September 2012 Archives

Blog #2 What is Gender Equality?

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I came across this article a few days ago when I was searching about transgender acceptance into today's society. I thought this article related a lot to what we have discussed in class so far regarding gender equality. In Judith Butler's "Doing Justice to Someone: Sex Reassignment and Allegories of Transsexuality," she stated "Justice is not only or exclusively a matter of how persons are treated or how societies are constituted. It also concerns consequential decisions about what a person is, and what social norms must be honored and expressed for "personhood" to become allocated, how we do or do not recognize animate others as persons depending on whether or not we recognize a certain norm manifested in and by the body of the other."(pg. 58). This quote very much connects to the article "Some Capital Health bathroom stalls get transgender symbol" from the Chronicle Harold(link below). In this article they discuss how some public bathrooms in California are beginning to have a transgender sign along with both men and women signs. The sign for transgender is the classic stick person bathroom sign except half of it is the man sign and the other half is the woman with the dress. I do believe that this movement is to show openness and everyone is welcome. I agree that bathrooms should not be allocated to only one sex but on the other hand cannot decide if placing a transgender bathroom is being open or shutting them out. I have never experience what it is like to not know which bathroom to use, due to societal norms. But with this movement I do believe we as a people are moving in the right direction of Gender Equality. Gender is not something that is as easy as black and white but rather there is much grey in between the lines.


Blog #2: Gender Identity Injustice


As I read Judith Butler's "Doing Justice to Someone: Sex Reassignment and Allegories of Transsexuality," I have found myself making several realizations about my previous experience in the world of transsexuality. Being as I am from a very small town in southern Minnesota, I have not had a lot of experience with people of very different backgrounds. Although my hometown is predominantly white and straight, I have always felt very open to people of other orientations and races. I really have never thought of how difficult it may be to have been assigned a gender I personally do not identify with. A specific quote stuck out to me as I read Butler's article: "...that was how I figured it out. I figured I was a guy but didn't want to admit it. I figured I didn't want to wind up opening a can of worms." I just find it really unfortunate and unfair that anyone should have to feel like this in their own bodies. Why should someone have to identify with a certain gender just because society says it is "normal?" Judith Butler brought something to my attention that I did not even know I was missing out on. Having read this article, I feel like I can understand a world I had no experience in a little better than I did before.

Blog 2: Critical Response to "I know what I am"

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Valentine's analyses of the label "transgender" is reflective of the trend in popular discourse to critically analyze behaviors and experiences that are perceived as being incongruent with cultural interpretations of gendered quantifiers placed upon our bodies, experiences, and identities, while failing to examine those that are perceived as being congruent in the same respect.

Through specifically interviewing individuals with gendered experiences that are not congruent with culturally defined normative gender experiences, he is placing an unfair expectation upon them - an expectation that they describe their lives in the context of their gender in terms that have been laid out and defined by the dominant gender culture. 

However, the same emphasis is not placed upon those with gender identities which are perceived as congruent or normative, or upon the language employed by gender normative communities.  Individuals from these communities are not expected to frame their gender identities in terms that are employed by communities that are perceived as gender non-normative. 

In the interviews, Valentine puts an extraordinary emphasis on unearthing simple interpretations of the interviewees' gender identities. He explicitly names the ways in which he attempts to get them to frame their gendered experience. (p 123) He is expecting the individuals which he perceives as gender non-normative to frame their genders in terms of an inapplicable gender system, while placing no such expectation on individuals which he perceives as gender normative.  Just as it is unrealistic for one to expect a gender normative person to identify their gender in terms of gender non-normativity (androgynous; genderqueer, trans*; a concoction of masculine and feminine, man and woman, male-ness and female-ness), it is equally unrealistic expect an gender non-normative person to identify their gender in terms of gender normativity (either masculine OR feminine; either man OR woman).

This chapter fails to critically examine systems of gender in that it:

  • Does not critically examine the ways in which binary gender categories are constructed and employed for use institutionally by the same organizations who utilize categories such as "transgender"
  • Does not question the gender identification, framing, and experience of lives that are perceived to be gender normative.
  • Does not question the binary framework through which gender normative behaviors are conceived.

That being said, the intent of this piece was to analyze and interpret gender identities and experiences that can be labeled as transgender from an institutional social service standpoint. However, the examination of identities that are not congruent with normalized gender narratives necessitates the need to critically examine:

  • That which constitutes normalized gender narratives 
  • The means through which these narratives became normalized. 
  • The fact that need and ability to analyze and assess non-normative gender identities and experiences arises from the gendered normalization of of certain bodies, experiences, and identities. 
While Valentine does analyze the source of non normative behavior in terms of ambiguity and the ways in which this ambiguity is a construct of gender binary and normalization (p 135), there is no analyses of the process that must occur in order for certain identities and experiences to become normalized.

By analyzing the ways in which we come to understand the ways in which we have learned how to interpret bodies and expressions and the ways in which they become normalized we can understand the framework through which analyze gender experiences.  Through understanding this framework we can begin to question and analyze this framework in order to create a more complete and accurate picture of the ways in which we interpret gender identities and expressions.  

I end with a handful of questions, which I will be using as a starting point for my first paper in this course, and through which I will examine normalized construction, understanding, and critical analyses of systems of gender that influence our perception of bodies, experiences, and identities.

  • How do we come to understand the concept of what constitutes "male" and "female"?
  • How does sex assignment and institutional enforcement of a binary sex hierarchy impact the way in which we perceive our bodies as being both sexed and gendered?
  • How do these binary categories construct gender expectations, norms, and identities?
  • How do gender conforming people come to understand their gender identities and experiences?
  • How is the way in which we conceptualize and understand gender identities and experiences influenced by the way in which we perceive our bodies as being sexed and gendered?
sex is binary.png

Justice in Gender

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As I have been reading the "I Know What I Am" article, I have found that there is so much confusion and complication when it comes to gender identity. I originally thought that all of the confusion came from society and everyone other than the individuals themselves but I am starting to see that I am wrong. Upon reading all of these interviews it seems that these woman have a hard time putting themselves in a gender category just as society has a hard time distinguishing what category they fall in. Ultimately, the fact that we find it so necessary to put someone in a category in the first place to me is an example of gender injustice. A person has to put themselves in either the male/female/transgender/transsexual category and then must be gay, straight or bisexual. To me, that seems a little bit ridiculous. If someone knows who they are and knows how they feel, why is it so necessary for everyone else to know as well? I have never thought about how frustrating this would be because as a straight female, I never had to think twice about who I was but to know that there are people out there who are confused, especially young people really concerns me. It is not anyone else's business what gender one is or associates with and I believe that it is society that is creating this confusion. By giving people a few categories and saying you must fit into one, we are not allowing people to just be. One quote that I read that I found to be quite impressionable was when Cherry described that just because she was born with a penis doesn't mean she is a male. That she was just a female born with a penis. She knows who she is regardless of what society may say and I really find that inspiring. I chose this cartoon because I think this really shows just how much people are ignorant to the issues of gender identity. We tend to focus so much on outward appearance that we rarely take the time to look deeper.gender identity.png

I came across this article this evening and I think it directly relates to our class on many levels. Reading that this "playboy tycoon" is willing to pay a man 65 MILLION dollars to "woo" his lesbian daughter is just appalling. This to me is the perfect example of discrimination and it is sad that the person discriminating is this woman's own father. Not only is he completely disregarding the feelings of his daughter but it is almost as if he is mocking the marriage that she already has. According to this article, this was a result of his daughter marrying her partner of seven years which goes to show that he has no support for her relationship. This is an awful way for someone to not only waste a tremendous amount of money, but to do so while humiliating his own family. That sort of money can go so much farther than the pocket of a man who realistically would be wealthy to begin with if chosen by this woman's father. It is extremely frustrating when the government takes away basic rights of people, but when it is done by ones own family, it is outright unjust and truly disgusting.

Race and the Prision system

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It's a shame that the American justice system and the prison system work hand in the exploitation and the oppression of Black male Americans. Mostly everyone today agrees that slavery and racism is wrong, but our justice system still strategically find ways around the law to continually discriminate against black Americans. In prison, they exploit them by profiting off of what they produce by paying them low wages and selling the work they do for triple the price. Then, just when they think that they have payed back society back by serving time, they find out that they can't vote, can't get a passport, can't get financial aid, and no longer possesses fifth amendment rights. In my opinion, this is a way to disenfranchise black males from the basic rights of an American. IT' is also a way to keep them within the system so that they continue to be3 exploited. If you can't get a job, how do you take care of yourself? The answer is, you resort to illegal ways of meeting your basic needs.

Economic Justice

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I found this comic by Barry Deutsch to be a humorous and hard-hitting portrayal of what economic justice means to someone with white privilege. White Americans must realize that while they may come from hard-working and "self-made" families, they also have inherited a legacy of privileges that many people of color are do not have access to. White people are the "right" kind of immigrant, white people have connections that benefit each other, and white people are given the benefit of the doubt when in possession of drugs far more often than people of color are. In order to realize economic justice for everyone, we must implement immigration laws that are fair to everyone, make homeownership attainable for everyone, take racism out of our hiring practices, and end the drug war.

wage.pngThis is another graphic I wanted to share. White feminists talk about how unfair it is that women earn eighty cents to a man's dollar, on average. However, many fail to acknowledge that what they are looking at is really the wage gap between white men and white women. A white woman will still earn more, on average, than a man or woman of color. Personally, a frustration I have with some forms of feminism is the failure to take race into consideration when advocating for equality for women. True economic justice and true feminism means fairness and equality for all.

Blog 2: Economic Justice

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I would define economic justice as an economy in which marginalization and everyone, regardless of their race, gender, or sexual orientation, is paid an equal and fair amount of money equivalent to the work they put in. Major obstacles of obtaining economic injustice include oppression, racism, sexism and many others. Michelle Alexander contributes are very important example of these obstacles in her article. She states that the majority of drug abusers are, in fact, Caucasian, however many people associate drug abusers with being people of color. This is a form of oppression, in which, people of color are being associated with drugs just because of their ethnicity. In the United States, the people with the most advantages and resources, such as education and wealth, are most likely the ones who are on top of this social hierarchy. It's not that people do not strive to obtain economic justice; it's the fact that they do not have the resources to.

