Defining Equity Mathematically: It Is Not Marxist. 🤦🏽♀️
What is Meant By Equity In Society And In Educational settings? In the ideocratic era we are in I actually need to write this.
Equity in society is merely an observable consequence of equality. Equality by its nature cannot be observed, quantified, measured, and verified. Equality describes how people progress from one station in life to the next depending solely on the choices they make. While equity can be observed as the ratio of a populations size in a county to the representation of that population in any part of that society, be those jobs, or jails.
I was brought to this writing by a comment on my blog at science2.0 in which I pointed out the verifiable fact that the National Education Association represents college professors not just teachers. (The same is true for the American Federation of Teachers) The NEA and the AFT are going to protect teachers right to teach what is true and keep words like those wrongly deemed to be “Critical Race Theory” by the Center for Renewing America from being banned or sanctioned. Words that include such concepts as “hegemony”, “equity”, or “racial prejudice”.
The comment and reply concern Marxism and capitalism. I pointed out that the racial issue in America predates either of those or lies in an older economic theory called physiocracy which is a very agriculture focused philosophy. The relevant part of the comment.
Equity is Marxism, I know where it leads to: stripping of all production surpluses, labor prison camps and genocide of "oppressors". I will do everything in my power to protect future of my kids, who would otherwise end up in the same place as kids of kulaks and Cossacks in the USSR.
The above is a very common sentiment in the current culture war debates. This is my reply and the essence of every well reasoned reply.
Equity in this situation is merely an observable consequence of equality. Equality which by its nature cannot be observed, quantified, measured and verified. While equity can be observed as the ratio of a populations size in a county to the representation of that population in any part of that society, be that jobs, or jails.
Equity is not Marxist at all.
Not every word that speaks to the mere existence of unequal and possibly unfair social conditions is “Marxism”.
To see this let us consider the Titanic. It set off from Great Britain, then took on some more passengers as Cherbourg before going across the Atlantic to its doom. Were the deaths equitably distributed or did class, gender, or race effect things to make it inequitable? Yes. According to Titanic facts of the 484 surviving passengers 201 (41.5%) were first class, 111 (22.9%) were second class, and 35.5% were third class. Third class passengers were 709 of the 1317 passengers on the ship or 53.8%.
Thirty six percent of the survivors being third class when they were fifty four percent of the passengers is and inequity of 54-36 18%. 18% more third class passengers should have been saved. Perhaps even could have been saved without needing the first-class passengers who survived to give up places.
Then there is a gender inequity 73% of the survivors were female and 21% were male. In this case again the excess capacity on the lifeboats would mean many more men could have been saved. Many more men saved without one woman getting any salt water on her.
Those inequities are proof of the inequalities that lead to people being in such different classes, and to the different values placed on the sexes. To the point where in that situation being the wrong class and the wrong gender meant not event coming back to see if anyone was alive out there.
At least not in time to help anyone. Racial inequity works the same way. Perhaps seeing this without the hot button emotions that come with talking about race it is much clearer.
What about culture and personal choices?
These factors matter on the level of a given individual, but they do not when talk about society as a whole and across long time spans. An individual Black man who decides he wants to deal drugs and run prostitutes rather than deal graphics cards and mine cryptocurrency made choices and will feel consequences for them.
On the other hand, if we look at the whole of a population and given equity in education there is inequity in employment which leads to having to deal in grey / black market goods to make ends meet that is different.
“Culture”. When it comes to Black Americans the issue with that argument is that cultures do not just materialize one day. They develop over long time spans. The culture of the Black American developed under the conditions of presumptive slavery. 87 years under US jurisdiction in which it was often illegal to teach any Black person to read, and 100 years of de jure second class citizenship in which our schools were second rate. To then turn around and blame a lack of educational attainment on “culture” and that only being the culture of those to whom such things were done is clearly absurd. That culture is a problem, and it must change so too must the culture of those who imposed such conditions.
Far from being a reason that racial inequity is not a sign of inequality it is the deepest root level of the inequality and that must not be allowed to remain. Equal outcomes for all would be impossible but equitable outcomes for whole populations without the application of external forces such as affirmative actions would be ideal. To the extent such affirmative action might be called for it would be as a sanction or remedy applied by court order in specific circumstances. For example, when large companies grow to have 100 or 1000 employees and are found to have engaged in grossly inequitable practices evidencing inequality within the company.
If you liked the above please check out my long standing blog at science2.0 . Pure opinion pieces like this one will appear here at least 24 hours earlier than they do there. Plus “subscribe” to my sub stack here. It’s free… at least for now.
One last thing
Just a reminder that racism is not exclusive to European people. Africans in Africa have the numbers and power to create structural racism and enact greatly discriminatory laws or worse. No one in the USA is talking about that and we never ever would. Calling for teaching about our history is not calling for bad things to happen to White people. If anything it ensures that such things will not happen ever again. Never Forget.