Is Justice possible for People of All Races
Ideally, justice should be rendered to everybody regardless of color, race, educational attainment, and social status. Unfortunately, this is not the case in many societies around the world particularly in many of the developing countries, where injustice and crime go unpunished. Justice can be easily bought or thwarted by the rich people. But justice is also obstructed in many developed countries in the form of racial and ethnic discrimination as racist people tend to regard certain types of people to have not any moral status. Another is poverty caused by corruption and failure of governments to provide adequate poverty alleviation measures, which makes life extremely difficult for poor people.
While justice is for everybody, however, the answer to the question cans justice possible for people of all races? Is certainly not, it is not possible. what ever is the concept of justice being talked about, whether criminal, legal, social or economic justice, unless perhaps if we can build a society “were individuals can interact within a safe and nurturing environment, and where people can have a decent health care, clothing and food and we can “build a system based on fairness and justice, to ensure that people have decent jobs and opportunities, to develop and express their skills and creativity” (Bryant 1995, p. 216), and that every one can avail of housing and educational opportunities, as part of their basic rights wherever part of the globe. But this kind of community does not really exist as poverty, unfairness, crimes, exploitations, and discriminations and all forms of corruption continue to encompass the human society elsewhere.
One of the major reasons that justice cannot be possible for people for all races is that there are racist people and rampant racial discriminations everywhere. Howard McGary (1999) stated that “racist people believe that a biological or generic barrier prevents certain beings from ever becoming persons, even though they may be capable of doing the things that would normally qualify beings for personhood” (McGary, p. 37). According to McGary, racism is one of the great sources of social injustice as it does not treat the black people as human beings. Jules L. Coleman and Allen Buchanan stressed those racist employed prejudices that are “aggressively hostile to the interest of racial minority” (p. 95). It cannot be denied that racism breeds injustice and criminality as victims are angry of the injustice committed against them. With racist people continues to spell their deadly ways, justice cannot be possible for people of all race.
Discrimination is another breeding ground for injustice. According to Melissa Moore the use of race as identifier unfairly labels a certain type of people of the accusations against one person. Moore cited that these kind of racial descriptions of criminals are racial biases which are unfair and discriminating. Moore noted that in the minds of many, the picture of a notorious criminal is that of a black young man (Moore, par. 6), which is unjust because not all young blacks are criminals. Aristotle stated that justice “exist only between men whose mutual relations are governed by law; and law exist for men between whom there is injustice” (Aistotle p. 82).
In the case of the black men being racially identified as a dangerous criminal, justice was not served but thwarted by racist ideas which according to McGary, there is a genetic barrier that prevents them from becoming persons. Racial discriminations according to Lawrence Blum (2002) do not only create injustice among the individuals, it is also seen as “socially costly because it prevents the selection of appropriately qualified individuals” (Blum 2002, p. 80). Blum aptly stated that discrimination of the basis of irrelevant characteristics “is understood to be morally wrong” (p. 80) and being unfair to qualified persons not selected.
Poverty caused by corruptions of people in authority who are supposed to provide the economically distressed people with assistance to be able to hurdle their impoverished situation are creating injustice. Indeed, people in authority particularly those in the government are mandated by law to administer justice even in the communist world. Shao Chuan Leng and Hungdah Chiu (1985) noted that even in the counter revolutionist thinking of the Maoist communist regime emphasized that “all citizens of ours can become equal and must be equal before the law” (Leng & Chiu 1985, p. 22). Leng and Chiu further noted that throughout Mao’s reign the communist party always played a “dominant role of people’s justice” (p. 22).
Nevertheless, economic injustice always happens in many aspect of the society. Bryant pointed out that government “failed to deal with equal opportunities for people of color and women or with mounting issues of poverty and racism” (p. 217). All over the globe, millions of people are living in abject poverty and in areas ridden with crime and delinquency. While this may be a social problem, but governments failure to do something because of corruption is an injustice to these people. Thomas Winfried Menko Pogge stated that “humanity is the basis for obligation generally, and not just the sort of moral obligations that are not legally enforceable but as basis for the moral justification of having legal obligations” (p. 67). What Menko Pogge meant for the statement above was that the solution to poverty is not dependent on humanity in it self which rely only in the sense of the grace and favor of benevolent human beings, rather, dealing with poverty should establish a mandatory duties to “justify adopting radical redistributive scheme through domestic taxation… which in essence, the government must decisively act to alleviate extreme poverty suffered by poor people.
While millions of children are starving and dying of malnutrition, and millions of people are homeless and living in abject poverty, economic justice is not possible for people of all race. For it is not just that while some enjoyed the benefits of material abundance, others are dying of starvation. It is generally known, that in most third world countries where poverty is rampant, government corruption is high. In other words, the government failure to address the problem of poverty due to corruption, in effective economic measures, and negligence are causing injustice to the economic situation of those in poverty. Those people living in abject poverty do not get justice for their impoverished economic situation.
There are may be other sources of injustice such as greed, dirty politics, selfish ambition, and extreme desires and use of power, which makes justice impossible for people of all races, but generally, the three great sources of injustice discussed above, covers most of those sources. Justice in criminal offenses maybe achieved by every citizen in a given society, but even this, may not be the same in other countries. In fact, the International Commission of Human Right list of unsolved cases according Adamntia Pollis and Peter Schwab is growing. They stated, “The problems of attacks on freedom of expressions go beyond the existence of laws and regulations in conflict with international standards, and even beyond arbitrary or administrative decisions. The number of journalist injured or killed is considerable and the list of unsolved cases is growing” (p. 180).
Justice for people of all race is certainly not possible given that most cases injustice do not only go unpunished but is tolerated by the society, and often times perpetuated by those in government. But most importantly, injustice is integral in the system of the human society. It is always there where there are racist and discriminating people. It is always there where there are people who are victims of oppression, corruption, and economic injustice. It is always there are people living in abject poverty.
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Leng, S. C. & Chiu, H. (1985) Criminal Justice in Post-MaoChina USA: University of New York Press
McGary, H. (1999) Race and Justice UK: Blackwell Publishing
Pogge, T. W.M. (2007) Freedom from Poverty as a Human right USA: Oxford University Press
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