Today we will discuss an important topic, what is social injustice?
Injustice is synonymous with discrimination. Social injustice means the absence of justice or violation of justice. Social injustice has various features, and one of them is its universality which means that injustice is found in every part of the society in every country around the globe.
No nation is free of social injustices, and even the highly developed, technologically advanced, first-world countries have innumerable instances of social injustice.
What is social injustice?
Social injustice is a form of discrimination against a particular group of people, making them feel alienated and marginalized. Social injustice occurs due to unequal treatment between people from various sections of society. Social injustice has various forms, such as sexual discrimination, communalism, classism, and racism.
Injustice is spread in all the fields like economy, politics, society and culture. Not a single sector of our society is devoid of injustice, be it health care services, education, employment, elections, or industry; social injustice persists everywhere.
Although most countries claim through their constitution that they are not in favour of injustices, their bureaucrats practice discrimination, which leads to the exploitation of human rights. This is why various marginalized groups are born in society.
For example, the United States Of America is a first-world country, and it claims that it has very less social injustice, yet examples of social injustice are very common there. For instance, the very recent case of the murder of George Floyd is the portrayal of racial discrimination.
Law, the guardian of human rights, seems incapable of controlling the human instincts of being socially Discriminative. Social injustice has been known to destroy the very intricate fabrics of society.
It creates a feeling of hatred among the people; the dominating group often tries to suppress the minorities, which leads to their exclusion, causing their alienation. Although the governments try to reduce such rampant inequalities, they have been far from successful.
Three common examples of social injustice are homophobia, ageism and discrimination. Social injustice can be based on class, caste, creed, sex, ethnicity, religion, or nationality.
It not only destroys and disrupts the well-maintained social structure of the nation or a state but also is a reason for various revolts and revolutions, be it large-scale or small scale. Social injustice is a really big issue, and we need to understand its complexities and intricacies.
Causes of Social injustice:-
There are various reasons which lead to injustice, and these reasons keep on changing and evolving. Some of such reasons have been explained below:-
Racism is a major cause of inequality. Racism means unequal treatment against people of colour, for example, the Apartheid system and the racial discrimination in America against the African-American people.
Under the Apartheid system, the people belonging to the white race were considered supreme over the people belonging to the black race. The whites treated the blacks very inhumanly, and the blacks were made to work as the slaves of the white people.
This discrimination from the past has found its way into the present and is now acting as a major cause of inequality.
Today, many developed countries are racist, which is why the minorities have to face various inconveniences. Due to the problems caused by racism, various movements and revolts have taken place in the past and continue in the present; for example, the civil war against racism in America was based on the motive to eradicate the deep-rooted racism.
Great leaders like Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Junior, Frederick Douglas, Rosa Parks, Nelson Mandela, and others fought against racism. Although these great leaders tried very hard to end racism, it persists in various horrifying forms; for instance, the murder of George Floyd, a black person, by an American Police officer shows the deep-rooted racist sentiments of the society.
The law and judiciary need to work together with the executive and the legislature to find ways to end this injustice.
2. Gender Inequality:-
Gender is a social construct or a notion attached to a person for being a male or a female. Society discriminates a lot among the gender, and it assigns different roles to people depending on their gender.
For example, if one is a male, he has to be masculine, and he is expected not to be very emotional. In contrast, if one is a female, she is expected to do the household chores very perfectly, and society thinks that she is incapable of superseding the males.
Discrimination based on one’s sexual orientation is of the worst kind. Due to their sexual orientation, people are awarded unequal opportunities and economic inequality.
The gender pay gap is another example of inequality based on gender. This inequality can take major forms when the women are paid less than their male colleagues for doing the same work or even after being equally qualified in the office.
Gender inequality in minor forms can be seen in homes where parents distinguish between the girl child and the boy.
In some parts of the world, different genders do not have the same access to the facilities. This is so saddening and heart-wrenching. Various social workers try to reduce this inequality and bring justice, but they are still very few.
Change can only be brought about when every person has the same ideas or opinions regarding discrimination based on someone’s sexual orientation.
Caste is a major factor of discrimination in India. There are four varnas in the Indian society, namely the Brahmins, the Kshatriyas, the Vaishyas and the Shudras, and apart from these, there is another category called the untouchables. With each varna are various castes, so it is difficult to identify the number of castes present in India currently.
Usually, the people belonging to the upper castes try to dominate the people of the lower castes. This unfair treatment is very common throughout India; the upper caste people consider the lower ones inferior to them, which is why they are treated unequally. Various social workers like Dr. BR Ambedkar realized the ill effects of the caste system and tried to raise voices against it.
They often do not have the facility to electricity, sanitation facilities or water pumps in lower caste neighbourhoods. Access to better education, housing and medical facilities than that of the higher castes is denied.
The right to equality is a fundamental right in the Indian Constitution. It also offers the right to equality before the law; despite this, social injustices like this still exist. The government has also passed the Untouchability act of 1950, making untouchability illegal and a punishable offence. In some rural parts of India, it is still practiced.
Although society’s socially and economically backward sections get reservations in the educational institutes and government jobs, their representation is still far behind. The government still needs to bring new policies and laws for their adequate representation.
