By Brandon Monson
02:35 AM EST, Fri - February 10th, 2017
Egalitarianism: The futile fight of the social justice warrior
By Brandon Monson 06:53 PM EST, Thu - February 23rd, 2017
Social justice is a hotly debated subject right now. Whether you lean to the left, the right, or you consider yourself a political centrist, there is no avoiding the discussion. The debates are all around us and come into our lives through social media, dinner table talk, and casual conversation with friends. At the core of the heated debate are those who consider themselves “social justice warriors”.
For those who position themselves as a centrist or apathetic regarding the ongoing social issues, it may seem that social justice warriors are like Don Quixote: a delusional character who is forcing the idea of unjust antagonists all around them so they may chivalrously call out and right their wrong doings. Imagining they are bringing justice to the world with every defiant act and protest.
Social justice may be broadly understood as the fair and compassionate distribution of the fruits of economic growth as well as fair and equal treatment in all matters of justice. It wasnât until the early 20th century that the term and the idea really started to pick up traction. In 1920 women finally got the right to vote, although it was restricted to white women, but it was a step in the right direction for social justice. In 1965 the voting rights act was passed allowing every citizen the right to vote despite the color of his or her skin.
In 2015 the Supreme Court ruled that the constitution guarantees the right to same sex marriage. These are all examples of social activism efforts winning out and resulting in social justice policy reform and creation.
A lot of people think the battle for social justice is over and everything is now equal for everyone. They think that social justice warriors are no longer needed, like good old Don Quixote chasing their imaginary villains at everyone’s annoyance. There is this urge from those who think this way to have these social justice warriors retire their warrior ways and focus their energy elsewhere. But things are still far from equal now and with everything we have seen lately it seems as though egalitarianism is becoming something that won’t happen anytime soon.
Let’s look at some examples. Despite only making up 13% of the U.S. population, African Americans make up more than 40% of the prison population. African Americans are imprisoned at six times the rate of white Americans. Nearly 1 in every 3 African Americans will be incarcerated in their lifetime. White families hold 7 times the wealth of black families. Everything you own, cars, houses, stocks make up your wealth; on average white households wealth is around $110,000. The average black household is 17x less at around $6,000.
Most of the average American’s wealth comes from their home; it appreciates over time and often passes down through the generations of the family. Well it is no surprise that white home ownership is 28% higher than black ownership. Up until 1968 when the fair housing act was passed, it was legal to not sell homes to someone based on whatever your favorite choice of discrimination was. By the time blacks were entering the housing market it had already seen massive appreciation that was helpful to, you guessed it, whites.
Is it just random bad luck or do the constant hardships brought on black people make it more difficult for them? Being black in America means being oppressed in America. It started with slavery, evolved in to Jim Crow, and then morphed its control to the prison industrial complex. Itâs not about being a triggered, social justice warrior. Itâs about having an understanding of history and the systematic oppression of an entire race.
Full time workingwomen make 77% of what their male counterparts make. Nationwide wealthy school districts graduate 92% of their students vs. 65% percent in low-wealth districts. The top 20% of earners own 90% of the wealth in the U.S. If you break that down to 100 people that means 20 people own 90% of everything. These are just some examples among many of these inequalities.
There are those who might argue that the predicaments of the minorities is of their own doing. That has long been the argument of opposition to social justice. They may simple believe that these people who aren’t white and male are simply inferior in capability at changing their own lives for the better. They believe that blacks are in jail because they tend to commit crimes. They believe blacks make less money because they are generally predisposition to be unmotivated. They believe that blacks are marginalized because they deserve it. This thinking is simply not grounded in fact and is the root of racial prejudices. This kind of thinking is the rot at the core of humanity. This is the thinking that social justice warriors are fighting to cure the world of. Prejudice is much like a disease, it must be cured with understanding.
There are still fundamental problems that left unaddressed will continue to worsen. Caring about these problems makes you a compassionate person, not a “triggered” person.
If you are born poor, black, transgender, gay, a woman, or any other slew of things that are not a white male, you are going to face hardships that the average person does not know about, and doesnât want to hear about. If you do want to hear about it and you do want to help you can start by donating money/time to any one of hundreds of social justice organizations (NAACP, ACLU). I would also suggest always expanding your knowledge of history and current events around social issues. Bringing these issues into the light starts with the patriotic duty of the citizens, to care and know of the ailments of their neighbors.
The first step to solving the problem is recognizing there is one.