What is Fairness?

I would define fairness as a condition in which there exists equality and justice among all people.  This state can only be achieved in a society open to differences between individuals and willing to distribute rights equally among people. The reason I feel that we, as a society, have not achieved this state of fairness is due to the way we attempt to categorize everyone and everything into very strict binaries. Those not willing to conform to the categories are regularly pigeonholed, resulting in injustice and discrimination.

For example, in the case of South African runner Caster Semenya, investigations declared her gender as “unverified” because she did not conform completely to female or male characteristics. Ironically, through attempting to create fairness in the sport, the IOC perpetuated inequality and injustice by taking it upon themselves to decide whether or not Semenya was a female or a male. The gender testing, criticized as “expensive, ineffective and degrading”(552), is exemplar of how society’s classification system fails to create a fair and just society. Therefore, in order to achieve fairness not only between different genders but also between sexualities and races, society must brake down the overly simplistic binaries that construct our society.


Wonkam, Ambroise, Karen Fieggen, and Raj Ramesar. “Beyond the Caster Semenya Controversy: The Case of the Use of Genetics for Gender Testing in Sport.”Journal of Genetic Counseling 19.6 (2010): 545-52. Print.


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