What is social justice in today's context?
For us to understand social justice, we must understand the definition of social justice and how it has evolved in the modern world. The idea of social justice can be used in many ways which could be in the sense of race, war crimes, or simply the reduction of crime throughout society. One way it can be defined is as quoted below:
Social justice thought and action weaves itself throughout world history, working as a counterpoint to humankind’s unfortunate propensities for greed, power, and physical and economic violence. -ScienceDirect
This definition is good due to the fact it leaves the interpretation for where social justice can be applied and reinforces the points I made. Now I will explain how context for social justice may change. In today's world, a lot of emphasis is placed upon not just simply fixing an issue such as racism or the government creating unfavorable laws, but to bring attention to these issues so more people are aware of them. This is to ensure these societal issues are not swept under the rug and hidden from the public.
Racial injustice is a very important conversation to be had. Many crimes are done against people of colour, and these victims are not given any justice. For example, Shukri Abdi, A young Somali girl who had been dealing with bullying to the point her mother had complained to her school about this. Yet, nothing was done.
The very fact that the police had drawn that conclusion after just eight hours shook confidence in its investigation. -ManchesterMill
No justice was done in the name of Shukri Abdi. This is wrong and unjust. We must do better as a society.
People of colour are more likely to be stereotyped as criminals. This may create self-fulfilling prophecies in these people of colour, as they may feel they never had a chance to begin with. This in turn makes people of colour feel as though all the odds are against them, hence they turn to crime.
This could explain why those that are stigmatised and labelled as ‘poor’ because of their socio-economic status and the constant reminder that poverty links to criminality in turn, makes the individual feel hopeless. As a result, turn to deviance and criminality by fulfilling the label. -wearebeakthrough
There is also racial bias within the police system in the sense of people of colour are more likely to be stopped and searched, or simply profiled.
Black people nine times more likely to face stop and search than white people -The Guardian
The fact that black people are nine times more likely to be stopped and searched than white people if unfortunate and a sign of a racial injustice. This has to be stopped and should not have a place within in society. All of these factors and cases are a symptom of the bigger issue which is racial injustice within the system. This is simply unacceptable in the 21st century.
In 2020, Black offenders made up 32% of the prison population for under-18-year olds, despite accounting for only 13% of the whole prison population. -Gov.uk
Lack of racial diversity
Lack of racial diversity is a big issue within the workplace. People of colour are much less likely to get the job they want, and even when they do there is the issue of disproportion within those workplaces. This may be because of prejudice or simply under-estimating people of colour.
The employment rate for ethnic minorities is only 62.8% compared with an employment rate for White workers of 75.6%. -DiversityUK
This is not fair and this lack of racial diversity is the opposite of social justice as they are not being treated equally. Rather, people of colour are seen as less-skilled than their white counterparts in the lens of society.
Many businesses these days will hire perhaps a few people of colour to simply say they made an effort in trying to fix this issue. However, this is not enough. Tokenism is a major issue in today's society and must be stopped. Tokenism is an issue in many industries from the film industry all the way to gaming.
Managers might think that sprinkling the underrepresented employees across teams might create “a bit of diversity in every group.” -Fast Company
What can we do to help improve social justice?
There are various ways of improving social justice and ways for every individual to play a part in this.
1. Reflect on self-beliefs and thoughts.
Many times, we may hold a certain stereotype about a specific group of people without truly realising it. This may influence how we treat and view them. By reflecting on this, we allow ourselves to spot any bias or reinforcing patterns that may harm the people that are being harmed by these stereotypes.
Scientific research has demonstrated that biases thought to be absent or extinguished remain as "mental residue" in most of us -Learning For Justice
2. Be compassionate and understanding.
While you may not be able to control the actions of others, it is crucial you do what you can. By being compassionate and understanding, you help those who feel misunderstood or alienated to feel they belong somewhere. Do not underestimate this feeling.
Additionally, I learned the value of affinity groups as they provide students who share identities, particularly marginalized identities, to gather together to engage in conversation, community, and support. -Brookings
3. Educate yourself on social justice issues.
This may be issues such as racial issues or issues such as poverty. Take initiative to help those people in need who feel alienated and misunderstood by society.
As we seek to make privilege visible and interrupt racism, it is essential that we do this in partnership with people of colour. Otherwise, we may do more harm than good. -Yale Divinity School