I'm sure that many of you have seen some version of this image. Originally created by Craig Froehle (in another form), it depicts the difference between 'equality' (A) and 'equity' (B) using a group of people trying to watch a baseball game.
Let's ignore the symbolism of choosing a game, and baseball (nicknamed "America's Favorite Pastime") of all possible games, to depict this issue.
This picture attempts to show how equality, although frequently touted as the solution for the inequality in our societies, doesn't necessarily give all parties involved equal access to "the game".
Looking through the pictures, we progress from: A) One fence, one box each, and visibility only for some people, to B) One fence, a varying number of boxes for each, and visibility for all.
This picture was shared millions of times as shown above. I guess most people thought that that was a proper depiction of equity.
But I never thought it was.
What I saw was the ghost of classism and/or victim-blaming.
I mean, why were they standing outside the fence in the first place???
Wouldn’t it be because they didn’t buy a ticket? And why wouldn’t they if they wanted to watch the game like everyone else? The only logical explanation is that they didn't buy the tickets because they couldn’t afford it. Why couldn’t they afford leisure like everyone else could?
Furthermore, we know baseball tickets aren’t free, and that the people within the stadium would have paid to watch in-person. Therefore, the activity of the people outside could be subject to criminalization. Achieving equity wouldn’t matter much if they took your livelihood/freedom away by fining you or carting you off to jail or prison, now would it?
Idk why, but I just thought of the underground railroad...
Anyway, why did the picture imply that the shortest guy couldn't see because he was too short, when it was really because the fence was there?
Someone, somewhere, agreed with me. They improved on the image by adding a third picture (C), in which there was no fence or boxes.
One might wonder if our work here is done since there are no obstructions anymore...right?
Ask yourself: Why are they standing when everyone else has seats?
As I mentioned earlier, flattening complex issues with graphics like this isn't really the best way to go. However, unfortunately, we will continue to need tools like this because the critical thinking skills of oppressors (in any oppression system--be it race, gender, sexuality, etc.) seems to shut down when it's time for sympathy towards the oppressed. So, of course, we have to cater to this selective infantilism and fragility. With cartoons.