Equality: Equal Treatment or Equal Opportunity?

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Equality: Equal Treatment or Equal Opportunity?

By | June 2002
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Is it fair or just to create equality by allowing special rights or accommodations to certain groups or individuals? I think it is. The foundation for my position is simple: How can we have the same rights for everyone, when no one is the same? This past November, I watched a video in Social Studies class. The video was about equal rights, and focused on several situations where rules could be challenged, and how the people got their way. One example was about a man in a wheelchair who wanted to go watch a movie at a local movie theatre. However, when he went to choose a seat, he quickly realized that he had no choice about where he could view the film. He was stuck with watching from in front of the first row, which is usually not a preferred spot for watching a movie. This man took the theatre to court for not giving him equal opportunity to choose where to view the movie. The theatre lost the court battle, and from then on set a precedent for all movie theatres to reserve sections in their facilities for the disabled. There are now wheelchair-accessible views from the front, middle, and back of many theatres around the world. The underlined issue in the above case was not about being treated equally, but rather being given equal opportunity. No one was being treated more superior than another, no one was denied the opportunity to watch the movie, but when it came to choice of seating, there was an inequality. Now, thanks to this man, that's all changed. The case was much the same in an example of two female high school students that wanted to go for a lead part in the school production, but couldn't because all the lead parts were for males. The two girls were given the equal right to participate in the production, but they were not given an equal opportunity to the part that they wanted. As a result, the rules were changed. The school's first play featured males in the lead parts, and the second featured females. We watched a third example,...

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