Should we all have equal opportunities to succeed or equal outcomes regardless of our individual merits?
Here’s a transcript of our conversation:
Emma: Hi, Brittany.
Brittany: Hi, Emma.
Emma: Today I wanna talk about a word and maybe a couple of words that pop up all the time, and it’s something that I think sounds really nice and that everyone would kind of think, well, yeah, that sounds like a good enough thing. But that comes with all of these crazy, other accouterments. I will say that are often, you know, kind of tied into the package. And the word is equality. And it’s complicated because who would hear the word equality and think, well, no, I don’t like that. That sounds bad. Because a lot of us think of, you know, someone like Martin Luther King Jr. Who fought for civil rights, for people who were not being treated equally under the law. That is a very genuine problem that, you know, the word equality was invoked a lot when he was fighting those corrupt laws and fighting for equal rights for people. But the thing is, today, a lot of people still point to, people having different outcomes in their life and people having different, you know, maybe levels of wealth or things like that. And they say that it’s a problem of equality. And I think that’s a real problem, because basically what you’re doing is you’re looking at everyone and saying, unless we all live the exact same life and have the same house and the same possessions and the same education, we are dealing with inequality. And it’s a very complicated issue. So, I’m excited to get into this with Brittany because she has worked on, some stuff and in her full-time job on this a bit. So Brittany, why don’t you kind of break down the difference between equality and equity for us to start that with?
Brittany: Yeah, so to start off that, so equality again is something, you know, it sounds good. We talk about it with Martin Luther King and equality is absolutely a good thing, but it’s being replaced today with the word that says, and it’s called equity. And you’ll notice they sound very similar, right? Equality, equity. And there’s one thing, a lot of people who want you to kind of switch to this woke ideology, they use your words against you. And so it’s very, very interesting that equity and equality are so close but have very different meaning. So equality means that all of us have access to opportunities. What does that mean? That means all of us, like if we’re going to school and it’s a public school, we can go to school and we know that we’re gonna get an opportunity to have an education that is not going to judge us by our, the color of our skin or gender, our religion, right? We have that equal opportunity. Equity is different. Equity says that we need to have equal outcomes. So what does that mean? Equity or opportunity, or excuse me, equal outcomes means that, let’s say you all go to the same college and they promise you that as soon as you graduate, you’re all gonna make a million dollars a year, even if you don’t do any of the work. So maybe like, Emma works really hard and I don’t work really hard. Equity would say, well, we still deserve the same outcomes as everybody else. So you see this a lot with communism, right? Because there’s that belief of like, oh, it doesn’t matter what you do, we should all have, you know, houses and this amount of money and da da da. Well, this is happening a lot today when it comes to race. And again, we call it woke culture, where instead of somebody saying, you should, we should all have equal opportunities to the same kinds of, you know, futures. We should all be able to get into colleges without them turning us away because of our skin color. I’m not saying you should go to college, by the way, I’m just saying. But where equity would say, no, we need to have all the things that, you know, everybody else has because blah, blah, blah. So, this has gotten into a lot of problems. Now, one way this has happened, and there’s a big case that actually was just one, at a school called Thomas Jefferson High School in Virginia, where I live. So this is a public high school, so that means the government pays for it, but it’s a very, I used high school live right next to that school actually did. Ok. It’s actually the top high school in the entire country. Wow. I didn’t know that. Yeah. So, yes, it’s crazy smart. And you have to take a really hard merit base. That means you have to take a test to get in and you’re accepted based on your qualifications. So a lot of Asian Americans, like their parents move here for a better life. And their children start prepping for this school at a very early age because they believe that if you get a good education, then you can get a good job. And that means that like they’re living their parents’ American dream, you know, that’s why they came here to this country. So their kids could have a better life. So the school has a very big Asian American population because so many of them do come from immigrant families, and they’re really, really dedicated to making sure that they have a better life. Well, after all the George Floyd stuff happened and Black Lives Matter became a thing, the school board came together and they said, we need to change this instead of giving every student an opportunity to come to the school. Cuz remember, just because Asian Americans were getting in doesn’t mean that they had extra privileges. All that means is their test scores were high enough where they were getting in. So after all this happened, they said, no, it’s not fair that the smart Asian kids are getting in. Instead, we need to make sure that we have a certain amount of black students, a certain amount of Hispanic students, a certain amount of, you know, this and that because otherwise, it’s not fair and all this stuff. And so they took away their examinations. So now you have the top school in the country that is letting in people based solely on their race. So that would be equity. These are these equity policies that’s saying, well, we need to make sure everybody has the same outcome getting into the school, because that’s only fair, but that’s not fair because our constitution in our 14th amendment says everybody should be treated equally by the government. And since the high school is a public school, that means equally means that nobody should even look at your race when you’re going into this school. Right? Yeah. If you’re taking the test and you get a high score, you should get in. That’s all that matters. If you got a high score you’re in. But now even that kid that, you know, his parents moved here from, from China to have a better life and he studied and he got in, he can’t get in now because they have to let in someone based only on the color of their skin, which is crazy to me. And it’s actually very much against what Martin Luther King fought for. Because Remember he said, I have a dream, I’m gonna butcher this. I dream that, one day my children, wait, hold on. Yeah. Based on basically that the nation will live up to the I got it. It’s that our nation will live up to the meaning of its creed that all men are created equal. I still think I messed that up, but basically that men should be based on the content of their character, not their skin color, meaning who you are as a person. Your merits like getting in on a high test score, that’s what you should be judged on. So equality is that merit base, that test that you study for and you get in equity is being let into the school just because you belong to a certain, you know, gender or certain race. So it’s a very scary thing that we’re moving away from. And it’s very unconstitutional. So we just won a case, I, don’t like to say where I work, but I work for a law firm. And we just won the case where we sued the school. Cause we said, Hey, this is actually very discriminatory. And we won. So it’s very exciting.
