Saturday, May 16, 2020

Do You Think All Human Beings Are Equal?

At the end of Srimathi Gopalakrishnan's post titled "Sexism in Medicine : The Eternal Confusion and The Innocent Mistake" there is a link that goes to

*SPOILER ALERT*: Take the test, if you want to.

There are only two questions on that site which tests whether you are a feminist.

1. Do you think all human beings are equal?
2. Do you think women are human beings?

When you answer yes to both these, you are confirmed to be a feminist.

It seems like everyone would pass this test. Where are we deceiving ourselves though? Why isn't the world full of feminists when it is so easy to be one?

It is the first question. "Do you think all human beings are equal?" We tend to think that we think all human beings are equal. But are all human beings equal?

What would explain a wage gap between two people doing the same job? What would explain a wage gap between two people who spend the same number of hours on their respective jobs?

One could say that the wage differs because the output of two people doing work for the same hours is not equal. If a smart programmer codes for an hour she might produce better, readable, and maintainable code than a not-so-smart programmer does in 4 hours.

In the free market, all that matters is the market value of what one produces. If what you supply is a rare resource, you are paid more, and vice versa.

If it isn't market price, what is it that we mean when we say all human beings are equal?

Is there an "intrinsic worth" of human beings that we consider to be equal in all human beings? "When there is a pandemic, every life will count the same"? I say bull shit to that. There is a pandemic right now. The measures adopted to tackle it are grossly inconsiderate of the needs of a large number of people in our society. Even during life or death situations, "intrinsic worth" of humans is nowhere counted. What use is an equality which has no role in reality?

This is where the question "Do you think all human beings are equal?" fails to be useful.

The right question to ask is "Do you think all human beings should be equal?" That is a progressive and a transformative question. It accounts for the inequities in our society and asks us "Are you willing to make amends?"

It also paves way for a deeper discussion on the reasons for inequities. It makes us introspect on what we are willing to give up in the effort to make all human beings equal. It forces us to acknowledge privilege and to be inclusive. It makes us rethink social and political order. It makes us question what rights are and what rights should be. It makes us wonder what it means to be a human.

Do you think all human beings should be equal?

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