Equity and the American Idea

As an naturalized American, I have always struggled with the idea of American exceptionalism especially considering the injustice I see daily through poverty and food insecurity. Could understanding equity help me appreciate the American idea? Two articles allowed me to start thinking about this question.

The first article “Is the American Idea Over?”[i] looks at the original ideology that lead to the founding of the Atlantic Monthly in 1857. The original mission statement, if there had been mission statements in the nineteenth century, was for the magazine to be an exponent of what they believed to be the American idea as expounded by Theodore Parker in 1850. He stated that the American idea was comprised of three statements:

  • That all people are created equal;
  • That all people possess unalienable rights;
  • That all people should have the opportunity to develop and enjoy those rights.

This article concludes that the American idea is essentially that “prosperity and justice do not exist in tension, but flow from each other” and that’s what we should be currently defending. While I think I agree, I am concerned that there are too many ways to interpret both prosperity and justice[ii].

As someone moving into the food justice nonprofit world, I’ve read a lot of mission statements and vision statements and objectives that promise equity without necessarily defining what equity means to them. I took equity for granted until I read the second article, “Can We Agree on this Simple Definition of Equity?”[iii]  in which equity is defined as it applies to nonprofits and philanthropic foundations:

“Equity is about ensuring the communities most affected by injustice get the most money to lead in the fight to address that injustice, and if that means we break the rules to make that happen, then that’s what we do.”

Now I can see a way to make a connection between the American idea and equity. Considering this definition and looking at “What the heck does equity mean?”[iv] and “Stop Calling Everything Equity”[v], I think equity is the last statement of the American idea. Thus, we should make sure the American idea continues by giving the most resources, as money, to those communities who have suffered the most injustice so they can have the opportunity to develop and enjoy their rights.

[i] Appelbaum, Y. Is the American Idea Over? The Atlantic Magazine, November 2017, https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2017/11/is-the-american-idea-over/540651/
[ii] Jen Rovetti, Defining Justice, FoodCorps Blog, June 26 2017, https://foodcorps.org/justice/
[iii] Vu Le, Can we agree on this simple definition of equity? NonProfitAF, Oct 16 2017 http://nonprofitaf.com/2017/10/can-we-agree-on-this-simple-definition-of-equity/
[iv] Putnam-Walkerly, K. and Russell, E. What the heck does equity mean? Stanford Social Innovations Review, Sept 15 2016, https://ssir.org/articles/entry/what_the_heck_does_equity_mean
[v] Okuno, E. Stop Calling Everything Equity, Fakequity, June 9 2017 https://fakequity.com/2017/06/09/stop-calling-everything-equity/


FO from 2009: Saving the Best Until Last?

I finally had the tripod set up and so took pictures of me wearing my Kaffe Fasset Squiggle Vest:

Squiggle Vest

As per usual, I changed the pattern to knit the vest top down.  It was still worked back and forth as it is in cotton;   I do not know if you can steek yarns other than wool and did not want to find out on this project.

It is very pretty:

Squiggle Vest Neck Detail


Pattern: Squiggle Stripes by Kaffe Fasset in Kaffe Fasset Knits Again

Yarn: Mostly Knit Picks Shine Sport plus some Jaeger Pure Cotton. I tried to match KF’s colors but it was hard to tell what a color was by its name.

Needles: 2.25 mm/US 1


I changed the pattern to a top down vest using Barbara Walker’s wonderful book, Knitting from the Top Down.  I also added a wider button band using two colors rather than the picot edging.  Oh, while I changed direction I knitted the vest, I followed the charts the right way, so essentially the squiggles are upside down.

Here’s a side/back view:

Back of Squiggle Vest

This was the project that killed my needle, remember back in the summer when I had some knitting disasters?  Fortunately, it snapped when I was knitting the bottom hem and so there was only one color on the needle.

BTW I knitted and completed 24 projects last year.  That is slightly under one a fortnight (US translation: one every 2 weeks).  They are all shown here and I will add a link to my sidebar —>

Health Care Reform ’09

Last Friday, I went to hear Dr Howard Dean talk about health care reform.  This is a good article about the meeting.   Since that meeting President Obama gave this speech and Dr Dean announced publication of his book on health care reform.  Coming from the UK, where there is universal health care, improving coverage in America is very important to me.

As some one who grew up with what has been variously (by Americans) called single-payer health care or socialized medicine, I do have a hard time understanding why there is not universal coverage in America. Continue reading


Currently I am at 198,714 visitors to my blog. Can you guess which day I will reach 200,000? If you guess correctly and you are a knitter – you will receive yarn – type undetermined as yet. But I have some pretty nice yarns in my stash.

If you aren’t a knitter or if you prefer this prize, I will knit you a hat – color and yarn type to be negotiated. Probably a fair isle hat based off this but in colors of your choosing.

Fair Isle Hat

Fair Isle Hat

So put your date guess in the comments. Closest wins.

Update March 5 2009 4 pmish Comments now closed as I am 30 from 200,000. So I will have reached the target either tonight or tomorrow.

I have emailed Jennie for her deepest desires, i.e. yarn or hat and what color. I will post more about the prize later. In the meantime starting thinking for when the 250,000 visitor will arrive because I will have another competition for that.