Press Release: Ram Venkatachalam Equity: The Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

This week, the Loudoun Board of Supervisors plans to vote on a lengthy resolution to codify “social and racial equity as a fundamental value” of county governmental policies and personnel practices.

It is a bad idea, and I oppose it.

Many proponents of this and other equity-styled initiatives seek to denigrate those of us who oppose them by suggesting we are against the equal protection and treatment of all persons regardless of race, gender, religion, national origin, or anything else.

This is a falsehood that needs to be exposed.

I am strong and lifelong advocate Equality of Opportunity for All – a moral and legitimate objective of any just society. Equity advocates want something different – something that is neither equitable nor moral at its core.

They want equality of outcome, so no matter how hard someone works, or their gender, race, or background, they get the same result as everyone else. This is not good social policy, nor something our local Board of Supervisors should be spending its time on.

I am a proud American of Indian heritage. Over the years I have learned much about what it means to be compassionate and to help others – and what it means to pick winners and losers regardless of merit or a true belief in equality. One is noble; the other is not.

In India, Mahatma Gandhi fought for equal rights and opportunities for “untouchables” humans – the so-called Children of God, who were suppressed. Mother Teresa fought for Indian people with leprosy whose needs were ignored and whose humanity was disparaged.

In America, the Rev. Martin Luther King fought for civil rights and against racial prejudice that perpetuated segregation and the separate and UN-equal treatment of American citizens.

In South Africa, Nelson Mandela fought against apartheid – not to secure some version of “equity”, but instead to secure basic equal rights for non-white people.

All of these were noble battles for equality, not equity of outcomes. 

Most of us or our fore-bearers came to America as immigrants. Those of us who have settled in Loudoun County are grateful. It is where we work, socialize, and raise our families with gratitude for the opportunities and freedoms afforded to us – including the opportunity to be treated equally, work hard, and succeed.

I recently traveled to India with my family and met with family, old friends, and others in various cities who asked about America and wondered if their hard work would still be welcomed here. They were uniformly critical of divisive politics, and troubled that Americans are not working together better for the common good. They also voiced uniform opposition to equal outcomes for all, which is different than the legitimate goal of equal opportunity for all.

America already has “fundamental values” enshrined in the U.S. Constitution, its amendments, and the law. We don’t need new values mandated by the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors – and certainly not the complex, backward-looking resolution that is intended to impact all aspects of county policy and personnel practices.

It is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and it should be rejected.

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