Currently, society attempts to challenge poverty and inequality by providing programs such as welfare, housing and other resources to families in need. While this does help challenge poverty and inequality, oppression still plays a major role in society. Though people in need have homes and extra income, society still oppresses them in a sense that people in need are still discriminated against due to racism, sexism, etc. With this said, challenging poverty and inequality is not the same as striving to obtain economic justice because there are still barriers to break in society and the work force.

Economic Injustice!

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PrisonBlacks.jpgEconomic justice means that everyone apart of society has an equal opportunity to seek wealth to whatever extent. Meaning if some one wanted to seek a job they would be equally qualified as their opponent as in their opponent would have had a similar start as they had. Economic justice cannot exist along with oppression, because with oppression an individual can see clear disadvantages that exist within a certain group of people. Oppression is one of the major obstacles that prevent the United States from economic justice. If I were to draw a picture of economic justice I would draw a picture of a track field with every race and nationality at the starting point. The starting point on the track is symbolic because it means that everyone who has the right to compete can without the restraints of social injustice.
In the 1980's my mother was a teenager she and her family went to New York city for the first time. While they were there they were told to take a trip to Harlem. Harlem at the time seemed very unsafe to them once they arrived. However, the people in the street were not startled by the drug users and drug dealers on every corner. In the 1980's the War on Drugs was initiated and the people hired to execute the war were employed by the police departments of every city in the United States. One of the reasons the war was started was because there was an emergence of drugs being pushed on the streets to adults and children. The United States government attempted to challenge the poverty and inequality that came along with the strong presence of drugs in its country by initiating the war. However, in the years that followed the war on drugs found the face of its enemy. The media outlets during the 1980's displayed images of black men and women in the ghettos of America using drugs although the majority of drug users were white.
The United States in its attempt to challenge poverty and inequality by initiating the War on Drugs has failed in preserving economic justice. Most African American families are missing a key figure that is prevalent in most families, a father. The rate of incarcerated African American men in relation to the War on Drugs is overwhelming. There are several factors that come in play when the father of a family is gone. The mother is many times left to support herself and her children without the income of another person. The family that has a member incarcerated may feel powerlessness because they can do nothing about the situation they are in. Powerlessness is one of the five faces of oppression.The children raised in these families are are growing up in economic injustice, because once they get older they may have then already been introduced into the American jail system that will restrict them when they look for a job or applying to college. For example, when I was in high school one of my close friends grew up without his father because his father was convicted of selling crack. My friend was African American and his mother did not receive a formal education so she worked nights at Perkins and during the day watched after her other children. They were very poor and whenever things got really bad my friend would steal food from one of the local grocery stores. He was caught several times and spent some time in jail because of it. When senior year rolled around his chances of getting into a college were slim not only because of his grades but because he already had a record.
Michelle Alexander states in her book "The Color of Justice" that "The notion that most illegal drug use and sales happens in the ghetto is pure fiction". I support this statement, because of the evidence that she presented along with it. Alexander mentioned the fact that most police officers will go to the ghettos of their cities to make arrest because most of the drug dealing is done in public. However, it has been proven through statistics that the majority of drug users and dealers in this country are white and live in the suburbs. Economic justice is taken away from the families held captive by the War on Drugs.

Economic Justice Begins Where Oppression Ends...


Economic justice is when economic benefits are distributed equally amongst all races, genders, classes, and etc. Everyone has equal access to jobs, and a means to support themselves and their families. This is to say that there is a break down of the social stratification system and oppressions that hold people back. Protections of worker's unions and benefits are an important part of economic justice. Along with this the workplace should be free of exploitation, sexual harassments and the glass ceiling, among many other oppressions. In a nutshell I think economic justice is giving everyone, despite his or her differences, a fair and attainable means of financial security.

I feel that all of the forms of oppression: exploitation, marginalization, violence, powerlessness, and cultural imperialism are the main obstacles that prevent the U.S from attaining economic justice. White supremacy goes along with the oppressions because they are all obstacles that hinder people from starting on equal grounds. Society attempts to challenge poverty and inequality in the U.S by offering public assistance or welfare to the poor and enforcing such things as affirmative action within the workforce. There are also some people who try to embrace color blindness to combat inequalities or discrimination, but in fact this is not an ideal means to combat inequalities. Color blindness only ignores the real problems at hand.

Society's attempts to combat poverty and inequalities are not the same as striving to obtain economic justice because all these efforts are haphazard ways of fixing discrimination. You can give people jobs through affirmative action and offer assistance in times of need, but this is not conquering the big picture. Once these groups become part of the economic system they are most likely faced with exploitation and little room to be promoted. I feel that until we phase out deep-rooted discrimination in a hierarchical society, economic justice will not progress. There is systematic corruption that keeps the rich, rich and the poor, poor.

This photo goes along with a similar premise that the article "The Color of Justice" talks about. It is not concerning discrepancies within sentencing for drug charges, between whites and blacks, but it does paints a picture of discriminations within other areas of crime.

A Cynic's View on Justice


In one of my sociology classes the other day, I learned an interesting fact about Americans: we think our country isn't as unequal as it really is. Below is a chart we discussed, showing the actual class divisions, what Americans think they are, and what Americans want classes to be like.


Note: In the "Actual" line, the bottom two quintiles are not visible because the lowest quintile owns just 0.1% of all wealth, and the second-lowest quintile owns 0.2%.

It doesn't take a socialist to think that the distribution of wealth in the United States is extremely unequal. How can I really understand economic justice when my own country fails to demonstrate it?

In "The Roots of the Racial Wealth Divide", Lui et al. describe the ways in which the upper class becomes wealthy. Although many people from the upper class worked hard to achieve their class status, they fail to realize the ways in which they had help along the way. President Obama has received a lot of criticism for his remark about business owners not "getting there on their own." Despite what his critics say, Obama is right. Lui et al. talk about the government programs that have given white people significant advantages over minority groups. For example, the GI Bill helped whites go to college after WWII, but black servicemen were not exactly able to take advantage of the Bill's privileges. Whites have also typically accumulated more wealth over generations, which in turn can lead them to having access to better housing, education, and community connections that can help them find the right jobs. On the other hand, minorities must face not only institutional and systematic racism but also generations of lost opportunities. As Michelle Alexander writes on extensively, racism even persists in the court system, which many see as the epitome of justice.

So what is economic justice? It is having a system where everyone--regardless of race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation, etc.--has equal opportunity in order to succeed and live the life they want. It is about fighting poverty, gerrymandering, cultural misunderstanding, and other forms of inequality that restrict Americans every day. It is also about holding the upper classes accountable for their ignorance of those who lack the privileges/opportunities/advantages they had to get to the top. Government social programs and taxes on the wealthy can help make society more equal, but permanent change must come from awareness and change in attitudes. We must acknowledge our advantages and understand that programs like affirmative action are not meant to discriminate against those from the majority. Rather, these programs exist to make up for decades of discrimination that caused people to be at a disadvantage. Lastly, we must keep a watchful eye of biases that can affect who we believe to deserve one lifestyle over another. We don't know everyone's situations or the hardships that have struck them. Before we can attain economic justice, we must attain perceptiveness so that we can truly understand the effects of economic injustice.

Jails, Juries, and Justice


Wow! It's been an interesting couple of weeks. From learning about privilege to discussing the institutionalized racism in cop cars and courts, we're already getting a wide range of knowledge about justice issues! I was reading a few chapters from a book called Statecraft: An Introduction to Political Choice and Judgment (all about political decision making) for my Comparative Politics class and quotes kept sticking out to me as very relevant to our class, so I thought I'd post them here!

1) "The idea of 'positive discrimination' means that anyone who has suffered prejudice or deprivation for some reason that they had no control over-- race, sex, and the like-- ought to be treated more than equally in public policy until they catch up with the norm"(14).

Isn't that interesting? It almost seems appealing, but it has its own odd discriminatory undertones too...

2) "For example, a jury in a criminal case is not expected to make a perfectly neutral, impartial decision. Instead, it is expected to have an initial bias in favor of the defendant, to start from the presumption of innocence. The defendant does not have to prove anything. It is the prosecution that has to make an argument--to prove guilt 'beyond a reasonable doubt'"(16).

I think we sometimes forget that our system operates from a standpoint of "innocent until proven guilty". This was a good reminder for me, and I think it definitely relates to our discussion on racist drug use convictions. If, let's say, a person of color is brought before a judge in a case regarding crack cocaine possession, the jury is supposed to be seeing that person as innocent (regardless of their races, or the race of the person being tried) until the prosecutor proves otherwise (which might be tough if the policing and sentencing was initially racist).

3) "Doctors, lawyers, social workers, military officers, policemen, forest rangers, and other professionals all develop, through specialized training, certain habits of thought and sets of principles for making judgments"(18).

This made me think about police discretion. Obviously, not all police officers are blatantly racist when doing their jobs, but perhaps for those who are, racism plays into a habitual ideology of judgment that has become custom in discretion/pulling people over.

4)"Law enforcement officials should be responsive to the attitudes, customs, and opinions of the community"(33).

5) "...if we admit that prosecutors should be responsive to community sentiment in matters like marijuana use, we must also accept the actions of those prosecutors who enforce the law more severely against racial minorities, transients, or the poor than against the 'respectable' members of the community if that is their understanding of local sentiments and customs"(33).

I was so surprised and delighted to see this example, because it's exactly what we've been talking about. It's interesting to note here that the author suggests that if we accept that prosecutors should do their job according to societal norms and outlooks, then we must also accept the racist and classist society we currently live in (because that is ultimately what is affecting the prosecution). Hmmm...

6) "In appealing to fundamental fairness, we are saying, in general, that the rules should be logically consistent, that like cases should be treated alike and different cases differently"(50).

This also applies to racially affected drug prosecution and judgment in the criminal justice system.

I want to thank you all for making these classes what they are. Everyone has great insights, and I'm learning so so much. Let's continue to do so! :):)


I typed "Jury Selection" into google image and this was one of the options. :P:P

What is White Privilege?

