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?
We are each unequal to any other person by our inherent gifts, talents, and intellects, and opportunities. There are many limiting factors on each of our lives. Some people are more equal than others, since they got a good education, graduated from college, and are better able to be employed. Some people have the advantage of a loving, family, who cheers them on to whatever they can achieve, and gives them the support to reach their goals without trying to control the outcome. Some families are more able to give financial aid than others, but the emotional support is even more important than money. They may support them in selecting a job-oriented career that can be sets them on a suitable pathway other than a four year degree. A college degree is not necessary for everyone or the best for society in general.
It’s harder to pin down equality: the government tries to structure our lives so that equality is imposed, socially, educationally, and even medically. Federal programs try to standardize things like education to ensure equality, and to inject money into under-performing schools to bring them up to their standards. Unfortunately the populations in schools, and the quality of different school districts, even unions, can have an impact on how well students will be educated. Some schools and teachers can be talented enough to motivate students, and pull out the best from them, help them to be better than they thought they could be. That’s magic. Sometimes students themselves can be so self-motivated that they succeed beyond what might be expected of them. So imposed equality doesn’t mean a system or a government will produce equal results.
Again, the government has tried to break down these barriers through legislation, and in some significant ways that has been crucial and necessary. The Civil Rights Acts, of course, made unequal and segregated education illegal. The was a big step forward in providing opportunities to more young people, no matter what their race.
Equality can be a state of mind, an attitude that “I can achieve whatever I want within my abilities,” without obstacles being put in the way. That’s the most important factor in equality, really, the opportunity to have dreams, to have the freedom to pursue them. This state of mind often come from high self esteem cultivated in a family and group of friends who respect and encourage the individual’s special talents, abilities, and goals.
We strive to ensure equality, but perhaps another view is to “demand” equality and show that it is deserved. Young people especially must feel that they have rights to equal opportunity, but that it is their job to make the most of these opportunities.