My husband and I like to turn these words over a few times and examine them from different angles. Some words are delivered sweetly and initially taste like honey, while others strike bitter at first until we realize they are medicine and, when turned over and examined, they help us find deeper understanding of the world around us. A word that sparked a lively conversation between us recently is “equity,” followed by its associate, “equality”.
Equity, Equality, and Privilege
I chewed these words over a few times as I reminded my son for the umpteenth time that broccoli is not, despite his reaction to it, poisonous, and shifted my daughter in my lap. As a proud American, I’m grateful to raise my children in a country where they’re given equal representation under the law according to our Constitution. Both my son and my daughter can vote, have the right to life, liberty, and can own property.
But if I’m being honest, my children’s privilege extends beyond their constitutional rights. I have disrupted the scales of equality by being married to their father, being a stay-at-home mother, and raising them with Jewish beliefs and a belief in Yeshua (Jesus Christ). To have the “equity” and “equality” conversation, I first had to consider another word: “privilege.”
Wherever we start in life and whatever wisdom we gain along the way, we want to gift it to our children.
We don’t earn income in the highest tax bracket, we live in a small apartment which we rent, and my husband had to pay for both our educations as well as our wedding. We have friends who were given down payments for homes, college tuitions, and who didn’t pay for their own weddings. In this respect, they’re considered more privileged than we are. In my six years and counting of serving in crisis and inner-city ministry, I recognize that my nuclear family holds privilege that broken families don’t have. Instead of making constant comparisons between degrees of privilege, my husband and I took a two-pronged approach to our family:
Get busy being grateful.
Get busy striving to give our children more privilege.
My husband and I have two family mottos. The first is, “Our ceiling should be our children’s floor.” The second is, “Sometimes you have to wander in the wilderness so that your children can live in the Promised Land.” Wherever we start in life and whatever wisdom we gain along the way, we want to gift it to our children. We want them to grow up with knowledge and wisdom we had to figure out for ourselves.
We Strive for Privilege So We Can Give More
With this goal in mind, we abandoned equality and equity as aspirations. Striving for privilege is important to us; it motivates us to work hard for our family, to provide our children with a quality homeschool education, and to give to others from a cup that overflows because we work very hard to have more than enough for ourselves.
When we have more, we can do more and we can give more.
When my husband received a recent promotion, we decided it was time for me to quit my part-time job and focus more on the children and other pursuits like ministry work. I’m able to put more time and energy into ministry because my husband is prospering more at work. Our cup was filled, so we used the extra time I have every week to pour into our home and into causes I care about. I found a piece of broken creation and mourned over inequality, so when the opportunity came (through a lot of hard work), I took the chance to serve the underserved. When we have more, we can do more.
Equity Is Impractical and Harmful
Kamala Harris recently stated, “Equitable treatment means we all end up at the same place.” As lovely as those words sound, they fail to consider people as individuals. Equity snubs personal preference, work ethic, and individuality.
Consider a quote by Rabbi Daniel Lapin, “When politicians start talking about inequality, that is scary. When they promise to eradicate inequality, that’s just plain terrifying because that can be achieved only by obliterating freedom.” Did you catch that? What Kamala Harris is not saying is perhaps even more important than what she is saying. Equity means everyone begins at the same place and ends up at the same place. But that’s not the way our society is set up.
Since the government has an atrocious spending problem, it can’t afford to give every citizen enough money to begin at the same place as, say, the richest American citizen, Jeff Bezos, whose net worth currently sits at $179 billion. Since the government doesn’t have enough money to put everyone in the same financial situation, it would have to take the money from private citizens. Giving every single American as much money as the richest American to put everyone on equal footing is impossible, so Kamala Harris must be suggesting that money is taken from Jeff Bezos and redistributed to other citizens.
Government mandated equity is a slippery slope into Communism, where everyone gets equal amounts of very few resources.
But what happens when Jeff Bezos is drained financially, and Americans are still not on equal financial footing? How many citizens must lose their financial earnings until everyone has the same amount of dollars and cents in their bank accounts? And how do we account for the growing population? Is every baby born given a certain amount of money to be on equal footing with everyone else? How are families monitored? Do families with seven children receive as much as families with one child? Should restrictions be put on households wanting to have more than a certain number of children to assure that everyone has equal amounts of money and resources? The attempts to guarantee equity and equality for everyone are dizzying at least and asinine at best.
As pretty as Kamala Harris’s words are, equity is a ridiculous concept and a dangerous one in the mouth of a politician. Government mandated equity is a slippery slope into the perils of Socialism and eventually into Communism, where everyone gets equal amounts of very few resources.
A better solution? Strive for privilege. Work for prosperity. When you have more than enough, no one gets to tell you what to do with your excess.
Busying ourselves with mandating an impossible notion like equity for all is a poor strategy, ending in romanticizing the ideals of Socialism. Busying ourselves with work and striving to create more and do more for the next generation will lead to prosperity, and yes — inequality. Inequality has always been there, and it will always be a part of our society. It can’t be snuffed out by government mandated redistribution of wealth or meddling in the makeup of the family system. It’s a part of creation we must grapple with every single day. When you find inequality that burdens your heart, serve that need and do your part to help heal the world. Take it down like bitter medicine. It doesn’t taste as smooth as a politician’s lie, but it’s good for you.