U.S.

Equity is not equality. Treat people differently to achieve fairness.

When I was in the fourth grade, I attended the high school track meet of my older cousin, Terry. I remember being confused and upset by the “head start” given to the other runners on the track. You see, Terry was on the inside lane so his starting point was several feet behind the runner to his right, with the “lead” steadily increasing for each runner in the adjacent outside lanes. In my eyes, all the runners should have had the same linear starting line, regardless of their location. How could the officials let this happen?

I was expecting an equal starting line, so the staggered starts seemed unfair. What I did not realize at the time is that these different, but equitable, starting lines guaranteed a fair race despite the illusion to the contrary. If the meet’s officials had given all the runners the same linear starting point, then Terry would have had a big advantage over the runners in the outside lanes. It turns out my fourth grade understanding of geometry distorted my perception of the situation.

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