Do we live in a just world? In the 21st century, mankind has made all sorts of advancements in technology, science, space, etc. We have surpassed all expectations of our ancestors. However, are we advanced in the same way when it comes to social justice? Is every person on this planet privileged? How many times in your life have you wondered life is not fair? All these questions would make you wonder if our world is that unjust?
Social Justice Defined:
Let’s break the term “social justice”. Social is communal or linked to society. Justice means fair play or equity in actions and conduct. So, social justice is fair treatment, equity, and justice in society. It means fairness and equality in wealth, treatment, opportunities, health care, employment, housing, privileges, etc.
Fundamentals of Social Justice:
Social justice is based on some fundamentals that are the basis of its foundation. Some of these are as follows that act as guiding principles when defining the term social justice.
Some of the basic resources are food, shelter, clothing, education, and health. Equal access to these resources is the right of every individual in a society. However, due to unequal distribution of wealth and status, the distribution of these resources is partial.
For example, individuals who earn enough can afford a roof over their heads. Whereas, those who have limited access to wealth often end up homeless.
Engagement and taking part in activities, voicing your opinions, and expressing your thoughts is everyone’s right. Equal participation of an individual regardless of its race, gender or color is one of the principles of social justice. In contradiction, if only a fragment of individuals is allowed to participate then it will fall in the category of social injustice.
For example, a minority group in a community cannot give suggestions on an issue. The decision is made without their consent, by a majority group. Although, the solution is provided. But this neglects the actual problem and needs of the minority group.
We should understand the beauty of diversity. Every human is diverse. Different cultures coexist in one society. Appreciating and embracing the differences and dissimilarities of these cultures is the key. Some individuals face more problems and barricades than others. Also, discrimination and biases based on color, race, gender, sex, age, ethnicity, religion, language, etc. is a major problem. All these factors are necessary for policy formulation.
4. Human Rights:
Human rights are fundamental rights of every individual. Both social justice and human rights are interconnect with each other. A society can not function in the absence of each. Both should coexist in society for their normal functioning.
Equity is one of the crucial principles of social justice. It means fairness. In society, when you practice fair treatment or equity with those in need then you achieve equality. For example, a building has access through a staircase for everyone. This is equality. However, it also has a stairlift for people with disabilities so they could enter the building easily like others. This is equity.
Issues of Social Justice:
Despite the social policies and laws, somewhere in a society social injustice always prevails. The ongoing pandemic resurfaced some of the social issues that triggered massive protests and movements all around the world. The Black Lives Matter movement, Asian discrimination due to COVID-19, food scarcity, unemployment, and climate change, etc. highlighted the weaknesses of our justice system.
In addition to that, the issues of social justice have been ongoing for decades. Some issues are more prevalent in some countries than others. It affects the fundamentals and principles of social justice in one way or other. Here are some of the issues of social justice that exist in 2021.
1. Climate Change:
Climate change is real. Wildfires, hurricanes, floods, etc., are massively observed in several parts of the world. These not only destroy the resources but also affect the quality of human life. People in the affected area become homeless and it also puts a strain on their income.
2. Racism and Social Justice:
Racism is deep-rooted in our societies. The recent racial injustices in America led to massive black lives matter movements throughout the world. The ripple effects of it could be seen in our education, representation, the justice system, law, and healthcare. This racial imbalance has a long-lasting effect on a person’s well-being and mental health.
Some of the rich countries provide proper health care to their citizens. However, there are countries that deprive their people of such privilege. People struggle with medical bills or do not get treatment at all because of a lack of medical supplies or money.
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Even in the 21st century, the income gap exists. The rich are getting richer whereas, the poor are struggling more than ever. The disparity exists among gender as well. Men income is more than women for the same work.
5. Food Scarcity:
Pandemic has left people unemployed. Hunger and food scarcity remains a problem. People are struggling to make both ends meet and provide one-time meals for their kids. Accessing free food through food banks and schools is also difficult during COVID lockdowns.
6. Equality in Social Justice:
Equality will solve most of the social justice issues. However, inequality exists in our society. Different ethnicities and races are treated differently. Resources such as food, wealth, and shelter are also unequally distributed.
Social injustice is necessary for the normal functioning of society. If we do not make strong policies to counter the social justice issues then societies will be in chaos. It is important to educate and create awareness among people about social justice. Inculcating the social justice practices could solve a majority of the problems. Moreover, taking a stand against social injustice is the only way we could make this world a just place to live in.