I enjoy baseball, especially going to baseball games. I want to be part of the crowd and energy. Anyone who has ever attended a sporting event knows that being able to see the game or play - makes or breaks your experience. Having a pole obstruct your view is no fun.
There is an image circulating on Social Media of three kids at a baseball game. The image is meant to help illustrate the difference between equality and equity or Justice. The brilliance of imagery comes from the many words-thoughts-ideas that can be conveyed through a single picture or image. I would like to offer a reflection on this particular image with the hopes of stimulating some dialogue.
First, not everyone will see the picture and all the details it represents the same way. This is really the spice of life - to appreciate the diversity of views and experiences we can all have. Imagery helps us have a “dialogue.” What my eye focuses on might be different than yours. There is not a “better” or “right way to look at the picture. Let’s start by asking a neutral question - What do you see when you look at the image? We might then ask, what is different and what is the same?
When I look at the image, I notice the game in the background. Baseball! I like baseball. I notice that in one picture two kids can’t really see the game and in the other image - all three are watching the game. I see boxes that the kids are standing on in one picture, and in the other there are boxes but not everyone is standing on a box.
Many of my workshop participants, first notice the boxes and how they are stacked. In one picture each kid has one box, in the other one kid is without a box altogether. My participants feel that something unfair has transpired.
Without judging, any or all observations are correct. My first reflection is that we do need to share what we see. Our interpretation of what we see will be influenced by our experiences, the context where an image is presented, and the questions or people we encounter.
I am often asked when people see this particular image – how should we respond? People get upset that one of the kids box is taken away. They want to know how to respond when people focus on the “unfairness” as it relates to equity versus equality. I think we have to pause, and ask - What is the focus of the image? Or in life, what do we all really want?
In my view, we want to see the game. On a life level, we want to have access, to participate in life, have meaningful work and self-determination. When we focus on words like equity and equality, we often get stuck. This image can help us have a different conversation, perhaps to not get stuck in determining what is Fair, and instead get to a deeper truth. What do we all really want in life? And then, how can we get there? In this case the answer was solved - share your box so we can all enjoy watching the game.