When people hear social justice, they may not really understand what the term means and may assume it is just a form of freedom and our rights. According to the Oxford dictionary, Social Justice is justice regarding the distribution of wealth, opportunities, and privileges within a society. However, I do not believe that definition is completely correct.
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What it fails to acknowledge is that the distribution should be equal among individuals of a society. If it is not equal for all individuals, then social justice is not happening completely because it is not fair for some to get justice and others not. The #MeToo movement has been active for over decade but has recently begun to receive attention after multiple women accused producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault and harassment (North, para 3) and actress Alyssa Milano tweeted a message with the hashtag (Lafuente, para 2). The hashtag was first coined in 2006 by Tirana Burke, creator of the Just Be Inc, an organization initially started for women of color and has expanded to all women who have been assaulted or harassed (Lafuente, para 9,10). Burke used the term after an encounter she had with a little girl named Heaven, and her story was so heartbreaking the only thing Burke could say was “me too” (Lafuente, para 12-14). In the following months, more people around the world have come out with their own stories of assault and harassment and some have led protests to bring more awareness. In September, many McDonald workers in New York City after complaining that the company failed to acknowledge sexual harassment at work. Some workplaces have now made changes to protect workers and address the issue of sexual harassment after multiple complaints (North, para 7). It is very important especially in today’s time that people come out with their experiences because they are still victims out there and hearing from survivors can encourage them to speak out.
The Take a Knee movement was started in 2016 by 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick to protest police brutality and racial injustice (Lake and Hodge, para 2). It comes after multiple videos have been released showing police officers shooting and killing unarmed black men (Mindock, para 10). Instead of standing for the national anthem, players of different sports, most football players, and team owners have been kneeling, locking arms, or raising a fist to protest. Initially Kaepernick sat down during the anthem, but later choose to kneel to attempt to show respect for military veterans (Mindock, para 7). When asked about his protest Kaepernick has said “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for country that oppresses black people and people of color” (Lake and Hodge, para 3). There has been backlash against players who kneel because one side feels they are in a way disrespecting the flag and that politics have no place in sports. However, the other side of the argument agree with the movement because they feel it is bringing attention to the racial injustice in the United States and as a country that people have the right to protest and freedom of speech.
The MeToo and Take a Knee movements are for two different causes, but what they have in common is that they represent a social issue. In both cases there has also been social justice and social injustice in different situations. Regarding the MeToo movement, in the Weinstein case he has since been fired from his job and producing company and there has been legal action taken against him (North, para 2). Other celebrities and high-profile people have also been exposed and some charged for their crimes such as actor Bill Cosby and former olympian coach Larry Nassar (North, para 36). However, two allegations of sexual assault were made against new Supreme Court judge Brett Kavanaugh and he was still confirmed as a judge (North, para 37). As for Take a Knee, often many police officers who shoot and kill the black men and some women end up walking free. Also, since starting Take a Knee after the 2016-2017 season Colin Kaepernick has not been on a team and remains a free agent (Mindock, para 2). It is great that some action has been taken in some these cases like the Weinstein case; but it is not social justice for officers to kill unarmed men and walk and those accused of sexual assault to not be reprimanded. It keeps the door open for others in the future to also get away with their crimes.
Social justice should be equal for everyone no matter who they are and what they have. It affects everyone in one way or another and may not be applied for every situation as showed by different movements. However, as the many movements fighting for social justice continue to grow, more justice can be attained for victims.
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