What does it mean to be nearly perfect? To be at almost 100%? Numbers like 97%, 99%, 91% all seem pretty close, and in many cases, it would be good enough. 97% of a centimeter would appear to be 1cm to the naked eye. 91% of a glass of water is still a glass of water. 99% of the nutrients that you need will still keep you alive.
The remaining percentages don’t always matter. But sometimes they do. A lot.
Let’s look at an example.
When a middle school was given an anonymous survey, 92% of students said that they feel safe and comfortable at school. 92% doesn’t seem like a very bad number. In fact, I would be glad to pass any of my courses with a 92 at this point. It’s a relatively very successful number to have, in relation to the proportion of students feeling safe.
But it’s not perfect. Because the remaining 8% are not just numbers on a page, they’re people.
Take a look at my middle school, for example. There were 8 classes of seventh graders and 8 classes of eighth graders. With approximately 25 students in each class, I can assume that there were about 400 students in the school.
8% of 400 students is 32. How many close friends do you have? How many peers in your class? Any of them could be spending years in an uncomfortable environment, yet they are simply an unfortunate dent in our nice statistic of 92%.
Marc Garneau is quite a bit larger than my middle school, with a population of approximately 1800 students [source?]. 8% of 1800 students is 144 students. To put it into perspective again, that’s over four entire classes worth of people, or just about the amount of members of the Reckoner in this year.
Why stop here?
The goal of safety and comfort of students is just one of many that we as a society strive to reach. Looking at the bigger picture, across a larger sample size, the fight for equal rights still plagues our world today.
For each dollar a white man makes, how much more or less does a woman in the same position earn? And what about people of other races, in other places? In what proportion of countries is same-sex marriage legalized, and in how many states of America is abortion publicly available?
In Canada, women make an average of 85 cents compared to the dollar that a man would earn. 85% seems like a lot, but in a real world scenario, a white woman would receive a 51k salary compared to 60k, or 9k less than a white man. Additionally, Hispanic and Black men and women and Asian women all earn either the same amount or less than white women.
Separately, nearly a third of all countries still have not legalized same sex marriage, many of which are part of the Commonwealth. Nearly half the states in the United States have or are planning to ban or restrict abortion, and in doing so announce their control over millions of women’s .
The statistics of bad are getting larger and larger, yet the same concept still applies.
It’s understandable that laws and such should be catering to the majority of citizens, in order to promote widespread high quality of living and so on. It does not mean that everyone else doesn’t matter.
Every person and being matters, and if not, then no one matters. Which world do we live in? Or is it just that the 1%, the powerful and rich, get to play judge, jury, and executioner with us?
And if so, then what of the other 99% of us?
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