Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Equality For All

In the "Parable of the Laborers" Jesus uses a story about the daily operations of a farm to discuss God's sovereign nature and mankind's unworthiness when it comes to eternal salvation. The parable is not one of the more popular earthly examples of God's thought process, but it is one of my favorite and one of the more thought provoking. Not only does Jesus talk about the mechanics of eternal life, but he does so in a way that explains other truths about human beings.

Mainly, the fact that we really don't like equality.

Sure, we claim to love equality. "All men are created equal" and all that jazz. Yet, over the course of human history, ALL human history, that concept has been exposed as a lie. Most of us like feeling superior to someone, and any attempts to "raise" the inferior into a better position will be fiercely fought.

The parable notes that when the workers learned that they were going to be paid onlythe price they agreed upon for work, and not receive a huge bonus, they became angry and questioned why the master would elevate men beneath them to their position. After all, the master was paying those who had worked for an hour, the same as men who toiled for 12 hours. Those workers hired later in the day had been repeatedly ignored because they were clearly "undesirable." To put them on the same pay scale as the workers hired first, who negotiated their own wage, was saying they were just as worthy as their "betters." These people weren't upset because they were being paid unfairly or cheated, they were upset because their sense of superiority had been dashed.

Doesn't that sound like people you know?

How many people get upset when their pedestal is destroyed? In times past, it was said that the only thing a poor white person could take confidence in was that at least he wasn't a nigger. No matter how much a black man acquired, he would always be a nigger, and therefore equality would always be denied him. That gave some folks comfort. And I don't want to pick on white folks because all folks have these sorts of ideas. They may stem from race, or class or profession, but everybody likes to maintain a gulf between themselves and the "undesirables."  Hell, even the "undesirables" have their own ranking systems.

Yet, as prevalent as this attitude may be, it's not divinely ordained nor supported. It's not just the way things have to be, it's the way we want them to be. Equality doesn't just mean treating people nice. It means actively supporting the dismantling of systems that create false superiority. It means being willing to sacrifice personal comfort for a nebulous ideal.

Who is equal to that task?




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4 comments:

Marie the Hatin Ass White Chick said...

mmmmm

a refreshing take on that story...
i always did find it ironic that those who were/are considered "undesirable" looked for ways to still find somebody less desirable than them...

dismantling those systems is a monumental task... we've devised so many ways to prove our superiority, it's ridiculous

Blaque Ink said...

I'm at a loss for words here, but you are correct. Humans don't like equality.

Imhotep said...

Big Man, I think you're on to something. But I'd be lying if I raised my hand. I must admit, I’ve a few things that I give value and have allowed to serve as a divider between me and others. Just testifyin.

Deacon Blue said...

I think there are always reasons (even sometimes good ones) to separate ourselves from others in the sense that we make distinctions and sometimes criticize. And that will mean thinking ourselves better than some groups.

And, to be honest, I am better than a lot of folks out there. Thing is that I need to remind myself I'm also worse than other people.

It's all contextual.

Problem is when the "I'm better than you are" is broadly applied instead of qualified.

My biggest vision of equality would be truly equal opportunity and truly equal freedoms.

We're always going to want to feel better and more superior, though. It's just a matter of how much we hold that in check. Some people don't have a volume level or off switch for that (I'm talking to you right now, Donald Trump...)

Raving Black Lunatic