Social Justice: Why It Belongs To All Of Us
I was once presented with what I consider to be a peculiar representation of social justice: a concept having an appropriate time and place in which one ought to engage with it as to limit possible disagreeable instances. Though the underlying implication is as clear as it is dangerous, we might refer to its representation as peculiar for the manner in which it confines our interactions with the very fight designed to further societies and advocate for its individuals.
It would then be appropriate to identify social justice as a fight long understood to be reserved for a select few, reserved for those compelled to champion the taxing fight of ensuring equal access to opportunities for all. They are our friends, neighbors, and fellow colleagues whom we admire from afar. Often, we revere them. Rarely, do we long to be them. Collectively, we delved into a deep complacency for the admiration of the warriors they are without wanting to take on that fight for ourselves. It is as though social justice, despite its ardent determination to further human rights and equality, faces an identification crisis we are not compelled to wake up from until personally confronted with an injustice.
Simply, we would fail to do justice to the movement if we isolated it from any corner of our society. Social justice belongs at each of our tables, from those in the bars where we find refuge to the dinner tables where we rejoice with family members. So much so that it goes beyond an individual's fight and enters the realm of a business’ duty. Widely understood to have taken hold in the U.S in the 1970s, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is an increasingly integrated business strategy that understands the economic and social objectives of firms as an integral part of a business framework and not as incompatible aspects, therefore placing a set of specific social expectations upon corporations with regards to their behavior. Having its roots in corporate philanthropy, CSR calls for economic, legal, ethical, and discretionary change. Increasingly self-identifying with the mission to improve the conditions of the communities in which they operate, a growing number of the world’s public and private companies continue to adopt the framework. Corporate Social Responsibility is what we may refer to as social justice in corporate form precisely for its ability to hold corporations accountable to the needs of the communities within which they operate.
If corporations’ stakeholders go beyond those into their boardrooms, then our individual incentive for change need not either be limited at all. Soon, we may develop an itch to become our friends, neighbors, and fellow colleagues for the simple reason that the pursuit of justice belongs to us as well.