Until taking this class I had never really differentiated between "Contract Justice" and "Social Justice". Having grown up in a family of law I was quite familiar with the idea of "Contract Justice". My family, however, has also always been a partaker in what I believe to be "Social Justice". To me, social justice is treating every individual fairly. Synonymous to the ideal of contract justice I believe that it is most important to treat every individual blindly; blind justice. Like an ideal court case, I believe that every individual has the right to stand before a group of people and have that group of people know nothing about them but still treat the individual unbiasedly and in a nondiscriminatory fashion. I
n all, the idea of social justice boils down to one concept, one idea; fairness. The baseline of dignity and respect. A starting point for all other forms of treatment. If every individual treated one another with nothing less than fairness, society would inevitably be just.
Think of a piece of paper. On all four edges you write "fairness". Within the blankness of the sheet you now have the ability to write any other word that describes a manner of acting towards people that promotes a utopian society. Words such as: compassion, empathy, reliability, and perhaps the heaviest hitting, equality. All of these words, so much more powerful, are simply branches of the word "fair". These other words modify fairness. They contribute to the ideals that society can reach if we simply start by treating people fairly. The fairness at the bottom of the page represents the starting ground of justice, the first step on simply being fair with a person. " Fair" written on the top of the page represents the kind of fairness that is acquired by traveling from the" fair" written on the bottom of the page to the" fair" written on the top. To go from the bottom to the top of the page requires that a path be forged through the words that modify "fair". This path represents all of the different ways that we as people can improve upon on relationships with other people by simply beginning by treating them fairly. When we do so, we open up a vast realm of possibilities that will allow us to treat one another even better than the simple act of fairness. Then why put "fair" at the top as well? The "fair" at the top reminds us that, even when we have grown from the minimalist "fair" at the bottom (non-discriminatory/unbiased version) we must always perform these new actions while remaining fair. You can turn this fairness paper any way and it will always show you that anything and everything that we do, justly, will begin and end in fairness.
I feel it is easy for me to project my idea of social justice as being so simple because for the most part, I've been treated pretty fairly throughout my life. I have had the unique opportunity to observe the [contract] justice system at work, while not ever having to actually be involved in the system. I have had the opportunity to watch the stark, and rather artificial, version of justice play out through all of the trials that both of my parents have been involved. Although the [contract] justice system is hardly flawless I have often found that when fairness seems to be present, a just result is incurred. In that regard, my idea of social justice has been heavily influenced by the presence of a quest for justice as it pertains to the job of lawyers, judges, guardian ad litems, and police officers (as all are positions that my parents have or do hold). I have experienced little sexism throughout my life that would contribute heavily to my idea of social justice. Again, I have relied primarily on the experience of others to guide me toward my definition. In this sense, I suppose that it is acceptable to say that my idea of justice (because it is so closely related to my observations in the law system) is a rather minimalistic approach to the social world. A person who has experienced high levels of injustice may have a more radical approach to change that is equally justifiable. Because my race, gender, and other characteristic factors have never caused me much strife my definition may be based on limited exposure to the material that defines injustice.
The above link will take you to a song that describes how our prejudices and social justice debilitators are instilled in us at a young age and often by our family.