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According to Peggy McIntosh, white privilege is an "invisible package of unearned assets". I think what she means by this is that whites are not aware of how privileged they truly are, or the assets they obtain by simply just being white. Whites are taught to think their lives are average, but in fact, most whites really are privileged. After I read this article it really got me thinking about what white privilege really was, and why I had never thought about it in this way. I had never thought about white privilege or even acknowledged such a thing. Why is it that white americans have an unearned entitlement, when people of different backgrounds have worked for generations to live the life whites do? Everyone has the right to live the life they want to and no one should be more privileged than the next.

Blog #2- White Privilege

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I ran across this while scrolling through facebook today and thought it was a great example of actually "engaging in justice."

Samantha Rosa Bisogno, a junior at UMD posted this as her facebook status:
"I was driving down First Street this morning, when I saw a group of people, all white, standing in front of the Program for Aid to Victims of Sexual Assault (PAVSA) office protesting abortion. One of them was holding an eight-foot tall wooden cross. Now, you would think that anyone who has taken US History would know the implications of a group of white people protesting with a large wooden cross, but these people seemed clueless. So I pulled over and got out to talk to them.

I asked them if they had considered the implications of a group of people protesting with a large wooden cross. They stared blankly at me. I told them that when I saw them, a group of white people protesting with a large wooden cross, my mind immediately went to cross burning. Their eyes widened. I assured them that I was not accusing them of doing such things, and that I truly believed that they had simply not considered this implication. However, I urged them to consider the pain and fear the imagery may bring to a lot of people of color.

One woman quickly defended that it was an image of their savior, and that it wasn't their fault that the image may bring pain to some people. She said it was all worth it if seeing that cross caused someone to come to Jesus. I reminded her that it wasn't simply the cross, but that the cross was eight-feet tall, wooden, and surrounded by protesting white people. I reminded her that Duluth was visited by a group of White Supremacists just months prior, and that this wasn't ancient history. I asked why they couldn't paint the cross, or have it made out of a different material, to move away from that painful imagery. They said they couldn't do that, because Jesus was crucified on a *wooden* cross.

I reiterated a few times that they needed to consider how this imagery would make people of color feel and that as white people, they hadn't experienced this and therefore couldn't understand how it felt. They responded that plenty of black people had stopped to thank them for what they were doing. I reminded them that they couldn't base an entire race's opinion off of a handful of instances, and that they couldn't measure how many people of color had driven by, seen them, and felt pain. They simply told me I was wrong, that wasn't happening. After a long discussion, I finally asked, "So all the pain and fear you may be invoking in people passing by, that's worth it to you in order to make your point?" They readily said yes, absolutely.

This is what privilege looks like. Privilege is being able to drive by a crowd of white people protesting with a wooden cross and not think twice about it. Privilege is being able to ignore the fact that you are causing other people pain, because it's not convenient for you to change. Privilege is being exempt from things that other people have to endure. Most of us have experienced privilege in some way or another - what's important is that we recognize that privilege. These people protesting in front of the PAVSA office didn't get it, but I hope that by sharing this story, we can all be reminded that when we don't check our privilege, others get hurt as a consequence."

NOTE: PAVSA does NOT perform abortions! They are an organization that works with victims of sexual abuse. It was later clarified in the comments of this post that the group protesting abortions was actually protesting the Women's Health Building which is right next to PAVSA and does offer abortions along with many other valuable health services. The group protesting is called 40 Days for Life and they are apparently protesting outside of the Women's Health Center in downtown Duluth everyday until the elections are over.

I met Samantha our freshman year at UMD, we lived in the same dorm hall. Ever since I have known her, I have known her to be a great advocate of justice. Through reading her story I was really impressed and believed it to be extremely relevant to our class readings and discussions on white privilege. I found our readings and discussions interesting but I still felt I was not grasping the full concept of white privilege. I understood I have it and that I'm not suppose to abuse it but I'm not suppose to deny it either. But reading Sam's post it really finally hit me. White privilege is being able to wave an offensive image around or say an offensive phrase and have no repercussions of it, or even worse, just being completely ignorant to the fact that it's even offensive. Having the privilege to not have to feel the pain or fear of something because you yourself have never had to experience that type of hate or even had to witness it. It made me realize that I do have the power to do something, I have a voice. Even though people are not going to always listen, as illustrated in Sam's story, she still had the courage to say something and hopefully these people will later take a second look at their tactics to getting their point across.
I think that Sam is an awesome example of active justice but not everyone is at the point where they have the courage to stand up to a group like that or even have the knowledge that what this group is doing is offensive to entire race of people. I think the first step to engaging in justice is learning about our own white privileges and how to recognize them in our daily lives. Only once we recognize our white privilege can we take the next step, which is using our privilege to better others and our society as a whole so that we can try to close the racial wealth gap and try to even out the playing field. Having privilege does not make you a bad person and even not recognizing your privilege doesn't make you a bad person either but it does make you ignorance. And ignorance can cause a lot of unseen pain and hurt in others around us.
I know that personally I may not have the courage to stand up to a group as Sam did yet but I am taking the first step in learning to recognize my privilege and use it in constructive ways. I hope that one day I will feel as brave as Sam and I think she is a great role model.

Economic Justice

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I think that economic justice will be achieved when everyone has an equal opportunity for the same benefits and resources. I believe that in order for there to be economic justice, there will have to be an elimination in discrimination and biased judgment on anyone when it comes to opportunities such as higher education, jobs, or anything that could help a person advance in life.

Society is so stuck in color blind racism that we don't realize or we just won't acknowledge that things are worse than they appear on the surface. We must acknowledge and do something about this problem in order for us to achieve economic justice. Overcoming this obstacle will be quite difficult considering the fact that prejudice towards different groups of people is so deeply rooted into our history, but it is still achievable. I think in order to overcome color blind racism we need to acknowledge other races and understand that just because our skin color is different doesn't mean we're so different from each other. One of the main ways we can address this problem is by controlling the media more. The media has such a huge influence in how we perceive other races and if we controlled some of the content allowed onto it then I feel like it would help a lot.

Another obstacle to address is poverty and how it effects inequality. When I read The Color Of Wealth, I was really shocked by the statistics. I also learned a lot more about where the roots of wealth comes from and it appalled me even more. The author's explanation of wealth gave me more of an insight on why certain races have more wealth than others and how it happened. He explained that wealth is accrued over generations in one's family. He then went on explaining why white people have more wealth compared to other races, especially blacks. At one point in time, blacks were discriminated against and weren't allowed to own land, stocks, businesses, or any kind of asset. While this was happening, white people were gaining assets and gaining more wealth. White people accrued more wealth while other races were left behind, trying to catch up. One statistic that shocked me was that an average family of color saw their net worth fall 7 percent, to $17,100 in just six years, while an average white family's net worth grew 37 percent, to $120,900 in the same period. This is makes me feel a little uneasy because it's not fair for a family of color to struggle more with keeping their wealth. I'm not saying that white people should just give away their money, but we, as a society, should do something to create a more equal ground for everyone. Most minorities live pay check to pay check, while the majority of people don't have to worry about that. People shouldn't have to worry about how they're going to afford rent, how they're going to get money for dinner, or how they're going to afford school supplies for their kids. It gets too hard for minorities to accrue wealth when they're living pay check to pay check.

There are many more obstacles to overcome if we want economic justice. But ranting on about how we should change won't do anything. We must take action if we want to see things done. It might take time, but I feel like investing our time to create a more just economy is worth it all in the end.

Economic Justice

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When I think about Economic Justice, I define it as: "what people have been working for and what they have been putting afford on, they get the output and benefits of their work". For the Economic Justice to function and work, people have to Participate, they have to Distribute and then they will get the Harmony of the Economic Justice.

By reading the article "The Roots of the Racial Wealth Divide" I learn some interesting topics what prevents Americans to not have 100% economic Justice among different races. One of them is that from centuries only white American people could join wealth programs, and make them wealthier than other races. Even though nowadays, there does not exist any discrimination among races by law, there still exist economic difference between different races because it comes from the past. White people by having rights since long time ago, they have accumulated wealth and that wealth has been inherited from generation to generation, which gives more opportunity to them to attend expensive programs, schools, own nice houses or better cars nowadays.

There still exist difference between races in wealth, and since there are still poor people out there, the government has program to help this people in need. There exist welfare programs, Section 8 program for people to have a place to live. There exist free public school and scholarships for students to attend universities. All this opportunities make poorer people to have a better life. They might never become rich but they can make a difference in their lives. That's why people have to participate in programs, distribute and work hard and lastly get the Harmony of their Hard Work. By working hard now since every race has rights and same privileges, the next generation will have it easier, and inherit something from their accentors.

Economic Justice

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In order to understand economic justice, I believe we must understand economic injustice. A lot of economic injustice occurred because of past barriersor obstacles for minorities. Some of the economic barriers that made it difficult for people of color to thrive and build wealth was the red-lining; discriminating against minorities by not giving them access to mortgage loans to own a home in certain areas distinguished by red lines. Lui et al touches a lot on how owning your own home provides "transformative assets". Well, since mionorities didn't have access to mortgage loans, they were not able to start their "lifelong prosperity and security" (p. 8). Today, society can improve on not discriminating during the hiring process.

White people have an advantage on minorities because of what assets they inheret from their family and ancestors. That isnt a fair playing field because none of the minorities had assets because of being enslaved and laborers for so long. We have to look at hitory to understand why economic injustice exists and history tells us that whites had unfair advantages and minorities didn't have much going for them to achieve economic security.

So, with this being said, I think economic justice is more than equal opportunity. Economic justice is giving minorities the opportunity to achieve economic security and support. Economic justice is allowing minorities to receive recources in order to obtain wealth. Lastly, economic justice is having the freedom to engage in our economy and benefit from it as well and narrowing the gap between the very rich and the very poor.

Paper Topic Options

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Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments

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Excerpts Taken from The New Jim Crow (2011) by Michelle Alexander and American Politics and the African American Quest from Freedom by Hanes Walton, Jr. and Robert C. Smith (2000)

Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment.pdf

What is Economic Justice?

