Braille Monitor                  December 2021

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More on Equality vs. Equity

by Daniel Garcia

Daniel GarciaFrom the Editor: Daniel is the president of the Kansas City, Missouri, chapter of the Federation and a member of the affiliate’s board of directors, serving as the corresponding secretary. He is a deep thinker, who is very courteous and deliberative in the expression of his opinions. He is a frequent poster to the chapter presidents’ list, and he is also good at sharing what he finds with others. Getting reactions is exactly what was hoped by the authors and by your editor, so thank you to Daniel and to others who have constructive thoughts. Here is his letter to the editor:

Until I read the October 2021 Braille Monitor article titled “Reframing the Fight for Civil Rights: Understanding the Discourse on Equality Verses Equity from a Social Justice Perspective” written by Dr. Evette Simmons-Reed, Dr. LaShawna Fant, Dr. Carolyn Peters, Mr. Kane Brolin, and Mr. Lee Martin, Sr., I thought that the words equality and equity were synonymous. I am very grateful to the authors for having taken the time to explain the not-so-subtle difference between the two words.
I do agree that blind people ought to take more ownership of the political process. Though we are a 501(c)3 organization and cannot support a particular candidate, I do think that as an organization we should strongly support the concept that blind people should run for office.
I have done much reflecting on this article, and it seems to me that equality is a more aspirational idea whereas equity provides the framework for how to achieve this objective. It is precisely for that reason that I do not believe that we should change our NFB pledge. When we recite the pledge, we are not thinking about the day-to-day tactics that we employ to move our movement forward. Instead, we recite the pledge to energize ourselves about what the future will bring.
In 2021 we use language differently than in 1974 to express political and social ideas, and I am sure that in 2074 people will use different language than we do. It would not be practical to keep changing the pledge to conform to the language of the time because if we do this often enough, the NFB pledge will cease to have meaning. Let us keep the pledge the way it is while using this article as a starting point to educate our members about how to achieve equality.

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