Vice President Kamala Harris was unusually articulate in explaining that progressives like herself and those in the Biden administration don’t believe in equal opportunity, but equal outcomes.
So many of us have come from movements that were for the fight for equality. But we also understand there’s a difference between equality and equity. [Equality] is ‘everyone deserves to have rights and be treated equal.’ But equity understands that not everyone starts out on the same base. So if you’re giving everyone an equal amount, but they’re not starting out on the same bases, are they really going to have an opportunity to compete and achieve? That’s why we purposefully as an administration… are so dedicated to a specific principle, which is that of equity.”
This philosophy has guided Harris to, among other things, advocate for disaster relief aid to be prioritized on skin color. In October 2022, after Hurricane Ian had just ripped through Florida, Harris said: “We have to address this [natural disasters] in a way that is about giving resources based on equity, understanding that we fight for equality, but we also need to fight for equity…sometimes we have to take into account those disparities.”
While the "fact-checkers" mobilized to try to downplay Harris' comments when she made them, it was already the case that what she was arguing had become policy to some extent. FEMA issued a 2022–2026 strategic plan that openly states its goal is to “instill equity as a foundation of emergency management, lead the whole of community in climate resilience, and promote and sustain a ready FEMA and prepared nation.” In another section of FEMA’s website explaining the plan, titled “Objective 1.3 - Achieve Equitable Outcomes for Those We Serve,” FEMA uses “underserved communities” as a euphemism for “communities of color,” stating that “underserved communities experience differences in how prepared they are to respond to disasters, how well their homes have been adapted to mitigate against local hazards, and how quickly their communities are able to resume social and economic life after a major event. FEMA must direct its resources to eliminate disparities in these outcomes. FEMA assistance is not designed to solve societal inequities. However, by intentionally directing resources to communities most in need, FEMA will be able to counteract systemic disaster inequities.”
Matt Palumbo is the author of Fact-Checking the Fact-Checkers: How the Left Hijacked and Weaponized the Fact-Checking Industry and The Man Behind the Curtain: Inside the Secret Network of George Soros
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