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I would define economic justice as an economy in which every person is paid a proper amount of wages based on the work that they put in. Economic justice has no discrimination or bias based on any circumstances, such as race, gender, age, sexual orientation, etc. Economic justice looks like a diverse workplace with a plethora of different individuals of a multitude of diverse backgrounds. Lui et al provides concrete examples of economic justice. Economic justice would NOT look like a workplace of all white males in an office wearing a suit & tie.

Some major obstacles that prevent economic justice in the United States would be both conscious and unconscious racism, sexism, among other things. Stereotypes, racial profiling, and background checks are also obstacles that prevent economic justice. In Michelle Alexander's article, she makes note that the vast majority of hard drug users are white people, however the vast majority of people in prison for drug related crimes are people of color.

Society currently challenges poverty and inequality in the United States by providing social programs, as well as welfare programs that provide assistance to those living in poverty to get a kick-start on their lives.

This is somewhat synonymous to striving to obtain economic justice. Living in poverty may be starting at a low level and being unable to get work based on particular discriminatory circumstances. However, economic justice should be something that every individual can achieve, no matter what. There should be no reason that a person of color should be denied work if they are a competent, capable person.

Economic Justice


To me, economic justice would involve everyone working equally hard for the same benefits. Economic justice would allow everyone to have the same opportunities and the right to autonomy. Unfortunately in the U.S. obstacles exists such that the most advantaged persons are the only ones with access to higher education, higher paying jobs, better health insurance, better health education, better resources, and the list goes on and on. These obstacles are in place due to centuries of prejudice and ethnocentrism by the majority status que and these racial disparities have been wrongfully attributed to poor work ethic, low motivation, and other circular arguments that keep the white majority in control of these advantages. Currently in the U.S. we deal with these racial disparities by providing the low income with food stamps, subsidized housing and other "bandaids". But, these bandaids don't address the real issues. How can it be that racial minorities continually end up at the bottom? These quick fixes do not address how or why racial minorities continually, with much greater proportions than any other group, have a lower socioeconomic status than the median white person. Instead, our efforts should be aimed at addressing what barriers they face and how can we break down those barriers. At the same time, I do acknowledge that most (but not all) of the barriers are derivatives of people's attitudes and beliefs, which are much harder to change than policy or program. It seems that we (well, most of us) have consciously denounced racism and racist actions, however there are still subconscious actions of racism that are harder to shake off than we thought. As Michelle Alexander pointed out the racial divide in sentenced drug users there are clearly racial biases in the judicial system as well as the executive branch of our government. I guess I can't really offer any unambiguous fix to our society's subconscious racial tendencies other than acknowledging that everyone is capable of making an unconscious, racist decision and that we, as a society, need to be more careful in our judgments.


Lecture Notes for Weeks 2-3

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Economic justice

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Economic justice is must be easier to explain then it is to achieve. Economic justice is when people of all colors, religion, sexual orientation, ect, have access to resources that will ensure their ability to thrive and succeed. Sucuss, meaning to be able to feed, clothes, and shelter ones self and family, with out an debt, or insufficient government assistance. economic justice will exist only when the concept of capitalism is not only confronted, but dismantled. Since the economy is so deeply effected by working people and and government funding. economic justice can not begin until everyone is equally entitled to sufficient employment, and government assistance that promotes prosperity, rather than disparity. It became apparent in our reading of the racial wealth divide that not everyone is equally entitled to sufficient employment, due to racial discrimination, affirmative action backlash, and the fact that many of the US's men of color are extremely underemployed due to imprisonment where they make many times less than minimum wage.

Economic Justice


In my opinion, economic justice is the attainment of rightful access to basic financial and material resources and opportunities. However, unemployment, poverty wages, unsafe jobs, globalization, the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer, taxes, inadequate public schools, lack of health care, imports from China and closed factories in the U.S, are all issues of economic justice. And they are all very complicated issues, in which there is no simple solution to.

Therefore, in my personal opinion, I don't think we will ever truly have economic justice. If economic justice could truly exist, financial and material resources would have to all be equal across all races and ages. This meaning that all people would have to have the same opportunity to gain and maintain their wealth, which as we have seen through the Color of Wealth chapter, white and other races, specifically African American, DO NOT have economic justice.

There are organizations out there that are attempting to challenge poverty and inequality. However, when 77% of white respondents and 69% Latino respondents said that they believed that African Americans have as good a chance as whites do to get any kind of job for which they are qualified, clearly society is missing something. To me, society is so stuck in this color blind racism, which they feel like race isn't an issue anymore, yet by not acknowledging it, it's just making the issues that we have about poverty and inequality even worse. This to me is a form of oppression, which we have discussed in class. I feel as though striving for equality and less poverty is pretty much the same as striving to obtain economic justice. We are all looking for the same thing: equality in opportunities and among all races. Making this first step can give hope to fixing the issues among society.


I uploaded this picture because we had talked and read about this inequality in class. I feel as though this image helps illustrate the inequality among race specifically in the criminal justice system. Interesting...

Economic Justice

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In class this week, we talked about a lot about oppression and white privilege. I found the discussions very interesting. I really enjoyed the article "The Roots of Racial Wealth Divide" because I can really relate to that article. The town where I come from is very divided by wealth. The very wealthy people (mostly white people) live on one side of town and the less wealthy people (mostly African American people) live in the other part of town. Growing up, I always thought it was so cool to live in a diverse neighborhood. As I got older I realized it wasn't so cool; my town mirrored the wealth divide in our country.

According to the article, "The Roots of Racial Wealth Divide" a white family is almost five times more likely than a black family to inherit a good sum of money after a parent or other relative dies. This money can be used for a variety of reasons such as college savings, general savings, excursions such as vacations or theater shows. All of these things are luxuries that make a person more likely to be successful. It shows that our country is not economically just. There is a huge gap between black and white families. If our world was to be economically just it would mean that all people no matter what race, gender, or ethnicity would be able to fully participate in the economy. By fully participating in the economy I mean everyone would have the means to go out for meals, other than McDonald's dollar menu, see plays and other theater performances, buy the clothes they want. Clearly, this cannot happen all the time because the economy cannot be in perfect balance all the time, but there have been phases in the past where our country was very prosperous such as the "roaring twenties."

Economic Justice

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To me, economic justice would entail everyone having equal opportunity regardless of color, gender, sexual orientation, etc. If this were to be achieved, everyone would be able to fully participate in society (no marginalization). Then people would have equal chances of getting jobs and obtaining equal salary.

Unfortunately, our world is not economically just because there is an enormous wealth disparity. For example, we discussed in class that 48% of African Americans own homes while 75% of White Americans own homes. In order to make this problem better, we must first acknowledge that there IS a problem- not everyone has equal opportunity in this country. There is White Privilege. For example, if one is born into a wealthy White family, that person not only will be able to afford college, but they have social ties that help them learn HOW to get into college. Our nation tries to fix this problem with things such as affirmative action. However, we still have a long way to go to reach equality. This is because stereotypes still exist. Plus, the reading states that wealth takes generations to come upon. Thus, white people are more likely to be born into a wealthy family because their ancestors have always been privileged. People of color have to wait longer because statistically, their family has had much less wealth for generations.

I have attached a video from YouTube that demonstrates how ignorant people can be about race in a lighthearted way.

"The New Jim Crow System in the United States"

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Wednesday Blog Post- Oppression

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This week we talked about systems of oppression, the racial divide, and white privilege. And I agree with a lot of the discussion we had this week. I felt that those that have more resources than others perpetuate systems of oppression. They have an incentive to keep the system the way it is, because it is a system that has worked so well for them for so long. This is a trait of individuals that come from old money; in the racial wealth divide article it discussed the inheritance of property and assets. This is concentrated in the hands of typically white families. Wealthy individuals can perpetuate systems of oppression, because they have the resources and the time. Lower income families who may have to work two jobs do not have as much free time to devote to the political change necessary for structurally changing our system. An example of the abuse of capital to perpetuate oppression that I thought of in class that I would like to share with you guys is the Koch brothers. They used their money in Wake County to try to segregate the school district. This took place in 2009, so this shows that a lot of our historical sentiments surrounding racism have not gone away. While the Koch brothers failed; the fact that this problem still exists in our society shows just how deep systems of oppression run. We have a tendency to believe that racism is a thing of the past, and that we are moving away from systems of oppression. However, the reality is that resources are playing a large role today to keep our current social structure. Personally I think that income distribution needs to be better in this country, and we need a more progressive tax. These are just my sentiments and thoughts I was having during class this week, feel free to disagree but you guys should definitely check out the video.

Journal 1: Justice

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Hello! My name is Alexandra Moua, but please call me Alex! I am from Oakdale, Minnesota. I am a currently a sophomore. I've shared a photo of myself and a reflection of the Space Needle in Seattle, Washington. I chose to share this photo because I love travelling. I also chose to share it because I spent this past summer in Seattle and absolutely fell in love with the city, the people, and the atmosphere. I plan to transfer to a school out there next year and spend a few years out there.


To me, justice means treating someone with fair and equal treatment. I believe that everyone should be treated the same, no matter their race, sexual preference, interests, etc. I dislike the idea of excluding people because of the things listed and I would never want to make anyone feel unwanted. I believe that justice also means standing up for yourself and others.

Blog One: Justice

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Hello. My name is Khin. I'm a sophomore majoring in GWSS. I grew up in a small town in Iowa, though I've also lived in New York and Indiana. I was born in Yangon, Burma. flkhsdfh.jpg This is a photo of my roommate and I at the science museum. I chose this one mostly because I don't have many photos of myself. Also, the science museum is a pretty cool place. I do not think I am exactly qualified to provide a satisfactory definition of justice. If I had to give it a shot, I would define justice as equal and fair treatment for all individuals, regardless of race, gender, sexuality, socioeconomic status, etc. Justice is something we strive for, though it's served less often than some would like to think. In this class, I hope to gain a more accurate perspective of what justice is, and what steps can be taken to make justice a universal experience.