Emma: That is very exciting. And I think you bring up such an interesting point about schools and admissions where, you know, they’ll have these entire offices at colleges now called diversity, equity, and inclusion offices and all of those things sound good, right? Diversity sounds great. Equity sounds great. Inclusion sounds great. And again, you talked about this, but they like to the left and sort of this social justice movement will use words to sort of, as a bludgeon to get things through that maybe people will just sort of accept what they’re proposing without actually reading into it. And it’s popping up on college campuses, but also in corporate workplaces. I know a couple of people who work for huge tech companies and you would be shocked that some of the things that these people have to do to prove that they believe in equity and diversity and all of these things. And it’s become sort of this weird thing where, you know, the race element of someone’s identity has become such a fixation by the media and by even our government at times and by sort of this, this woke crowd that wants to really focus on that I think it’s becoming a weird distraction from, you know, the people the things that are actually bringing people to college and the things that are bringing people to the workplace. And I think it’s very strange that we’re getting to a point now where people are being singled out and actually forced to talk about their race when maybe they don’t want that. Like maybe they don’t want to have separate meetings for white people and non-white people at work. Like there’s that to me just seems super backwards. Like, isn’t that what Martin Luther King was fighting against? I don’t know. It seems pretty fishy to me. So it’s crazy the amount of these things that are happening in our culture, and it’s getting so common to talk about equity as if that is the gold standard of what we should be doing as a country is en ensuring equity for people and having, you know, hiring quotas and admissions quotas for people of certain races and of certain ethnic backgrounds. I just find that so wrong that, you know, a student could go apply to a college and rather than being judged by the content of their character, as MLK said, or by their test scores or by their achievements, that they would be judged on race. And it’s, it’s really crazy. And there’s actually been a lawsuit against, I believe it was Harvard, maybe there were a couple of other Ivy League schools involved.
Brittany: Yes. But can I try, can I chime in?
Emma: Yeah, go for it.
Brittany: So one thing I wanna mention with Harvard, so it was very similar to the case I told you about with Thomas Jefferson High School, but one small thing to keep in mind is Harvard is a private school. Yes. But there was, they take funding under, I can’t remember what it is, they take underfunding under this one, federal law. And because they take that funding, they have to abide by, the constitution and the equality for law. Yes. But I wanted to make sure that was known because there are schools, in fact, where I’m from in Utah, there’s a school, you know, called BYU where the private schools, some private schools actually, I think that gets federal funding too. That’s a topic for another day. But, so if a school gets the side note here is if a school gets public funding, then it has to like, it has to abide by those constitutional rules and equality. So yeah. Sorry to cut you off. I just wanna make sure that was
Emma: No, that’s a great distinction. Yes.
Brittany: So that’s why Harvard got in trouble or is getting in trouble if people are suing them. Yes. Cause even though they’re private, they still have to abide by the 14th Amendment.
Emma: Yes, exactly. And it’s crazy because at Harvard there were actually, there’s been proof of this that they have lowered the amount of Asian students that they would admit because Asian students were getting, you know, higher test scores. Yep. Than maybe some other subgroups, which is a really crazy thing when you think about it because a lot of these students are immigrants. They’re people who’ve worked really hard and, you know, do have these test scores who are able to prove their merit and should be able to get into Harvard without a problem, but because they’re Asian, they’re actually being discriminated against. So I think it’s a really great example of how when you fixate on these things and you try to engineer equity and engineer diversity and force it to happen, the opposite can actually happen where certain people groups actually become oppressed. And I think that’s just a really good picture of where this is all going. So, and none of this is for us to say, Hey, you know, we don’t believe in diversity. I think being surrounded by a diverse friend group, whether it’s, you know, what people look like or what they believe or their background or the things that they’ve gone through, I think that’s awesome. And we’ve talked about it before, how awesome it is to have friends with different perspectives than you. That is a really great thing. And it can strengthen your worldview and it can make you a more well-rounded person. but I think, you know, being obsessed with race and being obsessed with these things is sort of how you end up ultimately dividing people even more. And I think it’s crazy how far we’ve gone down this road, but we will wrap it up here today, guys, unless there’s anything you wanna add, Brittany? Any last words?
Brittany: Nope, I think we got it.
Emma: Awesome. We will wrap it up here today guys. Thank you so much for listening and we will talk to you all again soon.
Brittany: Talk to you soon.