Through a confluence of events, I spent about half an hour yesterday thinking about the roles of heroes, Quakers and chess. I was wondering what a quaker chess set would look like, since they promote the idea that we are all on an equal playing ground - that the king is no better than the peasant and vice-versa. At first, I considered that the whole set would be pawns. But, that wouldn't be really true, just because everyone is "equal" doesn't mean we are all at the lowest common denominator, or even that we are all the SAME. A lot of people confuse equal with same.
I think equality truly means that we all have an equal chance to become whatever type of chess piece we want to become. Some people will be pawns - just going through life, getting in the way, good luck, bad luck ... being Non-Player-Characters (to use an RPG term) to be used and thrown away when they are through. This may seem harsh, especially since there are people like this - but, I believe it is through their own choice. The alternative to being a pawn, would to be one of the "heroic" pieces, the ones that have more choices open to them about how to act, what they want to achieve and so on.
One could argue that there is a social and economic bar placed over a portion of the population that keeps them from being able to be more than a pawn in life. But, I would argue that this is not true! This is because there are numerous examples of rich people who have lived and died and have only been well educated and comfortable pawns, but pawns none the less. You must also remember that you don't have to be Gandhi, or the president of the united states in order to move away from being a pawn. Anyone who can change the world about them (for good or ill) in a way that will last (hopefully) beyond their own life has moved from being a pawn to being something that has made a difference. And, isn't that one of the reasons we are here? If we do not make a difference, what difference did it make that we were born?