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381902_293124830719818_660691457_n.jpgIn blog one, introduce yourself to the class on the Uthink blog.
Hello, My name is Jerod Greenisen.
Tell us about the image you shared.
This picture was taken in Milwaukee when I was feeling like going on an adventure. Actually I am wearing my adventure hat; that's my adventure-is-at-hand-face as well.
Finally, what does justice mean to you, personally?
Normally Webster is good for this kind of thing, however I think if this is trying to get something personal out of me. So, personally, justice means to me struggle. Justice is about the constant battle going on within myself to try my best to think critically, understand, and apply knowledge.
Describe a time in your life where you witnessed and had a part to play in justice.
Justice is constantly out of grasp. Equality and fairness are things we don't come by every day. Going with the idea that personal justice is about the struggle I would say that the day I realized that I had a role to play in justice would have been the day I realized that I was wronged on a human level and wanted to do something for myself. Since college I have learned that justice must be more than a personal idea. Justice must embody a sense of humanity and basic respect.

News Article


Here is a link to a British news article that I came across this morning. I think this is extremely relevant to our class and just goes to show that this problem of injustice is happening all over the world. I am appalled by the actions of the truancy officer for putting those sort of thoughts in this young boys mind. This to me is an example of injustice because no one deserves that sort of blatant disrespect because of the color of their skin.

Justice To Me

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Hi! My name is Yixuan Cai. You can also call me Hallie. I'm from Nanjing, China. This is a picture of my first time kayaking in Rum River. I choose this picture because I am a person who love to try new things. And that's one of the reasons for which I choose this class. It's a totally new adventure for me. I've just arrived at United States for 3 weeks. I'm so glad that I finally choose Minnesota. I'm obsessed with the close relationship human developed with nature here. It's amazing to think about you can just kayaking whenever you want, because there's a beautiful river just near your house. I really like here so far. I have no idea what I'm going to major in, just eager to find out my calling.

To me, justice is helping those people who are not been equally treated or whose human rights been infringed find a way to stand up for what they deserve. I feel like sometimes it's hard to decide whether a thing is justice or not. Because everyone has their own different interests. Should we put the minority in the shade for the majority's interests? What seems to be justice to me may not seems to be justice to you. Of course those involve felony are not counted. So we try to protect most people's rights but should never ever forget those in the minority whose rights been invaded for the majority's privilege.

During the class survey, I'm more likely to be the surprised ones who never thought about those negative to be the negative. I got almost the same amount of negative and positive. The questions are based on we are now in United States. But in my growing environment, we almost don't have the sense of race. I got negative mostly because I am not an American, and got positive because I have a good family and growing environment. That is actually very interesting. I would love to see where my special identity would lead me to during my time in United States.

Justice: It Starts With Me

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That very flattering photo below is of me, Erin Wiedoff.


Although that picture has nothing to do with justice (except for that maybe I was unfairly hogging the chips), I love that it was a candid shot, and that it perfectly captures me partaking in three of my favorite pastimes: adventuring with my best friends, eating delicious foods, and relaxing.

I have no clue what I am majoring in yet. All I know is that I'm here, at the University of Minnesota, to figure that out. I hope to someday spend my life traveling, maximizing my talents and resources, and sharing them with those around me who may not have the same privileges or opportunities that I have. How I will do that exactly is still up for debate.

I've spent the past couple days thinking really hard about my experiences with justice, my relationship to it, and what it truly means to me. I felt slightly discouraged from writing this blog because I know that, despite my struggles, I am a blessed and privileged individual who has never truly had to suffer through any significant amount of oppression. However, I don't believe that a person needs to have battled with injustice in order to care for, sympathize with, and want to improve the wellbeing of those who have. That's where justice, the equitableness of all humans, starts. It starts with how I look at the people around me, and what I think when I look at them. Justice, to me, is training myself to look at individuals and avoid thinking "That woman is black," "That man has no legs," "Is that a boy or a girl?" "She's wearing a headscarf," "He has tattoos covering his body," but rather think, "That is a human being . . . A human being who has rights, who deserves fair treatment and equal opportunity." Yes, the injustices that occur in our world today are rooted deeply in history, culture, education, you name it. However, injustice is also rooted deeply in our minds - our initial judgments of those around us, and our following thought process. Personally, before I feel I can conquer the roots of injustice on a macro level, I feel that I must first conquer them within myself.

blog 1: my intro and justice


My name is jenny; I grew up in Saint Paul. I am almost 21 and a junior in CLA. I am half white half Cambodian, but I identify as Asian because that is how I was brought up. But because people can't usually tell by my appearance, I do feel the effect of white privilege sometimes.
This picture I uploaded is from when my friend and I (on the left) went to Chicago last winter to explore. I chose this picture because I love to travel, and because I feel like the paint in the stair way to this particular subway station tries to portray diverse cultures. I also went to Cambodia two summers ago, and it was a very eye opening experience. I feel that if we want to understand justice, we must not look just at our own society but also look at others, and compare and identify the rights and wrongs. Also because I agree with a lot of things that MLK said such as "injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere".
I don't think we can ever treat people equally, because we are all not the same. But, I think justice is giving everyone the same rights and opportunities. Justice is to ensure that situations that arise are fair and reasonable and don't violate anybody or any fundamental human and civil rights.
In 5th grade I stood up to a bully for a friend when we went to the playground during one of our class times, but I vaguely remember the details. Another time my friend got too drunk and this that took us to the club and provides the alcohol tried to make a move on my taken friend; I stopped him, because it was wrong. One reason was that my friend was drunk and pretty much unaware of what is happening, and the second is that he was friends with the girl's boyfriend. I also took a young lady's side when her mom tried to get her an arranged marriage, but because she shouldn't have to marry if she doesn't want to. These are just a few small injustices I stood up against, I can't think of anything big, or go in to much detail about the people involved, I don't want people to lose face.
blog 1.jpg

What Justice Means to Me


engaging justice.jpg

Hey! My name is Ashley Sadauskis and I am from Rochester, Minnesota. I am a freshman at the U this year. I am currently undecided about my major but am definitely thinking about declaring GWSS as my major. Right now, I am thinking about going pre-med or child psychology but who knows, that could change! I am so excited to be a part of this class and be surrounded by all of my amazing classmates. I leave every class with a smile!

The picture above is me at my first lobby day at the Capitol!! It was the Outfront Lobby Day which was to try to help defeat the marriage amendment which would ban marriage for same-sex couples. I got involved with this event because during my junior and senior year I became a part of the Rochester Teen Council through Planned Parenthood. Through this group, we taught classes to high schools around southeastern Minnesota about birth control, STIs, body image, bullying, healthy relationships and more! We also went to rallies and lobby days for GLBT rights, women's rights, and Planned Parenthood. Teen Council helped me find my passion, advocating women's rights, GLBT rights, and comprehensive sex education, which has lead me to want to pursue a degree in GWSS.

Justice means to me that every person, no matter what race, gender, religion or sexual orientation should be treated equally and fairly. Everyone should be treated the same and have the same rights. I think justice could also be when someone who has committed a crime is punished in fair manner. A time when I witnessed and had to play a part in justice was when my mom's ex-boyfriend was given a restraining order. He was verbally abusing my mother and made my mother and I feel like our home was no longer a safe environment. He was finally forced by the police to leave our home and was given a restraining order so he could no longer be anywhere around me or our house. That was a time when I felt justice was a part of my life because he was no longer able to treat my mom and I in such an awful manner and got the restrictions/punishment that he deserved. No one ever deserves to feel uncomfortable in their living environment.

What is Justice?


Hello Engaging Justice class! My name is Cassandra, but you can call me Cassie. I am a "junior", but as I mentioned on the introduction cards on the first day of class, I recently took the semester off. I am back and ready for this year! I am a psychology and art double-major. I aspire to be an Art Therapist. Currently, I work at a local independent pharmacy (although I have no interest in pharmacy at all..), and my favorite part of my job is observing the different people who I encounter. There is a lot of psychology that lingers at the Soda Fountain in the Pharmacy!
This is a photo of me and my best friend while we were on a vacation to California. I chose this picture because it was a time where I felt very free of my physical body. I was horrified of snorkeling because I kept feeling like I was going to drown (even though I was way too buoyant in the salt water). I was so slow and kept getting water in my eyes under my goggles, and it was hard for me to keep up with the rest of them. I could not even observe the animals and coral because I had so many other things to worry about. All I could do was laugh at myself because I image that I looked pretty funny. This personal struggle reminded me of how alive I was.
I believe that justice is a summation of qualities that have to do with doing the right thing. This means creating fairness, and equality. It could involve standing up for others, and making things right with everyone. Justice is just the right thing to do. It involves agreeing with others and should be in favor of all people if possible.
A superficial example of when I have witnessed justice is on the TV show Law and Order SVU. It is my favorite TV show, and basically the only TV show that I watch. The detectives and lawyers always try to get justice for the victims. The interesting aspect of this show is that you have to also think about the defense attorney, who tried to get justice for the defendant. Usually the defendant is in the wrong, but they have to try to find a middle ground, and agree on a just punishment.

Freedom From The Mold



Hello Everyone,
My name is Camira Houston. I am from Newark, New Jersey but I currently reside in Inver Grove. I am a second year student here at the University and although I miss the East Coast, I've somewhat fallen in love with this 'podunk' state. I am majoring in Family Social Science and I'm glad that was my first decision. Since I was a young girl and realized I couldn't be Santa when I grew up, I knew I had to become the next best thing, a social worker. I chose that career path because I know that the future begins with the family, and as long as there is stability within the family structure, there can be hope for stability within our futures.
My image represents what I believe the first component of justice is. Justice is bringing everything back to an equilibrium, fighting for what is right, and creating fairness in the world. To accomplish 'justice', everyone must first break free of their mold. Even when it seems better to conform to what society expects you to be, to be different and bold is so much better. Gaining a sense of freedom by doing what is right or standing up for what you believe in is what justice is all about.
Back home, there was a woman who had been falsely accused of child abuse and neglect and had her children taken away from her. This woman was a close friend of my mom's and it was an unbelievable moment in our lives. Although many had told her to let the situation go and maybe it was for the best, she had continued to fight for the custody of her children. Eventually, she had gotten her family back, had successfully sued the State of New Jersey and the Department of Family,Health, and Youth Services, and was able to send 2 of her 'abused' and 'neglected' children off to college.
Justice begins with letting go of the masquerade, being the real you, and helping or fighting when the cause is there. I don't really have any other way of putting it.

