Opinion: The radical notion of equity

Madison Newingham

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly,” Martin Luther King Jr. said.

We can create our own heroes such as MLK. We can be remembered as those who risked everything and anything for social justice.

Social justice is not radical, and if you are not with us, you catalyze the problem. If you value peace over the fight for equality, you may as well be a racist, xenophobe and the likes.

My intent is to instill a fight in everyone, to open your eyes to the injustice around you  not to berate you.

The fact of the matter is that we need social justice, and we need it now.

Nothing matters  nothing we do matters  if we cannot offer the same opportunity for those behind. This idealized suburbia American Dream is so invalid unless we extend the franchise to those whom have not been in the position to take advantage of this ideal in the same way as many of us have been so lucky to.

My success and yours means absolutely nothing if your neighbors cannot have it, too. Nothing we do can be moral unless we stand on a united front. Equality is not radical, and I cannot believe that notion is in the conversation.

I want to clear the air of some confusion surrounding equality, and what that means in an American society.

First, social justice argues for a fairer distribution of resources in such a way that holds all Americans above the poverty line and expands the middle class. A redistribution does not argue for a flat line of resources, for everyone to earn the same salary or possess the same kind of property.

Social justice can exist within capitalism, but we are abusing capitalism by allowing 13.5 percent of our people to exist below the poverty line.

Nothing about this sounds charitable or humane. There is no just argument to be made by suggesting that those people deserve their positions or that they deserve to have nothing.

We need to re-evaluate the distribution of resources in society to propel a healthy middle class.

From a purely economic standpoint, we do better with a booming middle class. If we continue to allow wealth inequality to divide the elite and the have-nots, we tear apart anything even close to middle income.

We allow the Gilded Age to recur if we do nothing.

Believe it or not, capitalism can exist where men and women earn equal pay for equal work, where minorities earn equal pay for equal work and where we pay our people a livable wage without exception.

Second, in regards to equality, some want to define it as across the board equality and others as equality of opportunity.

We need to stop polarizing moral ideas. If we do not level the playing field in wages, we will never reach equality of opportunity. When we prejudice workers in consideration for a position or promotion, we often exclude women and minorities, and we will never reach equality of opportunity.

When progressives shout equality from the bottom of their hearts, we bleeding liberals want to elevate those who can never have an equal chance in this society as it currently exists.

In 1787, men argued that African-Americans were only three-fifths of a person.

In 1890, men argued women have no place in the public sphere.

In 1950, men argued that non-whites have no place coexisting with whites.

In 2017, can we actually argue we are past the gendered and racial divisiveness? 

My government reflects otherwise, President Donald Trump reflects otherwise, Supreme Court appointee Neil Gorsuch reflects otherwise and our congressional leaders reflect otherwise.

I am in disbelief that in the state of Ohio, we cannot even pass equal pay for equal work.

In creating policy, it is clear that congressional Republicans have forgotten equity is key in policy evaluation. If we actually had representatives evaluating policy with this standard, I do not believe Hispanic women would be making as low as 54% of their white, non-Hispanic male counterparts’ salaries, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

With this notion, I also want to reference the collective good, the idea of a communal good that runs tangent with the American Dream and is supposedly used to justify policy.

With others in mind, we would stop gentrifying cities with the purpose of pushing out the poor. We would provide entitlement programs because they have been historically necessary, we would not create roadblocks to health care services and we certainly would be accepting refugees because it is frankly the moral stance.

I want us to hold onto this idea of the collective good while we have a red Oval Office, legislature and Supreme Court. If we allow these branches to line their pockets while ignoring the people who put them there, the system has failed — democracy has failed  and I encourage you to vote with your neighbor in mind, with the poor in mind, with women in mind and with minorities in mind.

By birth, some of us are inherently winners and losers in the current system. Instead of trying to justify why it is supposedly reasonable to allow this, we should instead try to fix the system.

Madison Newingham is a columnist, contact her at [email protected]