E qual opportunity the belief that arenas such as

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Unformatted text preview: choices determine material outcomes. MERITOCRACY: The belief that resources and opportunities are distributed according to individual talent and effort, and that social factors—such as access to inside information or powerful social networks—do not play a significant role. E QUAL OPPORTUNITY: The belief that arenas such as employment, education, and wealth accumulation are “level playing fields” and that race is no longer a barrier to progress in these areas. In a perfect world, with all else held equal, the ideal represented by these national values would translate directly into the reality of daily experience for all Americans. In our imperfect world with its many inequities, however, these values inevitably lead to different outcomes for different individuals. While we treasure notions of individual accomplishment, meritocracy, and equal opportunity, in fact, individuals are members of families, communities, and social groups, and their individual trajectories will be affected—though not necessarily totally determined— by the overall status of the...
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