Is Equality for All a Realistic and Desirable Aim Within Society?

1516 Words May 15th, 2005 7 Pages
Equality exists in many contexts. It can exist in the political level; individuals have the same rights under the law. It can exist in a social level, between categories of people, for example gender, or race. It can even exist on an individual level, as to how each person is treated. Equality cannot be confined to simply equal opportunities for all; for an equal and fair process is still equality. An equal and fair result is also equality. At each of the different level, equality shifts from being realistic or being desirable, sometimes both, or sometimes neither.

Modern societies often take for granted that social quality is desirable. Democratic values mean people from all backgrounds should be given an equal say to affect decisions in
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Hence one could argue that a certain degree of equality has been reached.

The same case can be made for racial tolerance. In the 19th Century wherein America was rife with racial discrimination against the Afro-Americans, there was strong opposition to even a mere suggestion of equality between ‘blacks' and ‘whites'. In modern American, one can hardly see any signs of the touchy issue that tore the nation into two in the past. In both these cases, education over a long period of time is a clear factor; people gradually accept change. From known examples like Sri Lanka and Rwanda, where ethnic conflict is rampant, it is not realistic to expect change through imposing equality onto people through state policies. However, what the previous two examples have shown is that too a certain degree it is realistic to aim for equality, given amply time to change the mindsets of the people. How long would have to depend on the extent some mentalities are rooted in people.

But just how equal are those two examples. In a sense they too do not reflect equality properly. For example, there is still a slight degree, not of discrimination, but of expectations accorded to the genders. In some companies, they prefer men because women have to be allowed to take paid maternity leave, or least they might choose to leave the company in order to take care of children,
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