Two people walk into a restaurant. They sit down at a table and order their food. The menu is written in small print, and Person #1 has low vision and thus cannot read the specials. The restaurant orders large-print versions of the menus, so Person #1 can now access the same content as Person #2. This is equality.
A university wants to adopt non-discriminatory policies. It decides that judging applications based on spelling could be harmful, given that people from disadvantaged backgrounds might not be able to have the same access to spelling education. The university also wants to recognize that people speak different versions of English – or they don’t speak English at all – and this shouldn’t be a reason for them to be excluded. The university has removed the spelling requirement from its application requirements and processes. The university’s student-run newspaper features headlines like “Mathamatics departmint decides to higher new deen for coming acadamic year,” “Varcity athletes score big in rigional batmitten tornament,” and “Universety softmore looses speling bee.” This is equality.
The shoe store sells some shoes that don’t come in smaller sizes, thus discriminating against people with smaller feet. The shoe store sells some shoes that don’t come in bigger sizes, thus discriminating against people with bigger feet. The shoe store now makes all shoes in one size that fits no one. This is equality.
The local playground is restricted to children between the ages of five and 12. Residents protest: what about four-year-olds? What about 13-year-olds? The city’s government agrees to remove the restriction. The playground is now full of babies being trampled by children who are angry that the teenagers won’t share their Juuls with them, as well as teenagers who are angry that at the children who are angry that the teenagers won’t share their Juuls with them. This is equality.
Two people walk into a restaurant. They sit down at a table and order their food. Some of the dishes (shrimp, steak) are more expensive than others (house salad, plain chicken broth). But some people make more money than others, which means this isn’t fair. The restaurant decides to reduce their menu and offer only a few dishes, including pasta with butter, a turkey sandwich, and cereal, for all the same price. This is equality.
A girl trips while running, falls, and breaks her leg. Her five siblings’ legs are fine, but they each decide to get a cast matching hers, as a show of solidarity. The older siblings are no longer able to drive, nor can they do any sort of chores around the house or help their parents run errands. The girl’s youngest brother becomes sad and lonely, since he’s no longer able to play with his friends. Their parents struggle financially and wonder if they should install an elevator in the house. This is equality.
People on Twitter complain that the country’s suicide hotline excludes people who are not suicidal. Moreover, the hotline excludes people who don’t actively call it, which is problematic because not everyone can or does make the choice to dial the number. The hotline changes its policies, such that now, it doesn’t restrict its services to those who are considering suicide. It quickly becomes a cross between a customer service complaint line and a homework help resource. The company’s management designs an algorithm wherein the hotline operators call every possible phone number in the world on a regular basis. For some reason, suicide rates have increased. This is equality.
The shoe store sells some shoes that don’t come in non-shoe format, thus discriminating against people with shoes. The shoe store closes. This is equality.
Two people walk into a restaurant. They sit down at a table and are served their food. There aren’t any menus here. Everyone gets the same thing. Today’s entrée is chicken parmesan. Person #1 adores chicken and Americanized Italian food. She is delighted. Person #2 has a life-threatening allergy to poultry. She is dead. This is equality.