Week 3: Equality

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It has been said that equality is central to basic human rights that every human being in the world should be entitled to. But lets be honest, are we all equal, or are some more equal than others?

 

equality

 

The problem with equality in our modern world, is that often times the political or social climate (power & superiority) reduces the quality of life, freedom and growth of certain groups and in turn forces the enhancement and above-the-law protection of specific politically/socially suited “lesser” groups,  in order to attain this ideal of equality and protect against discrimination.  But  there cannot be true equality, real fairness without freedom. You cannot sacrifice the one for the other.  There will never be true equality under such a system.  Equality means that every human being should see and treat every other human being equally before the law regardless of their race, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, ethnicity, religion or disability without privilege, discrimination or bias.  Yes, you need to protect and create opportunities for the ‘weaker or lesser’ groups of people, but not by sacrificing, impeding or discriminating against other groups or individuals.  This system also allows people the protection and right to make excuses for their behaviour by blaming external factors and ‘getting away with murder” as they are the politically favoured group.  Forcing equality can create massive divides and socio-economic break-down within a community and a nation.  Thoughts and feelings of hate, jealousy and frustration with power-hungry mindsets and egocentricity are driving forces for inequality. In our country South Africa, there is blatant discrimination and inequality happening in almost every sector, level and facet of our lives.  And the whip is in the hands of the politically and financially privileged and powerful.  

 

People fear what they don’t understand, and that leads to dangerous thoughts and behaviour.  People will also hide behind or grab onto what makes them feel comfortable and safe.  Is it then acceptable or understandable to be judgmental or opinionated on the behaviour or rights of others, because of your personal, religious or cultural beliefs? My answer is no. You have no right to judge or discriminate against another human being because you don’t approve of their choices or behaviour.   It is with sensitivity and an open mind that we need to approach matters of equality, as seen in the current debate on marriage equality, racism, sexual orientation and gender identity.  

 

With that being said, I believe that focussing on how you act and engage with others, is what is important. It is a personal goal to try and see people without judgement, as your equal, a human being, deserving of equal respect, protection, understanding, kindness and care.

 

Yes, we have freedom, but not equality:

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For PHT402 Professional Ethics Course: Week 3 – Equality

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10 responses »

  1. Really enjoyed reading this post!
    The way you linked freedom and equality was really interesting and it made a lot of sense. It alos ties in nicely with South Africa and where it has come from.

    I felt as if I agreed with pretty much every line I read, as I read it. Things will only change when people start looking at themselves and the respect they show to others. If you cant show respect to someone else’s decision you can’t expect your country to have equality.

    Do you feel physiotherapy has helped you realize this? Has it opened you up to try respect others decisions no matter if you disagree or not?

    • Hi Adam, thanks for taking the time to read and comment. I believe Physiotherapy as a profession and the experiences you go through in various clinical settings and areas of practice, and in life which is messy and confusing at times, helps you gain understanding of the variability of human understanding, perception and behaviour. Using empathy and taking your own personal opinions and beliefs out of the picture, helps one to treat every patient as a human being, equally with respect and dignity, without judgement. You will make mistakes and realize that you did judge that person or that you didn’t care much about their personal situation, or didn’t give your full attention, but just acknowledging this helps one grow and develop. It’s about Balance!

  2. Pingback: Reflection on Week 3: Equality in South Africa | wendywalker

  3. Well said, Chantelle. I have been learning from these posts that South Africa still has huge problems with inequality. Thank you for posting the video; it made for interesting, if saddening, viewing.

  4. Pingback: Week 3: Reflection | Chantelle van den Berg

  5. Hi Chantelle, Great post, although I am not from South Africa I can relate to what you have written. This process about ensuring equality is very frustrating to many although beneficial at the same time. A few years back in Malawi they also started a program at Universities where they do selection depending on the district of your origin because the government found that there were many people educated in the Northern of Malawi and yet they were the minority. In this new system you will find that someone who has very good grades in the north of Malawi would not be admitted to the University while someone in the Eastern region with poorer results will get admittance into the University. Just imagine the population of Malawi is above 14 million and we have only about 7 government Universities which are not as big as here.
    I liked the definition that I have used on my post about equality. It is the end product or outcome that justifies the means hence there is no true equality as the means that are used may at the same time discriminate the other ” advantaged group.”
    I guess equality is as much also a dilemma!

  6. Pingback: Just Equality | Greyscale

  7. Pingback: Week 6: Overview & Reflection | Chantelle van den Berg

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