Why Does Racial Equity Matter?

Today, lots of individuals and organizations are concerned about racial equity. Events of the past decade have brought this conversation to the forefront. Previously, many people assumed that racism and prejudice had been “solved” decades ago. Yet these problems are still very much alive. It’s up to us to create a fair, equitable society for everyone.

But what does equity really mean? How does this concept differ from equality, and how can this principle guide us into a future where people are treated with respect, regardless of the color of their skin? Equity is critical to addressing racism, but many people don’t understand what real equity entails. Let’s explore what equity means in practice, and how it can benefit our communities.

Leveling The Playing Field

“Equality” means giving everyone the same tools and resources, regardless of their needs. But equity means paying attention to people’s unique needs, advantages, and disadvantages when distributing support and resources. This means that rather than a struggling school district being given the same financial support as a thriving district, the struggling district in a poor neighborhood might receive more funding and additional resources to help meet their students’ needs.

Fixing Broken Systems

Not all racism occurs within personal interactions. Often, the problem is systemic rather than personal. Many systems in our society are permeated with racism. People of color may be subjected to unfair treatment when it comes to finding housing, interacting with law enforcement, looking for employment, and even within the education system. By focusing on equity and listening to people from diverse demographics, leaders within these systems can work to ensure that people do not fall through the cracks.

Addressing Prejudice And Discrimination

In our inequitable society, people are taught that certain groups are lesser and not worthy of full respect. People absorb these messages from society while growing up, and if they find themselves in positions of power in adulthood, they may treat people differently because of it. But if people are raised in an equitable system, they will receive a very different message. In a society built on equity, people would not only be free of systemic racism, but they would also experience fewer interactions that were colored by prejudice. As a result, people would feel friendlier and warmer toward those who don’t share their background.

Helping People Fulfill Their Potentials

In a society where racism still holds people back, many people do not have the chance to reach their full potential in life. People who grow up in financially insecure households may have a hard time establishing economic stability in adult life and fall behind their peers as a result. They might struggle to succeed because they were given fewer opportunities simply because of their skin color. Without adequate resources and support early in life, lots of people never have the chance to see what they’re really capable of. In a truly equitable society, this would not be the case.

Creating A Better Future

What would it be like to live in a world where everyone has a shot at living a comfortable, fulfilling life? Right now, it can feel like a distant dream. But it doesn’t have to be this way. While we haven’t achieved this yet, designing new systems based on equity can pave the way for future generations. Working towards racial equity won’t just benefit people today. It will also create a brighter future. Knowing that future generations will enjoy racial equity means that this work matters today.

Are you struggling to cope with racial prejudice? Working with a culturally-informed therapist can help. Reach out to us today to discuss your options for scheduling your first session.