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Equality Not Equity

Equity is a term we hear a lot these days.  It sounds similar to Equality and evokes all sorts of good feelings about how life ought to be.  What person of good will wouldn’t be for equity for all?

 

Not so fast.  Before we get caught up in making sure everything is equitable for everybody, let’s make sure we understand what we are talking about.

 

Equality is sameness.  We are all created equal and we have inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  This means we all have the same opportunity to pursue our vision of the good life.  Where we end up, however, will be in very different places from one another.  Our outcomes will be influenced by talent, ability, values, effort, luck, and so much more.  Equality gives us opportunity but no guarantees come with it.

 

Equity is a subjective concept.  It has to do with what is fair or just. Fairness and justice are matters of opinion, not of fact.  There are many things different people might think are fair and just.

 

Be wary of all the talk of equity you are hearing.  Challenge its promoters to tell you exactly what they mean by this and how they measure it. 

 

For me, there is only one concept of equity that works: equal opportunity.  Equal outcomes for everyone is a social engineering concept that I want no part of.

 

Equality not Equity.