Social justice has changed multiple times and throughout the years it has been a debate on what it should cover and how it should be covered amongst different individuals. Social workers often times have changed definitions or added things based on the Rawls theory on social justice (Banerjee, 2013).
My definition on social justice is equality and fairness because everyone has a right to be treated fairly and equal no matter the circumstances. That would include education, proper health benefits, benefits when employment doesn’t cover all goods, discrimination, and individuals facing oppression. Politicians that were in charge cared mostly about their agenda. At times policies that needed to be signed to help the American people weren’t signed. During the civil war era the major concern was mental health and African Americans not getting what they needed to survive (Karger & Stoesz, 2018).
Mental health and military service members during that time were denied basic care to take care of their families but instead of the government helping it was locals in the community that helped raise money and find them places to live. These people fought for our country and the government left them with nothing but a broken mind, homeless, and no resources to help them (Karger & Stoesz, 2018).
Rawls theory of social justice does not group the individuals in with mental health illnesses or disabled individuals (Banerjee, 2013). This could lead people to believe these individuals are unworthy and should not be given resources for a better life. Social workers like Ida B. Wells and Jane Addams were a few that fought for African American rights for them to get the same rights as any other white person in America.
A movement was made called “The Niagara Movement,” which then became the “National Association for the Advancement of Colored People” (Karger & Stoesz, 2018, pg 35). They did this because everyone that wants to go to college, have adequate employment, and living should be able to do so regardless of race. Through the years social workers have been committed to social justice because they believe that everyone regardless of race, gender, economic status, worthy or unworthy, and sexuality you deserve to be treated fairly.
African Americans did not come to the United States to be enslaved by people that thought they were less than a human and had no value at all. It talks about how the government was worried when they freed the slaves because they would have to give them welfare to live because they would be unemployed. Social workers have run organizations that helped fund resources to disadvantaged groups as well as gaining funding from the government when at times the president wasn’t willing to help with welfare at all and they only cared about the economy or something else on the agenda. Ran settlement houses for disadvantaged groups that needed somewhere to live. They worked to make sure when people got older or were disabled that they were helped and taken care of by the government because they could no longer work.
Social workers are out every day trying to make a difference and helping the disadvantaged groups in America and other countries. When slaves were freed they had nothing and nowhere to go so organizations like the one Ida Wells worked on made sure that they were given the same opportunities as a white person that had enslaved them. The article about Rawls theory on social justice sheds some light on how as social workers we should be more informed about theories before we cite them because they may not stand for the same values that the social workers code of ethics cites. It also informs us that we should take a better look into what others believe social justice is and how it affects others in the country.
ome believe that certain people shouldn’t be helped even though they may need it the most. For instance, Rawls talks about morality not being a factor in social justice but when he revises it he takes the morality out which would affect the individuals that have faced jail time or charges that prohibit them from obtaining welfare help to gain housing or other possible goods that are being offered. I understand that we will never be able to help everyone, and social justice violations will always happen but being informed and trying to stop those violations should be a factor in organizations.
Knowing that a social justice definition could mean something different to the next person sitting next to me doesn’t benefit us and we need more education on how we approach situations where the values line up differently from the social work perspective. Are we violating social justice by putting up a wall for immigrants to not enter America illegally or be trafficked over for reasons like prostitution or sold to the highest bidder?