Equity vs Equality as the Different Strategies To Produce Fairness

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Amy Sun:

"Equity and equality are two strategies we can use in an effort to produce fairness.

Equity is giving everyone what they need to be successful. Equality is treating everyone the same.

Equality aims to promote fairness, but it can only work if everyone starts from the same place and needs the same help. Equity appears unfair, but it actively moves everyone closer to success by “leveling the playing field.”

But not everyone starts at the same place, and not everyone has the same needs.

Classrooms, for example, are made up of different learners. This means that students enter the classroom with different learning styles (such as visual, auditory, or tactile). You can take this short quiz to figure out your own learning style.

Visual learners and auditory learners will process information differently and, thus, have different needs. If the teacher always lectures, auditory learners have the advantage.

So it doesn’t matter that the outraged student wants to listen to the audiotape to complete the writing task. What matters is whether the student needs to listen to directions on an audiotape in order to be successful with the writing task.

Since everyone is different and we embrace these differences as unique, we must also redefine our basic expectations for fairness and success as contingent upon those individual differences.

In the real world, this means that some people will need a language translator when speaking to a government agency and others will not. And it wouldn’t be fair to just provide Spanish translators just because it is the language most people speak. A Spanish translator would not allow a Korean speaker the same access to opportunities.

That would be privilege.

Privilege is when we make decisions that benefit enough people, but not all people. Privilege is allowed to continue when we wrap it up with actions of equality." (https://everydayfeminism.com/2014/09/equality-is-not-enough/)