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  • Writer's pictureJohn Whitehead

Equity and Equality

I have been somewhat of a word guy for many years now. This simply means I listen to the words people use. I do so with the intention of believing people are saying what they mean.

Unfortunately, I have come to think this is not always the case.

From here I must navigate through the possibility someone either does not truly understand the words they are using, or they are using their words with a specific intention in mind.

I am beginning to think the latter may be the case.

Many times, the words being used create emotional responses without true consideration of their meaning.

“Equity and equality” are two such words.

These words have been used to justify the promotion of the systemic racism said to exist in our country today. This is done by focusing on the plight of people who have been victims of generational welfare through the welfare system.

It is not difficult to feel empathy for those who have been products of this system. I would even go as far as to say the welfare system itself has a systemic problem.

However, the belief that the answer to this problem is equity is one I struggle with.

You see, the word equity is being used to promote the idea there is a disparity between races and classes of people that can only be solved by wealth sharing. Though this sounds noble and may at its heart be seen as equitable, the reality is this does not take away from the central difference between “equity and equality”.

This difference is disparity, and it cannot be changed by being equitable. How do I know this is true? Because disparity is all around us. In fact, it exists in your family and in mine.

The call for equity proposes eliminating this disparity between people by ensuring everyone starts out in the same place. Well, my siblings and I all started in the same place. We had the same upbringings and were exposed to the same dysfunctions.

This still did not eliminate the disparity that exists among us. This can be seen as we each have experienced a different outcome even after our equitable beginnings.

Is this the result of our beginning or of the paths we took along the way? This answer is obvious, the path we choose and choices we make will always lead us to end up in different places.

The need and requirement for equality is a completely different issue. It is different because we are all created equal in the eyes of our Creator, and we do not need the government or the media to remind us of this truth.

Even so, this does not guarantee an equitable outcome in our lives or in the lives of those around us.

In our apparent search for virtue, the cry for “equity and equality” should give way to the reality we are all equal and the outcome sought in the cry for equity is earned.

This truth may be unpopular, but that does not make it untrue.

The question I would like to ask is, in the desire for “equity and equality” is the goal to empower and inspire others to achieve, or to give someone something because we do not believe they can achieve?

If it is the latter, we need to admit, the call for equity is just an attempt to help those you believe are incapable of helping themselves. If this is true, you are also saying you do not believe we are all equal and there are some who cannot achieve on our own when given the chance.

I believe seeing each other as equals must be the desire of our hearts. This is the most equitable thing we can do!

Proverbs 22:2, “Rich and poor have this in common: The LORD is the Maker of them all.

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