Saturday, June 27, 2009

Protection from Inequalities

While I can't (and wouldn't want to) imagine a world where everyone is exactly equal, we certainly could have a society with a lot more equality. Oppression (that's the enforcement of inequality) is something people need to be protected from; in fact, it's something I think we need to end. In order to feel secure, people need to feel that they will be treated equally and fairly.

Back in the segment on my own political theories, I wrote a post on Equality (9/30/08) noting there were many types of equality and also detailing the roots of oppression. We live in a society that seems to thrive on hierarchy and inequality--ranking everyone as to where they fit in the socially accepted scheme of things. To make people feel better, there is the notion that there's always someone below you. (I think of a cartoon I saw where the boss yells at a worker who goes home and yells at his wife who takes it out on her child who screams at the confused dog.)

The only way that I can think of to create a world of equality is to start acting like we are all equal--to respect everyone, listen to everyone, share with everyone, and love everyone. Real equality is going to demand that we live differently--that we give up what power and privilege we can and that we live with less so others can have more.

It's important to note that giving up power and privilege actually makes our lives better. A world of equality can be a richer, more connected world. Having the security of equality can allow us to move to the level where we can get closer and more intimate with others (stuff I will be blogging on next). It's hard to build real intimacy if people aren't equals. And much of what we need to give up, is stuff we don't really need and isn't good for us.

The process won't be easy--but it will make a world of difference.


Resources:
James Cone, Martin & Malcolm & America--A look at the way that the visions of Martin Luther King and Malcolm X intersect and point toward a society of greater equality; it also covers the places Martin and Malcolm missed, particularly how in their focus on racism they didn't see how it connects with struggles around gender and class
Betsy Leondar-Wright, Class Matters--How class issues get in the way of movement building and how we can build alliances accross class
Moraga and AnzaldĂșa, This Bridge Called My Back--A classic book where women of color confront, not only racism and sexism, but issues of class, culture, and sexuality; a good way to look at issues of equality from seldom heard angles

See also my post of 10/4/08 on Egalitarian Resources and my post of 11/25/08 (Equality Returns) on Lisa Duggan's book, The Twilight of Equality.

Quote of the Day: "The good we secure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain until it is secured for all of us and incorporated into our common life." - Jane Addams

4 comments:

Austan said...

I'm thinking that another great philosophical battle of our age will be Entitlement vs. Equality. The belonging-"blessed" will kick and scream at the thought of reducing their their amassments. While just an extension of bad sandbox training, it marks and defines the character of so many so called adults...

MoonRaven said...

You're right--that's a hard one. I see it as a combination of ignorance (not realizing that most of what they have is not really good for them), comfort (they're used to it, it feels uncomfortable letting go, so they want to hang on to it), and fear (if they let go of what they don't need they might not have what they need). There is also a bit of projection in there (they are afraid that those who they've treated badly will treat them the same way). It's not going to be easy.

If you have any ideas for helping people let go of what they don't need anyway, let me know.

Robyn Coffman said...

wonderful post,

wonderful energy behind the post.

praying for better days.

Austan said...

Well, the hard part is finding what will make them realize that...

Our culture glorifies possessions and money over character and goodwill. What we could hope is some folks of vast wealth give it up as a righteous cause. The rich who speak of equality can't be taken seriously as they sleep in their mansions. Nobody listens to the poor. In fact, the poor are very resented.