Social equality is a topic that evokes strong emotions and opinions, and this is me sharing mine with you, but first, a back story.
I was once caught up in a discussion on feminism with an acquaintance. During the discussion, I asked if he was a feminist. He told me he wasn’t because he sees it as a waste of time and energy. Additionally, he said that if we are fighting for gender equality, then we should also be fighting for equality in other areas, such as between the rich and the poor. He concluded that equality is unattainable as long as humans exist, so why fight for it?
Nonetheless, I kept his opinion at the back of my mind, determined to ponder it another day. As fate would have it, some days later, a colleague of mine posted something related to the topic on his WhatsApp status. (Unfortunately, I need help remembering the exact post). The post elicited a reply from someone that said if they could choose between being rich and having everyone on the same level, they would choose the latter.
Naso violence starts!
Supporters and opposers hauled insults at each other while putting forth points to support their stance on the issue. It was quite funny and entertaining reading the back-and-forth argument. It forced me to remember my acquaintance’s opinion, pushing me to evaluate my stance.
Social equality is commonly defined as a state of affairs in which all individuals within a specific society have equal rights, liberties, and status, possibly including civil rights. They also have freedom of expression, autonomy, and equal access to certain public goods and services.
While the heart of this concept might be in the right place, it is intrinsically flawed because it is self-contradictory. Its method defies its ultimate aim.
Social equality strives to build an egalitarian society where everyone is at the same level. However, an egalitarian world is utterly utopian and, therefore, impossible. Does this then make fighting and advocating for social equality a futile endeavor?
Well, because you are reading this post right now is a proof of social equality. I am a young African female able to speak and be heard, learn and be educated, and take up leadership positions because of this same movement. All the opportunities I am privileged to have because of heroes past who advocated for the equality of the female gender. And for this mere fact, I say it is not a futile endeavor.
However, in this present age and time, the advocacy for social equality has done as much as it can. Even in the imbalance that still lingers, the world is at equilibrium; after all, there is quite literally balance in imbalance.
It is time for the strategy to change to a more realistic and achievable one: Social Equity.
Social Equity is defined as impartiality, fairness, and justice for all people in social policy.
Social equality provides equal opportunities and resources for the already privileged and the underprivileged, ultimately resulting in –paraphrasing George Orwell – some being more equal than others, thereby influencing little or no change in the state of things.
Equity, on the other hand, seeks to ensure fairness in sharing these opportunities and resources. This means equity prioritizes those who need it more.
Nevertheless, Social equality still has its place. For instance, the concepts of equal human rights and equality before the law are valid. However, as far as opportunities and resources are concerned, social equity is the way to go.
Besides, as I stated earlier, an egalitarian world is impossible because humans are inherently dynamic. And, like it or not, there are situations where you must consider these dynamisms to achieve justice.
However, if, by some miracle, total social equality were achievable, then everything would be so boring. There would be no drive to work hard, no aspiration, no ambition, and no hope.
And if there is anything I’ve learned from dystopian sci-fi movies such as “Equals,” it is that we must get rid of our humanity for absolute equality. That means getting rid of the very qualities that make us human. Our emotions, dreams, imaginations, aspirations, everything, and I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t like to live in such a world. The world would become an uninteresting place.
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