Equality v. Recompense

From: edequity@phoenix.edc.org
Date: Tue Feb 22 2000 - 14:11:56 EST

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    This is a response to an email that I received from a member of this group.
    I will publish neither the text of the email that was sent to me nor my
    response that directly addressed the email because I feel that would be in
    bad grace considering the email was sent privately. I would, however, like
    to ask the following questions not only of the person who sent me the email
    but also of anyone else on the group who would like to comment. Thank you.

    You seem to be advocating from the vantage point not of "equal treatment
    for all" but for preferential treatment for girls to make up for past
    unfair treatment. In other words, you do not appear to want EQUALITY in
    the here and now, but rather you want RECOMPENSE for the past. I have a
    few questions about this if you could indulge me please?

    1. People not associated with the feminist or masculist leadership or core
    movement, the "regular plain Janes," as it were, seem to associate feminism
    and it's attendant "equity" movement with a movement centered around
    EQUALITY in the here and now, and that is one of the principal reasons why
    the "equity" movement has become such a political powerhouse. Given this,
    what do you think the political power of the "equity" movement would be if
    these ordinary folk looked behind the mask and saw a desire for RECOMPENSE
    instead of EQUALITY? Would these people, who are in favor of the "equity"
    movement that they view as being one of EQUALITY in the here and now be
    supportive of the "equity" movement if they knew that it is one of
    RECOMPENSE for the past?

    2. How do you reconcile your goal of RECOMPENSATORY "equity" with the
    language of Title IX? The text of the law reads: " Nothing contained in
    subsection (a) of this section shall be interpreted to require any
    educational institution to grant preferential or disparate treatment to the
    members of one sex on account of an imbalance which may exist with respect
    to the total number or percentage of persons of that sex participating in
    or receiving the benefits of any federally supported program or activity,
    in comparison with the total number or percentage of persons of that sex in
    any community, State, section, or other area..." (20 U.S.C. 1681(b)) This
    appears to be a direct rebuke of your espoused principle of RECOMPENSATORY
    "equity," yet you have stated in the past that you strongly support Title
    IX. How do you reconcile this apparent discrepancy?

    3. Relative to your apparent valuation of RECOMPENSE for the past over
    EQUAL TREATMENT in the here and now, do you not see a vicious cycle
    beginning to form? We live in Period A, in which society gives girls more
    privileges and advantages to make up for the privileges and advantages that
    boys had in pre-Period A times. In Period B, immediately following Period
    A, society should compensate the boys for the suffering they endured in
    Period A by giving the boys special advantages and privileges. In Period
    C, give the girls special privileges to make up for what they endured in
    Period B. In Period D, give boys.....on and on and on until the end of
    time. Do you see this as a positive direction for society to be heading,
    recompense for the recompense for the recompense...on and
    on...? Or do you believe that it would be best to acknowledge the sins of
    the past, learn from them, put a period, and move on with EQUAL TREATMENT
    in the here and now?

    4. Again with respect to your suggestion that girls are entitled to
    special privileges to make up for disadvantages they had in the past, this
    doesn't appear to hold true when you examine things in the context of
    immediacy of experience. For example, there is a nine year old boy and a
    nine year old girl, twins. Now, Exclude Your Sons Day comes around, and
    the daughter is invited to go spend a day at work with her parent. This
    boy has enjoyed no advantages over this girl (one might even argue that the
    girl has enjoyed advantages over the boy, but that is a wrinkle in the
    argument that tends to draw away from the point), yet she gets this
    privilege that he is not allowed to share.

        Taking the argument from the limited scope of Exclude Your Sons Day to
    the broader scope of the "equity" movement in general and the focus on
    RECOMPENSE over EQUAL TREATMENT, this point is made to show the flaw of
    RECOMPENSE. The girls to whom you would grant these unfair advantages in
    order to make up for past unfair treatment DID NOT ACTUALLY EXPERIENCE this
    unfair past. Furthermore, the boys whom you would penalize for having
    advantages in the past DID NOT ACTUALLY EXPERIENCE these advantages. Girls
    of today did not experience the disadvantages of yesterday, and the boys of
    today did not experience the advantages of yesterday, so why compensate and
    penalize them, respectively, for what they did not experience?

    If you could answer these questions for me I would very much appreciate it!
    Thank you very very much!

    Miss Amber V. DeWine (soon to be Mrs. Amber V. Tower!!!)

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