Social Justice: Surprise, it’s still a thing

Kyle Patterson

“Social justice” is a term I much prefer to avoid, given its current connotation in today’s society. Give something the label of social justice and it becomes marked as socialist, a modern Robin Hood meant to steal rights from the rich under the guise of benefiting the poor. However, it is the term I feel most accurately describes my start here in the Opinions section.

You won’t find me wearing a green leotard— in fact, you’d be lucky to find me wearing green at all— or swinging around the forest with a bow and arrows to threaten your safety. I’m not Robin Hood, and I don’t intend to be. But in a society that doesn’t even recognize a problem when one is prostrate before it, you can be damn sure I’ll be doing something to help.

This column will address many of the issues that you may not even consider as issues. While we might not have separate seats on the bus assigned according to our skin color, it’s much more difficult to find decent work if you aren’t white. Women may have gained ranks in politics, but they’re still given an average of 70 cents for every dollar a man is paid. In 29 states, you can be fired just because you’re gay; if you’re transgender, that number is bumped up to 37.

These figures aren’t even considering intersectionalism; white women make 81 cents to every dollar that a white man makes. Black women make 70 cents to the dollar; Hispanic, only 60 cents. Even within the marginalized groups, discrimination pits the majority against the minority. A frightening sect of feminism has been gaining popularity among those identifying as “womyn.” This sect aims to exclude trans women from the feminist movement, often labelling trans men as traitors.

In the following weeks and columns, I ask that you take a moment to really consider what it is you’re saying with your words and actions. The matters I aim to address in the days to come are not elementary by any means; rather, they highlight the problems so intrinsic to the status quo that these issues are hardly noticeable unless you suffer from them directly.

As a disclaimer, I am not speaking for (nor can I speak for) everyone who suffers in their daily lives from the problems I will address. I experience certain advantages that others are not granted due to the color of their skin or gender identity. It is not my intention to speak for these people, but to raise awareness that there are problems. That said, I am not above the problems in our society; I am merely more aware of them. It’s entirely possible that I will make mistakes against these marginalized groups, and I ask those of you I have mistaken or offended to please write to me your thoughts. This is your column, I’m just keeping it warm for you.

Kyle Patterson is a senior computer science major looking forward to the end of spring semester, his decided graduation term. He’d like to make a special note that this column is written as a personal column and is not related to his duties as a web director of The Observer. The opinions and thoughts expressed in Family Matters stem from his desire to be the change he wishes to see in the world.