The Difference Between Equity and Equality

I have devoted many posts on my blog, ”It Does Not Add Up,” to the topic of racism in America, one of the most contentious topics in the public domain today. For example, “Is There Structural Racism Still Remaining in the U.S?” concludes that the major form of structural racism still existing is the academic achievement gap between blacks and whites, and suggests specific programs for addressing this disparity.

The newest hot topic in race relations is the concept of equity which means equal outcomes achieved, if necessary, by unequal treatment, biased competition, and preferential judging.  Equality, on the other hand, means equal treatment, unbiased competition, and impartially judged outcomes.

The problem with the concept of equity is that it challenges America’s bedrock principle that people should be treated equally and judged as individuals, not as members of groups.

Americans are very generous and support some form of social safety net for the poor and disadvantaged.  The debate has always been about how extensive the social safety net should be and how long it should last for each recipient.  But most Americans don’t want to turn welfare programs into large and permanent entitlement programs, giving substantially different treatment to different groups, even if those groups have suffered historical wrongs.

The black policy expert, Shelby Steele, says that blacks don’t have to fight so much for freedom anymore, but have to do something more difficult: fully accept that they are free, and stop acting like victims.

The black linguist, John McWhorter, explains that the current version of antiracism, in its focus on an oversimplified sense of what racism is and what one does about it, is content to harm black people in the name of what can only be called dogma. It exploits modern Americans’ fear of being thought racist to promulgate not just antiracism, but an obsessive, self-involved, totalitarian, and utterly unnecessary kind of cultural reprogramming.

The black scholar, Ian Rowe, promotes the four-point plan F.R.E.E. (freedom, religion, education, and entrepreneurship) for all children to overcome the victimhood narrative and discover their pathway to power.

Conclusion.  The problem with equity is that it has the radical goal of re-engineering society through coercion.   Equity is just a new brand name for a very old program of achieving equal outcomes.  Its name is socialism and we know from long experience that it doesn’t work.

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