Fairness: Suspending Judgement

Synonyms of Fairness are candor, civility, fairness, equity, and honesty.

What is Fairness?

Fairness means an impartial and just treatment or behaviour without favouritism or discrimination. It is about dealing objectively (and impartially) with challenging situations. When you are fair you consider the needs of others when making decisions.

The question of Fairness?

Is it fair squatters could be allowed to stay on government land for free? Is it fair that programs for special education are more expensive than programs for typical children? Is it fair for a teacher to compare one of their students work to the work of another student? Questions of fairness could go on and on.

Ideas of fairness

There is an idea that fairness refers to the following:

Equality

Everyone pays the same price to get into Disney land. There is no special treatment for anyone. Either you get in for that price or you don’t get in.

Deservedness

Everyone gets what they deserve. If you work hard, you should earn more. If you study hard, you should get high marks. If you are lazy, stupid, etc. you deserve less. Everyone have individual freedom and so everyone gets what they deserve.

Obligation

Everyone is expected to give according to their talents and abilities.

Sometimes it is difficult to determine when something is fair. Clearly, people see fairness to them differently, more so if you are on the losing side. However, if a decision was done with all considered, maybe people may see the decision as being fair. This is not always an easy task, because people’s needs and wants vary. Consider the story below.

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Consider the following short films. Discuss the the reasons for fairness and how fairness was done.

Making Fair Decisions

If you are one who has to make a decision, you would want to make one that is accepted by all involved. The following are the steps you should make to arrive at the fairest course of action in a given situation.

  1. First communicate others to get their input. If you talk with others, you would likely be able to reach the best possible decision and others will more likely support your decision. This is the stage where you gather as much information to help you make the best decision. Information can come about from the people who would most likely be affected by the decision, experts in a particular field, friends and family members.
  2. Consider the input of others as important. It is beneficial when others are involved in the decision making. If you do not make good use of the information before making a judgement, you could face a lot of opposition towards your decision. It may be difficult to implement the decision, and thus the decision could end up failing or causing much grievances.
  3. Explain your decisions once it has been made. People appreciate it when a decision maker spends time to explain his/her decision. They feel involved and help in the success of the decision.

The story below show how this is done.

Thus, a fair decision has the following: it is truthful; it is fair to all concerned; it will build goodwill and better friendships; and it will be beneficial to all concerned.

A Fair Person

A fair person has the following admirable traits. They: treats others the way they want to be treated, take turns, tell the truth, think about how their actions affect others, don’t take advantage of others, and don’t play favourites. A fair person consider others and not oneself. Such a person has a just trait and choose to pursue what is right.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Have you ever said, “that’s unfair“? How do you know it was unfair?
  2. Have you ever been tricked or cheated?

Look at the short story below. Then answer the following questions?

  1. Describe what happened in this story?
  2. Do you think the mom was fair ordering the children to share?
  3. Did the children treat each other fairly?
  4. Where the children at any time show to be unfair?

Look at the short story below then answer the questions that follow.

  1. Why did the older brother shouted, “It wasn’t fair!” when he got a younger brother?
  2. Why did the rules vary for the brothers?
  3. Why did the younger brother, when he learnt to talk, also shouted, “It’s not fair!?
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