“All men are created equal.”
Has a greater lie ever been told? If this isn’t the top one, it certainly makes the top ten list. Boy do they ever drill this one into your head. To jostle with this concept jostles the entire foundation of your morals and principles.
Not all men are created equal. Roll with me on this. I’ll show you.
Think right now. Two babies are being born. Both created through the same process. One is born the child of two musical artists, and the other born within a community of starving people. One will have cameras shoved in its face for its life. News sites everywhere will explode when information on the baby’s ridiculous name comes out. People at their jobs will joke around and make sarcastic remarks. The child will grow up not having to earn its living, nor work a job. Despite already having millions, people will toss money at the child to do its own albums when they are of age. There may be a movie made as a vehicle to turn this child into an ever bigger star. The world is thrown at this child’s feet. Their death is as huge news as their birth. People will mourn all over the country for the loss.
And the other will starve to death after two or three days because it was unfortunately born in the wrong place. Not a soul will even remember this baby ever existed.
The same process made them, but can you say they had equal lives? No, but maybe you say that’s not fair to equality. There is a huge discrepancy between a starving child and a famous baby. So here’s another.
Think up two babies again. Both white men. On the outside, they are similar. Both have brown hair, brown eyes. They live in the same town. They grew up together on the same block and went to the same public schools. Hell they might even like the same football team. But one of them has a mental illness. Why? Who knows. Maybe his mother stood too close to the microwave while pregnant. He struggles with it, going through therapy throughout his adolescence and taking daily medication. He has his bad days and his even worse days. He wakes up and doesn’t know how he’ll feel. He could be up, down, angry, sad, energetic, full of love, or suicidal. As he gets older, it worsens. He can’t maintain a serious relationship nor a job. He’s in and out of state help programs. His family loves him, but they don’t know what else to do. It’s a strain on all of them to help him cope well into his old age. The other with a sound mind moves forward. He has his own struggles as we all do, but he knows what he’ll be when he wakes up.
Same race, same town, same schooling, but very different lives, Are they equal? If so how? What does equal even mean? Trying to define the word is good way to give yourself a migraine especially when it comes to people. With mathematics and numbers, it’s fairly simple.
2=2 or 2+2=4
But once you add in people, it’s all messy. Look at this.
Can you say that the two genders are equal? Your gut feeling says yes of course. But think of it logically. A woman can carry a new person in them for nine months. We have different reproductive organs and internal make-ups. So then when we want to say the genders are equal, what are we talking about? On what scale do we consider people equal?
Not by weight. Not by height. Not by any sort of physical appearance. Not by wealth. Not by intelligence. Not by where you live or where you’ve been. Not by who your parents are or who you know.
Is it our potential? Our capacity to reason? These are the two that come closest in my humble opinion. We believe all people have potential and have a capacity to reason. So they should be treated the same. Although people say this, rarely are people treated equally.
Do you treat a homeless man asking for money the same as you would your father if he asked? No. They have the same want, similar biology, maybe even the same age. But for one, you keep moving on your way, trying hard not to make eye contact and for the other, you reach for your wallet. Because of your judgement.
When I think of equality, I think of any activist group, advocating for more rights for an oppressed minority. They all have the same mantra, we deserve this because humans are equal. Where did they get this idea from? I hope it wasn’t from the Declaration of Independence, written by a group of men who owned slaves. Slaves who according to these men were three-fifths people, the very antithesis of equal. Historically equality amongst all humanity hasn’t ever happened. Unless you go way back to before we could read and write. Those years that historians won’t ever be able to piece together. Maybe you could try and say before our brain developed into what it is today, we could have been equal. Were we equal as cavemen? Could we even grasp the concept then?
But to get back to those groups, I have a question. Will these groups ever find the day that their work is done? When they can walk away knowing that equality has been achieved. Can it be achieved? Do we want to know the answer to that question?
If it can, then how? How can true equality be reached? Where all men and women regardless of who they are, what they look like, who they love or who they hate, have the same opportunities and are treated the same across the board?
That day can’t come. We are all different. We can’t be equal.
There’s this line in A Time to Kill that sums up this conundrum.
“When you look at me, you don’t see a man, you see a black man. “
We will never be another person to each other. Colorblindness is unachievable. We see the differences and we judge. Even if we couldn’t see, we would judge based on our other senses. We categorize and adjust our responses accordingly. We want to put similar things together and separate them from the different. We are wired that way. Judgement is lodged into our brain.
Just like our illogical notion of equality. Funny how they can sit right next to each other in our brains and we somehow function.
The human mind. A peculiar thing.
Still this is no excuse to discriminate against others and treat them differently. We should reach towards that ideal. Even if we can’t ever be truly equal, we can be as close as humanly possible.