Why “fair” is not always easy

Let’s think about fair for a moment, shall we? What does fair look like?


Fair is not everybody having the same thing. We tend to think that way because it’s the simplest explanation:

You and a friend are walking around together. At the same time, you both see a $100 bill lying in the street. No one is around. You pick it up, go to a bank and exchange it for two fifties and split it evenly.

Fair, right?

But let’s say your friend just lost his job last week. He’s got a child with disabilities and is going through a bitter divorce. You, on the other hand, just got a promotion at your high-powered job and you have more in savings than your friend made in a year. Are you still taking half the money? You could make a case for it, but you’d be a dick.

We can’t just evenly split stuff or follow the same directions because we have different strengths and different weaknesses, different assets and needs. As a society, we recognize this. It’s why there are handicapped parking spots and why ambulances can drive through red lights. It’s why rich people pay more in taxes (and even those who favor a flat tax wouldn’t argue that everyone should pay the same dollar amount). We know, deep down, that some people need a little extra help.

People who bitch when a kid in a wheelchair gets to jump the line at Disneyland or when the blind guy gets to bring his dog into the restaurant or when African-Americans can say the N-word but white people can’t aren’t concerned about fairness. They’ll say they are, but it’s really just camouflage for their near-sociopathic lack of empathy. They haven’t tried to understand the perspective of the disabled or the marginalized. They live in the perpetual childhood of but he has one and I don’t!

You want to jump line? Is that worth having leukemia at age eight? Does eating Outback with Rover at your feet cancel out not being able to read the menu or see the food on your plate? Does a lifetime of institutionalized discrimination and racism go away if you get to call your best friend “my nigga”?

Fair is more complex than a third-grade division problem where every student gets an equal number of pencils. It’s a case-by-case situation. It’s complicated. It’s sometimes frustrating, yes.

Just not as frustrating as what the other guy’s dealing with.


About semiblind

Bringing you stark existentialism since 1981.
This entry was posted in eyesight, observations, people and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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