Past Event

Equity or Equality – Which Do We Really Want?

Guest Speaker Announcement:

This week Café Society will host 2 speakers from the Applied Research Center, Josina Morita and Terry Keleher. They will join us at Buzz Café and the Chicago Cultural Center. For locations and more information on our speakers see below.

Equity or Equality – Which Do We Really Want?

In the struggle to create a just society, should we be striving for equity or equality? Equality means everyone is treated the same. Equity means everyone is treated fairly.

Equality looks at the individual and the circumstances surrounding an individual. It does not focus on group differences based on categories such as race, sex, social class, and ethnicity. The goal of equality stresses assimilation because it assumes that individuals, once socialized into society, have the right to do anything they want, to choose their own lives, and not be hampered by traditional expectations and stereotypes.

Equity confronts difference and takes into consideration the fact that this society has many groups in it who have not always been given equal treatment and/or have not had a level field on which to play. These groups have frequently been made to feel inferior to those in the mainstream and some have been oppressed. To achieve equity, some advocate that social policy should sometimes accord special treatment to groups. Thus, the concept of equity provides a case for unequal treatment for those who have been disadvantaged over time. It can provide compensatory kinds of treatment, offering special programs and benefits for those who have been discriminated against and are in need of opportunity.

Should equity or equality be the goal? Which has greater potential to create the kind of society we envision? How canjustice measured? Does one approach depend more on meritocratic principles? Does one discourage the advantaged or privilege less talented or “deserving” individuals?

Suggested Readings:

There is a difference between EQUALITY and EQUITY


Equality Is Not Enough

The Race Debate

Facing Race (Pages 1-5)

More About Our Speakers:

Josina Morita, Senior Research Associate at ARC’s Chicago office on the Racial Justice Leadership Initiative, has published writings on criminal justice, immigrant rights, racial profiling, and youth organizing. She was a contributing writer to Youth Rising, a report on youth organizing around the country, as well as to an anthology on the United Nations Conference on Women, Beyond Beijing. Morita is lead author of Facing Race 2006: Illinois Legislative Report Card on Racial Equity. She was a Community Trustee Scholar at Pitzer College where she earned degrees in Sociology and International Race Relations. From 1998-2002, she was Editorial Assistant for the Association of Black Psychologist’s quarterly journal, Psych Discourse. She currently serves on the Executive Board of the Japanese American Service Committee and the Reader’s Bureau of The Chicago Reporter magazine.

Terry Keleheris the Director of the Racial Justice Leadership Initiative and the Director of the Applied Research Center (ARC)’s Chicago office. He has over twenty years of experience in community organizing, training, curriculum design, research and program evaluation. He is currently developing a comprehensive training curriculum on racial justice leadership, organizing, advocacy, and capacity building. He coordinated the national ERASE Initiative (Expose Racism and Advance School Excellence) and authored several reports on race and equity issues, including Facing the Consequences: An Examination of Racial Discrimination in U.S. Public Schools, and Justice By the People: Action Education Workshops for Community Safety and Police Accountability. He was a founding steering committee member of the National Organizers Alliance. He has testified before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and the California Senate, and was a national recipient of Rainbow/PUSH’s Push for Excellence in Education Award in 2000.

For more informaiton, please contact Kristin Millikan at 312.422.5580.