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What is Social Justice?

February 12, 2016

Kameron Dunbar ’19

Over the last week in my Writing for Social Justice course, we've been trying to identify what exactly is social justice. After a few hours of blankly staring at a computer screen, I managed to come up with a few pages articulating my thoughts on the matter. This snippet sums up the essence of my beliefs:

What is social justice? Social justice is not one "thing." It is not stagnant; it is not static. It is ever-changing, it is adapting, it is the constant struggle to protect the rights of those who have had them stolen from them--those who have been robbed of the humanity entitled to them at birth. It is live. It is living. It lives in the hearts of those who care, and dies in the hearts of those who have been complicit in the oppression of others. It is love. It is love without pretense. It is never-ending love. It is truth without contention. It's truth with conviction. It is contentious without hate. It is hate overcome by love, love derived from hope, and hope initiated in the hearts of those who can do nothing else but hope. It is faith. It's faith in the human condition, and in the human heart, and in human will, and in the human conscience, and human nature.
Defining social justice in the context of simple rhetoric is impossible. I could begin to define it, but the truth of social justice is that it is a living idea felt in the heart of those who hold humanity, prudence, and virtue as their highest values. My definition of social justice may differ from that of someone else, and that's ok. At the heart of it all is the inherent inclination of human tendency pointed towards the good.

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