Dear NY Times: I beg to differ

29 Sep

Writing in anticipation of Monday’s announcements about the Supreme Court’s docket for the next terms, the NY Times‘ Adam Liptak writes, “The theme this term is the nature of equality, and it will play out over issues that have bedeviled the nation for decades” (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/30/us/supreme-court-faces-crucial-cases-in-new-session.html). He’s referring to cases deciding the constitutionality of same-sex marriage, affirmative action in higher ed admissions and voting rights.

Actually, Mr. Liptak, the question is really about the nature of equity. We’re not equal, which is why these cases have emerged. And even if the Supreme Court validates same-sex marriage, affirmative action and inclusive voting practices, we still won’t be equal.

Rather than the red herring of the equality of diverse people, I would argue that what these cases are about is the equity of our society. The charge for the Supreme Court and for each of us is to discern and act on what is fair, given the fact that we are unequal, and that our differences do matter, in a persevering and not entirely negative way. Differences aren’t the problem; discrimination is.

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