What IS Justice?


Hello! My name is Cheyenne Lee and I'm from Brooklyn Park, MN. It's about 20 min away from the cities so it's not very far at all. I'm a freshman and I think that I'm going to be majoring in Child Psychology.
Justice to me, means that we are all treated fairly, equally, and that our natural rights are not taken away from us. I believe that everyone should be treated equally and that we should not be judged on our life style or our beliefs. As a freshman, I had to take a Strengths Quest quiz that told me my top 5 themes that I have a lot of strength in. One of my themes was "Consistency". According to the report, a part of this theme meant that I was keenly aware of the need to treat people the same way. I agree with this because I always get very offended if I see or hear something unjust happening, even if it may not directly affect me. I don't think that I have come into contact with justice very often but I'm hoping that this class can help me learn how to be a part of it because I want to help make a difference in this world, even if it's just a small difference. If everyone made a small change then together it would be one huge change.
blog pic.jpg
I couldn't really just pick one picture that represented me so I made this small collage. I'm the oldest out of all my siblings so I feel like that has really affected the way that I see family. It's made me really appreciate them and it made me protective of my younger siblings. I'm very family oriented and I love being surrounded by all of my family. I have one sister, two brothers, one half baby sister, and one half brother. My parents are divorced, but I still try to keep close with all my family. I absolutely LOVE flag football. It's my passion and my teammates are like a family away from my family. It's really taught me about what it means to be on a team and what it takes to have great teamwork. It's a huge part of my life and I hope it always will be because it's helped shape who I am.


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Hi everyone! My name is Lindsay Gorelick and I am from Milwaukee, WI. I am majoring in Applied Economics and am a senior here at the university. Here is a picture of my family outside of my house. My mom, dad, and sister all play important roles in my life and have molded me as a person throughout the years. My dad, mom, and sister are all in the medical field, so I guess you could say that I am the odd one out in my family. My dream is to go to culinary school and get an associates in culinary arts after I graduate this semester.


Justice is a hard term to define with words alone. I guess I would say that justice equates fairness and equality in my mind. People should be treated fairly, but as we know this is rarely the case in our world. Justice pays no attention to skin color, religion, financial background, sexual orientation or gender. It does not feel hate nor discrimination. Justice is rare, but cannot be forgotten. We must strive to make justice the norm.

Me, Myself, and Justice


My name is Jami Gereau, and I am a freshman here at the U. I am from Green Bay, Wisconsin (yes, I am a Packers fan), and I'm loving the fact that I now live in the wonderful city of Minneapolis. This is a picture of me, and I feel--as silly as it looks--depicts me perfectly. I like to think of myself as fun and quirky; getting a picture of me being serious is almost impossible. I'm such a goofball. I like people to know that I'm having a good time. I love this picture because it shows me enjoying a meal with my boyfriend, and I think some of the greatest memories happen around a table while sharing a meal. Besides--who doesn't love breakfast? jami_breakfast.jpg
Justice is not a tangible object. But rather a quality of being fair and equitable regardless of race, religion, gender, or any other attribute that makes us individuals. Unfortunately, there are more injustices than justice in this world. If we all learned to accept each other for who we are, keeping in mind that our differences are what make us each beautiful, then the number of injustices would greatly decrease. Hopefully in this class, we will learn to do just that. Furthermore, I know that I plan to take what I learn in this course and use it in my future while talking to my peers, in the job world, and while raising my kids, because I think it is important information that people should live their everyday lives by.

Justice in My Eyes

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Hey my name is Melissa, I'm 18 and I'm from a suburb about 20 minutes north of Chicago. I am a freshman here at the U and really excited for all the new and upcoming experiences I have ahead of me. I'm hoping to play on an intramural volleyball team here, it's something I love to do but just can't play competitively anymore. I very undecided in what I want to major in, but these kinds of social and humanities type classes I find to be my favorite along with Spanish. I'm hoping that the U will help guide me in my path to a major and a career that genuinely interests me. I choose this picture, because I think it shows what it means to be part of a team. To love each other, to hate each other, to be silly together, to be there when someone is injured. I loved my club team that I went to Florida with; they were my second family.
Justice in my eyes; means you get what you deserve. Justice means if someone is good and kind, in a just world, they would always be treated that way. Sadly our world is not like that, and there are a lot of unjust things that happen. I have experienced justice first hand with a family member of mine who got a DUI. After his arrest, he was put on temporary job leave, he had court or meetings dealing with court frequently and had a Breathalyzer installed in the car that went off every 5 minutes. I really believed that justice was served in this case because driving under the influence can kill an innocent person, completely unjust to them. While he was a family member of mine, I can recognize he needed to reap the consequences of his actions.

Justice in Three Photos and Three Paragraphs



Hi everyone! Luna here. I'm a first-year student from Los Angeles, California.

I was reading an article by Augusto Boal for my theatre class recently, and there was a specific quote that really resonated with me, and I immediately thought to include it in my blog entry. "A citizen is one who transforms society," it read. I'm intrigued by this. An idea of citizenship that doesn't depend on region, but on whether a person works to make a difference where they live.
When I think of justice, I think of the Civil Rights Movement. To me, it is the best tangible example. It's the epitome of what social justice is. An organized group of passionate, dedicated individuals who changed our country through a nonviolent movement. Incredible. The above photo is of Civil Rights leaders marching across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in a peaceful demonstration on March 7th, 1965, to try and secure voting rights for people of color. This first attempt to march is known as "Bloody Sunday" because police attacked the marchers (violently) at the end of the bridge. The march was finally successful on the third attempt. See the man in the first row with the tan jacket and the backpack? That's Rep. John Lewis, one of the incredible leaders of the Movement. I met him in 2010 on an incredible journey that I'll describe below.


In March of my sophomore year of high school, I went on a trip called "Sojourn to the Past". It's a ten day journey through the South where students learn in depth Civil Rights history, travel to the places where the movement happen, and meet the leaders who were a part of it. Today is actually the birthday of someone we met: Minnijean Brown Trickey, one of the Little Rock Nine. This trip changed my life. It was amazing. My interest in the Civil Rights Movement was doubled, I began to think about social justice and my future on a deeper level, and I was inspired and grateful. Because of this learning experience, I understood justice on a deeper level: justice at it's core is equality. The above photo is of me in a museum with a mannequin-like figure posing as if he is at a demonstration or march. Here's the link to Sojourn's website: It's truly a phenomenal program.


Okay, here's my final bit. (I know that we were supposed to include one picture and I have three). This is a photo of me performing a rap in my high school's talent show last February. It was to the instrumental version of "Rack City" and it was all about senior year and the school and how important it was to me. I love rap and hip hop. I get an adrenaline rush when I hear the beats and rhymes in a really good song. Here's what I don't like: nonchalant use of derogatory language and themes that are degrading to women. Talk about an inner conflict. Language awareness is really important to me. We spoke about it a lot on Sojourn. This is a conversation that can go on and on, but I think that disrespectful, ignorant, and hateful language is at the root of a lot of the injustice and intolerance in our world. We need to understand the social, cultural, and historical implications and undertones of what we say. That's where it can get really interesting to look at justice themes through things like rap or other cultural manifestations.

Justice is abstract. It's a feeling and a symbol that we all feel in our core.

That's all folks!



Hi! My name is Rachael Hawley and I'm from Coon Rapids Minnesota, about 20 minutes north of the cities.
To me justice is an interesting subject. I work on a political campaign focused on the vote no campaign and have encountered many different views on justice. The amendment is a very contentious issue, and while I view the proposed amendment as an injustice to both me personally and my GLBT friends, those voting yes seem to belief that it is an injustice and violating their own beliefs.
After encountering different views on justice, I'm not sure exactly how I feel about it. Hopefully I'll learn more during this course. At least for me, injustice is easier to recognize than justice.

The image is from a meeting that my campaign had at Coffman. The really tall guy in the back row is Zach Whals, a famous speaker on behalf of the GLBT movement. I'm the girl next to him with the glasses on her head. :)

Defining Justice

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Hello everyone! My name is Lauren Williams and I'm originally from Omaha, NE. I'm currently a junior majoring in Sociology and minoring in Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies and hope to someday work in reproductive justice. I chose this picture of me not only because I love to sing and I'm involved in choir, but also because it represents a part of my personality. Normally I'm a little hesitant to speak my mind with people I'm not very familiar with, but once I understand that others don't notice my mistakes more than I do, I am able to get that confidence to share my opinion (or, in this case, sing on stage).
To me, justice is equality and fair treatment. Criminally, it means the perpetrator is punished for his/her crime according to its severity. Socially, it means everyone receives the same basic human rights. In both cases, it means that there are no outside biases because of someone's race, ethnicity, gender, sexual preferences, social class, or other identity. Another way in which I see justice is through Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird. He reminds us to treat everyone as humans and that it is our duty to do so.

I have not come into much contact with justice, at least not in the way we normally see it. This summer I interned at Planned Parenthood of the Heartland and expanded my knowledge with reproductive justice. In other words, I learned more about justice related to women's health issues, which has been hotly contested lately. With the passing of the Affordable Care Act, I became one of the millions of women who will no longer be considered a preexisting condition by insurance companies. I learned at PPH that the ACA will break down gender biases, especially with costs (i.e. insurance fees, contraception, screenings, etc.). I can't say that I played a huge role in the passing of this act, but I was able to spread the word through my work at PPH. I hope to continue working with this sort of justice through classes and volunteering now and through reproductive justice organizations in the future.

what justice means to me.

