Wednesday, May 16, 2012

What's the Difference: Equality, Justice, and Fairness

We were talking about bathrooms the other day.  I mentioned that in my building at work, on the top floor there used to be one single stall men's and one single stall women's room.  They have since chanced the men's room into a unisex bathroom.  My son protested that this was unfair since females of the floor had a bathroom and a half, but the guys only had a half a bathroom.  It was a good point to discuss the difference between equality and fairness.

It reminded me of an old bit Michael Moore did on his short-lived television show, TV Nation.  He loaded three super nice porta-pots on a flatbed truck with a big sign that read "Johns of Justice" and took it to movie theaters where the lines for men's and ladies' rooms are certainly asymmetrical in length.  "Justice" is a great word for this discussion.   

So, in terms that a smart nine year old would understand, what is the difference between fairness, equality, and justice?