‘Equity’ Is Not ‘Equality,’ Comrade
A reader who works for a federal agency (he asked me not to disclose which one) writes about his recent experience in a leadership training program.
Twenty percent of the training, 1 day’s worth, is devoted to woke diversity. I have attached the sanitized version of the power point that was presented to us. Going back, I realized this document did not have all the woke aspects that were presented to us.I have spent decades in liberal bastions of academia (student, grad student and professor on the tenure track) and federal government. Diversity has been preached as a good unto itself. But diversity trainings have changed over time. They have become much more woke.1. Equity instead of equality. Equality is no longer the goal. Rather equity and ensuring equal outcomes. The examples were that pay, bonuses, raises, etc were provided the same across racial groups. The trainer did not mention equality or equal opportunity at all. It was all about equity and equal outcomes.2. Allyship. It is no longer acceptable for people to exhibit tolerance. We must be allies who accept and embrace however people identify themselves. One of the largest topics was allyship particularly for LGBTQ. I must accept and embrace sinful behavior or else. I can’t just tolerate and work with people fairly, I must embrace all aspects of them and their behavior.3. The training had the beginnings of a struggle session. The facilitator stressed repeatedly and at length that we need to make ourselves uncomfortable by self introspection and that we should change our beliefs.4. The facilitator repeatedly associated the term “Fair and balanced” with bigoted and biased people whose actions are clearly discriminatory.This is in the Trump administration. I can’t even begin to imagine how bad things will become when this training is given in the Biden administration. But this is the carryover from the Obama administration. One of the major initiatives from the Obama administration was “Cultural Transformation” and increases in the Civil Rights HR staff. Those same people who were hired then are still in here now. Trump just does not seem competent enough to root out this evil.
Official policy recommendations no longer argue for racial equality but for equity. The transition has been so seamless and so uncommented upon that its occurrence may strike the observer as inconsequential. Many, to the degree they reflect on the change in usage, might regard the words as synonymous. But for those of us who cling to the rapidly diminishing view that words are carriers of meaning and that semantic distinctions matter, especially if we have any hope of being precise, the substitution of “equity” for “equality” has serious consequences.
In law and theory, “equity” refers to fairness and impartiality and was instituted under the common law by “equity courts,” whose job it was to provide legal remedies to specific cases where legal remedies were not extant or sufficient; as in, for example, a trademark infringement where simply awarding monetary damages wouldn’t be sufficient remedy but had to be accompanied by a cease-and-desist order. It didn’t operate according to strict legal rules or codes and it allowed flexibility in the application of principles of justice. It could not operate if it presumed guilt or innocence in advance by virtue of membership in a specific class. To go back to the trademark example, one can’t assume that just because the defendant is Asian that a trademark violation occurred. Furthermore, “equity” in its most common usage refers to “ownership,” a concept that seems to have little relationship to its academic usage.
But as Polet explains, that’s not what “equity” means in the mouths of the woke. It means tearing down any and all structural barriers that these ideologues believe stand in the way of equal outcomes. It means no end of destruction for the sake of creating utopia. As the New Discourses site points out, “Where equality means that citizen A and citizen B are treated equally, equity means “adjusting shares in order to make citizens A and B equal.” Therefore, “‘equity’ requires giving some identity groups privileges in order to redress the perceived imbalance.”
This is the thinking behind the “Nice White Parents” podcast serial from The New York Times that I wrote at length about over the weekend. It’s about race and inequality in the New York City public schools. The reporter, Chana Joffe-Walt, says in one episode: “I think the only way you equalize schools is by recognizing this fact and trying wherever possible to suppress the power of white parents.”
So, there you have it: the only explanation for disparate educational outcomes between races in the public schools is white racism. The only solution is to redistribute power away from white parents. This is precisely why New Discourses calls the “equity” crusade a form of “social communism.”
