“A world of social injustices needs virtuous people who are good reasoners and have a well-balanced moral compass. Choose a particular social injustice and describe how such a person could respond to it.”
- Think of 5-6 pages as a guide-line. I don’t mind if you write less or more: the essay must be a substantial in-depth sort of essay, so take whatever space you need to achieve that.
- Put the essay-prompt [or what you are going to write about] at the head of your paper (along with your name). You need to keep checking on it, to make sure you are delivering what is requested
- Choose an issue: a social injustice or a major social problem (that is serious, even if it does not clearlyinvolve social justice). Maybe one you feel strongly about or one about which you know a lot.
- Briefly explain how it is a social injustice. Your brief explanation should, however, include clear identification of who is responsible for creating it or for keeping it in existence; and of who is suffering it.
- For the response to that injustice, outline whatcould/should be done (even if that doesn’t remove it altogether, a part-solution is still worthwhile); whocould/should tackle it; what resourceswould that person(s) need. Example: domestic violence. Clear injustice of one person being seriously violent to another: what’s the social injustice? Example: caravans of migrants from violent Central American countries, heading for the US border, desperate to get in. What’s the social injustice involved? What obligations in social justice does the US have to migrants?
- Specific issue, and then specific rough outline of what would make a difference. Then: you move to describing one personwho could make a difference. Imagine you are the US Attorney-General or the Governor of a border-state: what should, could you do about large numbers of immigrants from Central America?
- What the good and smart person brings to tackling global pollution might be quite different to what s/he might bring to homelessness, or to what she might bring to the issue underlying sexual harassment: precisely because s/he is good and smart, i.e. has the moral and intellectual virtues or character-strengths, s/he will be able to think creatively in a way appropriate to the issue. Your essay must get specific in relation to your chosen social injustice.
- One important element: the virtuous person must not just know what a good outcome would be, but also how to get there, how to make it happen politically, build alliances, work with others, persuade, etc.
- Your essay is not expected to offer a total solution to the issue: these issues are often complex. Rather, it must show you analyzing the issue at some depth, and showing some awareness of complexities.
- Depending on the issue, you may need to show that you are able to see the issue from more than one perspective. A commitment to social justice must be accompanied by the intellectual self-discipline so that you can be objective: the group one comes from or that one may be fighting for may not be in the right on all aspects of the issue. Where that is relevant, it should figure in your essay, even if only briefly. The common good of a given society/country must always factor in to considerations of justice for a particular group.
- Moral code; moral virtues; intellectual virtues; emotional empathy and sympathy, to feel for those affected by the injustice; intellectual interest in the details of legislation, so as to work out viable solutions; openness to dialogue …. What types of things will be needed in doing justice or working for justice?