of Jordan Peterson who believes it legislates free speech forcing people to use the preferred pronoun of someone.
Many countries have laws regarding discrimination for many different purposes. Such as disabled people in the workplaces or equal pay acts. These are just a few simple, quick examples but there are many, many more.
I don’t know all the laws of every country. I don’t even know all the laws of the UK, but I can confidently say that I do believe a lot of laws are more reactionary. Afterall, that is the nature of law. Generally, people do not break the law through fear of punishment.
So if laws are primarily reactionary then what is proactive in the fight for equality?! the ultimate idea would be to click our fingers and everyone have the mindset where everyone else is equal to themselves. this isn’t going to happen and its completely impossible to achieve this. The best we can do is partly change people’s mindsets over time.
Wait a minute! Well, why isn’t fully changing someone’s mindset possible?! Because there shall always be narcissists. There shall also always be certain scenarios where you are better than the person next to you. Likewise, there shall be scenarios where the person next to you is better than you. We are all good at some things and bad at others, that’s nothing bad it’s just a fact, its human nature. The key would be as long as we have equal opportunities to achieve the same.
So the best way to partly change peoples mindsets would be through education, well partly through education. Our education system should be non-bias from the history it teaches to the mathematicians we learn about. There should be absolutely no separation of “history” and “black history”. History is history, regardless of the race of the people involved in it.
There are also cultural changes that need to happen. But again, they can only be achieved through education instilling a slightly better mindset in the next generation, and then that generation growing up and parentally impacting their children’s morals with their mindset. This is the only way we can culturally change and it last through the ages.
The easiest way for me to explain why we need to culturally change is two examples. The first is if there is an artist who is visually impaired… their art could be complete garbage but there are many people out there that would still say “aww that is so good you did such a good job”. They would turn to their friends and say, “for someone that can’t see properly that’s pretty good”. They may well be right but that doesn’t mean they are a good artist. It means those people are seeing the visual impairment before the artist.
For the second example let me just share some song lyrics with you. This is a snippet from “Billy” by 6ix9ine and this is the only time you’ll read this language on this blog.
“We the fuckin’ M.O.B., nigga
These niggas bleed different
We don’t bleed nigga
We make niggas bleed, Blood!”
Now there are many examples of videos where people are using the N word and people say its fine because it is coming from a person of colour or its cultural or it ends with an A and not an ER. I don’t give a crap who you are, where you come from, what colour your skin is, or how you try to justify it. If a word is derogatory or a racial slur, its derogatory or a racial slur no matter who uses it. The argument about the ending of the word may have been fine with some people, however there have been numerous incidents where people have used the word “niggardly” where people have lodged complaints believing it to be a racial slur. which is a completely fine and legitimate word with a similar meaning to frugal, by far outdating the N word.
I think I ranted a little too much regarding culture with those two examples so let’s get back on topic.
If cultural changes and educational changes happen is it finally possible to achieve equality for all? We can certainly strive for it and get close, but we shall never manage 100% equality and nor should we. We should always hope to eliminate and identify any inequalities which cause mental or physical harm as well as any inequalities we can do something about.
If in a decade, automated cars get to be so good that they can drive on the road without a driver present, then this would allow visually impaired people to have personal transportation and fix that inequality. And that is what I mean when I said, “inequalities we can do something about”.
In short, with education, time, and the removal of unnecessary labels, we could strive to achieve equality of opportunity, but we shall never quite get there. It’s a bit like the speed of light in that sense. And although the three main things may not be achieved it still shouldn’t stop us trying for equality of opportunity.
Let me know what you think. Do you agree? Am I wrong? If I’m wrong, how so? I love to hear what other people think as it helps me grow and change. At the end of the day, that is how we all learn and improve isn’t it?
“Democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word, equality. But notice the difference: while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude.” – Alexis de Tocqueville