What Does Social Justice Mean to You? Jordan Kaufman
In an ongoing feature of SoJust, the College's alumni magazine, we ask our students and faculty what social justice means to them.
Jordan Kaufman, a Bachelor of Science in social work student, contributed her perspective.
Roll the Die
Imagine that you exist only as a sort of blob in space. You have no gender, no sex, no body type, hair color, eye color or skin color, no sexuality, no religion, no job title or wealth. Strip it all away.
In this new state of existence, imagine that you are given a die and must roll it to determine the identity you will now have. You do not know where you will be born, what language you will speak, the people that will surround you, your class, race, physical or mental abilities, and so on.
What you will get is completely out of your control, but whatever you roll will be who you are; no trading! Are you comfortable with getting any of the possibilities that are available the way our world currently is? Do you feel that our global and local environment provides the same opportunity, safety and acceptance for every life? For me, social justice is rooted in empathy and love.
We, as humans, have learned to be competitive to survive, but we are also cooperative. We yearn for connection, acceptance and understanding. Social justice is the attempted realization of this for all beings. It is recognizing that another’s livelihood does not have to take away from our own and that every combination of being and identity (or roll of the die) is just as valid as the next. It is recognizing that there are current systems that tell us otherwise, and that this is not one person or one group’s fault, but is, and must be, the collective responsibility of us all.