The Surprising Reach of Inequity
Equity is the idea that we work together and have our needs met equally. It's about having a society where everyone has access to resources, power, and opportunity, but also where there is no discrimination on the basis of race, gender, sexuality, or disability. Equity is the quality of being fair, just, impartial, and equal. It involves ensuring that people have access to resources and opportunities without discrimination. Equity is also about proportionality.
Equity has been a central part of society for centuries but it was not until recently that we began to understand its importance in our lives. Implementing the right equitable interventions is often nuanced and understanding issues that you don't directly feel yourself require long-term intentional effort. Some people may not see their own experiences as equity, but it’s important to remember that this is not just centered on race or gender, it also includes class and ability, and even neurodiversity.
The longstanding issues of racism, sexism, ableism, and classism, often cause strong feelings against even talking about diversity, equity, and inclusion.
We all have biases. But it's important to remember that the issues of racism, sexism, ableism, and classism are longstanding ones. They're not going away anytime soon. Due to its complexity and often normalized presence, these issues often cause strong feelings against even talking about diversity, equity, and inclusion. For some, the thought of sharing hard earned resources can be seen as contrary to self-preservation.
Racism and other systems of oppression are part of the fabric of many people's daily lives.
Racism and other systems of oppression are just part of the fabric of many people's daily lives. The idea that racism is a personal problem or one you can overcome by yourself, that it's something we can all "get over" if only we try hard enough, is a lie. The truth is that racism and other forms of oppression are systemic, which means they're built into this society in ways big and small. They're not just bad ideas; they have real consequences for people who have been subjected to them since birth or before or even within their own families.
Systemic change requires time: It can take generations to undo centuries' worth of systematic oppression; it takes years or decades at best; sometimes even decades or centuries, depending on how entrenched some forms. The process isn't easy but it also doesn't mean giving up after one failed attempt at changing things for everyone. It means continuing forward with renewed determination despite failures along the way.
Neurodiversity and disability is an issue that needs unpacking for even those of us who feel proficient in other areas of bias.
Neurodiversity is a term that refers to the diversity of human brains and minds. People with neurodivergent conditions, like autism and ADHD, are often marginalized by society. They're viewed as less capable or intelligent than those who do not have these conditions. This is because their differences are so obvious that the can seem like an inconvenience for those around them. Due to the huge impact of Covid and long Covid, where over 20 million people in America have experienced some type of cognitive impairment, neurodiversity and disability are being brought into conversations surrounding equity more and more. These communities are long past needing to be included in this discussion.
When you ask someone to change something that they don't see benefits them, they often don't want to hear it.
When you ask someone to change something that they don't see benefits them, they often don't want to hear it. It's hard for them to change if they don't see the benefit of doing so. However, equity is actually a win-win for all involved. When you have equity in your life, you feel more secure and empowered than ever before. It is important that we remember that our current system, doesn't always serve everyone equally well. Lack of access to resources breeds contempt and hostility in society. That in turn creates more crime, trauma, and broken families. When we focus on the equitable distribution of power and resources in our community, we end up with a higher quality of life for everyone. It's not a zero-sum game!
Equity is society's responsibility.
Equity is not a one-time event, it is a process. It's necessary for every generation to ensure that generations to come, to have access to the same opportunities and opportunities for success as we do today. Equity requires us all as individuals and as members of society as a whole; including parents, teachers, employers, leaders and lawmakers to work together so everyone has an equal chance at reaching their full potential in life. I cannot emphasize enough, the variety of areas that equity is needed. As we continue our journey towards greater equality over time through hard work and perseverance on behalf of future generations, we must remember there will always be someone who falls short when it comes down solely to race/gender/etcetera alone because they were born into poor circumstances. Especially now during the Covid pandemic. More people are finding themselves in situations where they needed more resources now than ever before after losing everything due to medical bills, loss of jobs, unexpected disability or more. There is also an increase in natural disasters like hurricanes where people lose everything except their clothes - which makes rebuilding difficult because many families don't own houses anymore.
It's not enough to want equity; we have to make it happen.
It's not enough to want equity; we have to make it happen. This isn't a new concept, but it's an important one. Equity is about balance, fairness, and opportunity—not just for women or communities of color, but for everyone who wants to participate in society. If we don't create an environment where everyone feels valued in life, then we'll never have a happy society. The human race was built by sharing resources to benefit each other. We can continue to do this by investing in creating opportunities for those who have been left out of society's wealth or power structure so that all people can participate fully in our communities and contribute towards building them up as whole individuals and citizens.