If you aren’t familiar with the specialized vocabulary the Diversity & Inclusion activists and bureaucrats use, you will not see coming the kinds of radical changes they want to make. Below are some images from a training manual used by the diversity office at Baylor University, to train teachers and staff on “cultural humility,” one of the goals of the university’s New Student Experience program, which is how Baylor transitions freshmen into the university’s life. Notice how Baylor does not push for “racial equality,” but for “racial equity”:
“Cultural humility” sounds so innocent, even Christian. But this is the slogan under which Baylor is radicalizing its students to the left. I wonder how many people who send their kids or their alumni donations to Baylor University know that the flagship Texas Baptist university is teaching students that “heterosexism” is evil, that “whiteness” exists and is a source of evil, and “patriarchy” — which Southern Baptist churches, which do not let women serve as clergy, practice — is also evil.
This ideology is everywhere now, and being taught through institutional authorities. Take a look at this passage from Live Not By Lies, on how the ideology that led to the Russian Revolution, spread, and observe the parallels to this. We are in the “gospel in the factories” stage of our own revolution, which is going to lead to soft totalitarianism:
Marxism stood for the future. Marxism stood for progress. The gospel of Marxism lit a fire in the minds of prerevolutionary Russian radicals. Their priests and the prophets were their intellectuals, who were “religious about being secular.” Writes historian Yuri Slezkine: “A conversion to socialism was a conversion to the intelligentsia, to a fusion of millenarian faith and lifelong learning.”
Far-left radicalism was initially spread among the intellectuals primarily through reading groups. Once you adopted the Marxist faith, everything else in life became illuminated. The intellectuals went into the world to preach this pseudo-religion to the workers. These missionaries, says Slezkine, made what religious believers would call prophetic revelations, and by appealing to hatred in their listeners’ hearts, called them to conversion.
Once they had captured Russia’s universities, the radicals took their gospel to the factories. Few of the workers were capable of understanding Marxist doctrine, but the missionaries taught it to those capable of translating the essentials into a form that ordinary people could grasp. These proselytizers spoke to the suffering of the people, to their sense of justice, to their often-justified resentment of their exploiters. The great famine of 1891–92 had laid bare the incompetence of the Russian ruling classes. The evangelists of Marxism issued forth prophetic revelations about the land of milk and honey awaiting the masses after the revolution swept away the ruling mandarins.
Most of the revolutionaries came from the privileged classes. Their parents ought to have known that this new political faith their children preached would, if realized, mean the collapse of the social order. Still, they did not reject their children. Writes Slezkine, “The ‘students’ were almost always abetted at home while still in school and almost never damned when they became revolutionaries.”
Perhaps the mothers and fathers didn’t want to alienate their sons and daughters. Perhaps they too, after the experience of the terrible famine and the incompetent state’s inability to care for the starving, had lost faith in the system.
Live Not By Lieswill be published in just over a month. Pre-order it at that link. I have written an extensive study guide that I will make available for free on this blog when the book comes out. We need to be ready for what’s coming. The revolution is being proclaimed by universities, federal agencies, corporations, and other institutions. Not even Trump has been able to stop it.
UPDATE: Wow, wokeness really has triumphed at Baylor. University president Linda Livingstone sent out a lengthy, detailed letter today on all the new initiatives at the university to put it on the cutting edge of diversity. Read it — it’s not boilerplate. A Baylor alumnus highlighted this paragraph:
I was pleased to recently announce the appointment of Malcolm Foley to serve as special advisor to the president for equity and campus engagement and director of the Black church studies program at Baylor’s Truett Seminary. In this joint role, Mr. Foley will facilitate engagement and interaction with and among the many diverse members of our campus community, and he will work collaboratively to develop initiatives designed to foster a welcoming and inclusive campus for all.
What’s Malcolm Foley said recently on Twitter? Well…
Time to use Twitter again to say obvious things. Today’s obvious take: Black trans lives matter. We must set ourselves against the hatred, violence and injustice that plagues our neighbors. https://t.co/HbO6YzOO7D
— Malcolm Foley (@MalcolmBFoley) August 4, 2020
I look forward to Malcolm Foley’s forthcoming initiative to recruit black trans undergraduates to Baylor.