Equality. A hope, a goal for the future. Something many view as the light at the end of the tunnel, the final destination.
Equality is when everyone is provided the same resources, opportunities, and materials to work with. It seems that with such a thougt process everyone should end up on the same platform. A goal worth acheiving. There is no argument that equality wouldn’t put us as a human race many steps ahead of where we are now. However, we can’t view it as the end. We can’t “achieve” equality and call it day, because the story doesn’t end there. The roots of the problem aren’t completely addressed. Equality doesn’t hold all of the fruits that we think it holds.
In this process of wanting equality we forget to factor that each one of us is differeent, with different needs, and different problems. We are too diverse for a one size fit all solution. although giving people access to the same resources solves some of the problem it doesn’t solve all. Equality would have been the perfect end goal if we all looked the same, acted the same, were sized the same, and liked and disliked the same things – but we don’t.
The illustration above is a great way to break the concept down. We can assume that the problem is need for transportation and it makes sense to provide everyone the same bicycles to help fullfil the need. At first glance it makes sense the problem is transportation, now everyone has bicycles. Problem solved. However, this isn’t the case. As demonstrated above there are different things that need to be factored in. Such as height, age, and even disabilitie. Often time the last characterisitc goes unfactored, but that is a completely different problem. Although the same resources were provided the problem wasn’t solved. It’s true everyone had a method of transportation but clearly not everyone could use it. This one size fit all type of solution often only fits the demographic that its originally aimed for. What society envisions to be a human to be like. An able bodied, average height person. The human race cannot be viewer as a blanket of sameness.
To truly eradicate the problem and provide transportation, the idea of bicycles needs to be tweaked to fit all different kinds of people. The size and design have to vary for everyone to truly have equal access to transportation. In short, what I’m trying to convey is that equity for everyone should be the end goal. As a human race we need to learn to cater for all different types of people. Any time we innovate or design buildings we have a very binary way of thinking. We think to accommodate for only one type of person who fits the category of “normal” and because of this we leave out many of our population. For example, many restaurants don’t have menus for the blind which leaves blind people dependent on others. This isn’t to say dependence is a negative thing. It is more to highlight that those seeking independence aren’t being cared for. Or even how many buildings include wheelchair accessible ramps and that is the furthest extent of accessibility to all. This kindest needs to change. There are meant things that the average abled person takes for granted that need to be rethought to be more inclusive. Another mindset we need to have is that equity isn’t something that we can necessarily ever check off of a to-do list. We have to constantly be willing to evolve to accommodate. Equity is an evolving process, one that we have to continuously pursue. The moment we let ourselves believe that we have truly achieved equity between all people that should become a red flag as to the fact that we aren’t meeting the needs of everyone. Working towards equity is like learning, it’s a process that never stops. As we are being propelled into a nee future filled with artificial intelligence, machine learning, advanced medicine, and etc. it becomes imperative that we can’t fall behind on our journey of equity. Our machines and intelligence are learning based that feed off of data that we provide them. So what happens when our data is biased? Our machines also behave with unintentional biases towards certain groups of people which is the exact problem trying to be eradicated. It’s important to push ourselves to look past equality and pursue equity instead. To step up and champion all people in the human race not a selective few who fit the norm.