Todays daily prompt is called Unequal Terms and it asks;
Did you know today is Blog Action Day? Join bloggers from around the world and write a post about what inequality means to you. Have you ever encountered it in your daily life?
No I did not know that today is Blog Action Day. It sounds stupid. It’s like “liking” charities and good causes on Facebook, Twitter, and all those type of things. It’s a way for people to make themselves feel good without actually having to really do anything.
What inequality means to me? Maybe this is part of the problem. We are all defining inequality differently which means we can never really tackle the issue.
I’ve seen it happen in Student Unions, people join up to tackle an issue and then end up spending all their time defining the issue and each term because one person isn’t happy with that particular terminology blah blah blah. Nothing ends up getting done. People fall out. There’s shouting and tears. It can be great fun to watch.
As for the whether or not I’ve experienced it in my daily life? I’m from a working class family and I live in Britain, of course I have.
It doesn’t get spoken about much on TV and the middle and upper classes like to act like there is social mobility and the whole class distinction is over, but it isn’t. It might be for them, but it isn’t for those of us at the bottom.
It’s one of the dirty little secrets of British life that no one likes to talk about but trust me its there.
The problem with all this stuff is that everyone tries to fix the issue in later life with things like Positive Discrimination (one of my favourite oxymorons), Affirmative Action etc. That whole idea of placing quotas on business’, universities etc of having people with different backgrounds.
By that point in life its too late. You need to tackle it a lot earlier. Your parents wealth and class affects where you live, for example a poor area, OK area, good area, rich area etc.
The area you live in affects the quality of education that you receive and that basically determines the course for the rest of your life. Go to a crap school and get crap results? Well its either no university or a crap one for you.
Live in a nice area, have better quality schools, get better results, go to a good uni, get a good job, earn more money, live in a nicer area, and repeat the cycle.
The best way to break the cycle, in my opinion at least, is to improve the quality of education at the bottom. Not lower the results required by people of X, Y, Z background to get into uni or careers, or give them preference over another group, I don’t think that helps fix the problem long term.
I remember asking a lecturer once about the impact of doing such a policy for say 50 years would be.
So say you prioritise women above men with uni and job places for the next 50 years, in 50 years time men will be in the disadvantaged position and under represented in all those areas while women will be in the advantaged position and over represented.
Something I’m sure a certain type of “feminist” would love to happen.
But in that case all you have done is replace one kind of inequality with another, you haven’t really solved the issue.
The answer I got wasn’t very satisfying.
In 50 years time all you do is redefine the aims of the Positive Discrimination to prioritise men over women since they are now disadvantaged.
Now I’m sure many of you reading this have spotted the problem with this. It just means that in another 50 years time you are presented with the same issue again, at which point you redefine things to prioritise women above men again. Then you go back and forth in this manner say every 50 years.
It does not solve the real issue.
I’m tempted to dig at an essay I wrote while at uni on this very topic and just stick it in here. Hmm if I can find it I might re-work and post it.
There was one interesting thing I remember reading while researching that essay. It was the idea that to treat people equally you might need to grant them different rights. Which really hits that whole equality means having equal rights idea on the head.