Letter: Equality (not Equity) is an American Value
Here is an alternative perspective to Ellen Scalettar’s column “Are you Woke”: For many of us, our grandparents and prior generations came to our country for economic opportunity and freedom from tyranny or religious persecution. The promise of America was that through hard work and merit, everyone would have an equal opportunity to succeed. It is an American value to reward hard work and accomplishment, and to assist those in need of extra support to provide equality of opportunity.
The concept of “equity” challenges these American values as it supports equal outcome of all groups regardless of an individual’s effort or aptitude. Many immigrants to the U.S. who escaped communist China, communist Cuba, or the former Soviet Union and its repressive republics share their fears of the changes they are witnessing in America through the pursuit of “equity”. They reminisce how this approach is similar to the far-left tyranny of their countries of origin as individuals could not succeed if they did not support the ruling party and its ideology or were members of certain groups.
Many Jewish Americans fear the return of quotas that restrict entry into universities if they are considered “over-represented” in the student body or faculty.
Rather than diversity, equity, and inclusiveness, many of us from all political persuasions, believe that the true American value is consistent with the pursuit of equality, meritocracy, and color blindness for the achievement of success. The Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. urged that individuals be judged by their character and not the color of their skin. Every individual should be challenged to achieve their maximum potential without any prejudice based on race, ethnic group, religion, national origin, or sexual orientation.