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Hello, my name is Hodan Jama and I am transfer student from St Catherine University. I am originally from Somalia and I have been in the United States for the past six years. I have not decided my major yet but I am thinking of majoring in Biology, Society, and Environment. Since coming to the United States I have experienced as well as witnessed injustice toward people from different social class, race, religion, and sexual orientation. I think justice is a vague concept but for me justice means treating people fairly who from different backgrounds, social class, religion, sexual orientation and ethnicity. I have personally witnessed and experienced injustice. One event I think that impacted me very much happened during my first year in high school. My friend and I were walking to McDonalds, which was close to my school, and as we were walking we noticed a car speeding towards the sidewalk we were walking on. As the car slowed down, someone threw a bottle from the passenger side of the car and screamed '' ragheads, go back to your country''. The bottle hit my friend in the head and left a scar in her forehead. I think that was the waking moment for me as I realized that it is not right to mistreat people because they have different beliefs, cultures and values.
The picture above is my friend and I on our graduation day. This picture is a testament that with hard work and dedication we can accomplish anything we set our minds to.

Justice To Me Is...


Hi, my name is Crystal Ramsumair and I am from Apple Valley, MN. However, my family is originally from the island of Trinidad and Tobago. I am a freshman hoping to major in political science. 376545_4033647955355_958210053_n.jpg
This photo was taken on my last trip home to Trinidad. It is a good reflection of my personality for a few reasons. First, I am a person that has not lost my cultural values despite being born in the United States. I still participate in all the holidays and traditions unique to my culture which in this photo is reflected in my clothes. This photo also shows how important family is to me. I have a total of two brothers and one sister. My oldest brother is down syndrome, and he is the one I am standing with in this photo. These are a few of the factors that give me my unique personality traits. I would say that I am family oriented, very accepting of others, and I have a strong set of values.
For me justice is a very abstract concept that is our overarching goal as a society, and as individuals. It is the idea of fairness, which can be achieved in a number of ways. Justice is achieved when we do not arbitrarily discriminate between individuals. It is when we have a society of equal opportunity. It is when we take actions that do not inflict unwarranted harm onto another. It is when as individuals we all feel happy, because we do not feel wronged in anyway. It is an ideal concept that is far from our grasp, and the concept of a lot of utopian literature. It is a plethora of many different things, which is reflected in all our varying responses.

white priviledge article

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I really favored this article over many that I have read in the past. This was the first time that I had the opportunity to read an article by someone who admits that she benefits from "white privilege. This is a step in the right direction towards getting to the bottom of all the race issues that we have in America today. It's not enough for someone to say that they aren't racist. You have to have a desire to want to know more about the truth. honduras.bmp
It takes a lot of courage for someone in the dominate position to give credence to what benefits they receive becasue of their phenotype. To do this, you'd literally have to throw away everything that you were raised believing and start anew. This is why I feel only someone that has done this is really trying to be a better person and overcome the racial situation. Sure, there are people that have close friends that are of a different race that would say that they aren't racist, but I believe that in order to really truly start tackling the race issue that exists here in America, you have to acknowledge that there is a problem and what the consequences of the problems

The Roots of the Racial Wealth Divide

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Below please find a more readable copy of the "The Roots of the Racial Wealth Divide"
color of wealth.pdf

Five Faces of Oppression by Iris Marion Young

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What justice means to me

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Hi my name is Sarah Niederhofer and I am a freshmen thinking about majoring in child psychology. I grew up in Woodbury, MN, which is about 25 minutes east of here. I can be reserved at first, but after getting used to the class and the setting of it I will become more open and outgoing. I chose a picture of me ski racing because it is a big part of my life. I have made my best friends through it and skiing has taught me to go after my dreams and work hard for not just skiing but anything I put my mind to.


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My name is Vilma and I am a senior graduating in May 2013 with an Actuarial Science degree. I am originally from Albania. I moved to MN for studies, while I just graduated from high school. Since I grew up in a country lying by the Mediterranean Sea, I enjoy warm weather, hot son and staying in the water. I think that these three characteristic are related closely to my personality.
As an example of justice I will take my personal story of being accepted to an American university and living in Minnesota. When I think about justice, to me it means that justice is a right that is given to human beings since they were born. It means being fair to everyone and anyone without judging their skin color, gender, status hierarchy, religious believes, etc. Justice is a right and not something that is given to a person. Justice means treating everyone equally. Justice to me also means that a person gets what they deserve and what they have worked for. For example if someone works hard in life then it is just that this person has a good living. While if someone works less it is just that this person has a simpler living.
Even though I am not from the USA, and I am not a Native American speaker, just because I have worked hard, I have been accepted in the UofM, between among other national students or either American born students. Just because I work hard for what I want I am in a country that I was not born. Being part of UofM life and exploring American culture, it has happened to be just because it is fair and right and no privileges or differences is made to me because I wasn't born here or because I am an English second language speaker.

A Privileged White Girl's View on Justice



My name is Jaime McGovern. I am a senior majoring in English with a minor in Mass Communication. Growing up in the suburbs of Andover Mn, I had never been very exposed to people different than myself (a straight, caucasian female). Thus, classes such as this one intrigue me. I am continuously striving to become more open-minded and learn about people who are ethnically/sexually/physically different than myself.

Justice Part 2

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I already posted about me but I didn't upload a picture. keith haring 10.jpg

This image represents me because I love what Keith Haring stands for in the world. I did a unit on his artwork in high school and fell in love with him. I can relate to his artwork because his drawings are joyful, fun, and interesting. I think I have those qualities too.



374469_3280280138805_1458909952_n.jpgHi, my name is JaLeesa Wright. I was born in raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I am currently living the life I dreamed of when I was in 5th grade and had to write a letter predicting my future self. I currently live in Uptown even though I am not a hipster I do enjoy the art and coffee shops that surrounds the community. Although I am relatively new to the campus I have been attending college for the last three years of my nineteen years breathing on earth. I believe there is a lot to learn from some one based off of what they say then who they may present themselves to be.
One thing that I am consistently striving for is a better understanding of people not just society as a whole.So, far I have exercised my want for understanding by volunteering in several communities. Last summer I worked at a domestic abuse shelter called Tubman in Minneapolis. While I was there I was able to see various outcomes of situations that I myself had been through. I am also apart of STLF a volunteer group on campus and last spring I attended a trip to Dallas. The tour that I was apart of stopped in several cities helping people in need. We stopped in several places, but the most memorable place we went to was Paducah, Kentucky. We spent our time in Kentucky visiting elementary schools and reading to its students. The poorest school that we visited had the most students who were well behaved and could follow along and read with us. I was amazed. The picture of myself, Clifford and a young girl was taken at the at school. I was then able to witness and be apart of an equality that has been denied to many people around the world. Justice to me means the equality and a common respect of life.I plan on dedicating my life to encourage those who are living through my past to sustain a stable future.

Justice, Just us.

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My name is Jana. I'm currently a senior here at the U, graduating in December with a Sociology Major. Clearly, because I'm graduating with a sociology major, I have no idea what I'm doing after I graduate. But that will be another adventure to look forward to. I am rather quiet within the classroom, but that does not mean I don't have a lot to say. As the semester progresses, I'll most likely become rather opinionated.

What does Justice mean to me? There isn't a clear definition of this one. I feel as though justice can be any sense of standing up for oneself or for other people in order to make an impact or a change. I feel as though justice can start with one person standing up for what they believe, but it truly takes many people or communities to see justice all the way though (therefore, my title "Justice, Just us"). Justice can be seen on a large scale, such as within the criminal system, as well as on a smaller scale, such as an event at school.

For me, justice can be seen everywhere. When I was younger, I lived in N. Minneapolis. One day my mom saw two girls kicking around a rooster that was in a locked cage out back in the alley. She went out there to stop these girls, but they really didn't care. My mom told them she'd give them ten dollars for the rooster. They accepted. I know that this is so small when it comes to justice, but what my mom did that day showed me how you can really stand up for anything. She stood up for this helpless animal. I know it may sound silly, but it was truly inspiring. We ended up bringing the rooster to our cabin, in which he lived happily ever after... well until a coyote got him..

The picture above shows the side of me that I should really show more often. I am a worrier. I constantly worry about what will happen next, what my future will be like, or how i'll get through the day. But in this moment, I was completely care free. Therefore, it's my goal to get to this place more often. To live every day without worries.

Class Demo

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Class Demogender justice 2.jpg

Justice is not blaming the victim.



Hi, I'm Ashley Zuest. I am originally from Northern Minnesota, and moved to Minneapolis last August. I am still adjusting to the fast pace of the city! I am a GWSS major and I hope to work in women's shelters along with help educate female youth on sex education. I believe it is extremely important for young girls to be educated on their options, so they have control over what happens in their lives and can plan a successful future!

I believe justice is making decisions based on moral rightness, rather than on cultural hegemony. It should be along side compassion, charity, and mercy. Justice is equality that is given to everyone to make a fair and just decision, not just given to the dominating class or culture. Justice is fairness and based on what is right.
Justice is not blaming the victim.

What Does Justice Mean?


Thumbnail image for Tim

Hello! My name is Tim, and I picked this picture because I like to be classy and dress up fancy quite often. I am just starting my sophomore here at the U. I am in CSE, and I am currently studying Computer Science. I may come off as shy before I know someone well, but I am very outgoing and enjoy conversation about anything! I am looking forward to getting to know my classmates and having fun in this class this semester.

Personally, my definition of justice is the equal treatment of everybody - regardless of ANY circumstance, be it skin color, economic status, popularity, or any other social classification. If anyone commits any wrongdoing to anyone (or anything) else, I believe that justice should be served equally, regardless of severity. If justice is not served properly, then I believe that whomever deserved the justice to be served to or against them was unfairly treated.

A time in life in which I witnessed and had to play a part in justice that I can remember was in 6th grade. It was during gym class, and we were playing street hockey on the tennis courts. There was a physically disabled kid on the other team, and one of his teammates (notoriously known throughout the school as a bully) was picking on him, telling him that he was stupid, and is worthless. The kid was just taking his insults, not saying anything back to the bully. I decided that I should stand up for him because he did not deserve to be treated like that. I got in the bully's face and yelled at him and told him that he was physically disabled, and he was being a horrible person by insulting him. I told him to think about what he says before he says anything, and that even though it doesn't look like his words don't have any effect on the kid, that it really hurt his feelings. The bully just gave me a "whatever" face and stopped insulting him. He didn't do it anytime after that either. I stood up for a defenseless kid who couldn't stand up for himself.

