Have you ever wondered what our country would look like if we were all truly equal? Are you one of those individuals who believe that it is that way now? This post is going to challenge you to rethink the concept of equality.
During my undergraduate career, my two favorite classes were Women’s Studies and African American Literature. Considering that I am a conservative Republican Caucasian female, I was involved in a lot of heated discussions in these two rooms. However, I absolutely loved it.
In case you are one of those individuals I mentioned above, let me go ahead and break it down for you…the citizens of the United States of America are not equal in virtually any way. We aren’t equal in the eyes of the law, we aren’t equal in places of employment, we aren’t even equal when we go to buy a car. And you know what, I am completely fine with that. The only time we are truly equal is the second we are born. Regardless of circumstances, at that moment we are all on the same page. Born a sinner, with the same amount of sin as the next person. And we all have to make the exact same commitment to be relieved of that sin.
Our country has become so consumed with the idea of being equal that we have stopped placing value and emphasis on rewarding hard work and effort. I hate the idea of having quotas in schools, jobs, qualifying for scholarships or assistance, etc. Striving so hard for equality has made it unfair and biased. It’s also made certain people have to work harder and some not work as hard to get the same result. Personally, for me, if the person in the office next to me has more experience, better understanding of the company, and longevity in the company, I HOPE he a promotion before me. I don’t want to take hard work and dedication away from anyone.
You see, I truly don’t believe we are striving for equality. Whether we are Black, White, Asian, Male, or Female we all have our own set of perks and drawbacks. I believe what we are striving for is opportunity. And in case you are wondering, I don’t believe we are “equal” in that either. Why change the word from “equality” to “opportunity” you ask? Because I don’t believe ANYONE likes being told they HAVE to do something.
Example: Do I believe women should be allowed to serve on the front lines? If they want to, sure. But personally, I am GLAD that I don’t have to sign up for the draft at 18 years old. That is a perk that I receive just for being a female. Now, I may not get the best deal when it comes to haggling to buy a car, but that’s okay. That’s life.
I believe that each individual should have the same amount of opportunities as others. What they do with that opportunity is up to them. Some will seize the opportunity and change their course from their family or cultural history. Others will ignore the opportunity and choose to continue down the stereotypical path of their ancestors, be that good or bad.
Now, I’m not saying everyone has the same amount of opportunity at all times. I am not naive enough to believe that there are not some who are born privileged. Duh. That’s a given. But even a little opportunity can go a long way. An individual may have to work harder than someone else for success, but all they required was a small window of opportunity to get started.
People are individuals. Bottom line.
Some cultural diversity class teach certain “characteristics” of an ethnicity. These characteristics can also be labeled as stereotypes. In the very class that we are taught not to stereotype, we are taught the means through which to do so. In this country, we are so concerned with placing people in boxes. Boxes that are predetermined based on their race, ethnicity, sex, whatever. No matter what the professor tells you, that is still wrong.
Instead of having preconceived notions about a group and placing each individual in that box, how about we just get to know the person and let them form their own box, or circle, or star-shaped place to be put in.
Going along with this, can we please agree that children, and individuals in general, are not “color blind”? True, children before the age of 3 may not verbally differentiate between skin tones. Some say it is around that age that they learn the idea of “color” from the adults in their life. Has anyone ever thought maybe this is the time when kids start learning their colors? Having two degrees in child development I can tell you, kids aren’t as dumb as you think or hope them to be.
Kids can look at one another and see their differences, be that skin tone, hair color, or an attribute such as glasses or a physical deformity. Kids can see that stuff. And when they get the words to know what to call it, they will call it out. And you know what? That’s okay!
Children are wonderful at letting people create their own boxes to be put into. They ask lots of questions, gather information, and then use that to form their opinion about an individual.
We could learn a lot from a 3 year old.