Injustice Has Evolved. Have We?

Fifty years ago, injustice are very visible in this country. We saw our neighbours and friends suffering from discrimination; we could identify the Ku Klux Klan by their funny costume. The racial discrimination was so violent and outrageous that people had no choice but to stand up for their dignity. Fifty years later, injustice has evolved: it becomes invisible and harder to fight than ever before.

Injustice have become invisible because our society is getting more complex. Today's "bad guys" could achieve their self-interests without stepping outside of their office, and without spilling one drop of blood. They could be as friendly as you could imagine, but they steal your money, abuse your tax money, cause worldwide economic damage, control your food supply, pollute your environment, and make you believe that you can't live without them. This is more than "white-collar crime", this is the global injustice in its 21st century incarnation.

Fifty years ago, Americans could go on the street and protest; they could clearly identify the evil and propose solution: desegregate schools, buses and lunch counters, for example. Today, it becomes very hard to even identify the evil, let alone fighting it. For example, the 2008 Financial Crisis has caused trillions of dollars of damage, and has destroyed the livelihood of millions of family around the world. But even today, not many people fully understand the cause of the crisis, and we couldn't effectively identify the criminals or provide solutions. BP Oil Spill is another example. How can we protest BP's crime against nature? Should we go demonstrate in the middle of the gulf, or in Washington, or on Wall Street, or in front of the multiple international headquarters of BP?

Due to the complexity of our system and the invisibility of the criminals, it has become harder and harder to identify the problems, locate the bad guys, and improve the situation. The only way to understand the system is to study it, and usually it would require a college degree to be even literate in the political and financial circle. Sometimes, it takes more than one PhDs to fully understand why the system is broken.

However, by the time our young students get their multiple degrees, they are usually hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt. In order to pay off the student loans, they couldn't afford to fight against the system. They have to join the system and take the highest paying job from Wall Street or from multinational corporations. It seems like that our education system is designed to make sure that by the time a student understands the system, she/he could no longer afford to challenge the system. The commercialization of education system has surrendered a generation of youth into the hand of the powerful moneys. By the time student have gained the knowledge, they have lost the freedom.

Today's social inequality is more severe than ever before, but it might take an economic and politics double PhD to understand the system and to provide useful advice. Injustice is hiding in fancy offices and underneath expensive suit and tie. Street protests are no longer effective enough to bring positive change. Is the fight against injustice getting harder? Should today's youth be depressed because we are facing formidable enemies?

No, not at all. Injustice has evolved over the past fifty years, so has the fight against injustice. Today's youth is standing on the shoulder of previous generations. We have more powerful tools like the Internet. We face less physical hardship or violence. We are indeed facing unheard-of challenges and evil, but each generation is facing a similar situation. Each generation of youth has to solve new problems and come up with new ideas. We are no more and no less empowered than anyone else. We will use our wisdom and will to identify the problems and provide solutions. Aim high!


Paul said...

Julius Cäsar was responsible for 1/4 of the worlds GDP around 45 B.C. Sounds like a lot more social inequality to me.

I think, it is a fallacy of hindsight that we can say it was easier to identify injustice 50 years ago, because there is ample evidence that people back then expressed the same concerns you express in your entry, only that they thought that the 1960 were incredibly complex, while 1910 was extremely easy to understand.

Zilong said...

Hi Paul,

Thank you for your always thought-provoking comment =) I agree with you that in the end, no generation is luckier (or less lucky) than any other generation. Both the problems and the solutions keep evolving at about the same pace. So my generation have no excuse for inaction or pessimism.