Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 2 September 2014

Time we reflected on the nature of equality

THE 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King's 'I have a dream' speech falls this month and it seems that black people are not yet equal in the United States (Comment, August 12).

However, we would do well to reflect on the nature of equality. Is income, as your US correspondent, Jim Dee, suggests, or happiness the more accurate measure- ment? History shows that happier people find themselves taken advantage of by less-happy, 'superior' people, often seeking more income than they'll ever need.

We might suggest that it is more likely, therefore, that many of the descendants of slaves will not see income as defining anything good in their communities, especially not their happiness.

Yet genetic imperfection and psychological inadequacy almost always provide the motivation for 'superior' people to rise out of their working-class basey.

Is it not, therefore, a perversion of the truth to suggest that black people in America, who have evolved out of circumstances not unlike the survival of the fittest, are not equal to the whites, because they have less income? Does having less income make them unequal, or inferior? Or does it simply reflect their superior happiness that undermines the drive less-happy (white) people have to make themselves financially better off?

Of course, Jesus stated: "There will be those who are first who will be last and those who are last who will be first" (Matthew 9:30).

JOHN O'CONNELL

Derry

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