I always thought I had a good handle on what equality was all about, but recent events have me scratching my head.
It is drummed into us from a young age that all men (and women) are created equal and that America is a land “of liberty and justice for all,” as stated right there in the Pledge of Allegiance.
To my way of thinking, we might be from various walks of life; live in different parts of the country; be white, black, red or yellow; or of differing religious faiths, but we are all equal under the Constitution.
Even with that framework being established early on in our history, some groups have had to struggle to actually gain equality, as witnessed by the Civil Rights Movement, Women’s Rights Movement and so on.
When all is said and done, what I’ve learned is that none of us is any better than anyone else if the template for true equality is applied. Yet there’s been evidence lately to suggest that a simple desire for everyone to be treated equally is actually a racist position.
It reminds me of the quote in the classic satirical novel by George Orwell, “Animal Farm,” about pigs taking over a farm in the name of all livestock being equal — except for the elite pigs in control: “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”
So it has become acceptable in society that if you don’t think some special-interest group deserves extra favors and should be treated like everyone else, you are somehow racist or fill-in-the-blank-phobic.
The Black Lives Matter movement is a perfect example of this, when it comes to those who disagree with its activities. It is kind of a throwback to an earlier era that produced entities such as the United Negro College Fund, which were understandably needed then because of the larger separation between the races as perpetuated by conditions such as segregation.
Fast-forwarding to today, Black Lives Matter seeks to mitigate unjustified shootings specifically of African-Americans by police, and apparently no one else who is killed under similar circumstances.
To put the matter into perspective, can you imagine the uproar if somebody formed a group called White Lives Matter? Of course, it would be labeled racist, although white people have just as much reason to be concerned about police shootings as blacks, if not more so.
A Washington Post report identified 990 fatal shootings by police in 2015, including 948 who were male, 494 who were white and 258 black.
Now I realize that in calculating the risk of someone being shot according to his race, those raw figures must be adjusted to account for whites constituting a much large percentage of the population than blacks (about 77 percent to 12 percent).
However, this doesn’t erase the fact that nearly 500 whites were killed, which is cause for a White Lives Matter movement. And why not a Men’s Lives Matter campaign due to the disproportionate number of males gunned down?
Black Lives Matter officials have discounted the concept that all lives matter, whenever the truth is that ANY death due to police brutality is one too many. That makes me think the Black Lives crowd is as racist as anyone, due to favoring a particular segment of people based strictly on race, and otherwise fitting the textbook definition of discrimination.
It’s not just the Black Lives Matter people who are guilty of this, but others, including but not limited to the Gay Rights Movement.
Here again, it’s not sufficient to make sure gay people have equal rights in terms of employment, housing and other protections under the law, which is due every person, we must go far beyond that.
North Carolina’s bathroom law certainly proves that it has not been enough to ensure everyone has equal restroom or locker-room facilities, but complete and full access to those not matching the biological sex of an individual.
And anyone who criticizes the idea of such special treatment, you guessed it, is branded homophobic.
But keep in mind that we’re all supposed to be equal here.
Just think of the many decades required for those in power to finally recognize that handicapped people in wheelchairs desperately needed special restroom access more than anyone. Look how long it took for developments such as wide stalls to occur, compared to the relatively short time gays got their special access.
I guess the pigs in “Animal Farm” knew what they were doing, given that some people might say they want equality, but they really desire much more.
Tom Joyce is a staff writer for The Mount Airy News. He may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.