The Critical Difference Between Equality and “Equity”

“Equity” went mainstream in 2020, seemingly overnight. Suddenly it appears everywhere and few note (or notice) any distinction between equity and equality. The difference is significant and, like all woke vocabulary, it evolves in real-time as a chameleon adapts to its environment. When words can mean anything, the people who use them don’t have to know anything. Debate and disagreement are stifled by meaningless sloganeering and coordinated linguistic manipulation.

Equality is the expectation of equal opportunity for everyone, where effort & skill are rewarded. Equity is the expectation of equal outcomes for everyone — with no explicit requirement of effort or skill — where someone (or some entity) redistributes wealth or success to suit desired outcomes. It’s an idea so preposterous and unwieldy it’s hard to grasp — and so it slips by without being recognized.

Equity is a central fantasy of communism. It’s a veiled term for blank-check reparations. A convoluted excuse for lowering the bar or a way to punch down gifted kids instead of facing root causes of lower achievement. Its meaning is hard to pin down and changes with context or the user’s intent. Most people who use the term seem to believe it’s a version of fairness. Try taking away their success or wealth and redistributing it according to your whim. I’ll bet they question that application of “fair.”

The woke aren’t much different from the radicals of the 60’s except they’re a generation or two removed. What they don’t realize is their elder backers are using them for one last attempt at the dashed utopian dreams of yesteryear, just repackaged with new vocabulary.

[If the reference to communism strikes you as extreme, please note: a) BLM co-founders self-identify as “trained marxists,” b) BLM Global Network back office/fundraising (handled by Thousand Currents) include convicted domestic terrorist Susan Rosenberg of the Weather Underground, c) Philadelphia 5th graders were forced to honor Angela Davis and celebrate “black communism.” These are just a few examples among many.]

“Diversity” means people with the same far-left political ideology, disguised as a United Colors of Benetton ad. “Inclusion” is a way of othering people who don’t tick the right boxes on an intersectional bingo card. “Belonging” is the trendy notion that everyone’s feelings can be validated and accommodated at all times. Right on, man✌

Younger generations have been trained to navigate life with their emotions so just tell them what they want to hear feel and they’ll join any cause that can be blamed on “the system.” That’s how simple-minded slogans like equity gain traction without examination.

Implications for the workplace are disastrous and playing out before our eyes. Segregated “affinity groups,” trainings to “be less white,” and diversity-hires & promotions are creating problems rather than advancing people, groups, or any common cause.

Leaders are absent. Who will stand up?

Thomas Irre is the founder of HK5, LLC, Practical Business Technology and Mental Self-Defense for leaders & teams.