It is an argument as old as time itself.

However, with the rise of the civil movement in the 60s, and then the racial justice movement recently, the question of equality, equity and justice has come up again.

Basically, this is what the three terms mean:

Equality: Every individual or group is given the same resources and opportunities.

Equity: Individuals or groups are given the exact resources and opportunities needed to reach an equal outcome. This is a recognition that everyone has different circumstances. (Affirmative action)

Justice: The causes of the inequity are addressed, and thus everyone is left to seek accomplishments without supports or accommodations.

Here’s an illustration of the three.

equality equity justice

The US for example has lots of outstanding issues when it comes to treating its citizens equally.

For decades and centuries, certain groups have been treated unequally. Those who seek affirmative action, insist on both equity and justice.

For example:

Allocating disproportionately more government resources to historically neglected black communities, would be equity.

Eliminating systemic racism in the housing market, e.g. in mortgage and home financing, would be justice.

However, there is a very vocal conservative voice that has benefited immensely from the status quo, and are therefore always shouting ‘equality’.