What is Wrong with Equity?

A teacher recently told me that although this teacher serves on a committee in school that is focused on Equity, nobody in the school system is allowed to use the actual word (equity). Those of us listening were astounded – appalled – incredulous – and many other fancy words to describe our utter confusion about this. I went home and started to research this seemingly ridiculous rule and – yes – equity in the schools is controversial. This seems absurd to me. And it is. Here is what I found.

The same people who don’t want children to learn that America was founded on racism are the same people who think using the word equity will be a back door into Critical Race Theory. The problem with most of this kind of thinking as that it isn’t really thinking at all – it is paranoia wrapped in misunderstanding and ignorance. And no, I don’t want white children growing up being told that they are racists when they aren’t. This would be as foolish as not using the word equity. I do, however, want children to learn the facts about history, math, and everything else, so they don’t grow up to be as ignorant about our past as so many citizens are.

Equity means freedom from bias. Equity is concerned with justice. For example, if a school is in a low-income area with limited resources, that school system should get more funding from the state. Does that seem unfair to the middle class and rich communities (like the one I live in)? All that funding equity does is make sure that the children who attend school there get teachers who are fairly paid and textbooks that are up to date. Equity is different from equality. Equality means everyone gets the same amount spent on them, regardless of the community’s resources. Equity makes sure that aid is given based on need. Like when I went to college and got federal grants because I was poor, and my family couldn’t contribute to my education. The rich kid down the street didn’t need those grants; I did. That is equity. Too many Americans seem to not want lower-income people to succeed. 

Most of the people I know who fight against equity are “religious people”, which is confusing since equity is a God kind of thing. It is loving our neighbor – it is sharing our stuff, like in the Book of Acts, so that those in need can live. It is providing food and clothing for people who can’t afford them. It is about giving people a chance to succeed when they have fallen on hard times or are being raised with less than you or I are. If equity was not allowed when I was younger, I never would have attended college or seminary. I am where I am in life partly because of equity. 

My suggestion is that we spend more time teaching people about what matters. For those who oppose equity, there seems to be something missing in their education. Maybe, if they had listened in Sunday school, they would have learned about the Golden Rule. It isn’t too late to bring a little knowledge, from a spiritual point of view, about equity into our lives. God is all about justice and equity. If your house of worship doesn’t teach that, maybe it’s time to find another to attend. Knowing about equity and justice will make all of our lives better.

Prayer – God, open our hearts and minds so that we might understand Your need for us to commit ourselves to justice and equity, the way Jesus did. Amen.

Today’s art caught my eye, but I cannot find out who the author is.