I’m not here for equality. I’m here for equity. Equality is merely a fiction used to keep us complacent. Equality is about numbers. Equity is about power. And in that difference is where my frustration with “equality” stems from.
Last year, when the Supreme Court eviscerated the core of the iconic Voting Rights Act of 1965, the majority opinion read:
Nearly 50 years later, things have changed dramatically. Largely because of the Voting Rights Act, “[v]oter turnout and registration rates” in covered jurisdictions” now approach parity. Blatantly discriminatory evasions of federal decrees are rare.And minority candidates hold office at unprecedented levels.” Northwest Austin, supra, at 202.
To the conservative members of the highest Court in the land, the Voting Rights Act is essentially null and void because it served its purpose; it accomplished its mission of ensuring Black people have access to polling booths. Yet, we know this isn’t the case. Numerous reports from battleground states and Southern enclaves reveal that duplicitous measures are frequently used to quell the Black vote. Such tactics are on turbo speed following the election of President Obama. There’s no longer poll taxes, literacy tests or grandfather clauses … now there’s voter ID laws and gerrymandering.
These tactics are hardly kept under wraps. In 2012, Mike Turzai, a high-ranking Republican lawmaker in Pennsylvania, explicitly noted how voter ID laws will ensure victory for then presidential candidate, Mitt Romney.
The controversy around voter identification laws has been branded as a Democrat versus Republican issue, because such laws disproportionately disadvantage groups— minorities and young people primarily—that would most likely vote along the blue line. But at the core, the issue of such measures employed to limit, if not restrict, Blacks and Latinos people from the polls is indisputably a racial issue more so than a partisan one.
When the evidence clearly shows that political forces have a nasty track record of tampering with Black political access, the SCOTUS decision becomes all the more offensive. The legal reasoning behind the decision is no more nuanced than the random racist Facebook troll who says racism no longer exists because Black people vote and the President is Black.
This is the issue with equality. It’s a numbers game in which quotas are the indicator of social success. Equality is easily measurable because its quantified. Equality is only half of the job, while equity is the necessary push across the finish line.
White supremacy has never seen us as equal, but they’ve always seen us as equitable. Hence why the stole us from the Mother Land, and made us into slaves. Hence why, throughout the centuries, they’ve spent trillions building prisons to confine us, substandard public housing to entrap us, and dilapidated schools systems to confuse us. Hence why white supremacy developed a robust propaganda machine that constantly mongrelizes Black men and hypersexualizes Black women. White supremacy perpetually works at creating divisions amongst ourselves to the point where we doubt each other, discredit each other, and in the most extreme and severe of circumstances, kill each other.
And on the backs of our broken communities, white supremacy implements complicated schemes to guarantee obscene wealth to the point where their racism is normalized through cultural appropriation and racially insensitive tropes.
White supremacy knows our power, and that’s why the entire racist capitalistic empire is built on our free labor and reinforced through our collective mental destruction.
In a public relations cover up, the capitalist project called America decided to give us crumbs the world could count. Now this many Black people graduate from college, despite the fact we’re inordinately saddled with student loan debt. Now this many Black people are voting, despite those pesky complicated measures that curtail the Black vote. Now this many Black people are millionaires, despite the fact that the racial wealth gap is widening to execrable lengths.*
*Fun fact: The median income for white households is $141,900, and $11,000 for Black households.
So miss me with calls for equality. I don’t want it. I want equity. I want Black power. The softest forms of power comes from mere numbers. The hard hitting power comes from economic well being. Should Black people keep the over $1 trillion in spending power we have within our own communities and businesses, I guarantee we won’t be dying in the streets every 28 hours.