The fight for an equal society had been in existence amongst humans before we witnessed and knew of Apartheid and also of Dr Martin Luther King Jnr.’s activism.
Man’s kingdom is a battleground where the fittest survives, and often through some privileged advantage. Our society is perfectly imbalanced, and we humans will always groan when experiencing unfair treatments. In our imbalance, there is the poor, and there is the rich; there are the elites, and there are the commoners; there are the indigenous settlers, and there are the aliens; this race and that race, etc.
What makes us appear different from one another are numerous. But do these features of differences merit the power with which they’ve used to create the inequitable spread of the “good life” that, at first, should be the experience of all? How sad it is to realise the extent to which we humans have played on our differences so as to disenfranchise, and discriminate, those we are better placed than from accessing opportunities they duly qualify for. That is oppression.
Equality and equity are near words. Both could attempt to be synonyms. One can easily be taken for the other and used interchangeably. Recently, our modern day society has grown significantly in the number of causes that strongly advocates for equality. The dichotomy that previously wherein existence between the different communities of persons is narrowly being closed up arising from much advocacy works.
So outstanding in history are the Apartheid struggle under Mr Nelson Mandela and the work of Dr M. Luther King Jnr. Others of such have also sprung up in the 21st century. There is a call today for equal treatment of both men and women within the workplace. We’ve heard of and seen the impacts from campaigns for women’s right and gender balance. In sports, there is a growing agitation for equal price monies for the top position for both sexes. These struggles won’t go away anytime soon.
Our world is naturally imbalanced. But, is the struggle for equality drowning the need for equity and fairness? Or will equality benefit equity in the long run? As hard as we may want to fight inequality, we won’t be able to bring all humans to a degree of equality.
Yes, differences will forever remain. Yes, there will still be categories of persons in society. We have to accept that fact.
But what comes to mind when merit must be respected? Can we have equity play out even when it involves an elite and a commoner in a contest? Can the law be applied in the same degree to the poor and the rich? Will job recruitment processes be fair to all? Will candidates seeking admission into the university be admitted on merit as prescribed by the requirements?
Equity is justice, respect for human rights in a plural society such as ours.
Remember; “live and let’s live!”
By Itoro Orok
Email address: [email protected]