Homophobia is a very deep-rooted irrational feeling, and it means having feelings of hatred and prejudice against the people belonging to the LGBTQIA community. The relationship between a man and a woman is the only acceptable relationship in society.
Although the idea of same-sex relationships is not new or recent, people are still not able to accept it, and in some nations or states, even the law doesn’t accept same-sex marriages. This way, equal rights are not being administered to homosexuals and other groups of people.
People are sometimes homophobic, showing conservative signs, but this only leads to suffering and social injustice. The need for social justice is very strong in this case as well.
5. Economic factors:-
Economic justice means the equality of opportunities and freedom from wants. In a fair economy, equals are treated equally, and prosperity and equity are the major characteristics of such an economy.
But this definition is not always practiced, and this creates a lot of disparities in the economic structures of the nation. On the other hand, economic injustice means income disparities and the wage gap, etc., also means forming a wealthy class and a poor class.
The gap between these two groups was maybe huge and horrifying. IN such a discriminative system, the poor get poorer, and the rich get richer. Karl Marx explained the economic structures with the help of the term ‘capitalism.’
According to him, society is divided into groups called the proletariat and the bourgeois. The dominant class, mainly the owners of the industries and factories, mistreats the working class, mainly the labourer. This all gives birth to unfair labour practices and hampers economic growth.
During the Industrial Revolution, a lot of traditional workers lost their jobs and had to face exploitation at the hands of the dominant class. These unjust actions make people classists in various ways that demean society.
End of social injustice:-
Social injustice has become a grave problem in all nations worldwide. Be it an environmental crisis, political crisis, economic crisis or any other disruptions, all these factors contribute to the destruction of the delicate fabric of the societies.
There are hundreds of ways to minimize social injustice, and most executives and organizations know them. However, they still bring them into practice because of their selfish motives, which conflict with the inclusive development of society.
Ways to promote social justice:-
Don’t be Homophobic:-
Homophobia is a severe disease which is rotting society from the inside. Homophobia and its practice scare homosexual people and make their lives difficult. We need to realize that we are all humans first and anything else after that. We must treat people with kindness and not use abusive language towards them.
Homosexuals are afraid to come out due to some homophobic elements in society, and thus, they suffer a lot and have self-esteem problems and various other mental issues.
End of the caste system:-
Caste creates differences and gives rise to feelings of hatred and prejudice. The higher castes consider the low caste people inferior, and hence they are subjected to a lot of insults and humiliations.
Reservation of seats for SCs, STs, OBCs and other backward classes has helped a great in alleviating the living standards of the low castes, but still, there is a lot to be done. For example, women belonging to the low castes have to face humiliation by the upper caste, and the government must do something about this.
Even in general, people tend to behave in a castist manner which is not humane. Dr. BR Ambedkar tried a lot to end the caste system. He wrote various books and articles on the caste system in India; the most famous and recommended one is “The Annihilation of the Caste.”
Gender equality is yet another way of reducing social injustice. Gender equality will only come when all the genders are treated equally without facing any discrimination of any sort. Society must act inclusively toward the people, regardless of their gender.
There are various ways to bring social equality with the help of inculcation of proper gender behaviours. At home, the household chores must be divided equally between the son and the daughter, check for any signs of sexism and stand up against it, check for male privilege, raise your voice against any domestic violence or mental/physical abuse, help fellow women in getting powerful positions or at least building a career. One very dynamic way to bring gender equality is to reduce the wage gap or income parity between the genders. Equals must be paid equally.
As we all know that little knowledge is harmful, so people must try to educate themselves and be rational and vigilant. Try to question issues as you witness them and dig deeper into the studies to find the actual cause of some social problem or issue.
There are various ways to be aware, such as reading newspaper articles and editorials and watching documentaries that discuss various social settings and institutions.
You can always volunteer in some NGOs and social organizations depending upon your interests. This way, you will get a lot of opportunities to learn about the intricacies of society, which will come in handy in developing a broader mental horizon and help develop modern and more rational thinking.
If you think you have enough knowledge, you can always try to educate other people who lag. Learn about your constitutional rights and duties and help the people who might not be aware of them.
Educating others will not only be appreciated by others but also develop a stronghold over the topic of discussion, which will make you more confident in your approach.
Economic justice comes when people are free from their wants and have the necessities of life, and income inequality is not there. The glaring income gap between the classes has to be reduced to bring economic justice, and equals must be treated equally. There should not persist any class discrimination.
One very dynamic way to end these unjust actions is to bring class consciousness; as people become aware of their rights and duties, they become more vigilant and act smartly. Hence, this can help reduce income disparity.
It is now very clear that social injustice needs to end, and collective actions must be taken. Social justice comes with a promise of a prosperous life, and the necessities are provided to each and every one.
The United Nations have been working for years to promote social justice, but the issue has become more severe and deep in the fast-growing complex world. A lot of new international organizations have been started to achieve social justice. Some of these organizations are UNICEF, WHO, ILO and many others.
But it is never too late, and there is still hope that social injustice can be ended. Strict and proper use of law can help reduce social injustice. The poverty levels must be reduced by promoting economic justice and reducing the income or wage level.
Equal rights must be granted to all the equals, and equity must be promoted. The authorities must reserve some special rights for the minorities or marginalized groups to increase their representation.