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home : opinion : opinion/editorial August 22, 2017

7/27/2017 9:11:00 AM
Equity According to Whom?
By Peggy Tarr

Currently, “equity” is a word/concept that is a theme in the Evanston government/community. Google gives several definitions of “equity”, but I was interested in the definition that focused on human rights/equality.

“Equity” is distinguished from “equality.” Although equity and equality are described as promoting “fairness and justice,” equality is described as only working “if everyone starts from the same place and needs the same thing.” Equity means taking into consideration how people’s “opportunities and barriers are influenced by personal circumstances … systems, policies and societies.”          To achieve equity, it is necessary to recognize and address the conditions that prevent people from starting out with the same advantages/circumstances.

When listening to a talk on the pursuit of equity in Evanston, I was disappointed by the attention the speaker gave to the fact that some groups pursuing racial justice in Evanston were composed mostly of “whites” (Caucasians).

Were there not “whites” involved and even murdered in the pursuit of civil rights for black Americans in the past? It seems to me that if a person (black or white) is not comfortable with the presence of other races pursuing the rights/equity for another group, that person needs to step back (or remove oneself) and give some serious thought to what the goal of equity is.

A leader in the pursuit of equity for the group to which that leader belongs does not guarantee that that leader will act in the best interest of that group.

I am irritated/dumbfounded by statements that suggest that racism in Evanston is the result of blacks not attending meetings. Blacks do attend meetings. However, does not the notion of equity acknowledge the fact that everyone (of any race) is not on the same footing and thereby not compelled/expected to attend meetings?

Good grief.

Evanston citizens and officials need to pay attention to and be cautious of how and by whom equity is developed/promoted/established in Evanston. The question everyone should ask is: Equity According To Whom?

“You can use what someone is doing today to judge what he will do tomorrow.” Nigerian proverb

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