Close your eyes and imagine the world you would describe as living social justice. Equitable. Utopian, even. Whatever comes to mind.

Give it a shot. I’ll wait a moment.

What does it feel like to occupy that future world where all of our work as social justice people came to fruition?

How does it differ from our world today?

How radical of a difference you notice will be determined by the world you have in your mind. But surely the ways we spend our time, the social problems we grapple with, and even the ways we organize societies aren’t the same.

What do β€œjobs” look like? Do they even still exist? What about politics? What will there be more of? What will there be less of?

There’s likely a long list of actions, attitudes, and beliefs that wouldn’t make sense in that world, but seem perfectly sensical in our world right now.

What comes to mind?

Focus on the gap, the distance between what would be normal in a socially-just world, compared to what is normal now in our oppressive and unjust world.

Okay, now here comes the really tough part:

How many things are you currently doing, arguing, and believing β€” in this world, today, on a regular basis β€” that are directly antithetical to the socially-just world you imagined?

That fly in the face of it. The things you know aren’t β€œideal.” The things β€œWe’ll stop” doing, arguing, or believing “once we get there.”

Where’s the line between justifying an inequitable action today in the pursuit of a socially-just tomorrow, and actively creating a different form of injustice?  

I suspect we cross that line daily.

And what inequitable actions do we need to stop justifying today, in order to clear the path to the world you imagined?

My hunch: all of them.

  • How much injustice can we justify on the path toward social justice?