Justice Movement

Monday, January 11th, 2016

The following submission is in response to the following article: http://www.yesmagazine.org/people-power/i-cant-breathe-until-everyone-ca... and writing prompt: Like Gerald Mitchell, dig deep to identify and explain how you personally can treat people more justly. Describe what treating people fairly and humanely looks like to you. How might your actions make a difference where you live (school and community)? In greater society?

BY JOHNATHAN BILLINGS

            In order to correctly determine how it is that we as both individuals and a society treat people more justly, it is important to operationally define justice.  I think that there’s more than one simple definition of what justice is or what it means to treat someone justly. There are, in a sense, dimensions of justice that need to be evaluated both internally and externally. The first dimension revolves around the idea that justice is an internal struggle that each and every individual in today’s society, driven by convenience, contemplates. We as humans have this desire for a belonging, and a tendency to do what is fair. Humans want things to remain in the natural balance of things. This eye for an eye concept however, needs to be dismissed. Unrealistic forces no longer drive us internally. We should feel morally obligated to help one another. Personally, it is difficult to treat others with a just mindset when we live in such an unjust society via structural influences. This is not to say that on an individual level we are not capable of being just to one another. This reflects the other dimension of what justice is. This dimension, the external one, is based off of actions that can be performed once the internal dimension has been solidified within our minds. I can choose to act however I feel to be just, but it must be based on morality. The common good, the general welfare of all other people should be the driving force in the actions we perform. Just actions and treatment of others can only result from the liberation of bias. This treatment could involve various actions, as long as they are driven by the primary factor, the genuine concern for the welfare of others.

          I believe this to be the only way humans can ensure their treatment of others to be just. Translating this idea to larger scales is where the real challenge permeates. It is true of any society that large-scale legislation is much tougher to implement. The legislation must take into account all of the people it will affect. With small-scale government, communities where citizen’s voices are easily heard will have legislation that most accurately represents the wants and needs of their individuals. In order to translate the individual just treatment of all people onto a large scale like we wish to have in American culture, we need to redefine what we all have in common. What exactly is it that we as humans need. This definition must avoid grouping people however. Grouping will do nothing but ensure discrimination and bias as the backbone of society and the structure of how we operate. It would be easy to say that starting a nonprofit organization would help to get a message out into the public with a goal of just actions being the driving force. The bottom line here is that this action would not be radical enough. We live in a society today where nearly everyone has access to social media. I believe that a just action movement could catch on. Using hashtags on social media websites has been proven to get messages into the public and create a mindset. This mindset however, would only be temporary. Surely nothing implemented within such a short period of time could ultimately alter so many lives drastically; therefore a lasting effort with a collective mindset would be one potential way to create more just actions.