Justice to me



My name is Helen, I am a sophomore studying Marketing. I grew up in a northern suburb of Minneapolis not too far from here. I am open to talking about practically anything and always available to listen, unless concentrating on homework of course. I chose this picture because I think it describes me as bright and loving which is how I like to see myself.

To me justice is a synonym for equality. Justice is something that all persons deserve, no matter shape, color or gender. Justice is giving people what they deserve, whether it is good or bad. Murderers deserve justice just as much as nuns do. Throughout history my people have been prosecuted and treated unjustifiably: the Jews, African-Americans, Native Americans, and the Chinese. When I was in 2nd grade my friend was getting picked on while on the bus and when I witnessed it I stood up to the bully and he never again laid a hand on her. I like to think that I did what none of the other children were willing to do because they were terrified of the boy themselves. If I have one goal in life it is to stand up when it is needed and when it is not, if I witness a situation where someone is being treated unfairly and do nothing I will not be content with myself.

What is Justice?

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Hi I am Kayla Flemmons and to me, justice can be another word for fairness. Justice is a right that belongs to all genders, races, and sizes. Where there is justice there is no discrimination. Where there is justice there is equality amongst all people. Justice is giving people what they deserve, whether it is a punishment or a reward. A small example of when I have seen justice prevail is when my little brother said a bad word, he was sent to his room and had to apologize.
kayla rae

I chose to use this picture because I want people to know that I am not afraid of looking goofy and silly while having fun. This picture was taken at camp where I have many great memories as well. This picture represents my fun and joyful spirit!


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Hi Everyone!
My name is Emily Lipson. I'm from Evanston, IL a suburb of Chicago. I'm a first year student at the U of M. I'm totally undecided about my major. I was thinking about majoring in psychology or maybe environmental policy. I know I want to do a leadership minor for sure because I think that would compliment any major very well and is really applicable to any job. I'm really excited about getting involved on campus this year!

Before high school, I really never thought about justice or even thought about what it meant. My senior year of high school, one of my classes did a short unit on justice specifically justice in court systems. I got really into that unit and wanted to learn more which is why I decided to sign up for this class. I think of justice in the sense of when people say "justice was served." A fair, deserved, punishment was given to someone who deserved it. A lot of times innocent people get punished for crimes they didn't do. Ideally, no would commit crimes and people would be nice and friendly to each other all the time. However, we don't live in a perfect world, so the proper action needs to be taken when things get out of hand. Justice comes into play when giving out punishments and assigning fault to an individual.

Overall, I hope this class challenges my definition of justice and maybe possibly change it. I'm excited to start reading and discussing the different articles.


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488363_4378621189823_1890878427_n.jpgMy name is Greta and I'm a Freshman at the U. I currently am an undecided major in CLA and my interests are extremely varied. I have thought about majoring in Psychology or Social Work or maybe both, but I plan to explore as much as I can until I have to decide. To me, Justice means equality. Not equality meaning everyone is exactly the same and should be limited to each other's strengths, but in the way that every person has the right to make what they want out of their life. Also that opportunities such as education shouldn't be confined to one group of people. A time in my life when I had a part to play in justice was when I participated as a leader in high school for a workshop called Stand Up Speak Out South High. After going to training sessions, I led workshops in classrooms concerning the issues faced by people with disabilities. It was a learning experience for me and took a lot of courage, but I'm glad I took part in it. The picture that I uploaded is of a canoe trip I took this past summer to the BWCA with my two best friends. I picked this picture because it's one of the most beautiful places I know and it represents a huge part of who I am. It's also a place where I grew and learned a lot, and hopefully that will transfer over to this class.

About me, Justice, & a Cute Dinosaur Comic


My name is Devyn. I am a 4th year student majoring in GWSS and minoring in Computer Science. I hope to go on to graduate school after graduating next December and to conduct research on the ways in which the medical industry has constructed and framed trans* identities in terms of inapplicable gender binaries, and how reinforcement of gender binaries through medical treatment serves to enslave the communities which seek to escape them under the same incomplete gender system.

Justice is autonomy and control over one's own life, expression, and future without fear of harassment,  humiliation, or physical assault regardless of race, class, ability, gender, sex, sexuality, or any other identifiable characteristic around which we can construct a social group.

Justice must be created by each of us in our daily lives.  In order to realize justice, We must live in way that creates a world where anyone can exist and succeed on their own terms without being forced to subject themselves to the control of others. Few (if any) of us ever experience justice.  Everyday, we relinquish control over ourselves, our expression, our movements, and our beliefs in order to participate and become successful in the dominant narrative of our culture.

In a just world: 

  • We would not be forced to compromise our identities, and we would not be forced to subject ourselves to industries that seek to enslave, marginalize, or objectify us. 
  • The few are not tokenized for their difference and portrayed as the face of diversity, while the majority of others like them are left in the dark, subsiding off of the scraps of a system which has rejected them. 
  • An obviously hierarchical society which is based on the systematic enslavement of millions for the benefit of a few is not seen as the ideal image for civilization. 
  • A community's experience is not framed through the perspective of the people in power who misunderstand the needs, stories, and experiences of said community.
  • There is no identifiable population with an attempted suicide rate of 41%, double the unemployment rate as the average population, or with consistent barriers to health care, housing, or education. (Injustice at Every Turn, 2011)

My daily experience:
hell if I know.jpg


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My name is Megan. I am a junior this year and new to the U of M, Twin Cities Campus. I attended my first two years of college at the Duluth Campus. I am a psychology major but am still unsure of what I want to do with my degree once I graduate. Although I know it is important to keep the future in mind I do not feel the need to plan mine or "map out" my life. I choose to take things one day at a time and I feel as long as I am making a daily effort to benefit myself then what is out of my control will fall into place. I feel as though the term "justice" is often used interchangeably with the term "fairness". I do not believe that they are the same thing. Being fair is making sure each kid gets a piece of candy. Justice is a much more complex idea. Justice is something that every person is born entitled to, though not every person receives it. It is not a privilege but a right that many are denied. Justice means that every person is given equal opportunities within every aspect of life including school, work, play, relationships, etc. I hope through this class to broaden my own definition of justice and learn tools on how to help make our society a more just place. The image I chose is a picture of me at the Soundset music festival. I chose this picture because it shows me doing some of the things I enjoy most: having a good time with friends and enjoying live music (mainly hip-hop).



My name is Alison Kent and I am a freshmen this year at the U. I plan on majoring in Sociology of the Law, Criminology and Deviance. To me, justice means what you find when you look it up in the dictionary - the administering of deserved punishment or reward. When you hear "justice has been served" do you think something negative happened to someone who has done wrong? Most likely. What most people do not think of when they hear the word justice is the positive side of justice. Justice for doing something right, a reward for a job well done. This is the way justice should stay. Justice has been twisted for good track records amongst lawyers or political parties. Justice means fair and I believe that everyone should be treated equally, no matter what. No matter the race, gender, sexuality, opinions, anything. Justice should come into play when need be, for reinforcement. Positive or negative. People need to accept the consequences for their actions, whether it be good or bad. That is the just thing to do. The just thing for me to do is share this photo with you, fellow classmates. It is my older sister and I on our J30 (a type of sailboat). It's just a glimpse of what I do on a daily basis during the summer and what I'll miss when the snow starts to fall. 295960_201937219868794_1531717_n.jpg

What is justice?

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image_09_05_030_apartheid.jpgWhen I think of the word justice, a lot of things come to my mind. I think of the study abroad trip I will be going on over winter break to South Africa, first of all. This trip will be focusing on the apartheid that occurred in South Africa and the justice that was given to Africans afterward. Can people really be given justice after an event such as that though? I feel like there are certain events in which justice can be given, but there are others that justice will never be fulfilled. The factor of how big or small the event is will determine if justice can be done.

Justice In My Eyes


When I think about what justice is to me, I simply break down the word and find myself thinking what is it to be just? I believe that to maintain justice we must look at everyone and everything equally and fairly. From there we can make decisions rather than making assumptions about people based on other factors. If someone commits a crime, then it would be just for them to pay for their actions. Similarly, if someone works extremely hard, it would be just for them to rewarded for their actions. Unfortunately, our society doesn't quite work that way but hopefully we can move toward that in the future. An example of justice that I have experienced is when I went on a volunteer/study abroad trip to South Africa. During this time we worked in a small village and were able to help the people of that village plant crops and build housing. The women of this village teach young children about AIDS and safe sex and they so much deserved everything that we did for them. They were changing lives and it was the least we could do to help them in any way. For that reason, I have uploaded a photo of myself with the woman who runs the organization as well as her husband and her adorable daughter. That experience truly changed my life. AFRICAAA.jpg



My name is Ben and I am a senior, graduating this semester. This summer I accepted a Peace Corps assignment in Africa, which I deploy for in June. My interests lie in health research; particularly epidemiology and health disparities. To me, justice is an inherent right to every living being. To be treated fairly and without bias, preference, prejudice, or persuasion. Justice belongs to everyone regardless of their physical characteristics, their religious practices, their beliefs or background. Unfortunately, I also acknowledge that this inherent right can, and often is, taken from others. To me, an ideal balance of justice would result in a perfectly peaceful state. When the balance of justice is offset peace ceases to exist. I believe the universe requires balance in everything. That's why I chose to upload a photo of me demonstrating another form of balance in Central Park.545274_10150906981648292_2105969296_n.jpg

It's Finally Working

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Dear Students,
I have decided to simply create a new blog for our class. It's called "Engaging Justice, Zenzele Isoke". Everyone's name has been re-entered, so you should not have any more problems accessing the blog. Here's an image that reflects my experience of identifying and solving this problem. Anyway, we are back on track. I look forward to seeing your posts. scream.jpg

New Classroom- Appleby Hall 103

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Our new class is located at Appleby Hall Room 103. The address is 128 Pleasant Street SE. I believe that this class will be much more suitable for our purposes. I look forward to seeing you!

Peggy MacIntosh Article

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Please click on the link below to read, "Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack" by Peggy MacIntosh.WhitePrivilege.pdf

Andrea Smith Article

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Dear all,
Click on the link below to download and read " Heteropatriarchy and the Three Pillars of White Supremacy" by Andrea Smith.andrea smith.pdf

Engaging Justice 2012 Syllabus

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