Social justice is a hot button topic right now.
I found a definition that I liked on Wikapedia. I know, not the most trusted source (you know you frequent Wikapedia, admit it.)
“Social justice is a concept of fair and just relations between the individual and society. This is measured by the explicit and tacit terms for the distribution of wealth, opportunities for personal activity and social privileges.”
I read this definition and others similar to it and you know what stuck out to me? “…the Distribution of Wealth” And suddenly it all make sense. That wall that goes up when one wants to have a discussion about social justice. The way people tend to avoid the work I do surrounding the topic of human trafficking. The battle to get an audience, get funding, get supporters.
If social justice, or the lack of it, hasn’t affected the individual then the individual sees no problem in fixing it. What ain’t broke, right?
When I was a young. Early into marriage. A brand new mom. Chris (husband) and I had been on the mission field in Ukraine and we moved home to have our baby and to do relief work in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. In Ukraine we were living on support of $900 a month, and doing so comfortably because the cost of living is less in Ukraine so the western dollar (whether it was American or Canadian) went farther. However, when we came home, you can imagine that living off of $900 a month was next to impossible. Chris wasn’t able to work because He is Canadian and was in process of getting his work permit and green card at the time. I got a job that brought in a couple hundred a month. We were scraping by.
I remember one time coming home to a check for between $50 and $100 in the mail ( don’t remember exactly) and being so grateful. Or another time when my mom had insisted on buying me some groceries or sending me home from food from her house. It was in those moments I realized that without the support system that I had been born into, the parents Chris and I both had, the people who believed in us, at that point in our lives we easily could have gone without the basics. Even been homeless.
We don’t like the idea of distributing our wealth to those who have less than us because we are under the impression that we have gotten ourselves to where we are. We are to thank, we have done the right things to be successful. Worked hard. Gotten good education, good jobs. And I am not diminishing the power of hard work, there is value in it and success is found in it.
There is a video that was going around Facebook awhile back and it started with kids of all different backgrounds standing on the starting line gearing up for a race. But only the ones who had been given privileges like food in the cupboards, help with home work, opportunity to participate in extra curricular actives – they were all able to move forward. Then the race started. Obvioiusly the ones who had an extreme head start were more likely to win.
There is some truth that needs to be stated, first, thankfully the race of life is a marathon not a sprint and no matter where we start in life with hard work and help we can all be successful in our ways. However, to ignore the fact that some people are born into more opportunity than others is naive. And to not credit a persons opportunity when also looking at their beginnings would be inauthentic.
I have realized in my life that as a person, I am no better than anyone who finds themselves in a rough spot financially. Or without a home. Or struggling to find a job. Because I could be them – I have been them.
Caring about justice says, these individuals are human beings with a story and their story could just as easily be mine. If it was, wouldn’t you want someone to help you out? I would.
- Do you have negative feelings that spring up when someone talks about social justice?
- Has there been a time in your life when you realized how fragile life is and how valuable opportunity?