Social Justice Lesson for Kids: Definition, Issues & Examples

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  • 0:04 Social Justice
  • 1:32 Social Justice Issues
  • 2:52 Social Justice History
  • 3:14 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Mary Beth Burns

Mary Beth has taught 1st, 4th and 5th grade and has a specialist degree in Educational Leadership. She is currently an assistant principal.

Social justice is being fought for every day all over the world. Come and learn what social justice is, some of its issues, and examples of social justice success stories from our history.

Social Justice

How many times have you said ''That's not fair,'' only to hear the response ''Well, life's not always fair?'' While you were probably talking about not being able to do something you wanted to and how unfair that was, sometimes unfairness is much more serious and is a violation of social justice. While it can be challenging to give an exact definition to social justice, the general idea is that institutions in society should allow equal opportunities to all people without engaging in discrimination. Let's dissect this further.

Think of all the privileges and opportunities available to you on a daily basis. You get to attend school and receive an education. This then gives you skills you can use to get a job, where you then make money that you want to spend on buying a house. Don't these sound like rights that everyone should have?

Well, when someone does not have the same access to these rights and privileges due to discrimination, this is a threat to social justice and is commonly called a social injustice. Social injustices occur when a person, people, or groups of people are treated unfairly - discriminated against - strictly based upon a certain characteristic of the person or group of people. These characteristics include race (racism), age (ageism), gender (sexism), religion, and sexuality (heterosexism).

Social justice issues happen on a global scale, meaning they affect people all over the world. They can also take place in one particular country or city. They can even happen on a much smaller scale, like in your classroom or in your neighborhood.

Social Justice Issues

Social injustices can come in many different forms. Sometimes, a law is the reason for the social justice issue. For example, the death penalty, which allows a person who has been found guilty of a very violent crime to be executed as punishment, is legal in some places. However, if the death penalty punishment is not applied the same way for every individual and it turns out that people of a certain race, religion, etc., are more likely to be given the death penalty than others, that is discrimination and a social injustice.

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