Monthly Archives: October 2020

Social Equality- What’s In It for White People

by Joseph G. Langen, Ph.D.

I am influenced more than ever before by the conviction that social equality is the only basis of human happiness.

-Nelson Mandela

In the United States, we have always espoused social equality. Yet some people were considered more equal than others. The declaration of independence declared that all men are created equal. Of course this referred to white men but not black men and not to women at all. Since our first years, we have come to at least partially recognize the equality of people of color and of women. Yet in practice we still operate as if some people are more equal than others.

Rights for less favored groups of people emerged over the years in fits and starts and usually not calmly. Protests about inequality have marked our history and resulted in moves toward equality under the law. Yet resentments remain in the hearts of some people who more or less openly resist the idea of equality. They fear that increase in the social standing of those they consider inferior will result in a decrease in their own social standing. 

Such people seem to have a clear sense of what they might lose by allowing others to share in their equality. It is almost as if they believe there is only so much equality to go around and that they need to grab and protect their share. That does not make much sense. It is not that there only so many pounds of equality. It is not a finite resource.

It is clear what minorities would gain from social equality: better wages, housing, health care, education and basic respect as a human being. Lets consider what whites and the rest of our society might gain from bringing “lesser” beings into the tent of equality:

  1. End of white fear of whites that those considered of lesser standing will try to grab part of their pot of riches. If everyone shares equally and fairly, there will be nothing to fight over.
  2. Neighborhoods will be habitable on a consistent basis. Everyone will be relieved from having to drive through slum districts or fear what       might arise there.
  3. Having a well educated community of people who can participate meaningfully in the business and social aspects of the country.
  4. There would be better access to health care for everyone, improving the health of the nation as a whole.
  5. There will be less need for police and criminal justice intervention in our communities.
  6. Basic respect for each other would make for a safer society.

Now are you ready for a nation of true equality?