Back to Basics: Look at inequality like a kid would!

During my second year of elementary school, my teacher, ‘il maestro Rocco’,  drew something on the board that I never forgot. It looked like this: 

inequality kid

He was having a lively discussion with another teacher. Saying he wanted to get our opinion on something, he asked my class: ‘There are 10 apples, and 10 children – How many apples should each children receive?’

We all responded that they should probably get one each. 

He drew a line and asked again: ‘If two children eat 8 apples, and 8 children share 2 apples, is that fair?’

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We all said ‘no’.

Then my maestro Rocco turned to the other teacher and said: ‘You see, they agree with me’. 

I never knew what they were discussing, but I never forgot that drawing. 

Now, this might seem like a silly anecdote for an overly complex issue – in many ways it is. Yet, the picture of how inequality looks today is far worse then 8 kids sharing 2 apples.

I refuse to accept this is ok:

Global Wealth Inequality - What you never knew you never knew

Global Wealth Inequality – What you never knew you never knew

Last Fall, I showed this video to my students, in an undergraduate course on ‘Youth Engagement in Community Development’. As I was watching the video with my students, I grew angrier and angrier.

Then we had a long discussion on inequality. We ended up agreeing things are not as simple as the drawing my teacher made on the board when I was a child. 

We live in a world were inequality is accepted, internalized, very hard to question. I feel disempowered when thinking of inequality. I don’t know where to start.

I told my class I felt pissed off. Frankly, I think that’s a good start.

Let’s look at inequality like a child would, and say ‘WOW, THAT IS NOT FAIR!’. Then let’s look at inequality like a grown up to understand it is created by policies and human decision.

Now what?

Today, there is no bigger question.

– Gioel G. (@gioelgio)

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