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Equity: A False Utopian Vision
If you have always believed that everyone should play by the same rules and be judged by the same standards, that would have gotten you labeled a radical 60 years ago, a liberal 30 years ago, and a racist today.
We have all heard the mantra of “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” or “DEI” for short. At face value, the slogan seems harmless enough, but in practice pursuing “equity” in particular acts as a trojan horse by perpetuating the very discriminatory trends many adherents to DEI would prefer to see come to an end. When you opt to avoid thinking through the practical ramifications of your ideology, it creates room for bad things to happen.
One of the reasons this occurs is due to a seemingly inconsequential shift in the vocabulary: from “Equality” to “Equity.” Let’s break it down:
Classical concepts of “equality” meant equal opportunity regardless of race or gender under the law
The modern concept of “equity” means equal outcomes in regard to race and gender.
It is a subtle but significant difference. Thomas Sowell described the futility of pursuing equity quite well.
When you have people with different familial backgrounds, cultures, habits, interests, and hobbies it becomes clear how counterproductive the pursuit of equity is and why it can only be achieved through discriminatory measures.
Equity, in theory, seems noble but equity in practice amounts to crippling more qualified individuals to artificially keep everyone at the same level as we have seen with Affirmative Action, which is one of the most prominent forms of systemic racism in the West today. Some, like Ibram X Kendi, openly acknowledge that their worldview entails cycles of discrimination:
“The only remedy to racist discrimination is antiracist discrimination. The only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination. The only remedy to present discrimination is future discrimination.” — Ibram X Kendi
The ‘discrimination’ Kendi hints at is not only present in Affirmative Action, but also at the grade school level where the effects of equity have done what the above visual indicates and begun to ‘cripple’ the ability of certain students to get ahead.
Take a moment to imagine getting into an honors student program only for some equity-minded bureaucrat to eliminate the program; unfortunately, we don’t have to imagine and can reference the news to see examples of the aforementioned occurring.
The elimination of honors programs in California is not the result of some local school bureaucrat executing an isolated bad idea. It is the result of prominent figures like Nikole Hannah-Jones, the author of the 1619 Project for the New York Times, railing against programs promoting excellence.
We can also compare a definition of equity provided by a DEI website:
“Is often used interchangeably with equality, but there’s a core difference: Where equality is a system in which each individual is offered the same opportunities regardless of circumstance, equity distributes resources based on needs. We live in a disproportionate society, and equity tries to correct its imbalance by creating more opportunities for people who have historically had less access.”
To a quote from Karl Marx:
“From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs” - Karl Marx
There is a clear overlap between Marx and the concept of equity. An advertisement from the current Vice President, Kamala Harris, also describes equity in a similar manner and ends by advocating for equal outcomes: “equitable treatment means we all end up at the same place.”
Imagine if we applied equity to physical activities and held back gifted athletes - every sport would be boring and it would be even more difficult to find extraordinary individuals whose feats inspire us to be better; now recognize this description applies to academia.
For anyone who still wishes to defend equity (especially in the context of race and gender), please ponder the following question: Would you rather people be judged by the content of their character or the color of their skin? Answer this question honestly and consider whether your answer is in line with the dreams of MLK.
With diversity comes variability in regard to people, traits, and outcomes. Equity assumes everything warrants the same results - all possible combinations of human traits and cultures should yield equal outcomes according to equity; this simply is not possible which ultimately makes equity a noble lie that comes at the expense of a noble truth by undermining the uniqueness of each individual human life.