8/26/14

Equality is not Sameness



Equality is not in regarding different things similarly; equality is in regarding different things differently.
Tom Robbins

Every time the conversation of gender equality comes up, someone brings up the comment of Gender neutrality. “I teach my son and my daughter the same way.” Personally, I think this is rather irresponsible. Not only does this defeat the entire purpose of equality by stating that they only way they can be equal is if they are the same, but it dismisses the reality of the different challenges boys and girls face. By ignoring the differences, we refuse to accept that there ARE social differences. I extend this attitude to everything, from gender to race, from ethnicity to religion.

As you might have noticed, I am a stout feminist. I am also a strong supporter of social and religious equality and acceptance. This means that everyone is capable of achieving the same greatness, but the paths that they follow will be different. What a man can do to challenge sexism is different than what a woman can do to challenge sexism. What a white person can do to challenge racism is different than what a black person can do to challenge racism. What a Christian can do to challenge religious intolerance is different than what a Muslim or even an atheist can do. And so forth, and so on. This is not because one is better than the other, but because each is faces with different challenges or different privileges within society.

It’s easy to believe in equality, when everyone is the same. That’s denying the differences between each of us. The reality is that every group, even every person, is different. And this is a good thing. We learn and grow by learning about our differences. It, not only creates tolerance, but kills ignorance.

Because it’s not about tolerance. Tolerating something is simply accepting it because you can’t change it. Equality is about embracing our differences, and the differences of others; not simply tolerating them. To achieve this, you need to educate yourself as to the challenges everyone faces, being able to empathize with other people’s challenges. And the only way to do this is to remove the arrogance and ignorance that breeds pettiness and bigotry.