Thursday, June 05, 2008

The Difference Between Scale Balancing and Equality

This is a thing that has been heavy on my mind lately. This idea. This question. How do we get equality for everyone?

I know what we shouldn't do. We don't do the scale balancing act where we take from one group to give to another, or as with the civil unions and gay marriage, where we give the almost but not quite version of equality to balance the scales. Those are the actions that will keep us fighting forever. Even if the scales are in balance, you still had to take more from one side or give more to the other, and all that does is create resentment.

Real equality doesn't work like that. It either is or isn't. It isn't partial equality, half equality, some equality.It either exists or it doesn't.

And real equality doesn't take from one group to make another group better. That is scale balancing. Real equality makes everyone better off.

Let's look at feminism for example. The argument against is that it takes from men the "right" to control women. Actually a lot of the arguments I hear are from boyz who think that feminism is code for misandry and what we really want is a horde of slave men doing all the work while we eat bon bons and steal their money and have hairy legged, fat, prudish, lesbian orgies.

But that's not what feminism actually does. Feminism relives men of some of those stressful things they have been forced to carry alone for generations. They no longer have to be the sole support of their families. They have more choice in careers because they can choose what they want over what pays better. They have better relationships with their kids and wives. They have a support system instead of being the sole support. They can choose not to have kids or to marry. They aren't going to get stuck married to the first girl they sleep with because of faulty (or no) birth control and a shot gun wedding.

And rights for LGBT people is one I really can't understand people having a problem with. It really doesn't impact anyone except LGBT people. Gays marrying doesn't mean straight people can't. Trans people being treated like humans doesn't mean cisgendered people are going to be treated like animals.

Now racism, well that's a tough one. We've built an entire economy on racism (and the unpaid labor of women, but that goes under feminism). Seriously- take a look at the prison system. One entire industry fueled by the incarceration of mostly poor people of color.

So how do we get equality for everyone when we have an economic system based on inequality? We don't get it by taking money and resources from one group of people to give to another group. That's scale balancing. All it does is create resentment. We need to come up with a way to increase the resources for everyone.

Universal opportunities is one way to start. If everyone had access to universal pre-k, universal higher ed, universal health care, that would o a long way towards equality.

Universal- for every one, that's the important part. I can guarantee that if you took the most racist cracker you could find and said "I am going to promise you the opportunity for a secure job with enough money to live on, a pension, universal health care and the chance for your children to improve their lot in life with free college- but I'm also giving that opportunity to every black person" the cracker would not turn it down. Actually, they haven't. Social Security is one of those universal programs and I haven't heard of anyone sending back their social security check because their worst enemy gets one too. That is equality, not scale balancing.

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