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SOCIAL JUSTICE

Social Justice is defined by Oxford Dictionaries as justice in terms of the distribution of wealth, opportunities, and privileges within a society.”
The cool thing about The Show Me Justice Film Festival is the array of films that will come in covering so many different social justice issues. Pachamama.org said the following about Social Justice Issues “Social justice issues occur globally, nationally, regionally, locally, and within groups. These issues are a result of unequal wealth and resource distribution, unfair treatment of individuals with differing triats (race, culture, sextual orientation, religion, etc), and laws that support segregation.”  The fact that UCM is not only putting on their own film festival, but raising awareness in the process by choosing the broad, important topic/issue of Social Justice  (or injustice with most cases) is quite awesome. Kind of going off this past week where UCM had it’s homecoming week where the theme was “where the pieces fit.” It works the same with all of these social justice issues. It takes everyone to work together on many different issues, and coming together with an array of solutions.

Teamwork


But with every issue comes tough times obviously, and even when someone feels they may be close to the finish something always seems to kick you down. With Social Justice having so many huge issues that can be discussed I rather link them by that feeling of staring up at the brick wall of these horrible issues you may be trying to break through. One of my favorite movies is Invictus directed by Clint Eastwood, a story about Nelson Mandella and the South African rugby team. In this film Nelson Mandella (Morgan Freeman)  reads a famous poem created by William Ernest Henley. (The scene=link, picture of the actual poem ) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FozhZHuAcCs 

invictus poem The poem basically referring to hard times, the hardest of times, the darkest of times, and to just remember nothing controls you or determines how you should feel. As it says “I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.” This poem was created for William Henley to boost his own spirits, yes it was because he was sick in the hospital, but this has no limits on to what problems it relates to.


So The Show Me Justice Film Festival is not only a great opportunity for UCM, but an awesome way to raise awareness on so many Social Justice issues.

What is Social Justice?

photo credit: Google image search

Photo Credit: Google Image Search

Have you heard the term “social justice” recently and wondered, “What is social justice, exactly?”  Well, chances are…you are not alone!

While many believe social justice may be an umbrella term that would be far too difficult to broach in this simple blog post, there are a few important aspects we can address.

First we’ll look at what the champions of social justice believe the term means, and then we’ll compare that to the opposing viewpoints many may have.  Finally, we will review the fundamentals of social justice, while considering a way we can all work together in a more civil environment to tackle to tough topics of social justice.

If you were to ask supporters what social justice means to them, you would find that basically—it means whatever they would like it to mean.  For example, ten champions of social justice may give you these answers as important issues in social justice today:

  1. EQUAL access to education
  2. Gay RIGHTS
  3. UNIVERSAL health care
  4. Income INEQUALITY
  5. RIGHT to housing
  6. Child WELFARE
  7. DIGNITY
  8. Women’s RIGHTS
  9. FAIRNESS
  10. Racial INEQUALITY

However, the other side may view social justice as something completely different.  A particular response from a recent study claimed that:

 “[Social Justice is] the promotion of ethical standards held by the majority, by shaming and shunning those who are considered ‘unethical’.  This basically reinforces the feelings of ethical superiority, instead of promoting actual change.” 

Other trepidations opponents may have regarding social justice, include the feelings that it is merely:

  • Political Opportunism
  • Intellectual Laziness

And essentially, that “freedom must be sacrificed in order to redistribute income.”  There is a general concern that the state will grow and utilize its POWER to do “good things”.

It is true, that the basic doctrine of social justice can be simplified by THE HAVES, who have too much, and THE HAVE NOTS, who never have enough.

However, we must pull away from this notion that only the “right” people can impose equality, prosperity, justice, and all the other “good things”, and that the state is the only institution that is capable of implementing these ideals.  Those who champion social justice should not view those who do not as the enemy!  It’s this very separation that prevents us from being a truly free society.

Photo credit: Prager University

Photo Credit: Prager University

But why is it only up to the state to fix?  Why can’t we come together and fight for these issues as one?

It is important to note that organizations such as the American Psychological Association (APA) are known for fighting for social justice.  In an article titled “And Social Justice for All” on the APA.org website by Chris Munsey states that the most noticeable came in 1954, when APA President Kenneth B. Clark, PhD and Mamie Phipps Clark, PhD provided works which aided in the Supreme Court decision, ruling racial segregation in public schools unconstitutional.

In closing, we feel Melba J.T. Vasquez, PhD., President of the APA said it best:

“We can all work to turn down the temperature on outrage, and we can disagree passionately, but with respect and care.” 

Please share your thoughts with us, as we’d love to include other opinions and ideas into the working definition of social justice.