Miss Me With Your “Equality”

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 primarilythat 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.

photo 1Arielle Newton, Editor-in-Chief. Get at me @arielle_newton. Get at us @BlkMillennials.


7 responses to “Miss Me With Your “Equality”

  1. I’ve always thought about this very concept, but the way you have put it into words has really pulled it altogether for me. As a whole, the answer to the end of racism isn’t equality per say, but equity; establishing the concept of “here is what I need overall, and what I need is what I expect. The only eligibility requirements that matter here are my qualifications for said opportunity, not my skin color.”
    Wow, this one has my wheels turning.


  2. You know, as a Rwandan reading this article, i am left with an impression that Black Americans have no part in deciding their destinies, that they are perpetual victims of the White man conspiracy, you should know that in this day and age, each community if it is willing to make sacrifices can become anything it wants, you should not except anyone to do you favors, the Black American nation is where it is not because of the white man pity or conspiracy, but because of efforts you made as a community, and so you should know that no one will empower your community except yourselves. In Rwanda the genocide thought us one lesson, no one cares about us except ourselves, when people where being killed at a rate of 1000/day, no one came to our rescue, the only people who cared enough to intervene where ourselves, the Black American community was no better, in 1994 you were as indifferent to our suffering as everybody else. Whatever you think your community is suffering from, its on You (as a community)! No one else cares and no one else will intervene.


    • Hi habarugabag, although I can’t speak for Arielle, I think in a way, she is saying at least in part, what you are. That equity means not being assimilated or waiting to be rescued. Assimilation is a form of genocide. When we erase culture. Assimilation that is “equality” which is the daily violence of being conditioned by and or complacent in a white supremacist structure. So, I think that “equity” infers a protection of black culture rather than a loss of it, and a call to mobilize black power and that explaining the difference in the words equality and equity is a resistance to the pity or conspiracy…
      If you haven’t lived in America it’s probably hard to understand. As Rwanda is homogenous it isn’t facing racism or white supremacy in the same regard. We may affect you via trade, charities, and or arms deals which is significant but it is not like the daily struggle faced by black Americans. They face such polarization when white people deny racism is real and when they do not comprehend that we all suffer from degrees of white supremacy. This includes layers within the black community when they “police” themselves… to the benefit of the white power structure.
      It’s really complicated and I’m agreeing with you that no one rescues anyone. We have to do our own work. And even when we try to help one another, sometimes we just make things worse for each other… But what this site does is live. It’s a living progressing, learning, growing place to educate and that’s caring and productive for me as a reader. Her work matters. As do black lives and the origins of words and symbols and how we are using them globally or forgetting them collectively.
      I hope you are okay in Rwanda. I read more women survived than men and you are now under a more matriarchal rule, and that women are in charge of more micro-businesses and that this is good, but I am not very educated about your situation, and may have heard a simplistic version of things.
      Thank you for your time. Peace.


      • @katherinejlegry Thank you for the clarification, i get your point, its true i cannot relate to the realities a Black-American faces each and everyday living in a white majority environment, as for Rwanda we are doing great, http://www.rwandatourism.com/ you should come and visit, the Kingdom of Rwanda(1081 –1961) was co-ruled by the King and his mother(Umugabekazi: feminine for commander-in-chief) women of the nobility or from powerful families enjoyed almost the same advantages as their brothers, and ruthless women scheming their way to power is a common theme in our history, after the genocide most men were dead so the women had to rebuilt the country now 55% of the land in Kigali is owned by women, and our President, Kagame, is a feminist, after all he was raised by a widow like most Rwandans, so all that helped us reach the rank of number seven worldwide in the gender gap report.


      • Okay, thank you for the glimpse into your history as you’ve explained so far and for the link. I will take a look.

        A word I might have used instead of assimilation, that might be better or more accurate, is “appropriation” perhaps. I will let Arielle clarify on that, though… if she so chooses to… and if you are interested in that clarification. I don’t mean to be usurping her voice… or presuming either of you need me to explain.

        But…I recently encountered a blog by a Kenyan woman who had been a student here in the States and just returned home. She wrote about things in a voice demanding colorblindness and furious at the black lives matters people she had met because where she comes from (she explained) it’s tribal and about classism and has nothing to do with skin color. What she meant was that skin color was not a gauge of her ability, skill, talent, intelligence, etc. and she didn’t feel obliged to consider it.

        So I thought about that… and in Kenya… she doesn’t have to consider it. It’s homogenous there. She isn’t being asked to consider it every day. And how our empire has reached her, allows her to wear westernized clothing and make music videos, but she is not feeling our white supremacist oppression (at least not that she’s aware of). She is benefitting from the perks of her family finances in Kenya… so until she came to America and met with the Ferguson protests, she didn’t know the psychic cumulative violence of racism. She thinks because Oprah is successful, there is no “black”… that it’s not “real” and she wrote from an entirely enraged and self protective place.

        Which made me thankful for her story. It proves it’s really bad for black americans and they aren’t making it up. She felt the problem immediately and exhaustingly. She hated being black here. She hated being hated for not joining the cause and she hated being denied mobility by so many factions considering what “black” was supposed to mean for and about her.

        That’s an awful thing to read.

        But she got to go home. She was so happy to be back in Kenya among her “own” she said. Where she could feel safe and free.

        So I think we made black Americans feel homeless in a way… when Africans of many nations don’t see the “black” and neither do the white supremacists… and we silence the voices that express this because it doesn’t apply to our own context.

        I’m offering this as objective information… for contemplation… of course hoping it will help, but I don’t know how it will…

        Thanks again for the discussion with me and sharing about your part of the world too.


      • Hi again… I tried to look at your link but it wouldn’t connect. Thanks again though, for some insight and motivation to learn more about Rwanda.

        I noticed your last comment about “Roots” which aired when I was a little kid and deemed to young to stay up to watch it… so I snuck behind the couch to see. It helped me as a kid even though I got caught and sent back to bed throughout the series. Back then we didn’t have much black history being told in my town and t.v. was totally different, so Roots might not strike younger generations like it did mine. One of the most striking moments of violence in it that I remember was a white man telling a black man he had to have a new name and the black man refusing to lose his identity. The violence was in the request. There were many depictions of physical violence, but the request itself stood out to me. So I was 7 or 8 years old maybe… but I could tell what the problem with America was…
        In terms of China … my experience thus far is that they are so censored and controlled informationally that they are not allowed to learn U.S. history. They are taught not to “care” about the symbols so they use them casually. When they rap or break dance or twerk, it’s all appearance and entertainment. Never political. They don’t see the need to credit the origins. If they are political, those artists get shut down one way or another. They are not truly “curious” about black people, in general, as they have not been required to consider anything other than China the motherland. Individuals are expendable. Revolutions squelched.
        Best regards to you. Happy New Year.


  3. Thanks for sharing that story, i became aware i was Black when me and my family moved to China for a while, China was still opening up so we were most of the times the first black persons they had ever seen, but it didn’t have a negative bias, curiosity mainly. just being unable to blend in was tiring, i can only imagine what Black Americans go through on a regular basis. I can still recall the first time i watched roots to this day i haven’t find the strength to watch it again, Black Americans are an inspiration to marginalized communities the world over, and most people i know were shocked by the recent police murders of unarmed young men in the US. Truly heartbreaking, and the comments online are just vile. But this are the last kicking of a dying period.


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